Next Steps for the Sale of Burlington Telecom in the Spring of 2016

March 07, 2016

Dear Keep BT Local Friends and Allies:

We have all made progress toward the goal of keeping Burlington Telecom a public asset. Over the past three months, the Burlington Telecom Advisory Board (BTAB) has drafted a “Report on the Development of Criteria for Sale of Burlington Telecom”. The Report outlines the important criteria, reflects public input, and anticipates a BT sale by January 2017.

We have been heard and now we need to continue the advocating for a local, affordable and reliable telecom. The BTAB has another meeting on March 9th for final review of the proposed sale criteria before they send their findings to the City Council for approval. Once approved, these criteria will guide the decision making of the City Council and, presumably, the Mayor in finding and deciding on Burlington Telecom's next owner.

We expect the City Council to take up the report right away, in March.

What's Next:

  • Your voice is still needed on three missing or unclear items in the draft criteria: 1.  Right of first refusal on a future sale 2. Local Ownership, not just Local Presence and 3. How the City will weight the criteria. These suggestions ar based on the public recommendations on page 5 of the report.

  • Review the criteria, do you think they reflect public input? (see below)

  • Attend the March 9th BTAB Meeting with Your Comments Before They Finalize the Criteria (time/ place)

  • Contact Your City Council Member Once BTAB Releases the Report

  • Attend Upcoming City Council Meetings (we will keep you posted on the dates).

We’ve made great progress, let’s keep up our good work and advocacy for this important community resource.


From the Draft Criteria Document found at:


The BTAB recommends the following criteria by which any purchaser or ownership structure is evaluated, along with all of the previously mentioned legal criteria:

Any new purchaser must demonstrate a commitment to:

  • *  Continue to offer affordable services that provide a competitive opportunity for BT customers.

  • *  Continue to have a local presence (office) with an emphasis on responsive and effective customer service.

  • *  Continue BT’s commitment to net neutrality, support of affordable, local public access, and other issues of importance to Burlingtonians. *  Continue to offer both residential and commercial services.

  • *  Continue to engage in active participation with the US Ignite and BTV Ignite initiatives focused on realizing the ongoing and sustainable economic development benefits to the local economy that the network infrastructure affords.

  • *  Establish a skilled, experienced management team and sufficient financial capacity to both:

  • - sustain BT’s “state of the art” capabilities.

  • - keep pace with technology changes.

  • - support expansion to the currently unserved areas of Burlington as well as other communities.

  • *  Maintain and foster a strong partnership with the City of Burlington and its elected public officials.

  • * Allowing the City of Burlington the opportunity to retain a carried equity interest in Burlington Telecom.

  • * And ability to complete a transaction by the 2 January 2018, subject to regulatory approval

  • Finally, the BTAB believes that it is important for the City’s public officials to try to recover as much of the taxpayer’s $16.9 million as possible. Part of that should come from the price paid by the purchaser of the BT system. However, the BTAB also considers that part of that recovery may come over time, perhaps from the City’s maintaining a continued meaningful interest in BT that enables financial recovery over the next decades, and also from the indirect benefits of maintaining a strong Telecom System, recognizing the potential of BT’s fiber optic infrastructure to enable sustainable economic growth and job creation in an increasingly Tech centric economy, that accomplishes the goals outlined above.