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State issues RFP for feasibility study of electric companies offering broadband service

Published by VermontBiz on June 26, 2019

Vermont Business Magazine The Department of Public Service seeks to establish a contract with a company that can provide a Feasibility Study of Electric Companies Offering Broadband Service in Vermont (link is external). RFP responses are due by 4 pm on July 1, 2019. The contract arising from this RFP will be for a period of 12-months with an option to renew for one additional 12-month period. The state anticipates the start date will be on or around August 1, 2019, with a report ready for the Legislature by January 2020.

The possibility of engaging the electric companies to expand broadband service into under-served areas of the state. This potential use of the electric

Governor Phil Scott Signs H513 Broadband Bill Dover June 20 2019 Cbs 500x439 300x263 Governor Phil Scott signed H513 into law last Thursday in Dover. With him is DPS Commissioner June Tierney, left, Representative Tim Briglin (D-Thetford), and Representative Laura Sibilia (I-West Dover), directly behind Scott. Courtesy photo.

infrastructure is part of a general effort by the Scott Administration on Internet and cell service expansion, which includes the newly signed H513, An act relating to broadband deployment throughout Vermont. The act would help establish local broadband development, similar to how a group of towns in Orange and Windsor counties got together to form ECFiber.

The study will show the DPS whether it is feasible for Vermont electric companies to provide broadband service using the electric distribution and transmission infrastructure.

Among other things, a feasibility determination shall address potential advantages of serving utilities’ internal data needs and expanding fiber for providing broadband service, the compatibility of broadband service with existing electric service, the financial investment necessary to undertake the provision of broadband service, identification of the unserved and underserved areas of the State where the provision of broadband service by an electric company appears feasible; the impact on electric rates, the financial risk to electric companies, and any differences that may exist between electric companies. The Commissioner also shall address any financial consequences and any technical or safety issues resulting from attaching communications facilities in the electric safety space as opposed to the communications space of distribution infrastructure.

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