Broadband Committee

Halifax, Vermont

May 11, 2011 Minutes

The Halifax Broadband Committee was called to order at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at the Halifax Town Office. Present were committee members Edee Edwards, Curtis Carroll, Earl Holtz, Greg Marguet and Gretchen Becker.  Members of the public present were Hans Hammarquist, Blaise McGarvey, and Jessica Bruno.

Carroll moved and Holtz seconded the motion that the minutes of the April 13th meeting be approved as written, and the motion passed, 4-0-1, with Marguet abstaining


  • How Halifax school children use the Internet

Stephanie Aldrich was unable to attend the meeting, but she provided a written summary overview of the school’s use of the Internet.  Questions that flowed from this included:

  1. How are children taught to evaluate websites and information?
  2. How many of the activities listed require high speed?
  3. It would be interesting to learn more about the “mixed results” from one math class online
  4. Have there been complaints about using the Internet?

It was agreed that we should invite her to another meeting if possible to learn more.

  • Start of Halifax Broadband Survey

Becker provided an excellent start on a potential broadband survey.  Issues discussed include:

•          separating out concepts of need for high speed for tasks, versus technologies or listing vendor names;

•          business and/or home worker usage and/or education usage

•          number of computers / people in the household; and

•          cost sensitivity versus need for speed

•          ensuring questions can be captured well statistically.

Carroll agreed to take the next review –edit of the survey.

  • Sat. May 21 eVermont “Citizen Leadership in a Connected Age” workshop, VT Technical Conference, Randolph, VT

Information about this statewide conference was passed around.  One member of the public and one committee member expressed an interest in going.  No funds are available for the $20 workshop fee, but that includes lunch.

  • Reorganization of Broadband Committee

Edwards proposed that she would like to turn over the committee chair duties to someone else, now that 1 year has passed since the committee inception.  She also noted that Jessica Bruno had expressed an interest in joining the committee, and wondered if anyone would like to step down, volunteering to do so herself.  Marguet said he was willing to give up his seat.  Edwards thanked him for his work on the committee.

Becker nominated Earl Holtz as chair.  Curtis Carroll seconded the motion.  After a little arm-twisting, Earl agreed to take the chair position.

Both committee changes are contingent upon Selectboard approval.


  • Sovernet Fiber Connect Proposal

Sovernet’s Fiber Connect proposal was initially rejected by the Halifax School Board.  They now have until the end of May to accept the grant funded fiber infrastructure via a Letter of Intent.  A formal contract would come later.  While various cost comparisons have been used and while some things can’t be predicted, like eRate funding levels, today the School Board is seeing a gap of $5000 total over 3 years when compared to their least expensive, and expected substitution, of a newly renegotiated cost for a DSL-based line for the school.  While cheaper, it is a much slower speed.

Various options were discussed for possible funding support from the town.  This was already requested to be on the agenda for the Selectboard at the May 17th meeting.  The School Board has one more meeting before the end of the month, on May 18th.

  • Other vendor updates

Little contact was made with or by the other vendors, although some GAW surveys were entered online.

  • Town Plan Wording

Holtz noted that work is ongoing, but cellular coverage is also likely to be included in the revisions to the Town plan.


No further comments were offered by the visitors, outside of participation in the various discussions above.


Set Next Agenda  —  Proposal to invite Stephanie Aldrich.  “Right to Know”  laws review & discussion

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Edee Edwards