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 Maine Telecommunications Education Access Fund
Advisory Board

Meeting Minutes for April 17, 2003

 

Members Present:             Phil Lindley, Joanne Steneck, Bill Black, Gary Nichols, Kim Quinn for Greg Scott, Barry Crommett, Jeff Letourneau for Gerry Dube, Scott Thibeau

 

Members Absent:            Reginald Palmer, Melinda Poore

 

  1. Approval of Minutes from March 6, 2003, meeting.

 

  1. Status of Connections.  Barry Crommett reported that there are 411 installed standard 56 kbps connections, 451 installed T-1 connections, and 83 installed ATM circuits that serve 140 sites (1002 total sites).  Two more ATM connections are to be installed (Vinalhaven and Winthrop), totaling 85.  Verizon increased its billed rate for ATM to $2,085 per month to cover the MTEAF surcharge.
     
  2. Status of Internet Service and Filtering.  Jeff Letourneau said that there have been few complaints lately.  South Portland School District is on MSLN using its ATM connection – internal software problems have been solved.  The new links to the Internet are at about 50% utilization.  Content filtering is running well and a new version of the software should allow “real-time” changes in blocking modifications instead of waiting until after 4PM.

 

  1. Federal E-Rate Status.  Edna Comstock said that we were successful with the earlier appeal of Year 4 (01-02) (rural/urban classifications) which should result in an additional $26K.  There is no change in the status of the Year 2002 appeal; probably will not be addressed until after the FCC E-Rate rulemaking order is issued.  The first waves for funding year 2003 should be out by the end of April.  She still has an issue with lack of LOAs from some sites.

 

  1. ITA Grants.  Madison (SAD 59) and Guilford (SAD 4) provided summaries of their ITA grant projects.  Madison described its WAN and portable computer lab (25 laptops).  Schools, the library, health center, and town office are networked together.  TDS (telephone company) designed the network; Madison Electric and KVTC installed wires and equipment.  The grant paid for wiring, routers, training (Cyber Seniors) and a cart for portable lab.  Guilford’s grant helped provide 300 laptops, and wireless access hubs, for the high school which means that they have 1:1 computer access for grades 6-12.  Two public libraries also have wireless access hubs and laptops.  The State Library has not installed is grant project yet.

 

  1. Discussion of Annual Recommendations.
    A.  Services to be funded:  56kbps, T-1, ATM (plus shared), Internet access, routers to replace FRADs, and content filtering.

    B.  Funding/assessment to remain at .5%.

    C.  Innovative and Technologically Advanced (ITA).  ATM funding should continue to be considered ITA and the funding support for MLTI could also meet the statutory requirement.  Any consideration of ITA grants should be deferred until September 2003, pending the FCC appeal of the Year 2002 E-Rate application.

    D.  The Circuit Riders should continue to be funded, at a slight increase.

    E.  Program Changes.  Schools with the AEV of the MSLN connection (T-1 or 56kbps) that request higher bandwidth may be partially funded from the MTEAF based on individual requests and E-Rate application. 
     
  2. Other