BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Three companies are now in the running to buy city-owned Burlington Telecom.
City officials announced the three finalists Wednesday morning. They include: Keep BT Local, Ting/Tucows, and Schurz Communications.
Some city councilors are concerned about the sudden withdrawal of a fourth finalist, but Mayor Miro Weinberger, D-Burlington said he is not. "It's not surprising, not shocking, as we move toward the end. It's something we've anticipated could be possible. That's part of the reason multiple bidders were advanced," he said.
Keep BT Local was founded nearly seven years ago by BT customer Alan Matson. The cooperative has been working to raise money to buy BT. Matson has argued that the venture will ensure that taxpayers and subscribers reap the benefits of the locally-owned company. They would offer $12 million, but leave the city a partial interest in the company.
Ting/Tucows is a publicly-traded internet and telecommunications company based in Toronto, Canada. They are offering $27.5 million.
Schurz Communications is a South Bend, Indiana-based newspaper and broadband media group and is offering almost $31 million.
Each company plans to build out fiber to other parts of the city.
The city is required to sell the cable and internet provider as part of a settlement with Citibank and a local investor. During former mayor Bob Kiss's administration, $17 million dollars of taxpayer money was used to prop up the company.
Following a public comment period, a finalist will be announced by October 16th.