City Announces Three Potential Buyers Of Burlington Telecom

Sep 20, 2017

The city of Burlington has released the names of the three groups making bids to buy Burlington Telecom, the city's telecommunications service.

The prospective bidders include two out-of-state companies: Ting (whose parent company is Tucows) based in Toronto, and Schurz, based in Indiana. The third bidder is a local co-operative, Keep BT Local.

Schurz is offering the most money for Burlington Telecom at $30.8 million cash, while Ting is offering $27.5 million cash. Keep BT Local is offering $12 million, with $10.5 million cash and the city keeping a $1.5 million interest in the business.

All three bidders would allow the city to maintain some equity in Burlington Telecom and will agree to an “anti-monopoly future sales restriction.”

City attorney Eileen Blackwood says that restriction will maintain one of BT's original purposes.

“BT was intended to be something to stop the development of a monopoly in those areas,” Blackwood says. “These folks have all agreed to have some restrictions one their future sale to any entity that would result in a monopoly in the market.”

Blackwood says the city will have a telecommunications consultant review and comment on the bids.

She says the hope is to have that review done before the City Council meeting on October 2. At that meeting, the council is expected to vote to narrow the field to only two potential buyers.

The city is collecting public comments, which can be submitted by emailing btfeedback@burlingtonvt.gov.