Vermont says it cannot force a DSL provider to turn service back on for a company that provides cell phone service to rural parts of the state

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont says it cannot force a DSL provider to turn service back on for a company that provides cell phone service to rural parts of the state.

Vermont Public Radio reports CoverageCo asked the Public Utility Commission to order their DSL provider switch on power antennas that boost cell phone signal outside of the normal coverage area. The commission ruled Monday that federal telecommunications law prevents it from getting involved.

The DSL provider, Consolidated Communications, turned off service on May 23. CoverageCo owes the company $100,000.

CoverageCo argued the move created an “immediate threat to public health” because it reduces cell service and impedes the ability of rural Vermonters to call 911.

The state has been working with CoverageCo to find a solution that will allow service to resume.