Nulty firm loses Minnesota broadband project

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Burlington Telecom concerns spurred county board to review contract issues

By John Briggs, Free Press Staff Writer

Burlington Telecom’s financial woes played a role in the decision this week by the Lake County, Minn., Board of Commissioners to end negotiations with a broadband company run by Burlington Telecom’s former chief executive officer.

National Public Broadband, whose CEO is Tim Nulty, had been in line to build a $70 million federally-funded communications network in rural Minnesota.

Lake County Board Chairman Rick Goutermont said that information received late last year from Burlington Free Press reports about the multiple problems facing Burlington Telecom caused the Lake County Board to “slow down the track we were on and tighten up some things.”

He said the board couldn’t reach an agreement with National Public Broadband on the amount and timing of compensation that he said would total “several hundred thousand dollars” after three years. Nulty’s nonprofit company wanted the money earlier, he said, while the board wanted to delay the payment until it saw the network was functioning well and had sufficient revenues.

He said that the board finally voted Tuesday against signing the six-year contract as a matter of “dollars and cents.”

“Even as late as late as last September, I was under the opinion that the Burlington venture was successful, as verbalized to me by Dr. Nulty,” board member Tom Clifford said. “I suspect it’s maybe kind to say some of his statement might have been embellished a bit. And then when we found that BT is not financially successful as yet and maybe never, then it was rather disappointing news to me.”

Article Continued on Burlington Free Press

About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry’s first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

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