Town of Halifax, Vermont
REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
July 9, 2014
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 6:31 pm at the town office. Board members in attendance were Edee Edwards, Jessica Bruno, Gretchen Becker, and Curtis Carroll. Chris Mays and Chris Campbell (VTA Executive Director) were also present.
Edwards announced a change to the agenda- the approval of minutes will be moved to the end in order to accommodate BBID as the first order of business.
Business Broadband Improvement Districts (BBID) follow-up
Campbell presented a map of the approved districts (attached). After the districts were approved, a request for information was sent to service providers. No responses were received for Halifax. Campbell called a few of the service providers and got two tentative possibilities (which are not a ‘yes’). Campbell will visit with the Southern Vermont Broadband Cooperative (SVTBBC) in Stamford, VT this evening to discuss possibilities for the district in the southwest corner of Halifax. The second possibility is with Comcast for the Northeast district (Thomas Hill area). Through the franchise terms, we may be able to work through the line extension policy as they would be obligated to extend the line if a customer contribution is paid.
Campbell explained that VTA would most likely not be able to help every approved district looking to extend broadband. VTA needs a list of business locations looking to make a customer commitment in the Northeast district. The VTA program may be able to contribute to the cost of getting the cable company there. VTA can send out literature to the Thomas Hill area businesses once they are identified. For the Southwest district, the SVTBBC could be a legal vehicle or lease the infrastructure. Someone from town will need to operate and manage the electronics. He also mentioned that a fiber connection would be easier, but SVTBBC has not done a fiber project. Campbell also noted that anything constructions will most likely not be in service until 2015.
Economic Development Funds earmarked for Windham Cty
There is a meeting 7/10/14 at 5:30pm in Brattleboro to discuss the funds and the program. There has been recent controversy about how the money should be spent and who should be in charge.
VTel Project Update
Edwards reported that the PSB application was filed/submitted 6/30/14. The package was modified to move the site location closer to the road. It is now 53 ft from the road (90 ft tall). The group discussed the advantages of the break point feature available in the pole which did not appear in the package. Edwards will bring up the issue with the Selectboard to see if they will write a letter to request the feature.
Wi-Fi Hotspot usage and promotion
Edwards reported that there has been some usage of the hotspot, but it has not been analyzed. The Committee should promote it on the website, bulletin boards, front porch forum etc. Signs are also coming, and the parking area has been flagged.
Economic Development Survey
This discussion was postponed until the next meeting.
No members had any news to report on new interest in membership.
There was no new news on the Rte 112 cell corridor project.
Edwards reported that she asked Sovernet for a rate sheet as the town office pricing they received was quite high.
The Sovernet representative denied knowing what she meant by rate sheet. We may have to call other towns with the service and just ask them what their rate is (as it is public info).
Carroll reported that they have disconnected their FairPoint 100 mbps service since moving the location of the school in Wilmington. When discussing other options for that site, FairPoint mentioned there is a new product combining two DSL lines with a special modem allowing for 25 mbps. It was noted that this service will be coming to Halifax as well (eventually).
Approval of Minutes
Becker made a motion to accept the minutes of the June 11, 2014 Regular Meeting as written. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 4-0-0.
Hearing of Visitors
Meeting was closed at 8:00 pm.