Here is the initial 2013 workplan for the Broadband and Cable Committee, as last presented to the Board in May.
Here is the initial 2013 workplan for the Broadband and Cable Committee, as last presented to the Board in May.
The Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB) sent a letter to Mayor McGinn and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Peter Hahn concerning broadband development in Seattle and urging action to revise the rules concerning placement of telecommunication cabinets on property in the right of way (e.g. median strip between sidewalks and the street). CTTAB believes that a change in these rules are required to enable greater broadband Internet service buildout and competition, which will benefit consumers. CTTAB also acknowledges the challenge of weighing public interests in broadband, property rights, visual design and clutter, and barriers in the public rights of way.
This was done after a number of meetings where CTTAB heard from CenturyLink and SDOT staff, as well as members of the public, including UPTUN, a neighborhood group advocating for faster Internet service. There was also discussion at the Cable and Broadband Committee meetings, and CTTAB members have been participating in meetings with SDOT staff and CenturyLink. To hear the full discussion, listen to the meeting recordings.
Here is the final Advisory Board letter
Here is the Mayor’s response to the CTTAB letter:
Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board
September 10, 2013, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Seattle Municipal Tower: 700 – Fifth Avenue, Room 2750 (27th floor)
|Comments can be provided to CommunityTechnology@seattle.gov for distribution to the Board
or posted via Twitter including a mention of @CTTAB or the #CTTAB hashtag.
CTTAB Members: Rob Dolin, Dana Lewis, Stacey Wedlake, Nourisha Wells, Brian Hsi, Ben Krokower, Phillip Duggan, Daniel Hoang, Beryl Fernandes
Public: Jane Nishita (CenturyLink), Viet Nguyen (Frause), Dorene Corwell (STAR Center), Ken Meyer, Dan Stiefel, Andrew MacRae
Staff: Sabra Schneider, David Keyes, Erin Devoto, John Giamberso, Derrick Hall, Tony Perez
2. Public comments
Ken Meyer: This group and the proposed letter is amazing. The letter speaks well on behalf of the citizens. Thank-you to CTTAB and the staff support. The board has really been working on behalf of the citizens.
3. Report from Erin Devoto, City of Seattle Chief Technology Officer
Gigabit Squared: We had hoped they’d be here. They are working hard on engineering They are purchasing conduit and other assets from Zayo (http://gigabitseattle.com/2013/07/). They are investing 5-7 million in conduit. This saves them in street use permits and pole attachments, so that it speeds up deployment. This is good for the city. They are in flux with the design and implementation so they didn’t want to come talk. They had hoped to get something up in the fall, but not certain when it will be implemented. Likely after the new year.
The Broadband RFI last fall had 10 respondents. Yavapai was the second lead applicant; they are now talking with Gigabit Squared. They are working through the other 8 providers that contacted DoIT. DoIT put out another RFI a couple weeks ago, because we had a few additional providers wanted to respond. Email Erin with questions or comments at Erin.firstname.lastname@example.org
Data Center: Finished phase 1, now on phase 2. Top two responders on design were Price Waterhouse with HP; second was Deloitte Touche. They will be interviewing them in the coming week.
Beryl: Have you heard about a state data center closing. Has the city looked at this?
Erin: main data center is staying at the location, but the state is looking at other options with the space there. City looked at consolidation and location. The Olympia center is not a good location because they are in the same earthquake zone.
Chief Information Security Officer position open: Current CISO Mike Hamilton is leaving at the end of this month, starting his own business. DoIT will be advertising this next week. In response to CTTAB and others, City is starting to use LinkedIn, through a combined department account.
Erin will send out the announcement when we get it.
Parks Department WiFi – She is working with them on their strategy. They will be publishing an rfp or rfi to attract vendors, with an aggregated request covering downtown and potentially other parks and facilities. Cascade Link is serving them at South Lake Union. It’s likely to be at least 2-3 months before their strategy is ready to move ahead with the RFP.
DoIT Organizational Changes: As people retire or leave, Erin and leadership team is looking at how and whether to do some minor restructuring. DoIT is basically the same as it was 12 years ago.
