PSD releases feasibility study of electric companies offering broadband

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PSD releases feasibility study of electric companies offering broadband

Mon, 01/06/2020 - 5:27am -- tim
Vermont Business Magazine The Department of Public Service has developed a feasibility study, in consultation with Magellan Advisors and the Public Utility Commission, to explore what role electric utilities can and should play in the deployment of broadband services.

The feasibility study aimed to identify possible ways electric utilities could participate in deploying broadband to unserved areas throughout Vermont. The feasibility study addressed the topics laid out in Act 79 passed by the General Assembly in the 2019 session. 

The report paints a broad picture of the current landscape in Vermont and suggests how electric utilities may be able to extend broadband service to more Vermonters.  Further and more detailed utility-specific studies will be required to pinpoint specific opportunities and risks for each utility.

In a letter to legislative leaders, PSD Commissioner June Tierney said in part: "Electric utilities across the country are entering the broadband market in service to their customers. Electric cooperatives are increasingly hearing from their memberships that broadband is an important but unmet need. Additionally, trends in the energy sector suggest that there is an emerging convergence of broadband technologies with electric power distribution services. These factors are encouraging utilities to explore the possibility of entering the broadband market."

In addition, the PSD has released an RFP for Round 2 of the Broadband Innovation Grant Program:

Second Cycle (Utility Round) - The Department invites applications from electric utilities to conduct feasibility studies and to create business plans related to the deployment of broadband in rural unserved and underserved areas of Vermont. Grant application instructions are now available for the second cycle.  Two grants will be awarded.  Notices of intent are due February 3, 2020 by 4:30 p.m.  Proposals are due March 9, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.

Source: PSD JANUARY 2, 2020