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Maine Telecommunications Education Access Fund
Advisory Board

Meeting Minutes for March 2, 2005

 

Members Present:             Phil Lindley, Joanne Steneck, Linda Lord for Gary Nichols, Steve Vose for Greg Scott, Greg Desjardin, Jeff Letourneau for Gerry Dube, Bill Black, Reginald Palmer

 

Members Absent:            Scott Thibeau, Lance Bell

 

1)     The Minutes from January 19, 2005, meeting were approved.

 

2)     Status of Connections.  Greg Desjardin provided an updated count of sites: 294 installed standard 56 kbps connections, 517 installed T-1 connections, and 91 installed ATM circuits that serve 141 sites, plus 5 DSL pilot sites.  Greg said that an accurate bill for the first six months should be to Linda in a week.  The Board discussed the desire for one “master list” of sites that could be accessed, possibly online, by anyone needing current connection information.  The list should include sites connected to Verizon and UNET as well as Erate status.

DSL Transport Service.  Greg is working on a master bill number to contain all the DSL sites.  The bill should include the DSL service, connection fees, 1FB charges, and possibly the ATM/PVC charge.  Greg said that DSL installations take about a month, which includes installing the 1FB line.  In addition, Jeff said that Doretta has 23 sites eligible and waiting for the DSL upgrade.  The Board discussed the need for some criteria for DSL “speed” upgrades.  The question of what speed (below 7.1 or 7.1 Mbps) should be installed, depending on availability.  The highest speed below 7.1 Mbps should generally be used.  Whether a site needs the 7.1 speed is yet to be determined.  Kennebunk HS was a good example of a site that needs the higher speed, since two T-1s could be removed.

 

3)     Status of Internet Service.  Jeff Letourneau said that the UNET system continues to operate normally and is stable.  There was one service provider outage (Quest), but the service was rerouted to Global Crossing.  Jeff said that the UNET computer center was being renovated and that the help desk would be remodeled and enlarged.

 

4)     Mid-Range Bandwidth RFP.  Linda Lord said that no contract would be awarded at this time.

 

5)     Federal E-Rate Issues.  Edna Comstock said that the 2005 application was completed two days early and that the FCC still needs FRNs for all sites.  About 2/3 have the number.  The 2004 application is through the first reviewer and that the “alternative” sites were questioned.  The review should possibly be completed by the end of March (this year!).  For the 2003 year, Jeff said that UNET was notified that its application was under review.  The 486 was filed for the 2002 application after the commitment letter.  The 2002 total is $2.9M.  Finally, Linda said that Sylvia Norton at DOE would take over the Erate application process when Edna leaves.

 

6)     Legislation.  The board discussed some of the pending legislation.  The Sen. Rosen bill to raise the assessment amount has not yet been printed.  We still do not know much about LD 637 that provides MSLN access for rural health centers.  LD 544 provides $450K to the Maine State Library for on-line reference materials.  LD 198 provides $1.5M for the Fogler Library digital library.

 

7)     Annual Recommendation To The Commission.  Joanne said that we need to know more about pending legislation before we can make a complete recommendation.  The Board discussed the issue of sites coming on to the MSLN after the relevant Erate application has been filed.  The MTEAF has to pay the full amount until the site is included in the consortium application.  The recommendation should include the highest DSL service (7.1Mbps) since the mid-range RFP was not successful.  Also, the Board discussed sites that fail to provide all the necessary information for the Erate application and what action should be taken – require the site to pay the lost Erate amount, disconnect from MSLN, etc. 

8)     Other.

 

a)     Next MSLN Advisory Board Meeting – Tuesday, April 26, 2005, at 9:30 AM, in PUC Conference Room C.