FindIt Fix It mobile reporting app & Windows Phone : The City has Motorola CRM (constituent relationship management) system, managed by the City Finance and Administrative Services. They worked with Connected Bits to connect the app to the CRM. They couldn’t make it available on Windows phone initially, but City goal is to partner with Microsoft and make services available on Windows phones.
Brian Hsi?: Is DoIT having similar issues as others in aging workforce and retooling for new jobs?
Erin: Yes, the DoIT Deputy Director is looking at this.
Beryl: Erin had mentioned diversity. How many directors are women of color?
Beryl: I’m putting in a plug to look at how to increase this.
Erin: This is important, but we struggle with it. When we advertise, we are not allowed to ask about diversity; we only get resumes. City has focused on where we advertise and do outreach. We need to look at creative ways to attract people. We are losing some younger people who want different types of benefits (eg taking your dog to work). Might be an interesting brainstorm session for one of the CTTAB committees to have and Erin would be happy to participate.
Beryl: We’d help you brainstorm how to enhance your diversity and employee attracting efforts.
There was discussion of what committee and who will start this.
ACTION: Stacy: Digital Inclusion will start this and bring it back to PEOMPS and others. Beryl encouraged an invite to all.
4. SDOT and Telecommunications Cabinets (Director’s Rule): And vote on CTTAB recommendations letter, Brian and Ben
There was an extensive discussion (Starting about 27 minutes in). For full discussion, listen to the podcast.
See the final letter
See the Mayor’s response to CTTAB:
Discussion began with suggested grammatical and typographic changes to draft letter.
Dan Stiefel: He serves mid-range businesses in telco and IT field that the proposed changes in broadband could impact. When gigabit gets here in a few years, CenturyLink will be in a difficult situation as there will be other bandwidth providers able to provide VOIP and other business services. Ethernet over Copper (EOC): Link between fiber and last mile to the home. CL has said they won’t invest in EOC, but there is demand for it.
Dan said that $615 million last year on EOC products. Though they will serve his market, regardless.
For EOC at 40 MB, you need multiple pair. CenturyLink will rollout only where this infrastructure capacity exists. He is in favor of giving CenturyLink a boost, but not at expense of property owners and the City.
Committee haste to act may be rushing. It’s just o question of who’s going to pay for it.
Brian Hsi: Brian: The letter was co-drafted with Daniel Hoang and Ben Krokower following last month’s meeting.
Goal of letter was 1) to talk about urgency and 2) ask for a timeline from SDOT. They are working on setting a meeting date with SDOT and Century Link.
This has been a continuing issue. The letter is intended to elevate the urgency of getting better broadband and City taking action to move the process.
Ben: It was not necessarily the purview of the committee to propose the solutions.
Phillip: Doesn’t think that SDOT is going to take away citizen input. We have seen the community
Letter states well the goals and balance.
Dana: the letter does a great job asking for the two actions of getting a timeline and taking action.
Stacey: Expects and hopes SDOT will develop a balanced proposed action.
Current situation is not balanced with the public good of advancing broadband.
Rob: Is the intent to focus on residential only?
Ben: He believes the rule has impacted a lot of residential, but it is intended for both residential and business.
Beryl: Not clear who is going to gain from it and who will be impacted.
Some discussion of how this rule came about and whose oversight domain it was.
Tony Perez: It was originally in the 90’s.
Erin: There is a lot of confusion about what you mean by improving broadband. May want to tighten that description. Complaints we hear from customers have to do with speed and level of service and cost.
Viet Nguyen: Representing UPTUN. There are some areas of the City that still suffer from very slow speeds and few options. We do have digital divide here that we need to address. Thanks to the Board for the time on this. Urges support for the letter.
Dan Stiefel: This copper product cannot deliver 40 MB service. The primary market will be small business. Hasn’t been clear about the goal, which he sees as saving Century Link money.
Jane Nishita, CenturyLink – there were mis-statements in what was said. They are bringing fiber to the neighborhood and taking advantage of the copper that connects to the home. This rule impacts areas across the City. They are building out in other towns such as Graham. She applauds the CTTAB committee for coming forward with the letter.
Cell towers popping up was also a factor in developing the initial directors rule.
Brian – CTTAB statement from 2010-11 position about broadband that could be pulled into the letter.
