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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 30 : Public Service

Chapter 088 : UNIVERSAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE

Subchapter 002 : DISTRIBUTION

(Cite as: 30 V.S.A. § 7515b)
  •  [Section 7515b effective until January 1, 2022; see also section 7515b effective January 1, 2022 .]

    § 7515b. Connectivity Initiative

    (a) The purpose of the Connectivity Initiative is to provide each service location in Vermont access to broadband that is capable of speeds of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Within this category of service locations, priority shall be given first to unserved and then to underserved locations. As used in this section, "unserved" means a location that only has access to broadband capable of speeds of less than 4 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload and "underserved" means a location that only has access to broadband capable of speeds of at least 4 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload but less than 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.

    (b) The Department of Public Service shall publish annually a list of E-911 locations eligible for funding based on the Department's most recent broadband mapping data. The Department annually shall solicit proposals from service providers to deploy broadband to eligible E-911 locations. Funding shall be available for capital improvements only, not for operating and maintenance expenses, and shall be available only for projects that the Department determines do not conflict with or undermine the deployment plans of a communications union district. The Department shall give priority to proposals that reflect the lowest cost of providing services to unserved and underserved locations; however, the Department also shall consider:

    (1) the proposed data transfer rates and other data transmission characteristics of services that would be available to consumers;

    (2) the price to consumers of services;

    (3) the proposed cost to consumers of any new construction, equipment installation service, or facility required to obtain service;

    (4) whether the proposal would use the best available technology that is economically feasible;

    (5) the availability of service of comparable quality and speed;

    (6) the objectives of the State's Telecommunications Plan; and

    (7) the extent to which a proposal leverages federal or private funding opportunities.

    (c) In order to ensure that grants are disbursed based on the value of work completed, the Department shall develop with each grantee a payment schedule that reflects the verified percentage of project completion. To verify project completion, the grantee shall retain a Department-approved third party to conduct independent field testing, which the Department may supplement with provider-supplied data and crowd-sourced user data. If deemed necessary by the Department, the Department may advance a grantee funds necessary for project commencement. The Department shall retain five percent of an award for two years after project completion to ensure continued compliance with contract terms. A grantee shall reimburse the Department any funds received for contracted work that is not completed pursuant to contract specifications.

    (d) The Department shall maintain a publicly accessible inventory of completed broadband projects financed in whole or in part with grants under this section. (Added 2013, No. 190 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. June 16, 2014; amended 2015, No. 41, § 12; 2017, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 2019, No. 79, § 5, eff. June 20, 2019; 2021, No. 71, § 7c, eff. June 8, 2021.)

  •  [Section 7515b effective January 1, 2022; see also section 7515b effective until January 1, 2022 .]

    § 7515b. Connectivity Initiative

    (a) The Connectivity Initiative shall be administered by the Vermont Community Broadband Board. The purpose of the Connectivity Initiative is to provide each service location in Vermont access to broadband that is capable of speeds of at least 100 Mbps symmetrical. Within this category of service locations, priority shall be given first to unserved and then to underserved locations that are part of a plan to achieve universal broadband coverage in a community or communications union district. As used in this section, "unserved" means a location that only has access to broadband capable of speeds of less than 4 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload and "underserved" means a location that only has access to broadband capable of speeds of at least 4 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload but less than 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.

    (b) The Department of Public Service shall publish annually a list of E-911 locations eligible for funding based on the Department's most recent broadband mapping data. The Board annually shall solicit proposals from communications union districts and from service providers working in conjunction with a communications union district to provide universal broadband service in a community or communications union district, to deploy broadband to eligible E-911 locations. Funding shall be available for capital improvements only, not for operating and maintenance expenses, and shall be available only for projects that the Board determines do not conflict with or undermine the deployment plans of a communications union district. The Board shall give priority to proposals that reflect the lowest cost of providing services to unserved and underserved locations; however, the Board also shall consider:

    (1) the proposed data transfer rates and other data transmission characteristics of services that would be available to consumers;

    (2) the price to consumers of services;

    (3) the proposed cost to consumers of any new construction, equipment installation service, or facility required to obtain service;

    (4) whether the proposal would use the best available technology that is economically feasible;

    (5) the availability of service of comparable quality and speed;

    (6) the objectives of the State's Telecommunications Plan; and

    (7) the extent to which a proposal leverages federal or private funding opportunities.

    (c) In order to ensure that grants are disbursed based on the value of work completed, the Board shall develop with each grantee a payment schedule that reflects the verified percentage of project completion. To verify project completion, the grantee shall retain a Board-approved third party to conduct independent field testing, which the Board may supplement with provider-supplied data and crowd-sourced user data. If deemed necessary by the Board, the Board may advance a grantee funds necessary for project commencement. The Board shall retain five percent of an award for two years after project completion to ensure continued compliance with contract terms. A grantee shall reimburse the Board any funds received for contracted work that is not completed pursuant to contract specifications.

    (d) The Board shall maintain a publicly accessible inventory of completed broadband projects financed in whole or in part with grants under this section. (Added 2013, No. 190 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. June 16, 2014; amended 2015, No. 41, § 12; 2017, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 2019, No. 79, § 5, eff. June 20, 2019; 2021, No. 71, § 7c, eff. June 8, 2021; 2021, No. 71, § 7d, eff. Jan. 1, 2022.)