Open Access – Burlington, Vermont

Some networks are purely open access, as in UTOPIA, where the network owner provides no services (leaving the provision of services to multiple third parties).  Burlington, Vermont (see our Case Study and Fact Sheet) has taken a different approach.

In its fiber-to-the-home network, Burlington Telecom (a city department), offers the full triple play of television, phone, and fast Internet services.  But it has also committed to making the network available to competitors – at the same wholesale rate it charges itself internally.

This policy has been documented in their application for a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board (see below), as well as in numerous comments from City Hall, the original General Manager of BT (Tim Nulty), as well as the current GM, Christopher Burns.

Nulty had noted that in the long term, he saw the City network in the transport business, preferring to let others provide services over the network. However, in the short term, they need to offer services in order to generate sufficient revenue to pay down the debts incurred in building the network.

This commitment to open access, non-discrimintory behavior is clearly in the long term community interest.

From page 6 of the Petition for a Certificate of Public Good:

Phase III of the BT telecommunications project refers to the new facilities that BT intends to construct in order to offer CATV services, as well as telecommunications and high-speed internet services.  In Phase III, BT will construct a fiber-to-the-premise (“FTTP”) open access network that will pass every residence, business, and institution located within the City by summer 2006.  The system will have the capability to allow BT to offer telephone service, high-speed internet access service, cable television service, and transport services to other service providers on an open access basis.

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