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Maine Telecommunications Education Access

Fund Advisory Board

Meeting Minutes (as amended at 1/24/02 Board Meeting)

December 12, 2001

 

Members Present:             Phil Lindley, Joanne Steneck, Gary Nichols, Greg Scott, Barry Crommett, Gerry Dube, Reginald Palmer

 

Members Absent:             Bill Black, Scott Thibeau, Barry McCrum

 

1.            Approval of October 24, 2001, meeting minutes.

 

2.         Status of Connections.  Art Henry stated that standard 56 connections continue to decrease, to 527 (1 application is pending).  T-1 connections are up to 395 (37 shared sites, 7 pending applications).  There are 54 ATM sites for "reimbursement" (65 including shared). 

 

Art is also developing standards for bandwidth increases above a single T-1, with Gerry Dube's assistance.  There will be a clear difference between single sites with one T-1 and multiple sites sharing a T-1.  The latter should be simple to justify for the individual sites.  This issue will come up when the MLTE laptops are distributed to 7th and 8th grade students, schools will likely need more bandwidth to support the large increase of computers on the network.

 

3.            Federal E-Rate.  Before Edna Comstock reported on the status of E-rate funding, she discussed a letter to the Board from Gould Academy.  Gould is requesting membership in the consortium and MSLN support for Internet costs and connnectivity.  While Gould is an MSLN eligible school, it chooses not to apply for Federal E-Rate support.  The statute and Chapter 285 of the PUC rules require that a qualified institution "shall apply for any federal discounts available..." (35-A MRSA §7104-B).  Chapter 285 says, "Any qualified school or qualified library that seeks a state discount for a service that is eligible for a Federal E-Rate discount, must have applied for Federal E-Rate ..." (Section 4(B)).  The Advisory Board Chair will contact Gould Academy.

 

Edna reported that she has had no communications regarding last year's applications for this years funding.  She discussed the delay with Sen. Snowe's Office, but has not heard of any progress.  Waves continue to be issued.  Edna is currently processing this year's applications, the deadline for 471s is 1/17/02.

 

4.            Filtering.  Edna reported that the Supreme Court trial on CIPA has been moved to March 2002.  Gerry Dube is evaluating filtering products, concentrating on those that operate at the core of the network or "enterprise filtering."  He has found one product that fits the requirements.  It allows local management and is used in two other states.  The cost would depend on the number of computers -- currently there are over 50,000 computers on the MSLN (an astounding number) with up to 75,000 after the laptop program is implemented -- from $2.25 to $3.00 per machine per year ($112,500 to $225,000 per year).  The prices also assume a single billing agency.  The MSLN Board will have to decide how to implement filtering and who will be the billing/billed agency.

 

5.         MLTE.  Joanne Steneck reported that Apple will be providing "IBooks" for the "laptop" program, subject to final negotiations.  She said that there are about 30,000 students in 241 schools eligible for the devices.  Apple will also provide email access to all of the students.  The impact on the MSLN by MLTE for bandwidth and possible dial-up access is not yet known.  Reggie Palmer expressed concern regarding the dial-up access and its impact on competitive private ISPs.

 

6.            Innovative and Technologically Advanced Grant Program.  Linda Lord reported that 37 pre-proposals were received and that 7 of those would be invited to apply for a grant.  She provided a draft application to the board.  Linda will not evaluate the final proposals because the Maine State Library is one of the invitees. Linda stated that her ratings on the pre-proposal submissions were not a factor in the scoring of those applications, nor were they counted.  She will, however continue her oversight and management of the grant program.

 

7.         UNET.  Gerry Dube reported that Maine participated in a demonstration of a "video conference" between the Baxter School for the Deaf and the Rhode Island School for the Deaf, using MPEG2, ATM, Internet2, etc.  The topic of discussing between the two schools was the 9/11 events.  Gerry said it worked quite well and with high quality.

 

8.         Finally.  Barry Crommett stated that Elaine and Art were leaving the MSLN project at the end of the year.  Internal Verizon personnel would manage the Verizon piece of the project.  The Board gave both a big round of applause (instead of a group hug).

 

            The next meeting will be on January 24, 2002 at 1:30 p.m. in the Commission’s Conference Room C.