This just out of Burlington City Hall: The City of Burlington’s municipal telecom company, Burlington Telecom (BT), has reached a contractual agreement to continue carrying the Al Jazeera English (AJE) channel.
AJE is an English-language international news channel based in Doha, Qatar. It has been carried on Burlington Telecom since January of 2007, and is currently offered as a channel in its second-level tier of channels. It is not available in BT’s basic tier of channels. Whether Burlington Telecom should continue to carry AJE was a recent subject of consideration by the Burlington Telecom Advisory Committee and Cable Advisory Committee. On June 24, 2008, both committees jointly and unanimously recommended that Burlington Telecom keep the channel. This recommendation was advisory and was forwarded to Burlington Telecom, Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss, and the Burlington City Council. Burlington Telecom negotiates all channel contracts on behalf of the City and authority to execute such contracts rests with the City’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Consistent with the practice regarding all BT carriage agreements, terms of the contract with AJE were not disclosed. The contract with AJE was signed by CAO Leopold today.
What effect today's announcement will have on the recent effort to bring the issue to voters is unclear. A recently formed group called the Defenders Council of Vermont is collecting signatures to put the matter to a public vote in the November general election.