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Maine Telecommunications Education Access Fund
Advisory Board

Meeting Minutes for January 24, 2002

 

Members Present:             Phil Lindley, Bill Black, Gary Nichols, Greg Scott, Barry Crommett, Gerry Dube

 

Members Absent:            Joanne Steneck, Scott Thibeau, Barry McCrum, Reginald Palmer

 

  1. Approval of Minutes from December 12, 2001, meeting, as amended.  The meeting agenda was not followed due to time constraints and a request by the Portland Public Library Executive Director to make a presentation.

 

  1. Portland Public Library.  Sheldon Kaye, Executive Director, asked to address the Advisory Board regarding problems with the T-1 connection to the MSLN.  The Portland Public Library (PPL) connected to the MSLN 10 months ago, Time Warner having provided the previous connection.  Kaye said problems began almost immediately, especially to the branch libraries that are networked to the main branch.  The Burbank Branch had the most problems.  Service interruptions and slow connections started in May of 2001.  PPL contacted Verizon and UNET for solutions, but, according to Kaye, neither could provide definitive corrections.  The Circuit Riders were contacted numerous times.  Kaye vigorously blamed Verizon for lack of response.  Kaye, however, did not contact the Advisory Board earlier, although board member Gary Nichols was aware of some of the problems.  Barry Crommett, Verizon, agreed to assign one person to solve PPL’s problems and Kaye agreed to keep the Advisory Board Chair informed.

 

  1. Project GOALS.  Program review by Kathy Schulz, whose slide presentation will be posted to the GOALS website (http://www.goalsformaine.org/).  She showed the number of training contacts for teachers and librarians: 2,500 in year one; 4,000 in year two; and 4,000 in year three.

 

  1. Innovative and Technologically Advanced Grant Program.  Linda Lord distributed the ITA grant application, which is due February 26, 2002.

 

  1. Gould Academy.  Harry Dresser asked to discuss the possibility of connecting to the MSLN, but not receiving a direct monetary subsidy.  Gould is concerned with the “strings” attached to the Federal E-Rate application, especially the potential CIPA filtering requirements.  While Gould would pay the full rate for its ATM connection and the blended rate for internet service from UNET, Chapter 285 and §7104-B requires qualified sites to apply for the Federal E-Rate to receive any state discount.  The blended rate for internet service from UNET appears to be a “state discount.”  Dresser will send a letter to the Advisory Board describing Gould’s needs and how it might adhere to the requirements in Chapter 285.  This concern is likely to continue, if CIPA goes into effect, for other MSLN sites.

 

  1. Status of Internet Service.  Gerry Dube, UNET, reported that RFPs have gone out for expanded bandwidth.  He also stated that connections to Internet II have the potential for serving K-20, libraries and research labs.  Gerry said that he is continuing to evaluate filtering products.  Gerry provided a handout describing how UNET would provide email to all students using MSLN, as proposed in the current contract for internet service.  Initial MSLN guidelines and orders prohibited email except to teachers, library staff and homebound students.  The reason was to limit the amount of such services until impact on the MSLN was known.  Schools and libraries were free to provide their own email service over the MSLN.  According to Gerry, providing centralized email to all schools and libraries would not increase costs nor affect the bandwidth needs of the MSLN.  The benefits of centralized email service are more efficient virus scanning and filtering ability.  Gerry will send a letter to the Advisory Board for possible recommendation to the Commission.

 

  1. Status of Connections.  Barry Crommett stated that standard 56 connections have decreased, to 522 (2 applications pending).  T-1 connections are up to 398 (37 shared sites, 4 pending applications).  ATM is unchanged at 54 sites for "reimbursement" (65 including shared).

 

  1. Federal E-Rate Status.  Edna Comstock reported that the new applications were filed last Thursday for: $3,486,000 for T-1s @ 61% discount; $1,062,000 for internet service @ 63% discount; and $406,000 for 56kbps connections @ 63% discount.  This year’s application is through the data entry phase and the 471 number has been issued.  Still no word on when the funds will come through.

 

  1. MLTE.  Greg Scott briefly described the pilot program and provided information on the nine sites chosen (out of 44 applications).  There is still much concern about what the legislature will do.