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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 30 : Public Service

Chapter 005 : State Policy; Plans; Jurisdiction and Regulatory Authority of Commission and Department

Subchapter 001 : General Powers

(Cite as: 30 V.S.A. § 202e)
  • § 202e. Telecommunications and connectivity

    (a) Among other powers and duties specified in this title, the Department of Public Service, through the Division for Telecommunications and Connectivity, shall promote:

    (1) access to affordable broadband service to all residences and businesses in all regions of the State, to be achieved in a manner that is consistent with the State Telecommunications Plan;

    (2) universal availability of mobile telecommunication services, including voice and high-speed data along roadways, and near universal availability statewide;

    (3) investment in telecommunications infrastructure in the State that creates or completes the network for service providers to create last-mile connection to the home or business and supports the best available and economically feasible service capabilities;

    (4) the continuous upgrading of telecommunications and broadband infrastructure in all areas of the State to reflect the rapid evolution in the capabilities of available broadband and mobile telecommunications technologies, the capabilities of broadband and mobile telecommunications services needed by persons, businesses, and institutions in the State; and

    (5) the most efficient use of both public and private resources through State policies by encouraging the development, funding, and implementation of open access telecommunications infrastructure.

    (b) To achieve the goals specified in subsection (a) of this section, the Division shall:

    (1) provide resources to local, regional, public, and private entities in the form of grants, technical assistance, coordination, and other incentives;

    (2) prioritize the use of existing buildings and structures, historic or otherwise, as sites for visually-neutral placement of mobile telecommunications and wireless broadband antenna facilities;

    (3) inventory and assess the potential to use federal radio frequency licenses held by instrumentalities of the State to enable broadband service in unserved areas of the State; take steps to promote the use of those licensed radio frequencies for that purpose; and recommend to the General Assembly any further legislative measures with respect to ownership, management, and use of these licenses as would promote the general good of the State;

    (4) coordinate telecommunications initiatives among Executive Branch agencies, departments, and offices;

    (5) identify the types and locations of infrastructure and services needed to carry out the goals stated in subsection (a) of this section;

    (6) formulate, with the advice and assistance of the Telecommunications and Connectivity Board and with input from the regional planning commissions, an action plan that conforms with the State Telecommunications Plan, as updated and revised, and carries out the goals stated in subsection (a) of this section;

    (7) coordinate the agencies of the State to make public resources available to support the extension of broadband and mobile telecommunications infrastructure and services to all unserved and underserved areas;

    (8) support and facilitate initiatives to extend the availability of broadband and mobile telecommunications, and promote development of the infrastructure that enables the provision of these services;

    (9) work cooperatively with the Agency of Transportation and the Department of Buildings and General Services to assist in making available transportation rights-of-way and other State facilities and infrastructure for telecommunications projects in conformity with applicable federal statutes and regulations; and

    (10) receive all technical and administrative assistance as deemed necessary by the Director for Telecommunications and Connectivity.

    (c)(1) The Director may request from telecommunications service providers voluntary disclosure of information regarding deployment of broadband, telecommunications facilities, or advanced metering infrastructure that is not publicly funded. Such information may include data identifying projected coverage areas, projected average speed of service, service type, and the anticipated date of completion in addition to identifying the location and routes of proposed cables, wires, and telecommunications facilities.

    (2) The Director may enter into a nondisclosure agreement with respect to any voluntary disclosures under this subsection, and the information disclosed pursuant thereto shall remain confidential. Alternatively, entities that voluntarily provide information requested under this subsection may select a third party to be the recipient of such information. The third party may aggregate information provided by the entities, but shall not disclose provider-specific information it has received under this subsection to any person, including the Director. The third party shall only disclose the aggregated information to the Director. The Director may publicly disclose aggregated information based upon the information provided under this subsection. The confidentiality requirements of this subsection shall not affect whether information provided to any agency of the State or a political subdivision of the State pursuant to other laws is or is not subject to disclosure.

    (d) The Division shall only promote the expansion of broadband services that offer actual speeds that meet or exceed the minimum technical service characteristic objectives contained in the State’s Telecommunications Plan.

    (e) Notwithstanding 2 V.S.A. § 20(d), on or before January 15 of each year, the Director, with the advice and assistance of the Telecommunications and Connectivity Board, shall submit a report of its activities pursuant to this section and duties of subsection 202f(f) of this title for the preceding fiscal year to the General Assembly. Each report shall include an operating and financial statement covering the Division’s operations during the year, including a summary of all grant awards and contracts and agreements entered into by the Division, as well as the action plan required under subdivision (b)(6) of this section. In addition, the report shall include an accurate map and narrative description of each of the following:

    (1) the areas served and the areas not served by broadband that has a download speed of at least 4 Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1 Mbps, and cost estimates for providing such service to unserved areas;

    (2) the areas served and the areas not served by broadband that has a download speed of at least 25 Mbps and an upload speed of at least 3 Mbps, or as defined by the FCC in its annual report to Congress required by section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, whichever is higher, and the cost estimates for providing such service to unserved areas;

    (3) the areas served and the areas not served by broadband that has a download speed of at least 100 Mbps and is symmetrical, and the cost estimates for providing such service to unserved areas; and

    (4) if monetarily feasible, the areas served and the areas not served by wireless communications service, and cost estimates for providing such service to unserved areas. (Added 2015, No. 41, § 4.)