About a week before I left for Dublin I had the great pleasure of meeting Christopher Mitchell from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. He mentioned his work in Burlington, Vermont and so I was pleased when he sent me his case study on Burlington today .
It’s a nice example of a US city that has gone with an open network plan. The report includes a timeline, that I think is hopeful for any community currently looking at broadband. Burlington did not necessarily have smooth sailing through their journey, which started in 1997 when the Burlington citizens voted for a municipal fiber network.
It seems as if the project took a turn for the positive when they hired Tim Nulty, a retired telecommunications entrepreneur, who helped with a multiphased, modular plan entitled “Build the Barn You Can Afford.” I love that name!
The project isn’t yet complete but by mid 2008, all of the residents will be able to connect to a citywide fiber-optic network run by Burlington Telecom, a new city department. For the future, BT projects an overall positive revenue flow by 2009 and the City expects that the net income from the network will provide 20 percent of its general fund after the debt is retired.
You can read the whole study online: Burlington Telecom Case Study