Vermont Public Utility Commission

Case Details

18-0491-PET Champlain Broadband-Burlington Telecom & Blue Water Holdings-petition for approvals Open Case Age: 891
Regulatory / Petition: Open
                                                     Appeal: On Appeal
                                                     Remand: On Remand
                                                     Required Compliance Filings: Pending Required Compliance Filings and On Appeal
Date filed: 02/26/18
Champlain Broadband LLC [Petitioner]  
Cable Television
5 Issue(s):§ 102 or 231 CPG - New    
Public Comments-Portal
Public Comment(s) 
Filed Commenter Comment Filed/Ack View Document
    02/11/2019 Schramm, Don Lee [PUBCOM]
If the Commissioners are wondering why there has been so much public comment on this particular case, consider the following list I extracted from the official minutes of the Burlington City Councilor during the summer and fall of 2017 when they were working on the sale of Burlington Telecom. Some of speakers, myself included, spoke multiple times. The overwhelming majority of the speakers favored converting Burlington Telecom into a Vermont Internet Utility Cooperative. See attached file Acknowledged
    01/14/2019 Shatara, Barbara [PUBCOM]
As a Burlington resident and taxpayer for the last 20 years, I have been and remain a supporter for a City-owned telecom. I think the arrangements to sell Burlington Telecom to Schurz was done in a rather haphazard way and leaves the tax payers and residents in a worse position than before the purchase. Frankly, I cannot understand why all municipalities don't have telecommunication departments. Telecommunications are the life-blood of business and education. Acknowledged
    01/08/2019 Shapiro, Kevin [PUBCOM]
I oppose the Shurz sale for all the reasons set forth by the BT Intervenors. This was a backroom firesale of our most valuable public resource, which ignored a vast majority of citizens’ efforts to keep BT local. To ensure quality Internet infrastructure, BT must remain in local/public control. Shurz opposed net neutrality even before the weakening of FCC oversight. Please stop this misappropriation of $17m in taxpayer assets to an out-of-state company with no obligation to the VT public good. Filed
    01/07/2019 Hostetler, Gregory [PUBCOM]
As a Burlington Telecom customer, I strongly oppose its sale to Schurz Communications. Maintaining public control and accountability are necessary to ensure that BT keeps its standards for net neutrality, data privacy, public access, and free speech. Filed
    01/04/2019 Sukop, Linda [PUBCOM]
BT has consistently provided our household with excellent internet service. I feel very strongly that it should not be privatized. BT should be locally owned and controlled, now and continuing into the future. This will ensure that free speech, public access, net neutrality, and data privacy are preserved. Thank you. Acknowledged
    01/04/2019 Jiraff, Nicolia [PUBCOM]
I strongly oppose the sale of Burlington Telecom to an out-of-state private company. This is a public utility which should be in local, public control. Please reject this application as it is not in the best interest of Burlington residents and the process by which it was submitted appears to be unlawful. Acknowledged
    01/03/2019 Buckley, Cleary [PUBCOM]
18-0491-PET Champlain Broadband-Burlington Telecom... I am strongly opposed to the proposed sale of Burlington Telecom to Schurz Communications. This represents a large and significant transfer of Burlington taxpayers' money and resources to private parties with no upside that I can find for the citizen of our city. There is ample evidence that BT is a viable business that will pay back our investments if given time and support from our leaders. Please do not approve the sale to Schurz. Acknowledged
    01/03/2019 Patterson, Susan Davis [PUBCOM]
Concern: Especially now with the Trump FCC, important rights have no protection when telecoms are privately owned by out-of-state companies. Having eliminated net neutrality, they are now working to defund public access. Only local control can effectively preserve these rights. Feel stronger Nguyen that City of Burlington must be paid back the 17 million it loaned Burlington Telecom! Acknowledged
    01/02/2019 Forlie, Kai [PUBCOM]
I have following the BT saga since the beginning & have been a BT customer for even longer. For all of the reasons described by the BT Intervenor Group, I am writing to urge the PUC to deny the sale of BT to Schurz. Burlington taxpayers and BT customers deserve the opportunity to recoup the losses that occurred as a result of mistakes made by the Kiss administration A sale to a private, out of state concern destroys any chance we have of doing so. This vital public asset must remain public! Acknowledged
    01/02/2019 Long, Michael Joseph [PUBCOM]
The city's mismanagement and violation of the public trust, the law, and it's certificate of public good through the secret misappropriation of 17 million dollars is only extended and exacerbated, not in the least remedied by it proposed discounted sale of this public asset to Schultz and its highly questionable giveaway of this same public asset to Bluewater Holdings. Public money should not be squandered with impunity and public assets should not be privatized at will for private interests. Acknowledged
