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Maine Telecommunications Education Access Fund
Advisory Board

Meeting Minutes for August 18, 2005

 

Members Present:    Phil Lindley, Joanne Steneck, Gary Nichols, Greg Scott, Greg Desjardin, Jeff Letourneau, Reginald Palmer, Bill Black

 

Members Absent:     Scott Thibeau, Lance Bell

 

1)     The Minutes from June 9, 2005, meeting were approved.

 

2)     Status of Connections.  Greg Desjardin provided an updated count of sites: 220 installed standard 56 kbps connections, 487 installed T-1 connections, and 91 installed ATM circuits that serve 141 sites.  Greg said that there are 38 DSL sites connected with 2 in progress and that a few of the installations have cost more than $120, which the Board felt was reasonable.  Bill corrections are proceeding.

 

3)     Status of Internet Service.  Jeff Letourneau said that the UNET network was working well.  He said he is substituting for Gerry Dube and would discuss UNET’s Board membership/attendance with the new CIO of UMO.

 

4)     Federal E-Rate Issues.  Sylvia Norton provided a summary of the proposed changes to the FY 2006 eligible services list from the FCC.  Also, we were notified that the 2002 Erate reimbursement was sent to Verizon ($1.58M), who will then send it to the MSL for deposit with the fund administrator.

 

5)     E-Rate Issues.  Joanne Steneck said that Linda Schatz is working on the 2005 application.  Joanne suggested that the Board should consider several policy changes in the operation of the MSLN.  Many of the Erate problems have been caused by the way we operate the MSLN.  The Board discussed and approved a series of recommended changes to the program as follows:

 

1.         Insure only eligible sites are on application.

 

a.                  Sites must submit LOA and certifications by Fall deadline (to be established) for services starting July 1st.  Failure to submit will result in disconnection on July 1, 2006.

 

b.                  Alternative education sites must be certified by the sending authority.

 

c.                  A separate LOA/certification form must be signed for each school by the superintendent for that school.  The Library Director or other person with governance authority pursuant to the library's by-law must sign for each library.

 

2.         Make sure sites apply for the services they will receive from July 1, 2006 through June 30, 2007.

 

a.         Sites must designate service they are applying for as part of LOA/Certification.  Service changes and additions will only occur for affect July 1.  No charges allowed from what is on E-Rate Application until next E-Rate cycle.  If eligible for Federal E-rate, a school or library must be on the E-rate application to receive services from MSLN.  Only exception are those libraries choosing not to filter do not have to be on application for internet service (if they otherwise comply with state rules for reimbursement).

 

b.         Establish a plan for shifting all current 56 kbps connections to T-1 or DSL, with service beginning on July 1, 2006.  No changes of service will be activated between September 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006 in order to stabilize the 2005 application.  Decide how to handle the router situation for 56's.  [A subcommittee (Phil, Greg Desjardin, Deb Alford, and Jeff Letourneau) will discuss how to make this happen.]

 

3.         Make sure school and library administrators understand, and abide, by MSLN/E-Rate requirements.

 

a.         Education campaign will be planned and executed by DOE and State Library regarding technology plan requirements.

 

b.         Annual participation package will be sent to every school superintendent and every library and private school currently participating in MSLN.  Will explain need for LOA and certifications, Form 479 and new requirement that no changes for the time period July 1, 2006 - June 30, 2007 after application deadline.  Should also explain that they are responsible for notifying MSLN about any closed site or name change must identify any anticipated new sites for inclusion in E-Rate application.  If not on E-Rate application new sites must wait until next E-Rate cycle to participate in MSLN.

 

[The PUC subsequently approved these recommendations in an Order issued August 30, 2005]

 

6)     Other

a)     Next MSLN Advisory Board Meeting – September 15, 2005, at 9:30am.