Comcast has filed a lawsuit against the state of Vermont in an attempt to avoid building 550 miles of new cable lines. The Vermont Public Utility Commission granted Comcast an 11-year permit to operate in the state, but it appears that they are having second thoughts on some of the specific provisions. That permit states that Comcast shall construct no less than 550 miles of line extensions into "uncabled areas." It goes on to specify that any extension that Comcast builds as part of a federal or state grant will not qualify for this requirement.
Running new lines in remote areas is very expensive, so naturally Comcast would prefer not having to build them. The lawsuit alleges that Vermont is overstepping its authority granted in the Cable Act, violating state law, and violating Comcast's constitutional rights. Comcast is asking the court to declare Vermont's regulations unlawful and to prevent them from being enforced.
Comcast has requested the VPUC to reconsider the requirement in the past, but that motion was denied. Vermont is standing by their regulations since they claim Comcast was aware of them when they bought Adelphia and first entered the state. The VPUC also believes that this 550 mile expansion will not harm Comcast or impair their ability to earn a "fair and reasonable return on its investments."
In making the decision, the commission considered various factors including the cost of past cable line expansions, Comcast's current profitability, and Comcast's profitability when performing other line extensions in Vermont.