Chair Burtner began the meeting with Discussion Item 2.
2. Citywide Wireless
To bring everyone up to date, Chair Burtner provided a brief recap of how and why the Council agenda item pertaining to the contract award for the Downtown CCTV Surveillance System had been pulled from the September 13 agenda. He explained that he had learned of the proposed project from IT Manager Helen Hall a few days before the Council meeting, that it appeared in the RFP document to be an analog CCTV system rather than a digital IP based system, that it would cost about $550,000 to support 9 cameras and it might impact the citywide wireless project being considered by the TWG. As a result, Chair Burtner asked Robert Ferrier to arrange a meeting for him with Chris Meyer, City Manager, to discuss the project. When Ferrier was unable to arrange the meeting prior to the Council meeting, Chair Burtner contacted Councilmember Bankhead to discuss his concerns about the project. At the Council meeting Councilmember Bankhead had the item pulled from the agenda in order to give the TWG an opportunity to review the proposed system. As a result, meetings were held with City staff from the Police Department and Engineering, and with ESC/Avarion (a firm that has been discussing citywide wireless with the TWG), to learn more about the public safety surveillance system. It was determined that although the cameras will be analog rather than digital, their output will be converted to digital at the unit. Thus, the system has all of the advantages of a digital, IP-based video system that can be controlled over the Internet. The system provides for future expansion and can be integrated into the wireless system being contemplated by the TWG.
Mr. Ferrier indicated that City staff thought it appropriate that someone from the TWG (perhaps Chair Burtner) attend the December 4th Council meeting and provide a statement to Council that the TWG's concerns regarding the public safety surveillance system have been addressed and that the TWG supports moving forward with the project. Chair Burtner confirmed that he will attend the December 4th Council meeting and will convey the TWG's support of the project.
Chair Burtner informed the TWG members that the TWG is scheduled to present to Council at the December 18th Council meeting the TWG's recommendations as to how to proceed with the citywide wireless project, i.e., review the wireless options with Council and provide a formal recommendation to proceed with researching a citywide wireless system that would support public safety/public works and not the public at large. Chair Burtner asked for a motion for said formal recommendation. Carl Samantello motioned that the TWG recommend the public safety/public works only option to Council. The motion was seconded by Mike Carter, and unanimously approved.
Mr. Ferrier indicated he would be willing to assist with the PowerPoint presentation if needed, perhaps drawing up a few draft slides for review by the TWG. Chair Burtner accepted his offer of help. Mr. Ferrier also asked for and received confirmation that representatives of the school districts would be attending a meeting on December 18 with the City Manager.
1. Creation of an educational/municipal (institutional) fiber/wireless network, FullertonNet
Chair Burtner provided a brief history, explaining that the conceptual design had been completed by Lee Offlerbach in August 2006, consisting basically of a ring of fiber, with anywhere from 144 to 288 strands, that would connect all the fire stations. The fire stations would serve as hubs for the laterals. Corning provided cost estimates for building it. The TWG looked at various sources of funding. Former Assistant to the City Manager Joe Felz had indicated that money might be available from the settlement with Time Warner. The potential also exists for redevelopment funds, and E-rate funding has been explored. Tony Anderson and Carl Samantello had recently attended a conference regarding E-rate funding and confirmed the availability of E-rate funds for not only connectivity, but construction as well.
Mr. Samantello pointed out that there might also be funding available from the Digital California Project (DCP) which in the past had a "Last Mile Fund" that could be used by the school districts to actually fund the last mile of connectivity to a school. Chair Burtner asked Mr. Samantello to check with the lead agency for the "Last Mile Fund" to see if that funding source was still available and to inquire as to the application process.
Chair Burtner noted that he had also had conversations with Paxio and Broadband Associates, who both expressed interest in working with the City on an open access network. Phil Clark of Paxio had told Dr. Burtner that if Paxio was chosen to operate and maintain the network, they would also want to have the right to provide services to new apartment houses/complexes and new residential complexes, which is where Mr. Clark's expertise is since he works with Pulte Homes to provide fiber to the homes and operate the networks. Mr. Clark had also indicated that he knew of people who would be interested in investing in overbuilding the entire city for residential services. Broadband Associates had expressed similar interests.
Chair Burtner also noted that another potential firm on the horizon was Sunesys, with a western regional office in Corona. Sunesys is currently building fiber networks to schools in Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and El Monte, using the E-rate model to fund most of it. Dr. Burtner indicated that Mr. Samantello is trying to arrange for a meeting with Sunesys, and in the meantime Dr. Burtner would like to see what sort of contracts Sunesys has with Anaheim, Garden Grove, and Santa Ana school districts, to learn more about their business model.
