This week John Farrell and Wade Underwood talk with Paul Spencer, President and founder of the Clean Energy Collective (CEC) in Carbondale, CO. The CEC is pioneering the process of delivering clean power-generation through medium-scale (mostly solar) facilities that are collectively owned by participating utility customers. In many ways, their community energy model is the… Continue reading
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In December, 2012, a group of local residents decided to engage in an effort to turn beleaguered Burlington Telecom into a coop. The effort has advanced and the organization, Keep BT Local, continues to gain pledges. To date, the organization has collected pledges in the amount of $108,000 for equity and $156,000 in loan pledges…. Continue reading
Burlington Telecom may be headed for some changes. Due to the mismanagement of the prior Burlington Mayor Administration, the network took on an unsustainable amount of debt and damaged its reputation. Some of the plans to make the network sustainable again involve privatizing it. Unfortunately, as we have seen with public power privatizations, such an… Continue reading
Last year, we reported that ECFiber was in the process of connecting rural Vermont, with a focus on connecting those who had no access to broadband. In addition to large investments from a limited number of investors, local citizens began lending funds to expand the network. In a recent open letter to the Governor, published in… Continue reading
We have covered happenings at Burlington Telecom, both positive and negative, extensively. We are glad to report some interesting new developments of this Vermont municipal network. BT is rolling out faster connections and using its competitive advantage in customer service to offer some computer repair services. Joel Banner Baird at the Burlington Free Press reported: Without… Continue reading
The ninth episode of the Community Broadband Bits podcast features Leslie Nulty, from the East Central Vermont Fiber Optic Network, commonly called ECFiber. ECFiber is using a unique financing arrangement, wherein debt is sold to those in the community as the network slowly expands. They have already raised over $1 million dollars and are providing… Continue reading
The state of Vermont has come up with a good rule for reducing the cost of solar power installations. A national study recently found that local permitting can increase the cost of residential solar by 15-20%, a problem that becomes more pressing as the cost of solar hardware falls. Vermont’s rule shifts the burden of… Continue reading
Prior to June 2007, a Vermont town that wanted to create a community broadband network would have to amend the town charter and get it approved by the Vermont Legislature to gain the necessary authority to do so. Public Act 79 of 2007 changed that, granting broad authority to communities to create their own networks.
The national telecommunications companies like Comcast and Verizon had largely ignored Vermont, like other upper New England states. These companies invested little in the low density communities – preferring to invest where they could maximize profits. Realizing the future required fast broadband networks, the Vermont Legislature and Governor Douglas partnered, forming an overwhelming majority to pass legislature to encourage broadband investment. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
By a wide margin, the Vermont Senate endorsed a bill that would require any proposed big-box store in the state to undergo an economic and community impact analysis. Continue reading