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Maine Telecommunications Education Access Fund
Meeting Minutes for April 26, 2005
Members Present: Phil Lindley, Joanne Steneck, Gary Nichols, Steve Vose for Greg Scott, Deb Alford for Greg Desjardin, Gerry Dube, Bill Black, Scott Thibeau, Reginald Palmer
Members Absent: Lance Bell
1) The Minutes from March 2, 2005, meeting were approved.
2) Status of Connections. Deb Alford provided an updated count of sites: 304 installed standard 56 kbps connections (18 of which are “questionable”), 519 installed T-1 connections, and 91 installed ATM circuits that serve 141 sites. Deb said that there are 9 DSL sites connected with 2 more ready, 10 on order and 11 to be ordered in the near future. There are also three possible additional ATM sites. The Verizon bill is about complete. Linda Lord commented that Doretta York at UNET has been very helpful in matching numbers and sites, to provide an accurate list for the bills. There was discussion regarding sites that may be a problem for E-Rate such as for alternative education. There was also discussion about routers and the need for changes for DSL and T-1 sites with the potential for exchanges. The FRADs should eventually all be replaced. The savings from installing DSL service could free up funds for router replacement. Verizon still has a number of routers for FRAD replacement.
3) Status of Internet Service. Gerry Dube said that UNET had received 2003 E-Rate funds, $938K, as expected. Gerry said that he was working with Doretta and Linda to provide an accurate list of sites. The system is operating at about 2/3 capacity (Internet 2 at 1/3) and that by fall capacity will be doubled. The DSL ordering and installation process seems to be working well and that 20 to 30 per month could be ordered. Gerry said that they would analyze the T-1 sites for DSL qualification, but that possibly 150 T-1s could qualify for 3Mb DSL service. This would be a substantial saving to the MTEAF with a significant increase in bandwidth for the site.
4) Federal E-Rate Issues. Edna Comstock said that this was her last official MSLN meeting, which is why we had pastries and coffee. She said that she did not yet have a funding letter for 2004 and that the 2002 commitment letters and 472s should be received by the end of June. Edna said that the Circuit Riders had been very helpful in assisting sites with the FCC numbering. Linda Lord said that the sole source contract method had been approved for hiring the consultant (Linda Schatz). The consultant will examine all processes and paperwork, handle all applications and contact with SLD, but that MSL personnel will handle in-state processes and notifications to sites.
5) Legislation. The bill to raise the assessment amount was approved by the U&E Committee at .7% with an emergency preamble. LD 637 that provides MSLN access for rural health centers was tabled to next year, as was LD 544 which provides $450K to the Maine State Library for on-line reference materials. No action has been taken on LD 198 (provides $1.5M for the Fogler Library digital library).
Annual Recommendation To The Commission. The Board approved a number of
recommendations to the Commission:
raising the assessment to .7%, assuming LD 1259 passes; increasing the
Circuit Rider funding 3%, as requested; funding Fogler subscriptions at $500K
per year, again, assuming LD 1259 passes; funding MLTE (laptops) with overdue
E-Rate funds; funding ATM connections; and hiring the consultant. The Board also agreed to continue support
for libraries that do not filter, with the sites continuing to pay $25 per
a) The Board approved conducting a workshop this summer to discuss future directions and needs for the MSLN. We need to contemplate newer goals because of changing technologies and uses of the internet (i.e., the 56K connections need to be replaced as that bandwidth may discourage usage).
b) Next MSLN Advisory Board Meeting – Thursday, June 9, 2005, at 9:30 AM, in PUC Conference Room C.