I was away in Chicago for a wedding on Saturday, and when I got back, I had an email in my inbox from Burlington Telecom director Tim Nulty. I wrote an extensive story about Nulty a couple years ago, back when BT was getting off the ground. I was surprised to hear that he's leaving.
I passed this news along to our news editor, but figured I'd also post it on my blog. We haven't spoken with anyone at BT yet, and will post more as the story develops. For now, here's an excerpt from Nulty's letter of resignation:
I am hereby tendering my resignation as General Manager of Burlington Telecom. To ensure a smooth transition, the effective date will be 30 days hence, or November 21, 2007.
The reasons for my decision are three:
a) BT is now a strong, mature institution which is financially, technically and operationally capable of completing its mission with respect to the City of Burlington. It is, as you know, cash-flow positive for operations (a major milestone for high-tech start-ups) with over 2200 subscribers and approximately $2.7 mln in annual revenue. Further, it is adding between 40 – 50 subscribers and over $50,000 of annual revenue each week. By the beginning of 2008 the main network “build-out” will be complete with approximately 93% of Burlington homes passed and plans in motion for the remaining “bits and pieces”. In short, BT is firmly on track to reach its goal of universal service and overall positive cash flow (i.e. “profitability”) by the end of 2008. While no road is entirely smooth in so dynamic a business as BT’s, I see no roadblocks or potholes ahead that the existing professional team cannot handle in stride. Thus, for this final push to the finish line, my contribution is not essential. The existing team is fully capable of completing the final lap successfully without me—provided they are allowed to do the job unimpeded and without interference. Given these facts, I feel I can leave BT with pride in a job well done and a clear conscience that I am leaving an institution fully able to look after itself.
b) The BT project has demonstrated the viability and desirability of publicly owned, universal, open-access fiber-to-the-premise telecommunications networks. Such networks are the “electronic public roads” of the future and proving their feasibility is a major contribution to our society. Having established this important principle, I would like to spend the remainder of my working life building other such networks elsewhere in Vermont where they are needed.
c) I have concluded that Burlington Telecom, as a pure City Department, is not an optimal platform from which to do this. This is not a criticism—merely a statement of fact. City Departments are ill suited to provide complex, entrepreneurial services to other towns many miles away. That is simply not what they are created, structured or empowered to do.
In conclusion, I wish to say how much I have enjoyed working on this project. I certainly never imagined when I “retired” to Vermont in 2001 that such a move would initiate one of the most satisfying and rewarding periods in a long working life which has had many rewarding and satisfying periods!! I am very proud of the network, the institution and the team that we have built and I believe that it will be a major positive factor in the economic and cultural life of Burlington for (at least) the entire century to come.