Rob – Suggested adding residential
Stacey: Change 4th Paragraph to property rather than homeowner.
David Keyes: note that small businesses near residential areas would also be impacted by the land use change.
Tony Perez: Yes, larger businesses also have boxes to enable service access.
Brian: the term used in the rule is property owner.
Rob – withdrew proposed change
Dan Hoang– Emphasize public input in the letter to round out the discussion
Stacey agreed with comments,
Beryl wondered if it would be good to differentiate that CenturyLink.
Dorene – Confident that SDOT will bring in design and other factors that need to be weighed in making a decision.
It was clarified that all home and property owners would be covered.
ACTION: After a few more comments, Ben moved a motion to submit the letter to SDOT. Dana seconded submitting a letter. Motion approved unanimously.
5. CTTAB selection criteria & status on current appointments See overview
Member appointments: Request to get the appointments confirmed are pending. This impacts our quorum number.
Dan will continue as chair of PEOMPS committee.
Rob: We are short a vice-chair for dig inclusion and egov. Phillip will let us know which committee he is most interested in.
Selection: It would be helpful to look at the Board and know where the gaps are in the Board. Would encourage that we ask people to self-identify their associations, ethnicity, etc.
Rob: going into the next round of recruitment, he suggested putting out a survey to the Board to identify expertise Beryl: Also add interests
ACTION: Rob will put together a survey for members to fill out.
Beryl pointed out that she lives one place, but spends a lot of time in another community.
Dana: People also work in multiple communities, so may identify more than one geography.
Dana and Rob: Would also like to send this to committees to see their profile.
6. CTTAB public engagement strategy – Beryl (PEOMPS committee item?)
Rob: Daniel, thanks for putting the video out of the meeting. [Ed Note: He was streaming video of the meeting, but later learned audio needed boosting]
Dana: Request to public to send comments
Beryl: Ken Meyer brought up a request last time for how we can enable people to participate remotely.
She made a motion to ask DoIT staff to explore options for increasing participation for people who can’t be at the meeting physically.
Dana – also asked that community contribute ideas and advice.
Brian: It may be CTTAB’s opportunity to make recommendations to the City.
DoIT can call CTTAB, can organize a committee…
Sabra: Thought this was going to be addressed with the engagement committee, to look carefully at what we’re trying to solve. What’s best way of leveraging meetings.
Brian: What’s stopping us from taking action, now.
ACTION: Dana: PEOMPS has agreed to be the hub. They will also take a broader look at engagement and input during other times (besides meeting times).
7. Cable Office report, Tony Perez
See report at end of these minutes.
Comcast cable rates are going up about $2 per month.
They will have more about implications of trend to IP delivery
Brian: What is the impact of WAVE termination of office with Department of Neighborhoods?
Tony: They are terminating their agreement to have customer service (eg pay bills, return equipment) at 23rd and Jackson. This has also helped support the office there. WAVE will need to establish another office and certify with Cable Office that it meets City customer service code.
October meeting: will feature Andrew Afflerbach on future of cable
He is the CEO at CTC Technology & Energy. His topics will cover the future of cable over the next 5 yrs.
November: Will be a discussion on community needs with their consultant. What are community needs and interests that could be addressed by cable over the next 5-10 years?
Brian: Any recommended resources to read ahead of time?
Tony will send out some materials as available.
Franchise terms have not been restricted just to cable; we’ve looked at overall opportunities, capacities and needs that the system can be used for. (more than cable)
Beryl: Public will need to be educated in language they understand to be able to fully participate.
She suggested a panel discussion with a few different knowledge bases.
8. Get Online Campaign Update, Stacey Wedlake
Will be more than a month, running through the fall instead. Looking at 10/15 launch date.
Want new logo designs.
Focus on health and wellness: Target is those not using web effectively for health content.
Looking at a few key web sites (eg PubMed, WebMD, EthnoMed) as resource. Eg Mayo Clinic steering people Needs to be easy to consume.
REQUEST: Do CTTAB members have ideas for web sites to promote?
They are planning web campaign site plus a print piece. Trying to figure out what would be better than just a brochure. Eg: Tips, collector cards.
