Local Access Organizations Sign Forward Thinking Agreement with Burlington Telecom

October 18, 2016

On Tuesday, October 18 local Burlington area access organizations VCAM, RETN and Channel 17/Town Meeting TV signed a forward looking contract with Burlington Telecom that enables continued and expanded community access media services on BT over the next eleven years. Mayor Miro Weinberg was present, along with representatives of Burlington based community media organizations.The new contract enables BT’s public, educational and government access channels (15, 16, 17 and 317) to provide HD channels, interactive program guides and opens the door to new methods of community access delivery to BT cable subscribers and internet customers.

Elaine Sopchak, President of the Channel 17 Trustees: “We’ve worked hard with RETN, VCAM and BT to agree on this innovative contract. We are so pleased that BT continues its record as a proactive community partner and the City of Burlington will remain a leader in community media and open telecommunications networks. Our new contract, good through 2027, is a national model that we can all be proud of.”

"Our new BT contract is a shining example of how communities in Vermont greatly benefit from community access organizations and cable operators working together." says Seth Mobley, Executive Director, VCAM. Channel 17 Executive Director Lauren-Glenn Davitian agrees: "BAMO and BT have signed one of the most forward looking PEG access contracts in the country. We could not be happier." 

The agreement is part of an open Vermont Public Service Board Docket 8713. The PSB is expected to rule on BT’s petition to continue to provide cable service by the end of December.

This contract renewal comes just days before the first state-recognized Community Media Day - a celebration of the significance and contributions of public media centers around the country. Jess Wilson, RETN Executive Director says, "It’s fitting that the week Community Media is celebrated nationwide and in Vermont - RETN, VCAM, Channel 17/Town Meeting TV and Burlington Telecom have signed one of the most progressive and forward looking contracts in the country. This agreement will allow us to build on a great collaborative effort with BT that is rooted in serving the needs of our community."

This Wednesday at the Vermont state house, Governor Shumlin will proclaim Thursday, October 20 as Community Media Day by. Events to recognize this day will occur across the state at public access centers. To learn more and find events across the country, go to http://www.communitymediaday.com/