FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 15, 2017
BURLINGTON PROGRESSIVES SAY KEEP BURLINGTON TELECOM LOCAL
KBTL offers the longest term value for Burlington citizens
Burlington, VT – The Burlington City Progressive Steering Committee has voted unanimously to support Keep BT Local’s bid to purchase Burlington Telecom. Members cited numerous reasons for preferring KBTL over the other bidders.
KBTL is the only bid that satisfies all of the criteria set by the Burlington Telecommunications Advisory Board, which extensively surveyed Burlingtonians through public testimony and written comments. The Board found that the #1 criterion of Burlington residents was to keep BT under local ownership and control.
“Burlington is not for sale,” said City Councilor Ali Dieng (Ward 7-D/P). “I am disappointed to hear our Mayor claiming to speak for what BT subscribers want. Many Burlington residents, especially those in Ward 7 that contacted me on this issue, support KBTL instead of the highest bidders.”
KBTL offers the greatest long term value to Burlington residents. BT’s state of the art fiber optic network is a key to the economic development future of the city and region and will pay dividends in terms of job creation and economic development for years to come.
“I know that keeping BT locally and cooperatively owned will provide a far greater benefit to Burlington residents in the long term,” commented State Representative and former City Councilor Selene Colburn (Chittenden 6-4, P/D). “In ten years, no one will care who the highest bidder was. What will matter is who owns it and how it contributes to Burlington’s economic and community development.”
The co-op model has served Burlington well and is a safe choice. City Market has achieved success that far exceeds all original expectations. City market grew from 2,000 members when it started to 12,000 today. KBTL would start with fully 7,000 subscribers – 3,000 more than it had five years ago. Our housing and business cooperatives are proven models for Burlington residents to own and control their homes and places of work. Cooperatively owned credit unions are the most effective means to make sure members are assured access to capital to buy homes and grow businesses.
KBTL can easily support the debt needed to purchase BT. Our telecom is profitable today, currently earning over $3 million annually. With a hub able to serve up to 100,000 subscribers, KBTL should be able to finish building out in Burlington and eventually serve new communities around the region.
Selling to Ting/Tucows or Schurz Communications actually holds the greatest risk for Burlington. Either could turn around and sell BT in 5 – 10 years. Future buyers would not be bound by an anti-monopoly clause in the sales agreement.
Burlington Progressives urge City Councilors to secure the telecommunications future of our City by voting to Keep Burlington Telecom Local.