CTAB Digital Equity/Inclusion Sub Committee meeting minutes for Tuesday, April 28, 2020 6:00 PM
Meeting was held virtually using technology due to ongoing health crisis.
An invitation to technology skills providers and champions!
Do you want to work together to push forward shared interests in cultivating a more digital literate Seattle for K-12 students, young adults, adults, and senior citizens? Come join us Nov 13, 15, or 17 to share your work and ideas for collaborating to improve digital skills for the community you work with. The Seattle Information Technology Department (Seattle IT) and the City’s Community Technology Advisory Board (CTAB) are convening two in-person and one online session to explore a digital literacy network.
The idea for a digital literacy network or something similar came up in the community input as we were developing Seattle’s Digital Equity Initiative. Similar groups have formed elsewhere, including Kansas City’s Coalition for Digital Inclusion Alliance and Philadelphia’s Digital Literacy Alliance. These coalitions are helping market educational opportunities, train trainers, recruit and place volunteers, develop funding, identify skills standards and assessment tools, exchange curriculum, and/or increase awareness of the need for digital literacy. These efforts can complement other broadband, education, STEM, immigrant/refugee, or social service coalitions. They involve a range of community based organizations, companies, public agencies, schools, foundations, and community members.
Seattle IT and CTAB are hosting three meet-ups the week of November 13-17 to learn who wants to be involved and what the needs and priorities would be. One meet-up will be in the north end, one in the south/west area, and one will be virtual (phone/internet).
Please join us for one of these dates:
- Monday, November 13, 9-10:30 a.m. at Literacy Source, 3200 NE 125th St, Seattle, WA
- Wednesday, November 15, 10-11:30 a.m. at Delridge Community Center, 4501 Delridge Way SW, Seattle, WA
- Friday, November 17, 12-1 p.m. virtual meeting online
If you’re interested, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, organization, and which meet-up you would like to participate in. Please let us know if you need special accommodations or an interpreter. Feel free to invite others!
Community Technology Advisory Board (CTAB)
Draft Meeting Agenda for September 13th, 2016, 6-8 pm
Location: Room 2750 (27th floor), Seattle Municipal Tower: 700 – Fifth Avenue
|Introductions, including new Get Engaged member Eliab Sisay||5|
|Agenda and August minutes approval||2|
|Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller update and questions||10|
|Digital equity projects:|
|· Seattle Public Library mi-fi lending & digital equity program – Toby Thomas||20|
|· Seattle Community Center wi-fi expansion status – Derrick Hall||10|
|Public Comment and Announcements||10|
|Cable and Broadband Committee||10|
|Digital Inclusion Committee||10|
|Wrap-up summary of decisions and next steps||3|
|Total projected time||120|
You can follow or comment to the Board on Twitter: @SeaTechBoard. Information for the Board can also be sent to CommunityTechnology@seattle.gov
Draft Meeting Agenda: June 14th, 2016, 6-8 pm
Location: Room 2750 (27th floor), Seattle Municipal Tower: 700 – Fifth Avenue
|Approval of agenda and May minutes||2|
|Homelessness issues & technology: Sola Plumacher, Strategic Advisor, Seattle Human Services Department||25|
|Public Wi-Fi strategy development plan: Jim Loter||10|
|Social media plan development: Virginia Gleason||10|
|Wave franchise renewal community meetings (discussion and vote): Karia Wong and Tony Perez||10|
|Technology Matching Fund grants recommendation and vote: Digital Inclusion Committee||20|
|E-gov Commitee update: Joneil Sampana and Heather Lewis||5|
|Privacy Committee update: Christopher Sheets and Iga Fikayo Keme||5|
|Public comment, updates or announcements||5|
|Wrap up and next meeting||5|
You can follow or comment to the Board on Twitter: @SeaTechBoard. Information for the Board can also be sent to CommunityTechnology@seattle.gov
City of Seattle Community Technology Advisory Board
Draft Meeting Agenda for February 9th, 2016, 6-8 pm
Location: Room 2750 (27th floor), Seattle Municipal Tower: 700 – Fifth Avenue
You can follow or comment to the Board on Twitter: @SeaTechBoard.
Information for the Board can also be sent to CommunityTechnology@seattle.gov
|Approval of agenda and January minutes||2|
|Mayor Murray’s 2016 priorities||15|
|Councilmember Harrell’s 2016 priorities||15|
|Public comment & announcements||10|
|E-gov Committee report: Joneil Sampana||5|
|Broadband Committee report: Amy Hirotaka||5|
|Determine committee structures and work plan development||40|
|Wrap up and next meeting agenda items||5|
City of Seattle Community Technology Advisory Board
Draft Meeting Agenda for January 12th, 2016, 6-8 pm
Location: Room 2750 (27th floor), Seattle Municipal Tower: 700 – Fifth Avenue
You can follow or comment to the Board on Twitter: @SeaTechBoard.