Mr. Samantello stated that at the E-rate conference in Phoenix recently, he had reviewed with Sunesys representatives what the City was planning and how the school district was interplaying, and Sunesys expressed a definite interest. Mr. Samantello also noted that Sunesys was installing networks all over the state – not just locally.
Mr. Sandford pointed out that the St. Jude Medical Center is currently undergoing a major modernization and asked if they had been considered as an investment source in the proposed network. Chair Burtner stated that it was his understanding that St. Jude was scrambling for every dollar they can come up with for their modernization project, but Mr. Sandford's suggestion might be worth pursuing.
Chair Burtner noted that the real problem is pushing the project forward in a timely fashion and to take care of some of the issues so that the proposed system could compete for E-rate funding through the schools.
Mr. Samantello pointed out that the school districts may have timelines and deadlines that the City cannot meet, and while his focus and responsibility is to the district, the district wants to make sure that whatever they do keeps them open and at the table for the City's project. He stated that it's possible the district might have to move forward with a company like Sunesys, if the pricing comes in right, and make sure that whatever design Sunesys comes up with is going to mesh with whatever the City thinks it might do. That way, if the City still needs more time, the district might be able to start the laterals by getting Sunesys to build them, and possibly the core, which might be a beginning place for the City to come in. Mr. Samantello pointed out that that really is what Sunesys looks for exclusively, i.e., E-rate-able customers (mostly K-12) as an anchor to get in and build a network, and Sunesys would be completely open to building it to anyone else who wants in -- their business model is to overbuild so that they can offer their services to others.
Chair Burtner noted that if the City would commit to building the core, and if it's basically open access, there would be a number of companies that would be willing to come in, with one possibly serving schools, another one offering services to residents, etc. In other words, a number of companies competing against each other, all using the backbone.
Mr. Anderson pointed out that the school district would need to essentially file a bid request (Form 470) that states they are looking to improve bandwidth. Paxio or Sunesys or anyone else would have to submit a proposal which would include the installation charges to the district, and that amount would be applied for to E-rate, i.e., for the subsidy. He noted that the challenge is timelines. The E-rate process opens with very specific windows of opportunity to do different things, and right now the E-rate application process is open and the district has to have everything resolved with respect to what vendors are going to be doing what, contracts approved, bids approved, etc., by February 7, which is when the window closes, and if the school district is going to commit to go with the City's project, the school district has to be assured that the network is going to be running by July 1st because that's when the district would need to move to it.
Chair Burtner responded by indicating that the City Manager has informed him that he would prefer to avoid an open RFP process, and would rather select a technology company and negotiate directly with them, but the City would require a commitment from the school district. Dr. Burtner stated that perhaps the next step would be to have Phil Clark of Paxio meet with him, Carl Samantello and Tony Anderson to go through what would have to be done to become E-rate-able.
Mr. Samantello noted that the California Teleconnect Fund requires that the provider have already gone through the E-rate process, that the E-rate discount has to be applied first.
Mr. Anderson also noted that considering the size of the project, if it exceeds a certain limit, they would be required to go through a formal RFP bid process.
Mr. Samantello explained that the Form 470 is posted on the website and it is basically an RFP (or open bid) that anyone who has a SPIN number can submit a proposal through, so if the City contracted with, for example, Paxio to build the network, and Paxio is a telecom provider, Paxio could respond to the 470 indicating they would build the network for a specific cost, and then the school district would have to make a decision that they want to proceed with Paxio's proposal. The school district is then required to submit to E-rate the criteria used to make their decision and how it meets their needs and is the best cost.
Chair Burtner noted that Paxio was currently in the application process to become E-rate-able. Mr. Anderson pointed out that they may not be E-rate-able in time to meet the February 7 timeline for the school district. Mr. Anderson also noted that he had asked AT&T and Sunesys to respond to the 470 so that the district has choices. He also clarified that the February 7 date is when the window absolutely closes, but that all the contracts have to go to the local school board prior to that time.
Mr. Port suggested that the TWG use the deadlines presented at this meeting as the driving force to get action moving forward quickly.
ITEMS FOR NEXT MEETING
To be determined.
With no further business, Chair Burtner asked for a motion to adjourn. The motion to adjourn was made by Robb Port and seconded by Carl Samantello. The meeting was adjourned at 9:50 a.m. with unanimous approval.
The next meeting date to be determined.