The Halifax Broadband—Economic Development Committee met at the Town Office on March 11, 2015. The meeting was called to order at 6:35 p.m., with board members Edee Edwards, Curtis Carroll, and Gretchen Becker and visitor Mary Horne present.


The meeting minutes from January 14 were unanimously approved, with one minor typo corrected.


Mary Horne indicated an interest in joining the committee, and Edwards will ask the selectmen to appoint her at their next meeting.


The group then discussed the future of the committee. Several members are burned out, but people aren’t exactly hammering down the doors trying to get appointed to the committee. One possibility would be to reduce the membership from five to three, but the group decided informally to stick with five members for a couple more months.


It was noted that VTel, which is starting to offer services in a few areas of town that can be reached by the tower on Hogback mountain, currently charges $280 for the modem, but because Halifax is an underserved town, residents are eligible for a $100 rebate if they ask about it.


The contact information for VTel is Customer Service: 802-885-4444, email: info@vtelwireless.com.


Cell service was discussed and it was decided to bring a map to the next meeting to start to plot where it is available. In the meantime, it would be good if anyone with a cell phone could notice where they could get service and to let committee members know this, along with which carrier they have.


When its towers are in place, VTel will offer cell service as well as broadband Internet service.


Becker reported that Fairpoint told her that a new project for Halifax is scheduled for Fall 2015. No more detailed information was available.


The Wifi Hotspot is getting usage of about 2 people per day, down from 3 people per day. If the site goes down when Edwards is away, the people to contact are Earl Holtz and Robbin Gabriel.


Edwards reported that the selectmen agreed that the USDA Community Connect Grant application was too complex and the probability of getting such a grant too low to warrant exploring it further.


Re economic development, it was noted that Halifax participation in the Whitingham Farmers Market in Jacksonville was high. The market should be open again this summer.


The meeting was adjourned at 7:40 p.m.


Respectfully submitted


Gretchen Becker