Burlington Telecom Customers to See Hike in Cable Rates | Off Message

Burlington Telecom Customers to See Hike in Cable Rates


Burlington Telecom customers will pay an additional $10 to $14 per month for cable come February 1.

The price increases reflect the higher costs that BT must pay to carry major national television networks such as CBS, FOX, ABC and NBC, according to BT spokesperson Abbie Tykocki. The changes have nothing to do with BT's sale to Schurz Communications, Tykocki said, though she admitted "it's really poor timing."

BT announced the increases in a December 22 letter to its customers. Five days later, the Burlington City Council approved a sales and management agreement with Schurz, ending a rollercoaster, months-long process wrought with controversy.

Deals with the local broadcast stations are negotiated every three years. Tykocki said that telecom employees had expected the increase since last January.

Broadband rates will not be affected.

Schurz Communications will pay $30.8 million for BT, and will allow the city up to a 33 percent stake in the telecom. The Indiana company also committed to net neutrality and vowed not to increase internet rates for five years.

After the council decision, Mayor Miro Weinberger, city attorney Eileen Blackwood and Schurz representatives worked right up to the December 31 deadline finalizing paperwork for the deal, Tykocki said. It's since been submitted to the state's Public Utility Commission, which must approve the agreement before the sale is complete.

So far, the sale hasn't changed operations at the telecom.

"It's business as usual at BT," Tykocki said. Its future, she noted, is now "all in the hands of the state."