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Maine Telecommunications Education Access
Fund Advisory Board
May 10, 2001
Members Present: Phil Lindley, Linda Lord for Gary Nichols, Joanne Steneck, Greg Scott, Barry Crommett, Bill Black, Reginald Palmer, Scott Thibeau, Barry McCrum
1. Approval of Minutes From March 21, 2001 Meeting. The minutes were approved.
2. Update on Task Force of the Maine Learning and Technology Endowment. The bill that describes how the laptop program will operate, LD 1712 has not yet been voted on or reported out of the Education Committee. Senate members want to remove reference in the bill to the endowment, as the funding mechanism for the laptop program is still under discussion in the Appropriations Committee.
3. Federal E-Rate. No news on when Year 4 waves will be announced. The FCC currently is considering changes that will give priority for internal connections to those who have not received grants in the past.
4. 56 Upgrades to T-1. When the consortium Federal E-Rate applications were made for connections, schools and libraries were asked to designate their current connection-type and if they thought an upgrade was possible before July 2002. Art Henry reported that in the last few months, he has found approximately 50 sites eligible for T1-s that did not designate the State as their agent to apply for Federal E-Rate for T1’s. This means that the State E-Rate will have to pay an additional $3000 per site (if they receive the upgraded service from July 2001-June 2002), the amount Federal E-Rate would have paid if they had applied for T-1 support. The Board decided that MTEAF would pay the Federal share. Next year a T-1 will be applied for for all sites, so that if an upgrade occurs, Federal support will be available.
5. Update on Filtering. Linda described the legal basis for the ACLU/American Library Association suit challenging the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). She noted the suit was only made on behalf of libraries. The FCC’s new rules require E-Rate recipients to file a Form 479 by October 28, 2001 certifying that they have a “technology protection measure” and an Acceptable Use Policy in place or that they are undertaking actions (beginning July 1, 2001) to comply with these CIPA requirements. Part of the argument in opposition to CIPA is that the statute requires schools and libraries to do the impossible; no software exists that would meet the CIPA requirements. There are ongoing discussions with the FCC about staying the requirement for Year 4 until legal challenges can be resolved. A stay from the court will be sought if there isn’t relief from the FCC. The status of the suit and the impact of the CIPA requirements on MTEAF will be discussed at the next meeting.
6. Verizon Transition Process. Art Henry passed out a list of activities he is undertaking. He will be sending a letter to all libraries in early June explaining that the $12 line program is ending; that libraries will be billed the regular business line rate going forward, with Federal E-Rate credit if they applied for it and it is approved. Included with the letter they will receive a one-time check for $100 toward their bill this year. A letter will be going to all sites prior to July 1 explaining the MTEAF. Edna distributed a draft that will be finalized at (or before) the next meeting.
7. “Innovative and Technologically Advanced”. It was agreed that this would be the first item on the agenda at the next meeting. There was general agreement to go back to the plan discussed in the Fall of establishing a grant program that would allow schools and libraries to make proposals. Linda Lord will distribute the grant criteria drafted by the subcommittee as a starting point for discussion.
8. Expansion of Board Membership. There was discussion about possibly expanding membership to include a representative from the University of Maine and whether a representative of wireless industry was appropriate as required by Commission rule, as no member of the wireless industry has shown an interest in joining the Board. This will be discussed at the next meeting.
The next meeting will be on June 27 at 10:00 a.m. at the Commission.