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Technology Working Group Minutes: October 27, 2005

CITY OF FULLERTON
TECHNOLOGY WORKING GROUP
MEETING MINUTES
October 27, 2005
9:00 A.M.

CALL TO ORDER

Chair Burtner called the meeting to order at 9:04 a.m.

ROLL CALL

Members Present:
Roger Burtner
Fred Canfield
Mike Carter
Helen Hall
Gerald Lucas
Robb Port

Members Arriving After Roll Call:
Tony Anderson
Cameron McCune
Paul Stover
Carl Samantello

Members Absent
Stephen Hall

Guests:
Joe Felz, Assistant to the City Manager

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Chair Burtner asked if there were any corrections to the minutes of the October 6, 2005, meeting. With no corrections, a motion for approval was made by Helen Hall, with a second by Fred Canfield. The motion to approve the October 6, 2005, minutes carried unanimously.

DISCUSSION ITEMS

Discussion Item 1: Creation of an educational/municipal (institutional) fiber/wireless network, FullertonNet

Status and terms of franchise agreement with Adelphia - Joe Felz

The City is wrapping up discussions with Adelphia prior to beginning negotiations with Time Warner regarding transfer of ownership of the franchise from Adelphia to Time Warner. The discussions with Adelphia pertain to an audit of the funds that Adelphia owes the City under terms of the existing franchise agreement. When that is concluded the City will begin negotiating the terms of a new franchise agreement with Time Warner. The City has not yet established a negotiating position for the transfer of ownership to Time Warner. The City's intention is to have Bill Marticorena, Rutan & Tucker, be its lead negotiator. Thus, it is appropriate that the goals of the TWG be presented at this time and included in the negotiation process. Helen Hall pointed out that in the past City staff had asked that the cableco be requested to provide additional services or applications to the City, but had been rebuffed because the City had no leverage.

Chair Burtner noted that experts in the field had advised him that this is the time when the City will have the greatest leverage in negotiating for an expansion of the City's I-Net which is based on cableco fiber. The goal of the Technology Working Group is to connect all government facilities, schools and other institutions with dark fiber that is present in the cableco's network. Santa Monica was able to create a Gigabit Ethernet fiber network from cableco fiber and additional fiber that it added to the network. Similarly, the Desert Sands Unified School District created a Gigabit Ethernet fiber network that connects 27 schools by gaining access to a single strand of Time Warner fiber.

Chair Burtner pointed out that there are other reasons for creating a fiber network that connects institutions in the City of Fullerton. Once the network has been formed, sites connected to the network can be used as gateways for other systems that need to be connected to a fiber backbone. For example, wireless base stations can be connected at these points to the backbone, thus providing high bandwidth for public safety and public works applications throughout the whole City of Fullerton.

Chair Burtner noted that another possible point of leverage is the delivery of cableco service to businesses. Several years ago Phil Urbina, Adelphia, stated that Adelphia did not have the right to provide cable service to businesses in Fullerton, but desired to have it. Joe Felz verified that this is still true. At the time Adelphia was planning to set up a service to businesses called Adelphia Business Solutions. It never materialized. Thus, if Time Warner has any plans to provide service to businesses as it is known to do in some other communities, it will have to negotiate for the franchise rights in Fullerton.

Joe Felz pointed out that there is movement nationally on the part of telcos and cablecos to eliminate local franchise agreements and perhaps implement statewide agreements. Texas has already taken this step and proposals have been made to this effect in Sacramento. The California League of Cities is in the process of developing a stance. Obviously it is important that we negotiate for access to dark fiber as soon as possible.

The discussion then focused on the TWG's involvement in the negotiation process with Adelphia and Time Warner. Chair Burtner suggested that the TWG draft a resolution to Council regarding TWG's representation at the negotiating table, and identify a specific list of items needed for the institutional fiber/wireless network.

Mr. Felz was not sure that the committee needed to go to that level, and noted that reflecting the committee's objectives in the meeting minutes should be sufficient, but that he would discuss the matter with the City Manager, and if something more formal was needed, he and Helen could come up with whatever is needed.

Committee members Stover, Lucas and Port agreed with Chair Burtner, noting that it would behoove the entire committee to formalize the committee's desired involvement in the upcoming critical negotiations with Adelphia and Time Warner with a resolution. Mr. Port pointed out that the timing is right and the committee needed to take some proactive movement forward in order to be engaged directly with the negotiation process.

Mr. Stover noted that if E-rate money were pulled by the federal government, which provides discounts to educational institutions, finding alternative funding would be critical.