Rob: Reach out to Hack for Seattle and Start-up Weekend.gov participants who may have design skills to help.
Hack for Seattle meets up on Wednesdays.
Brian: Artefact group – has a lot of designers who may be interested.
Beryl: Encourages thinking about both health professional vetting and educator (Put a disclaimer on too.)
Stacey: Also want to do an event or webinar or mini-workshops with some computer labs.
Dorene and Stacey will connect about doing something at Center Park.
Dana: All the health care orgs will be distributing info for the Affordable Care, Health Exchange sign-up.
Dana: Suggested have content that is How to vet a credible health web site.
3 things people should look for in evaluating a site: eg are there ads.
9. Community Technology Report , David Keyes & Derrick Hall
Cable broadband for community learning and access sites: David and Derrick presented an update on the City’s program that provides free cable broadband for non-profits and public access computing sites. Comcast and WAVE provide the service through an agreement with the City. Derrick manages the project in the Community Technology Program.
Below are the number of installed sites. The Comcast agreement allows for 10 and up to 20 new sites per year. To be eligible, these sites must provide some community Internet access.
Comcast: 235 sites installed with 13 pending installations. 5 have been installed to date in 2013 and 14 were installed in 2012.
Wave: 49 sites have been installed with 2 applications pending. This would use up our current allocation.
FCC E-rate proceeding:
FCC is doing rulemaking on Modernizing the E-rate Program for Schools and Libraries
Comments are due Sept 16, and reply comments by October 16. This has implications for library and school use of the e-rate, including whether they can extend service after school and to other groups located in schools or adjoining that provide educational services.
10. Next meeting: Rob asked about availability for a longer meeting next time. There was willingness, but members said there may be a Seattle Channel meeting and it can be difficult to arrive early from work.
Items held for next meeting:
CTTAB code revisions, name and by-laws – David, Rob & Sabra (10 min) See draft material
Other committee reports.
Office of Cable Communications, Director’s Report
For CTTAB: September 10, 2013
Save the Dates: Please remember that our Cable Engineering Consultant Dr. Andrew Afflerbach PhD, will be here on October 8 presenting his findings about the future of cable television and Cheryl Johnson, our community needs ascertainment consultant will be here on November 12 to meet with CTTAB.
Comcast Price Increases: Comcast is raising rates again. It announced that effective October 1, the rate for the Limited Basic tier will increase from $16.35/mo to %17.90/mo. The increase will affect all of Comcast’s Seattle subscribers.
Comcast Allegation: We forwarded to Comcast the name of a Comcast representative who allegedly told a Seattle building owner that the City has instructed Wave and Comcast not to compete with each other. We made clear to Comcast our expectation that if the allegation proves true, we expect Comcast to clear the record with the building owner and take action against the representative for providing false information to Seattle property owners.
Comcast: We spoke with a Snohomish County representative who informed us that Comcast has submitted a finding of “Effective Competition” to the FCC. If successful this would end rate regulation of the Comcast limited basic tier and allow Comcast to charge different prices in different areas of the affected 15 cities in Snohomish County. We do not expect Comcast to submit a request for Seattle. Under Federal law the FCC can grant a finding of effective competition when more than 15% of subscribers of paid TV services in a franchise area are served by a company other than the cable operator.
Wave: We are close to arriving to an agreement with Wave that will provide the City with additional cable modems for nonprofits; money for underwriting a Seattle Channel program; and advertising spots for the Seattle channel.
Wave: Wave informed us of its intention to terminate the existing agreement with the Department of Neighborhoods effective December 31, 2013. Wave and Comcast entered into this agreement to satisfy their obligation under Seattle law to have a customer service office located in Seattle. We have asked Wave to provide us with the address of their new service center so that we may certify that it meets the requirements of SMC 21.60.820 (B). Comcast has agreed to enter into a new 1 –year agreement with the NSC at 23rd and Jackson
Market Disruption in Video Distribution: The Cable Office made a presentation exploring market developments that could affect future cable franchise fee and tax revenues.
NATOA Conference: The Cable Office will be attending the NATOA conference next week in Orlando Florida. The theme of the conference will be the transition to an all IP environment and the challenge it presents to local governments.