In defense of Burlington Telecom

Recently on my Front Porch Forum list some people have been complaining about Burlington Telecom’s recent rate increases.  I do agree that double-digit increases are pretty questionable, and I’m not so happy about them, either, but I will be sticking with Burlington Telecom, for several reasons.

First of all, Comcast’s customer service is terrible by comparison.  I’ve always gotten really good help from Burlington Telecom, and even if they can’t do everything, they are always super willing to take the time to talk about whatever the problem is.  With Comcast, I always got the impression that they were just trying to get rid of me so they could move on to the next caller in their queue, almost as if they got paid by the number of people they could push through.

Comcast pretty much define the term “evil empire” in the telecom world.  I’m not one of those who thinks that all large corporations are by definition evil.  Vermont needs IBM and GE, for one thing, and I use my Burlington Telecom services with products from Sony, Microsoft, Dell, Apple, Cisco and many other huge corporations happily.  But Comcast has shown an aggressive disdain for one of the foundations of the Internet, something called net neutrality, something that I think is fundamental to how the Internet should work.  Because they own such a large percentage of the network infrastructure of the nation, they think they can control how people use the Internet.  And that’s not right.

Those reasons alone are good enough for me to stay with Burlington Telecom, but the best reason, in my opinion, is that the services Comcast offers are vastly inferior to Burlington Telecom’s.  I am not a user of the telephone service, so I will leave that out of this discussion for now.  But the television and internet services are better, mainly because they have a much higher bandwidth network than Comcast does.

The main advantage with the TV is picture quality.  Because Comcast services so many people over a network of copper wires, they have to “compress” the HD signal they send to you.  This will usually show up as visible blockiness in the picture.  Because Burlington Telecom has a MUCH higher capacity network, they don’t have to compress the TV signal at all, so it looks better.

Here’s a forum posting that has some screenshots as an example (as well as a looooong technical argument about the original poster’s results, if you are into that kind of thing).  There’s also a question about it on the BTV FAQ page.

The huge capacity of the Burlington Telecom network also means better Internet service.  Comcast is pretty cagey about what speeds they offer.  Their marketing frequently says “speeds up to” xxx Mbps, and yes, those speeds are faster than most Burlington Telecom plans.  But the fine print says that they are only good for the first 5 or 10 MB of a file, which may or may not be enough for you.  And their main disadvantage is that they offer “asynchronous” service, where the download speed is fast and the upload speed is slow.  For surfing the web that isn’t such a big deal because the only uploading you do is making requests to the web server for pages, and they are small.  But if you send large emails, or you work from home sometimes and need to upload large files, it makes a big difference.  And I personally find that the network is just more snappy than it ever was with Comcast (I’m on Burlington Telecom’s 5M/5M service level).

So all in all, with Comcast, you basically pay about the same, but you get much less.

5 Responses to “In defense of Burlington Telecom”

  1. Rich says:

    I have BT for phone and internet service. The internet service is far superior to Comcast, especially in the upload speed, but even in download. I’m on the same one you are, and even though I had a bigger account with Comcast, it was slower.

    The phone service is both cheaper and better than any of the others (and I’ve had them all).

    Besides, as a city owned utility, I’m still living under the blue-eyed assumption that the profit ends up going to your family and mine in Burlington 😉

  2. Scared of Retribution says:

    All good points. BT has a superior network and the local ownership is preferable. And the alternatives stink.

    However, BT is now being run into dangerous waters by current management. Nearly all good employees have left — morale is in the crapper. The Mayor’s Dick Chaney runs BT as his part-time hobby — no vision, no leadership, missing all sorts of opportunities.

    We’ve built a state-of-the-art network — admired across the country — envied by towns far and wide — and it’s headed for the rocks under these guys — it’s gonna get ugly I’m afraid. The new City Council had better wake up and grab the wheel before she breaks up.

    Why don’t folks know about this? Because all BT business dealings are considered state secrets and none of it is shared outside of the inner cabal — so much for local public ownership.

    P.S. I’m not signing my name because I’d either get fired or publicly humiliated in some creative way, just like Dick has done to so many.

  3. jbgoode says:

    Well, that sucks. What can a tech-savvy blogger do to save BT from a watery doom, then?

    At the very least, it seems worth investigating how much information about BT’s business dealings are open to the public.

    I will try to find out and report back…

  4. Mike O says:

    This is 1000% correct
    I live in the town of Dorset VT
    Over 3 years ago Dorset looked at ways for BT to deliver service to DOrset. We were almost done when Tim Nulty left BT and BT then decided to drop a bombshell, They would not roll out to other towns.
    I was bummed.
    I wish I had great broadband like BTs and the customer service they give sounds great!!!
    Well, Rutland will soon be doing the same thing and wants to invite Dorset to the table. I cant wait for it to happen!!!!!!
    Fiber to the home is the only way to go

  5. mofo55 says:

    i wld be absolutly EXSTATIC if some ‘tard spent $50million to bring me fiber-optic internet access. how can eye get de gubermnt here in colchester to do dat???? i dont thimk dey got NOBODY to take de monie from dude! y dat b????

Leave a Reply