    12/24/2018 Ward, Marianne [PUBCOM]
See attached Acknowledged
    10/22/2018 Porcello, Dave [PUBCOM]
I do not support the sale of Burlington Telecom to Indiana-based Schurz communications. Not only would this be bad for Burlington taxpayers, but also for the future of Vermont as it transfers one of the few remaining locally-controlled ISPs to yet another out-of-state private company that will not care for the interests of Vermont residents. Acknowledged
    10/22/2018 Kearn, Dawn Rose [PUBCOM]
Like almost everyone else on here, I do not support the sale of Burlington Telecom to Indiana-based Schurz communications. We continue to see big corporate entities buying and monopolizing our utilities, it's an abomination and does not benefit Vermont citizens. There are just so many problems with this sale, this very clearly is a "special interests" transaction. Burlington taxpayers should be heard loud & clear as it directly affects citizens' daily financial standing and our local economy. Acknowledged
    10/01/2018 Taylor, Grant [PUBCOM]
Please honor the law and deliver Burlingtonian's a fair deal with Burlington Telecom. That's all I ask. Thanks! Acknowledged
    09/28/2018 Vandette, Joseph [PUBCOM]
The PUC's mission is to "ensure the provision of high-quality public utility services in Vermont at minimum reasonable costs, consistent with the long-term public good of the state." The Schurz deal to purchase and operate Burlington Telecom is NOT in line with your mission. The Keep Burlington Telecom Local scenario offered the ability to recoup all of the public funds that were lost as a result of the city's failed financing scheme. The Schurz deal funnels OUR money elsewhere--a better exists! Acknowledged
    09/28/2018 Ely, jennifer F. [PUBCOM]
For me there are 2 critical questions: 1. What are the odds a 2nd fiber optics network will be buried in Burlington? 2. What are the odds a new and better technology than fiber optics will be developed in the future? If both answers are "highly unlikely" then it would seem to follow that this BT asset is assured a strong financial future. That said, I urge PUC to rule against the sale of BT to a private company. Otherwise residents will have no hope of recouping their $'s spent. Thanx Acknowledged
    09/27/2018 Lang, Kim [PUBCOM]
I live in Burlington and my tax dollars, almost 17 million of them, went to BT without return. I've never been able to access BT from my home. No deal should be made that does not fully reimburse Burlington for the monies spent bailing out BT. Period. Burlington deserves a Better Deal! Acknowledged
    09/27/2018 Bragg, Richard [PUBCOM]
Don't sell our Burlington Telecom to a private out-of-state company and leave taxpayers to pay the $17M! Filed
    09/26/2018 Julien, Alec [PUBCOM]
Watching the city council meetings that led to Schurz being selected as BT's buyer was disheartening for many reasons, not least of which is the $16.9 million that we the taxpayers won't recoup under this deal. I think we should do what should have been done initially and keep BT local. It's not too late to do the right thing. Acknowledged
    09/26/2018 Cropp, Matthew Stephen [PUBCOM]
The failure of the city to make the taxpayers whole concerns me, and I hope the PUC can ensure that this sale is not a boondoggle that enriches narrow private interests at the expense of the people of Burlington. Acknowledged
    09/26/2018 Reading, Wiley [PUBCOM]
I absolutely oppose the sale of Burlington Telecom. This was meant to be a publicly owned utility and selling it to an out of state entity destroys everything we’ve worked so hard to develop. Filed
    09/26/2018 Duggan, Laurence Boyd [PUBCOM]
Yes, taxpayers should be reimbursed for whatever support money they put into Burlington Telecom, if it is sold. And, only a stable user friendly company should be handing this important job for Burlington: a local company is far more likely to be this way. Acknowledged
    09/26/2018 Fryer, Travis [PUBCOM]
As a former Burlington Telecom employee, I am outraged at the undemocratic way the Burlington Telecom case was handled by Burlington’s City Council. To take a valuable city asset and give it away to an out-of-state private company via a last-minute, back-room deal is criminal. This cannot be allowed to proceed. Thank you for taking the time to give this case the necessary time and fair processing Acknowledged
    09/25/2018 Mead, Lincoln [PUBCOM]
I was an early supporter of BT and an early adopter of BT services. I voted to support the original formation of BT in order to have a non-commercial alternative for telecom and internet services and very strongly believe that BT should not be "disposed of" via a sale to a private entity. That is not what Burlington voted for when we voted to create BT. Please take action to keep BT local and keep it publicly owned. Thank you. Acknowledged
    09/25/2018 Elliott, Dan [PUBCOM]
As a citizen of Burlington, I oppose the sale of BT as currently formulated. I believe it shortchanges the taxpayers of Burlington for investments made thus far; will deliver future gains to corporate profits rather than to Burlington; and will result in diminished service to BT's customers, in the form of reductions in quality of product (services), departure from the established mission and beliefs of BT, and in downgraded customer service. Please reject the sale as formulated. Thank you. Acknowledged
