Broadband Committee
Halifax, Vermont

July 14, 2010

The Broadband Committee, Town of Halifax, met Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at the Halifax Town Office.

The meeting was called to order at 6:34 p.m. Present were committee members Edee Edwards, Earl Holtz, Greg Marguet, Curtis Carroll, and Gretchen Becker and members of the public Blaise McGarvey and Rep. Ann Manwaring.

Becker moved that the minutes from June 10 be accepted as amended, Holtz seconded the motion, and it was passed.

It was noted that has a place where people can report that they are in dead zones. Other suggestions included

Collecting e-mail addresses of people who want broadband

Getting statistics about how many students, businesses, etc. want broadband

Calling Fairpoint and Comcast to remind them that we want broadband

Driving a one-horse buggy to Montpelier (implying we’re a one-horse town but we need broadband) to get publicity

Starting a letter-to-the editor campaign to bring attention to our plight (Rep. Manwaring suggested focusing on newspapers that legislators read, such as Burlington Free Press, Times Argus, Rutland Herald)

Involving Halifax students, maybe with a contest for the best essay on why we need broadband, with the winner to speak to the Legislature

Starting an “entrepreneurial room” at the school where small businesses could use the school’s broadband; some reservations about the advisability of having adults with potential hacking access to student information were expressed

Setting up a broadband data-collection booth at Old Home Days (Becker will take the booth from 10 to 12, Edwards from 12 to 2, and Holtz from 2 to 4, with Carroll as backup)

Reaching out to second-home owners, who might be accustomed to broadband at their home addresses and not happy with the slower service in Vermont

Communicating with VELCO (Vermont Electric Power Company), which maintains the state’s transmission grid and provides the backbone for most Vermont broadband systems

Writing to Mike Smith of FairPoint, who said in an ad that he would like to know if there was anything FairPoint could do to improve their Internet service.

It was noted that Vermont recently received a $33 million federal broadband grant that will be implemented through SoverNet and Vermont Telecommunications Authority. But the grant will simply provide “middle mile” fiberoptic trunk lines to schools, hospitals, libraries, and so forth, not to individual homes. What Halifax needs is “last mile” service.

Holtz gave a presentation on the various types of broadband that are currently available, and the group discussed them. The material was from

Becker reported some information about the formation of the Halifax Electric Company, which she got orally from Bernice Barnett, who was a child at the time.

The agenda for the next meeting was set.

Carroll moved that the meeting be adjourned, Holtz seconded the motion, and the meeting was adjourned at 8:29 p.m.

Respectfully submitted

Gretchen Becker