July 11, 2012 Minutes
The Halifax Broadband Committee meeting was called to order at 6:35pm Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at the Halifax Town Office. Present were committee members Earl Holtz, Curtis Carroll, Gretchen Becker, and Jessica Bruno. Members of the public present were Margo Avakian and Blaise McGarvey.
Holtz moved and Bruno seconded that the minutes of the June 13, 2012 meeting be approved as written, and the motion passed 3-0-1 (Becker abstained).
Discussion on e-Vermont meeting July 10, 2012
Becker and Carroll reported on the presentations given at the e-Vermont meeting in Brattleboro, VT. They mentioned that Dover set up repeaters over a one mile stretch to get internet access through town. They use an external wireless network to allow town access, but they use a separate portal than the town website. The Pomfrey and Castleton librarians set up training sessions for townspeople not comfortable with computers/internet. Another town had set up a website for each business in the town. Town social networking/ Front Porch was discussed. Town website were discussed. We may want to look into wordpress or govoffice. Becker suggested asking Patty Dow for a list of frequently asked questions that we could post on our site. Bruno will look into new page formats.
Discussion about the June 26, 2012 meeting in Wilmington with Karen Marshall- Broadband Target Community Meeting See the June 26, 2012 Selectboard minutes for more detail.
Holtz gave a summary of the meeting, though we did not receive many answers at the meeting regarding how long it will take for us to see any progress. We were assured that they have a plan for Halifax except for 29 addresses. See the list attached. VT Telecommunications is working on a solution for these addresses, although it was noted that a few of these addresses already have access to Broadband.
McGarvey inquired where Halifax is in regard to having work done with the FiberConnect grants. Holtz replied that we don’t know for sure, but we may be in line wherever it makes the most business sense, so we may not necessarily be ‘last’ on the list. We do not have any start dates.
It was noted that cell towers are $500k each and VTel will need 120 total, 80 are in queue, and they are actively working on 6. It was also noted that a $15k-$22k pole tax prevents smaller companies like Duncan Cable from running wire and expanding service.
Becker reported that Virgin Mobile does not have coverage in Halifax. As she found it difficult to ever speak with a live person, Becker may not even consider signing up with them even if they were here.
Letter to Representative Manwaring
Becker drafted a letter to Representative Manwaring thanking her for her efforts regarding the FiberConnect grant. Carroll suggested contacting her to try to get some additional information regarding VTel.
News Google Intercepting Wi-Fi communications Becker expanded upon the article presented at the last meeting. Google was getting e-mail, photographs, passwords etc. through these data collecting vehicles. We will want to stress the importance of encryption and security as our broadband will likely be wireless.
Becker presented an article on ultra high-speed internet access. The Czech Republic has 6.7 mbps, Romania 6.4 mbps, and the US 5.8 mbps. She also presented an article on limiting download amounts much like satellite internet companies do now. The group had a discussion about TV signals versus bandwidth for downloading movies and TV.
Hearing of Visitors
Reorganizing will be discussed and put on the next agenda. The Committee is looking for one additional member. We may also be electing a new chairman. Contact any member of the Committee if you are interested, or come to the next meeting on August 8, 2012 at 6:30pm.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 pm.