    09/25/2018 Andrews, Kit [PUBCOM]
My concern: we taxpayers are supposed to be reimbursed for the $16.9 million lost by BT over the years. Shockingly, during the 11/27/17 City Council meeting when its sale was finalized, not one official asked the winner Schurz, nor any of the other bidders, to explain their plan to repay the $16.9 million. In the attached unofficial transcript which I’ve read word for word, no where will you find any city administrator or city councilor pursuing the loss of the $16.9 million to us taxpayers. Acknowledged
    09/25/2018 diersch, cheryl [PUBCOM]
Handing BT to a private, out-of-state company without returning $16.9 million cannot be approved. We do deserve a better deal. Acknowledged
    09/25/2018 Ryan, Colin [PUBCOM]
I have loved the service BT has provided for over a decade now. I believe they want what's best for Vermonters, and with issues like net neutrality being rolled back I believe we are losing an amazing resource by handing control of this service over to an out-of-state company. BT is one of my favorite things about being an entrepreneur in Burlington, and losing it impacts my reasons for staying here and working here. Thanks for your consideration. Acknowledged
    09/25/2018 Forlie, Kai [PUBCOM]
I am writing to express my continued opposition to the Schurz deal to purchase and operate Burlington Telecom. I was a supporter of the Keep Burlington Telecom Local offer because it offered residents something crucial, the ability to recoup all of the public funds that were lost as a result of the city's failed financing scheme. As it turns out, the law actually requires that city coffers be made whole - which the deal with Schurz fails to do. Thus, the PUC has an obligation to deny this deal. Acknowledged
    09/25/2018 Buckley, Cleary [PUBCOM]
I do not support the sale of Burlington Telecom to Schurz. This is a bad deal for Burlington taxpayers that transfers far to much of our assets to a private company. Please do not approve the sale you. Acknowledged
    09/25/2018 Albert, Daniel [PUBCOM]
Re: 18-0491 It's unavoidable: the law requires that, in any sale of Burlington Telecom, the taxpayers must be made whole. Flagrantly, the proposed Schurz sale fails to do so. The proposed sale would be a blatant and illegal transfer of funds to a private entity -- leaving the taxpayers, including me, holding the bag. Acknowledged
    09/25/2018 Lambert, Roger [PUBCOM]
BT should have been supported by Burlington government to a much higher degree than it was. No efforts were made to ensure the only asset it needed was procured - customers. Municipal broadband is a huge success around the USA because of extremely high customer market share. Not in Burlington. Nor was BT supported during financial difficulties. Name another municipal utility that has been abandoned. BT should stay non profit, and publicly-owned. No more excuses. Acknowledged
    09/25/2018 Summers, Robert [PUBCOM]
As an early citizen-subscriber to Burlington Telecom I feel the total subscribers' investment needs to be repaid if sold to other than the city of Burlington or a cooperative owned by its citizens / members. Towards that end I do not feel the current sale should be approved. Acknowledged
    09/25/2018 Collins, Timothy Michael [PUBCOM]
As a Burlington taxpayer, I am opposed to the sale of Burlington Telecom to Schurz Communications because it does not, as legally required, guarantee the return of $16.9 million to Burlington taxpayers. Acknowledged
    09/25/2018 Macedonia, Alexa [PUBCOM]
Please do the right thing and stop the proposed sale of BT to Schurz. This deal is completely unfair to the taxpayers of Burlington and does not meet the legal requirements necessary to keep us, the taxpayers, whole. Thank you! Filed
    09/25/2018 Smith, Stephen [PUBCOM]
Please reject the Shurz deal to sell Burlington Telecom. As a Burlington taxpayer, I want to be made whole. The internet is a critical infrastructure these days like water and electricity. Let us manage our connection locally! Filed
    09/25/2018 Wanner, James F. [PUBCOM]
I am concerned about the failure to restore the $17 million that Burlington advanced to Burlington Telecom. Please see that this money is repaid. Thank you. Acknowledged
    09/25/2018 Atwood, Kenneth L [PUBCOM]
BT should be locally owned and run. The out of state bidders violated state law. Acknowledged
    09/21/2018 Schramm, Don L [PUBCOM]
Comments are in attached file Acknowledged
    06/25/2018 Nixon Peabody LLP [PUBCOM]
      Fitzgerald, Kevin M. [PUBCOMREP]
See attached file. Filed
    05/14/2018 Robert, Backus H. [PUBCOM]
I am opposed to the current application as it is not in the public interest for Burlington Telecom to be operated under the new ownership. This is a public asset, paid for by the citizens of Burlington, which is being sold to an entity that has no local connections and no investment in the city. They will not operate it in the public interest but rather in the interests of the corporation. This application should be rejected. Acknowledged
    05/10/2018 Mraz, Michelle [PUBCOM]
See attached file. Acknowledged
    05/08/2018 Carter, Keegan [PUBCOM]
See attached (Acknowledged) Filed
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