Vermont’s first experience with alternative regulation was in the telecommunications sector. Within this sector, only Consolidated Communications and its predecessors (including New England Telephone, Verizon, and FairPoint) have been under alternative regulation in Vermont. In 1988, the Commission approved a form of alternative regulation known as the Vermont Telecommunications Agreement that applied to New England Telephone and lasted mid-way through the 1990s. In 2000, the Commission approved a new five-year Incentive Regulation Plan for New England Telephone. A successor alternative regulation plan was approved in 2005 that continued many of the elements of the initial plan and encouraged broadband development.
On June 26, 2017, the Commission approved the sale of FairPoint's Vermont landline telecommunications business to Consolidated Communications. (See Docket 8881 for more information about this sale.) As a condition of the sale, Consolidated Communications became subject to the terms and conditions of FairPoint's Incentive Regulation Plan.
Since that time, Consolidated Communications has continued to operate under the alternative regulation plans. At present, Consolidated Communications is subject to the 2015-2019 Incentive Regulation Plan, which was approved March 18, 2016, for use by FairPoint in Docket 8337. In an order issued on January 3, 2020, the Commission approved an extension of the plan through July 31, 2021.