Item 1. Creation of an educational/municipal (institutional) fiber/wireless network, FullertonNet
The case for creating an I-Net (cost estimates, school justifications, etc.)
Mr. Felz indicated that work was continuing on developing final estimated costs for the I‑Net. He informed the members that Edison had recently decided to meet with potential customers regarding lease of their dark fiber. TWG members and City staff will be meeting with Edison's engineer to overlay their fiber maps with that of the proposed I-Net to determine if it would be advantageous to lease portions from Edison. Edison representatives would need to provide estimated lease costs for the TWG to consider.
Prior to the TWG meeting, Burtner and Felz met with Carl Samantello (Fullerton Union High School District), who stated that AT&T had presented the FUHSD with a bid for a multi-year lease of a fiber network delivering 10 Mbps bandwidth to most sites for an estimated average annual cost of $120,000. Mr. Felz suggested that it would be an appropriate time to approach AT&T with the conceptual plan to see what the private sector might be able to provide to the Fullerton I-Net institutions, noting that apparently another school district had formed a partnership with AT&T to create a very sophisticated system. Dr. Burtner stated that AT&T was providing El Monte High School and other schools in the area with their gigabit GigaMAN service at very reasonable rates. Carl Samantello confirmed that after applying the Calnet discount and the 90% E-rate discount for which the El Monte schools qualify, they receive Gigabit Ethernet service for about what the FJUHSD pays for much lower bandwidth.
Mr. Felz noted that AT&T had previously approached the City regarding engineering permits for Project Light Speed. He stated that many cities were fighting the project at every level (including legislatively) on the basis of controlling the public right-of-way. Mr. Felz indicated that Fullerton did not take that stance and told AT&T the City would not stand in their way, and immediately issued 60+ permits.
Mr. Felz pointed out that AT&T was doing this so they will be able to compete to offer television service. When AB 1297 goes into effect, AT&T can apply and be approved for a state franchise. AT&T has requested a meeting to discuss a short-term (15-month) franchise agreement in the interim that would allow them to do video. It would only be speculation on the City's part, but if AT&T were ready to roll out their entire infrastructure, there might be an opportunity for the City to negotiate a part of the I-Net.
Chair Burtner stated that AT&T is also aggressively deploying wireless, noting that they have a joint agreement with MetroFi in Riverside, they deployed a wireless network in Springfield, IL, and they're also the vendor for Napa.
Mr. Felz informed the TWG that he has received in the last three weeks more complaints about Time-Warner's customer service than he received during the entire last year for Adelphia. The transition from Adelphia to Time-Warner should have been seamless, so he is unsure what the problem is other than sloppy service. One TWG member related his personal experience with Time-Warner – "lousy signals and downtime."
Mr. Felz indicated that he was contacted by a separate company from Time-Warner, Time-Warner Telecom, asking about the City's telephone and internet services. Mr. Felz told the representative about the City's I-Net conceptual plan and asked if he was in the business of leasing dark fiber. The response was an immediate no. Mr. Felz contacted the City's CATV franchise attorney and learned that Time-Warner is restricted by the franchise agreement and FCC, that the offer to provide phone and internet services would have to come from a separate company, but as soon as the law changes, they can then rejoin forces and they'll have a common system already in place and be able to offer bundled services.
Vice Chair Stover thanked Joe for his report, and noted that it seemed these "monopolies" are in a pre-emptive strike mode, trying to basically steer what happens with phone, internet, and cable services. Mr. Stover pointed out that the City's I-Net is not hard to define at this point, the wireless mesh over Fullerton is not hard to define, and it all boils down to the City getting the plans in front of the vendors and having them make their best offer.
Mr. Felz indicated that is exactly what the plan is, but that first the City needed to establish a solid conceptual plan with a refined cost estimate of what it would take for the City to build it, and then ask the vendors what they could offer. Chair Burtner noted that before anything could be taken to Council for consideration, the TWG would need to investigate other possibilities, because Council would most likely ask why not have the private sector do the project for the City.
Mr. Felz pointed out that having the I-Net as a public works project provided City ownership and independence, and not being tied to the whims of the free market. The priority now is to finalize the plan and then get a comparison from the private sector.
Mr. Samantello indicated he had contacted the Director of IT for the Ventura Unified School District about their I-Net. They are evidently thrilled with the advantages provided by the advanced technology. The Director indicated to Mr. Samantello that if the TWG was interested in having more detail, he would be willing to provide a tour of their network, how it works, how it was planned, etc. Mr. Samantello pointed out that a good way to justify the I-Net would be to show the impact on the educational community.
Mr. Samantello and Mr. Giano reported that they had met together to formulate a presentation regarding the I-Net for the schools and to identify a target audience. Mr. Giano indicated that he would try to get volunteers from the university to present on three topics: what is being done with technology in the classroom, how are we using technology to put it into the teacher's hands, and what are the results.
In preparing their presentation agenda, Mr. Samantello and Mr. Giano were encouraged to include all levels of potential users, especially decision makers, and emphasize the potential benefits -- from security issues to enhanced education. Once an agenda is finalized, Joe Felz and Paul Stover offered to assist with packaging the presentation. Timeline is hopefully before December 5.
Chair Burtner stated that he would contact Corning Cable Systems to determine if they will review the conceptual design, make suggestions and prepare a cost estimate. Several years ago he and Narad Networks discussed the possibility of conducting a field trial of Narad’s technology in the City of Fullerton. However, the cooperation of the local cableco was never obtained and the field trial did not take place. Burtner will contact Narad again to determine what they may be doing to upgrade bandwidth in Time Warner’s systems.
Item 2. Citywide wireless network
Mr. Felz indicated that the TWG's proposed recommendations were scheduled to be presented to Council in property negotiation closed session on December 5. The primary focus would be on the benefits to the City and the risks, and ask direction from Council on whether or not to move forward and bring it back on the agenda as an agreement.
Chair Burtner reported that he had attended a conference put on by a group called "The Wireless City" – a small startup consulting firm that develops web portals for cities. In attendance were the mayors of Springfield, Illinois; Tempe, Arizona; and Anaheim's assistant city manager, who provided overviews of their installations.
In hearing the information presented, Chair Burtner pointed out that the City should have a clear idea of what it wants to use the system for. He noted that if these systems become cheap enough and the City wanted its own, it would not be unrealistic to have basically two, side-by-side – one that would be basically for the public (and that would be MetroFi, for example) and the other that would be dedicated to government/public safety. He suggested that in any negotiations, for example with MetroFi, that the contract be short-term (a trial or test period) so that if it did not meet the City's needs, there would be a way to put in the City's own system.
At the conference, Anaheim indicated that installation was not as simple as expected, and suggested weekly meetings with the vendor, especially during installation.
ITEMS FOR NEXT MEETING
Chair Burtner asked for a motion to adjourn. The motion to adjourn was made by Carl Samantello and seconded by Paul Stover. The meeting was adjourned at 10:40 a.m. with unanimous approval. The next meeting is scheduled for November 2, 2006.