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Advisory Board Meeting Minutes

December 2, 1998

Members Present: Bill Black, Barry Crommet, Phil Lindley, Gary Nichols, Barry McCrum, Joanne Steneck, Ray Poulin

Members Absent: Stephen Gilbert, Reginald Palmer

1. November 4, 1998 meeting minutes approved.

2. Board Membership. Ray Poulin announced that he will be leaving the Department of Education on December 18 to accept a superintendent position beginning January 4, 1999. Ray will remain on the S & L Board representing DOE during the next few months.

3. Report on Commission Deliberations on Expanded Bandwidth. Joanne Steneck reported that the Commission approved the Board's recommendation for expanded bandwidth, with one change. The Commission will allow all schools with "high" or "very high" usage (as defined in the proposal) to obtain a T-1 connection, rather than the 384's and T-1's as proposed. The Commission stated that it would reconsider this decision if the Board identified problems or additional costs associated with this change. All Board members agreed that this change was appropriate as did Gerry Dube.

4. Update on Circuit Rider Contracts. Art Henry reported on the Circuit Rider contracting. The contractors plan to do a mailing in mid-December to all site contacts and technical coordinators about the availability of circuit rider services. The contractors will report to the Board quarterly on their progress. The Board discussed the advisability of requiring a certain percentage of on-site visits. Rather that include a specific percentage, Art Henry will make clear to contractors that emphasis of the program is on on-site visits. It was agreed that this will be monitored through the quarterly reports.

5. Communication to Schools and Libraries about Circuit Rider and Availability of T-1's. Art Henry will draft letters to be sent in mid-December to principals/head librarians for each site, generally describing Circuit Rider and T-1 availability. The letter will reference the separate letter to be sent by Circuit Rider contractors. A different version of the letter will go to the 271 sites that meet the criteria for an upgrade. Art will circulate by e-mail drafts of the letter for Board review.

6. AEV for ATM sites. Ray Poulin raised the issue of whether the Board should propose to the Commission that some additional funding or support be available for high schools or libraries choosing ATM. AEV is likely to be in the range of $114 per month. Sites will also be eligible for E-Rate discounts for ATM (at least 104 sites are eligible for 40-70% and 9 for 80-90% discounts). Ray Poulin asked the Board to consider adding the avoided trunking cost to the AEV payment for ATM subscribers. Ray will bring additional information on this suggestion to the next meeting. He would also like the group to consider on a forward looking basis inclusion of ATM as the "next step beyond T-1's."

7. Site Specific Costs. Under the approved Expanded Bandwidth proposal, sites are responsible for purchasing their own necessary on site equipment (typically a router or CSU/DSU). Gerry Dube would like schools to purchase a standard router product so that the University can support it. He has also spoken to vendors re: bulk purchase discounts with UM fronting the cost for up to 20 at a time provided that schools commit to purchasing them. Gerry will pursue and get exact pricing for next meeting. One vendor said that they would accept trade-ins on the 56k FRADS for up to $300.

8. E-Rate Update. Edna Comstock reported Federal Schools and Libraries Corporation has sent the first wave of commitments for discounts. 18 Maine schools and districts received credits totalling $99,000 with no libraries in this round. This is a typical scenario across the country. 4-6 more waves of funding are expected into January. She also discussed the forms and paperwork that schools need to go through to actually get the money even after it has been awarded. Round 2 funding opened yesterday. DOE has already begun filing. The window is presently open until 2/19/99, although 1/19 is currently the last day to file a 470.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 13 at 1:00 at the Commission's Hearing Room.