Burlington Telecom (BT), the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) ISP in Burlington, Vermont, has been celebrating two pieces of recent good news. The ISP received praise from customers in a BT survey, and became the first fiber provider in its region to be “fiber certified.”
BT has had some bumps in the road as it transitions from a municipally run ISP to a private sector one. The change didn’t stop the telecom, however, from continuing to receive good feedback from the annual customer survey. Overall, 90 percent of BT customers said they were at least “satisfied” with their service, and 70 percent of those said they were “very satisfied.” BT also saw a 5 percentage point increase in customer satisfaction with the quality of customer service, to 77 percent.
The accolades don’t stop there. Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) awards All-Fiber Certifications to those networks providing at least 90 percent fiber optic connectivity to subscribing residences. BT boasts 100 percent fiber, making it the first ISP in New England to receive the FBA certification. The All-Fiber certification not only recognizes majority-fiber networks, but also high level strategy in deployment of that fiber, and a commitment of the networks to bring the highest quality connectivity to its customers.
The Future of the Promising Network
Burlington Telecom began as a municipally-run network. However, due to mismanagement of funds on the part of the city, BT had to reach a deal with investors to settle a debt issue, contingent upon the city selling the telecom to a private entity. Back when the financial mismanagement came to light and the future of the municipal telecom first got on shaky ground, Community Networks wrote a case study of the rise and fall of Burlington Telecom.
Burlington residents, wishing to keep ownership of the company in the city, moved to establish a co-op. A number of buyers were considered, including the co-op, but ultimately in a late-night city council meeting at the end of last year, Burlington community leaders chose Indiana-based Schurz Communications, and the equity firm ZRF to handle the deal. Change in ownership is all but final, pending approval by the state of Vermont’s public utilities commission (PUC). Though the case is still marked as “open” by the PUC, many see the December 2017 city council vote as the last step for privatization of Burlington Telecom.
With such high survey results, the new owners and operators of BT have a high standard to live up to. Burlingtonians, used to receiving top-notch service from an accountable local network, will surely demand the same from the new owners.