Department of Public Service Will Distribute Through Line Extension Consumer Assistance Program
Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced that the Vermont Department of Public Service has launched a Line Extension Customer Assistance Program (LECAP). LECAP provides up to $3,000 in assistance to help consumers extend telecommunications lines to their homes, with $2 million in total funds available.
“We know how important access to reliable internet has been during this pandemic,” said Governor Scott. “While expanding access has been a longstanding challenge in Vermont, I appreciate the efforts of the Public Service Department team, the Legislature and many private partners to help get more Vermonters connected. This assistance program is another step forward in this challenging work, which is critical to increasing equity in education heading into our school reopening this fall.”
This program was passed through Act 137 and developed in response to the COVID-19 emergency to help Vermonters access broadband.
“For the teacher or student living at the end of the dirt road with no internet access, the LECAP could be a lifeline,” said June Tierney, commissioner of Public Service. “This is a great opportunity for qualifying Vermonters who need broadband service but have not been able to afford the full cost of a line extension.”
Access to broadband (high-speed internet service) has proved critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for students, patients and teleworkers accessing education, health care services and virtual offices due to closures and other pandemic mitigation measures. Hundreds of Vermonters without 25/3 Mbps broadband service live just out of the reach of current cable and other Internet Service Providers’ networks. Extending these networks to unserved and underserved areas can be expensive and the full cost can be unaffordable for those looking to take this step.
Under this program, up to $3,000 in financial assistance is available to offset the customer cost portion of a line extension. For details about how to qualify for the LECAP, Vermonters should call the department at 800-622-4496 or visit the department’s Line Extension Customer Assistance Program webpage. All line extensions funded through this program must be completed on or before December 30, 2020. Additional information can be accessed at https://publicservice.vermont.gov.