Broadband Working Group 8/12/16

Meeting Minutes
Town of Cranberry Isles Broadband Working Group Minutes

Attendance 13:
Tom Powell, BBWG
Katelyn Damon, BBWG
Skip Stevens, BBWG
Malcolm Fernald, Selectmen
David Thomas
Cindy Thomas
Alden Hathaway, Jr.
Cheryl Sholl
Lindsay Eysnogle
Eleanor Bright
Katie Fernald
Briana Warner, Island Institute; on phone
Dick Broom, Mount Desert Islander; on phone

  1. Call to Order: Tom Powell called the meeting to order at 1636.
  2. Review Minutes from 7/28/16:
  3. Skip stevens moves to approve the meeting minutes from 7/28/16 as written. Thomas Powell seconds the motion. Vote: Yes, Unanimous. Motion Passes.

  4. Old Business:
  5. a. Redzone Update
    A bit of background information is given to those present at meeting who are not aware of the internet situation on Islesford.
    Background on the letter from Jim Parrish to the town, broadband working group’s recommendation from 7/28/16 meeting to work with Mr. Parrish on an agreement to maintain status quo.
    BOS decided at August meeting to not give Mr. Parrish any funds.
    Malcolm Fernald spoke with Mr. Parrish as a community member. Mr. Parrish agreed to take $1,000 until March 2017 when he has requested $2,700. The voters would need to vote on that sum.
    Malcolm spoke with Jim McKenna of Redzone and Mr. McKenna agreed to pay Mr. Parrish $500. The community would then need to raise $500 to give to Mr. Parrish. Malcolm was heading up the fundraising.
    There is discussion from folks present about not wanting to contribute more funds for an inadequate service, when community members can just go the library.
    Lindsay Eysnogle state that internet is a necessity for her so that she can continue to work from home. Katelyn Damon agrees with Lindsay on this. Katelyn does not have the option to go to the library to work on a regular basis.
    Mr. McKenna has stated that Redzone will discontinue operations in the Town of Cranberry Isles if Mr. Parrish’s tower is not available for use.
    Tom Powell makes a motion to amend the order of the agenda to take up New Business and discuss the RFP process. Skip Stevens seconds the motion. Vote: Yes, Unanimous. Motion Passes.

  6. New Business:
  7. a. RFP Development for Broadband Service.
    Tom Powell has been talking with vendors and the Island Institute on the development of an RFP.
    Tom wants the BBWG to work with Tilson on the RFP. Tilson worked with the town to create a broadband feasibility study in 2015.
    View the study here:
    There is discussion on the legality of an all encompassing RFP- to include an immediate stop gap fix for internet on Islesford, as well as including long term goals for Great Cranberry, Islesford and Sutton. Or is it necessary to have a three RFP’s; one for the technical aspects of work, one for LCI in the short term and one for TCI in the long term.
    There is discussion of getting Emera and Fairpoint to work together in replacing the power cable between Islesford and Cranberry, to help split up the costs of the project- while upgrading broadband capabilities as well as ensuring a reliable power source for Islesford.
    There is precedent for this according to Bri Warner from the Island Institute. GWI and CMP worked together on Islesboro.
    The RFP will specify speeds to be met for upload and download, and that the chosen provider would need to meet these standards- which would ultimately be in line with the FCC and ConnectMe definitions of broadband.
    There is discussion on payment for the work.
    Islesboro treated internet as necessary infrastructure and the town covered the costs to upgrade equipment.
    Costs could be broken up and paid for by the users with differing rates to summer and year round residents?
    Islesboro did this by requiring internet users to pay for service year round whether they lived on island year round or not. There was also a tax increase- but only to those whose homes were valued at $600,000 or more.
    Tom has contacted Tilson for help on the RFP. It may be necessary to start with an RFI (Request for Information) - but time constraints could make this difficult.

  8. Old Business
  9. a. Fairpoint Update
    French Scott from Fairpoint has been excellent to deal with.
    Fairpoint has acknowledged that their procedure for dealing with municipalities in Maine has been flawed. They are ready to work with municipalities. Excellent example is on Long Island.
    b. CoWorking Update: None

  10. New Business:
  11. a. Pioneer Wireless-
    Some discussion on Pioneer Wireless. Contact is Dow Flewelling.
    b. Axiom Wireless-
    Some discussion on Axiom Wireless. Contact is Mark Ouellette.
    Maine based broadband company out of Machias.
    They have done work on Swan’s Island, and Chebeague.
    75% of Chebeague has switched internet provider from Fairpoint to Axiom.

  12. Other Business:
  13. 1. Cindy Thomas would like information on whether or not it would be helpful to contact our Senators about this issue.
    Is there federal funding?
    Tom Powell states that Senators were present at the last Maine Island Coalition meeting and that they are aware that Redzone is not pulling their share.
    b. Exede Satellite Internet-
    High cost, low data. Not a service for a family that streams video, music or has a number of devices to run. Good for checking email.
    c. Discussion on: Microwave connection across the gut to help facilitate internet on Islesford. Old fiber switches on Cranberry, creating a “choke point” and slowing down service. Fiber on Cranberry does not run to the gut. It stops at Bob Murch’s. T1 line at Library; line loss= slower internet. Discussion other possible solutions: rent space on tower at the high school and use a microwave shot to get internet to the islands.

  14. Action Items:
  15. Future Agenda Items
  16. Next Business Meeting:
    Thursday, August 25, 2016: 4:30pm
  17. Adjournment:
  18. Skip Stevens moves to adjourn the meeting at 1746. Tom Powell seconded the motion. Vote: Yes, Unanimous. Motion Passes.

Respectfully Submitted,

Katelyn Damon