Snowden Community Council Meeting Minutes May 5, 2016
Attending: Roger Gadway, Timi Keene, Tom Montag, Lloyd Olson, Janet Turner. Council members absent: Lance Beckman, Bob Connor, Judy Kliesh.
Community Forum – None
Gadway called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m.
Minutes: The minutes of April 7, 2016 meeting were approved as presented.
Beginning balance 4/716: $1,072.74
INCOME: April Donations 27.00
EXPENSES: None .00
Ending balance 6/6/16: $1,099.74
Technology Committee – Jim Von Mosch reported that the next county technology meeting will be held on May 23rd at 7:30 PM at the Pioneer Center. Wave.net (who has purchased Sawnet, the company that laid the fiber optic cable up Snowden) had asked for a list of interested persons so Jim asked Carrie Pipinich for the list that was established earlier from the survey. She said she could not provide that because of privacy issues, but if Jim got more names then she would add them to the list. In the meantime, Jim noticed a surveyor out on Snowden and asked what the purpose was. The surveyor said it was fiber optic lines for Centurylink. The surveyor was unaware that he was measuring right next to the original Sawnet lines. This led to further conversations with other people and a rumor emerged that Centurylink would be putting in broadband on Snowden before the end of the year. Gadway spoke of letters he had received from Kyle Johnson and Dawn Stover. Both of those letters are made a part of these minutes.
Council agreed to publish an article in the newspaper regarding needing to establish a list of names and email addresses of persons who may be interested in broadband. Putting their names on a list would not be a commitment, but would allow us to show any potential company how many residents could be interested in this service. This will also be posted on Snowdencommunity.org
KCFD#3 Report – Commissioner Montag reported that the newspaper published a story about the new brush truck that has arrived at the Husum station.
Turner asked about Mt. Adams Orchard petitioning to be annexed in to Fire District #13. It turns out that a number of people have petitioned for inclusion in the past year.
$27.00 donations collected.
Meeting adjourned at 7:48 p.m.
Judy Beckman, Secretary Pro-Tem
I met with the Century Link contact who will be our primary conduit to CL regarding CAF II funding. I had told the folks on this email list that I would keep them up to date on my dealings with Century Link so here are some notes.
About the contact: Phil Grate, Director, Regulatory Affairs, works in Washington and Oregon. Some of you may have worked with Barb Young in the past, they both are direct reports to Mark Reynolds. Mark has tasked Phil to work with me as he “knows more about the Connect America Fund than anyone else in the department”. Is willing to work with me as much as I would like, as his boss told him that is his job for now. The primary motivation for this seems to be that CL “doesn’t have the understanding they would like on how to make public/private partnerships work”. I seem to be his guinea pig on how well working with local communities can affect CAF deployment.
Highlights on the CAF II program
-Funding is done at the state level (however, the initial model had 2 million per year going to Klickitat)
– they signed up to add 49,000 subscribers in Washington state using this fund
– The CL CAF II planning group is currently modeling how to deploy in the most effective way
-Two numbers go into this model, expected income and cost per subscriber
-They are required to hit 40% of the deployment by mid 2017
Potential ways we can work with Mark/CL
– If we can highlight or improve either the potential income or the cost of deployment we can potentially influence where they invest. (Think hard commitments to installation fees, monthly subscriber price on the intake side, highlighting public partnership opportunities, existing, useable infrastructure on the cost side)
Mark’s Action Items after my meeting with him:
– Speak with the Century Link CAF planning team to understand if/how we can work with CL to highlight and/or improve the intake/cost equation for deployment in our area – Look at past models of public/private partnership that CL has created that may be successfully applied to our area (He mentioned a San Juan county deal as a potential model) – Gather information on what the CL people in the gorge know about the Sawtooth technologies (Saw.net) fiber route which runs through White Salmon up Snowden road to Klickitat and Goldendale. – Find out if the route can help with deployment and if CL can access it at a rate that allows for a feasible business model
I am not in town so won’t be able to make it to the council meeting tonight. Feel free to share at the meeting, if appropriate.
I want to make sure I’m working well with everyone else who is interested in getting something done around the Broadband issue, so please let me know of any new developments.