Chair Burtner indicated that he had compiled a list of approximately 50-60 institutions within the City, including schools (elementary through university), St. Jude, the courthouse, libraries, public safety - basically all nonprofit, governmental, and educational institutions in the City that may wish to be served by the I-Net.

Ms. Hall stated that it was important to come to the negotiating table with the 50+ institutions, but also to include what it is costing those 50+ institutions to run the T1 lines, noting that if the City could leverage off the fiber, there would be cost savings later on.

Mr. Stover suggested that the committee start thinking about the interview process with Adelphia and Time Warner - what the committee needs to hear from them, what the committee needs to understand, what the "vendor" will be providing - so that the committee can make an intelligent, informed decision. He noted that since the committee is asking for a seat at the negotiating table, it is important that the committee be prepared to drive the discussion in the right way.

Chair Burtner recommended that committee members put together a list of information to be generated from Adelphia and Time Warner before entering into negotiations.

Visit to Santa Monica, November 10, 2005

Chair Burtner reminded the committee that Jerry Wolf, City of Santa Monica, had set aside three hours (1:00-4:00) on November 10 for an informational meeting regarding their I-Net, including how they negotiated it and what the leverages were (noting that the negotiation was accomplished at the time of transfer). Chair Burtner suggested, and committee members agreed, that it would be appropriate to invite Joe Felz to participate in the site visit to Santa Monica.

Chair Burtner noted that the visit to Desert Sands needed to be rescheduled to later in November because Members Tony Anderson and Cameron McCune were not available October 28.

Discussion Item 2: Review of Action Items

Beta Testing of Alvarion's 4.9 GHz

Ms. Hall provided an update on working with John Nelson on a beta test of Alvarion's 4.9 GHz equipment for public safety applications. It was determined that the 900 MHz frequency is more appropriate for the City. Chair Burtner noted that the 4.9 GHz channel had been set aside by the Feds specifically for public safety, but that it is a fairly short wavelength and does not penetrate very well. Chair Burtner had taken Jack Unger, NextPhase's chief wireless engineer, on a tour of possible antenna sites in the hills of Fullerton. Jack Unger concluded that in Fullerton there would be a lot of problems trying to use the 4.9 GHz frequency. He stated that a much longer wavelength was needed, and that would be the 900 MHz frequency.

Mr. Stover indicated that he had experienced interference issues in his home because he has multiple frequencies with multiple phones. He asked if there was a way to assess the problem, understand what the interference issues are, before institutionalizing something that might create a different set of problems for the public.

List of Applications/System Requirements

Chair Burtner reiterated the need for members to prepare a list of applications/system requirements that they would like to have a wireless system or hybrid wireless/wireline system support. He asked Ms. Hall to also compile a list of requirements from the institutions.

Mr. Lucas pointed out that while the "wish list" is very important, it is more important to know what the existing systems are in order to know where the starting point is. Mr. Stover added that it would behoove the committee to have a list of what the city currently offers in the way of applications, and then show what the proposed new system could look like in contrast. Mr. Carter added that it would also be important to include the potential cost savings as well. It was decided that a database would be compiled.

Discussion Item 3: Next Steps Regarding FullertonWireless

Not much progress to report regarding some connectivity problems between client laptops and the wireless mesh in downtown Fullerton. Members Anderson and Samantello are continuing to work on this. It was noted we are approaching the end of the trial period - tentative date is early February.

ITEMS FOR NEXT MEETING

It was decided that the November 17th meeting would be rescheduled for November 15th.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

None.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Chair Burtner will be making arrangements for TWG members who plan to travel to Santa Monica on November 10 to travel together.

Ms. Hall mentioned that Council will be appointing two new committee members. A new roster will be distributed to committee members.

Mr. Stover suggested that each member provide a brief bio to Chair Burtner, including a picture, which can be used as a directory. It was agreed that members would submit their info to Chair Burtner at the next meeting or by email.

Chair Burtner asked that Ms. Hall distribute a current roster of committee members with names, address, etc.

Mr. Stover suggested that the committee consider setting up a blog, noting that blogs are not a passing fad or trend, but something that's providing a critical platform for critical discussions, and it is important that the committee be part of the innovation culture. Mr. Carter suggested that a blog might be hosted at Hope University. Chair Burtner indicated he would add it to the Action Items list.

Mr. Stover suggested that the Chair write a personal note of thanks to Joe Felz for his participation in today's meeting.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, a motion for adjournment was made and unanimously approved by the members present. The meeting adjourned at 10:20 a.m.

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