Office of the Broadband Committee
Town of Halifax
PO Box 127
West Halifax, Vermont 05358
Approved: March 22, 2021
Date: Monday, February 22, 2021, 7-8:30PM
Place: Conference Call
Attending: Committee members: Tristan Roberts, Stephan Chait, and David Jones
Notes By: David Jones
Call to Order
Tristan Roberts called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
Changes and Additions to Agenda
Review and Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Stephan Chait moved to accept the minutes of the January 25 meetings with a correction to the sentence regarding the prevalence of cabling in Guilford. The sentence should read, “To not be cabled in Guilford is the exception, not the rule.” Tristan Roberts seconded the motion. All present agreed. The minutes were approved as amended.
DVFiber Status Report
David Jones reported on the progress of DVFiber as reported at the Governing Board meeting of February 17.
David Jones reported that DVFiber will admit a 21st town, Winhall, in a special meeting on Wednesday, February 24. Winhall, like Londonderry, will join both DVFiber and Southern Vermont CUD. The representative, Fred Schwake, has experience trying to form a municipal broadband network.
The Communications Committee is coordinating outreach to all Selectboards to request that they appoint or reappoint their Representative and Alternates to the Governing Board for one-year terms to begin on May 11. Officers for the new year will be elected by the Governing Board that takes office on May 11.
The Governing Board approved unanimously a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Southern Vermont CUD. The MOU outlines ways in which our CUD and theirs may cooperate, share information, and develop projects of mutual interest.
The Finance Committee reported that it was exploring several funding sources. The VEDA loan amounts may be increased and the underwriting standards changed under legislation being considered by the Legislature now. We are awaiting the rules that will govern the $300 million that is appropriated for Broadband in the stimulus bill that passed in December. The rules could require us to apply only together with a private sector partner. We won’t take shortcuts to selection of that partner, so we may not qualify before all the funds are exhausted. We don’t believe there is such a requirement for the Broadband funds that may be included in the American Recovery Plan legislation being considered by Congress now. In the most recent draft, $100 million would be allocated to each state.
The Communications focused on 3 topics. First, we should like and follow the DVFiber Facebook page, like it, and share it with friends. Second, there are several Communications Committee task forces. The one of most interest to David is the one that is considering how DVFiber will ensure ownership of information about customers so that the CUD can maintain a relationship with the public at large and all customers specifically. Third, there are information sessions for the Governing Board to enable members to learn how to access all of the internal records of the CUD. Google is the platform that is used to host all documents. Internal information will be shared through links to the repository, not email attachments.
The Vendor Committee led the Board into Executive Session to discuss the process for interacting with potential vendor partners to review their proposals and how their proposals will be evaluated to determine the CUD’s best options.
Although there are planned virtual meetings to discuss the town budget and articles on the warrant ad meet the candidates for elected positions. We won’t have the normal platform to inform the town about this Committee’s activities or those of DVFiber. Stephan Chait said there may be an outdoor town meeting when temperatures are warmer. The written reports in the town report will be the extent of our communication this year.
David suggested we should recommend to the Selectboard that it should reappoint those appointed to the Broadband Committee and those appointed to be Representative and Alternates to the DVFiber Governing Board. Tristan will reach out to current committee members to determine their interest. He will also advise the Selectboard of our recommendation to reappoint our current Representative and Alternates to the Governing Board.
Hearing of Visitors
Stephan moved the meeting should adjourn. Tristan seconded the motion. All present agreed. The meeting was adjourned at 7:26PM.