3/3/16 From Dawn Stover to Roger Gadway I’d like to join the broadband committee, and I’d also like to nominate the following people if they haven’t already volunteered themselves: Jim von Mosch, Steve Finn, Scott See, and Kyle Johnson (who is new to the area and still transitioning from Seattle). Also, if I understood him correctly, David Roth (who was at the meeting on Monday) also lives in Snowden, so he is another potential recruit if anyone has his email address. From my perspective, the most important developments from Monday’s meeting were: 1) There is some federal funding available to hook up households to fiber-optic lines in Washington through the Connect America program, and most of the Snowden area is eligible. CenturyLink (the grantee) would get $2,500 from these funds for every household that it connects. Caveats: As we learned at the meeting, CenturyLink isn’t required to do Connect America projects here in our county, even though a certain portion of the funding ($1.95 million per year for 6 years) is “allocated” for Klickitat County. Also, it’s my understanding that CenturyLink would only make it POSSIBLE to provide service to a household; for CenturyLink or another Internet service provider to ACTUALLY OFFER service would also require the service provider to lease the fiber-optic connection from SawNet (now Wave Broadband; see below). 2) County Commissioner Dave Sauter (who represents Snowden’s district) will use the county’s political connections to put pressure on CenturyLink, via the FCC, to include our county in its plans for Connect America projects. He is coordinating this effort with others who will be meeting with Congressional reps in D.C. in the near future. It was agreed that this needs to happen as soon as possible, i.e. before CenturyLink is too far along with a plan that does not include our county. 3) Jacob Anderson of the County’s Emergency Services department has offered to help with wireless solutions that may provide relief for some people in Snowden in the short term (or help customers beyond the reach of fiber optic in the longer term), such as sending signals from a tower on Underwood Mountain to a smaller 30-foot tower in Snowden, which could then relay the signal to nearby homes. Jim is exploring this option for the Mountain Brook area. Sharing a signal among neighbors may be in a legal gray area but could be a good solution for some neighborhoods that have clusters of homes within line of sight of the secondary tower location. Emergency Services might have some maps that would be useful for us, such as topographic maps used to determine the placement of the County’s 911 radio towers. (The towers themselves aren’t close enough to Snowden to be of any help in providing broadband.) An example of a successful wireless radio Internet service mentioned at the meeting was Mosier WiNet, which is serving customers in the Lyle area as well as Mosier. I believe there are also some customers in Snowden (on Tunnel Road, for example) who are already receiving wireless Internet service directly from the Underwood tower, but apparently that tower isn’t fully subscribed yet. 4) Dave Sauter voiced strong support for building technology infrastructure in our county, which suggests a new willingness by the County to spend economic development dollars on something other than roads and industrial districts. 5) SawNet has apparently sold its business (or part of it, including the fiber backhaul running up Snowden Road) to Wave Broadband. This could be a positive development for Snowden, as Wave appears to be more interested in providing residential service than SawNet was—in a general sense, not in relation to Snowden specifically. 6) I was heartened to see that there now seems to be a concerted effort by a number of parties—including the County, the PUD, and the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District—to bring broadband to Snowden. Everyone seems to be on the same page, and it looks like we might finally move beyond the study-survey stage into an implementation stage. I’m still not sure exactly how the Snowden committee, and Snowden residents in general, can help with these efforts. One thing we might be able to do is to gather information about the locations of CenturyLink distribution boxes in our community. CenturyLink has apparently not been forthcoming with this information, citing homeland security. The PUD may be able to help with this (because these boxes have power to them), but I think we should be prepared to do some mapping ourselves. It might also be useful to know where all the SawNet access points are. Also, I think the Snowden committee could provide a valuable service by acting as a clearinghouse for tracking the experiences of people who are contacting various service providers, and experimenting with various technology solutions. People are already sharing info on snowdencommunity.org, but maybe Scott could create a specific section dedicated to telecom services, and we could post some key documents there (such as the results of the surveys done earlier). We might also want to create a FAQ that explains the basics about the different types of Internet service (DSL, wireless, satellite, etc.) and the players involved (Wave, CenturyLink, GorgeNet, etc.). I thought about circulating this message to the people I mentioned above, but I don’t want to start an email thread that will distract people from tonight’s meeting. You’re welcome to pass my thoughts along to anyone, though. Sorry to miss tonight’s meeting, Dawn