MONTPELIER, Vt. (NEWS10) — Vermont’s Department of Public Service has launched a program to pay rural homeowners to offset the costs of broadband internet services. The Line Extension Customer Assistance Program gives up to $3,000 in aid to consumers to extend telecommunications lines to homes.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced the plan to distribute the funds and increase broadband access—a longstanding challenge in the Green Mountain State—on Wednesday. “We know how important access to reliable internet has been during this pandemic,” he said. “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.”
Access to high-speed internet has been especially important during the pandemic, particularly for students, patients, and workers accessing school, health care, or virtual offices from a wooded cabin at the end of a dirt road. According to Scott’s office, hundreds of Vermonters live just outside of current high-speed networks, but extending internet service is too expensive for many of them.
The $2 million fund could pay out the $3,000 maximum in financial assistance to as many as 666 households. To qualify, all line extensions funded by the LECAP program must be completed by December 30.