Want to Keep BT Local? Be Part of the Discussion on December 9th!

November 06, 2015

The clock is ticking. The City of Burlington has less than two years to sell Burlington Telecom, but the sooner the City completes the transaction, the more money it will recover from the sale.


Before this happens, the Burlington CIty Council will decide the criteria they use to choose the new owner. Now is the time to influence these criteria and help to insure that BT's next owner favors local control, public access, and tech innovation. 


Participate in this process and help to ensure that Burlington finds the best owner for our precious regional asset--a future-proof open network that can assure our cultural and economic prosperity for many years to come.


Make your voice heard! Two public meetings already took place in November. The BTAB will hold one more meeting -- on Wednesday, December 9 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. -- to hear your ideas for criteria for selecting the next owner of BT and its assets.

Rank what's important to you in this surveyhttp://www.btcriteria.com/.

Keep BT local, accountable, and affordable by signing this petition: http://bit.ly/1NG4X6C.

Following the meetings, the BTAB will prepare a report, ask for public feedback and send to Burlington City Council to finalize and vote on these in February 2016.

Last year, the City of Burlington told the Vermont Public Service Board that it “aims to find a partner who will honor the existing and long term vision of BT to maximize the potential of the BT fiber optic system.” Further, the managing partners stated that the City's goal is to “find the right entity to acquire the system, to continue to provide service to the City and its residents, to continue partnering with US Ignite as an economic development tool, and to provide an opportunity of a return on Burlington's investment in BT upon sale.”

Now is the right time to influence the process of how the City selects the next owner.

Given the pattern of cable consolidation over the past 30 years, the future owner of BT is likely to be a larger non-Vermont centric company. Unless we lay out clear criteria for vetting new ownership, BT's ability to offer generous amounts of bandwidth at affordable rates, and the City's ability to carry out its “next generation” community and economic development initiatives will be compromised.

Criteria To Consider for Choosing the Next Owner of BT: Ideally, prospective owners should demonstrate:

  • Financial capacity to purchase and maintain BT as a state of the art public asset with the potential to expand into neighboring communities.

  • Management experience and team familiar with systems such as BT and capable of profitably running the operation with a strong emphasis on customer service.

  • Commitment to continue to provide residential cable, phone, and Internet service.

  • Business model is compatible with the public benefit model of the City -- a municipal owner, and whether the City and its taxpayers will receive a proper return for their significant investment in BT.

  • Local partnership that allows our citizens to retain a meaningful ownership stake in BT.

  • Provision for the City to participate fully in strategic planning, policy and financial decision making, including right of first refusal on future sales of the system.

  • Cooperation with the City to preserve affordable rates.

  • Continued support for public, educational and government (PEG) access comparable to BT’s current service.

  • Commitment to continued access to key features of the BT network for anchor institutions, community organizations and local businesses, realizing both the economic and social value of the network to the community and the regional economy.

Please let us know if you have any questions. We're here to help! (Watch our testimony here.)

Contact us for more information: Lauren-Glenn Davitian, Executive Director, CCTV Center for Media & Democracy, davitian '@' cctv.org  


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