Information for the Board can also be sent to CommunityTechnology@seattle.gov
|Approval of agenda and Nov minutes||5|
|CTO Report: Smart Cities project & upcoming for 2016: Michael Mattmiller||15|
|Seattle.gov redesign: Jeff Beckstrom||10|
|Digital Equity update –strategies overview: David Keyes||10|
|Comcast franchise agreement update/overview: Tony Perez||10|
|Committee updates and 2015 accomplishments (5 min per committee)||20|
|– Broadband & Cable|
|– Digital Inclusion|
|2016 Planning: workplans, annual meetings with Mayor & Council||15|
|Wrap up and next meeting||5|
City of Seattle Citizens Technology Advisory Board (CTAB) – Sept. 8th minutes
(Draft minutes pending review by the Board at next month’s meeting)
Topics covered: The group heard updates from Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller; a discussion on Pay By Phone Parking from Mary Catherine Snyder of SDOT; a discussion of Comcast Internet Essentials low income program from Kathy Putt of Comcast; reminder on the Comprehensive Plan; a Privacy Committee rAn eport from Beryl Fernandes; Amy Hirotaka on the Cable and Broadband Committee; Jose Vasquez on the Digital Inclusion Committee; and an E-Gov Committee report from Joneil Sampana.
This meeting was held: September 8, 2015; 6:00-8:05 p.m., Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2750
Audio recording of CTAB meetings are available at: http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/CTTAB/podcast/cttab.xml
Board Members: Nourisha Wells, Jose Vasquez, Beryl Fernandes, Joneil Sampana, Karia Wong, Amy Hirotaka, Iga Fikayo Keme, Dana Lewis
Public: Christopher Sheats, Lee Colleton, Lloyd Douglas, Dorene Cornwell, Henok Kidane (Open Seattle), Joseph Williams (Seattle Seniors), Dan Moulton, Dan Stiefel, Sarah Trowbridge, Luke Swart (Open Seattle), Carlton Green (Open Seattle), Kathy Putt (Comcast), Annmarie, Darryl Banks
Staff: Michael Mattmiller, Bruce Blood, Vicky Yuki, Derrick Hall, Cass Magnuski, Mary Catherine Snyder (SDOT), Aurlee Gamboa (City Light)
30 In Attendance
Meeting was called to order by Nourisha Wells.
Nourisha Wells: We’ll do introductions, then agenda approval.If you’ve had a chance to look over the agenda, and there are copies of the agenda at the front–make sure you sign in. We will move to approve the agenda or make any changes. Is there a motion to approve the agenda?
Amy Hirotaka: I move to approve the agenda.
Nourisha Wells: We will now open the floor to discussion.
Beryl Fernandes: I want to add a motion on the TMF criteria.
Nourisha Wells: Okay. Any other discussion?
Christopher Sheats: I need two or three minutes to voice concern over SDOT’s tracking technology.
Nourisha Wells: You can do that during public comment or announcements. Any other comments on the agenda? Can we have a motion to approve the agenda and to accept the amendment?
Jose Vasquez: I so move.
Nourisha Wells: The agenda has been approved. A reminder: When you have a comment, a question, or an announcement, make sure you state your name for the minutes and also for the podcasts. So be sure to speak up so we can hear you. First up on the agenda is our update from Michael Mattmiller.
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER MICHAEL MATTMILLER UPDATE
Michael Mattmiller: Good evening, everyone, and thanks for coming out this evening. I have a handful of updates for you, and I’m going to start off with some exciting news. A couple of weeks ago, the City of Seattle was awarded by Governing Institute their 2015 Citizen Engagement Award of the Year, specifically for our open data program. So thank you, not only to Bruce Blood for his efforts in that category, but I’m so thrilled that there is a number of folks here from Open Seattle this evening. When we think about recognition that we get for making data available. It’s only as good as those who actually use it to produce meaningful things that improve the quality of life for our Seattle residents. So, I really do applaud your commitment and dedication to leveraging that information, to helping give us feedback to make that program better, and for using your free time to help make Seattle a great place to use those specific technologies. Thank you very much.
In terms of other things going on, it’s a busy time for us in DoIT. We are making great progress with our next generation data center. Since the last time we spoke, we have engaged the facility to use as our backup site in Eastern Washington to provide redundancy as we move into our new consolidated data center environment.
We’re also making progress with our 0365 migration and still look to be on track to complete email migration by the end of the year.
And then we have a few other projects that we haven’t much talked about, the first being IT consolidation. Last we spoke, the Mayor had just announced his intention to consolidate IT professionals working across fifteen different executive branch departments into a new Seattle Information Technology Department. And we’ve been having a number of meetings with staff that are in scope for consolidation. We’ve been having great conversations about what consolidation means, the benefits we expect to derive, and timelines and plans. One hallmark of the consolidation approach that’s very important to me is that we hadn’t come to the employees of the City with a fully baked plan of how exactly how we’re going to run consolidation. Instead, we made this a transparent initiative. We’ve made this an engaging process. And we have so far outlined six transition teams that will be engaging staff across the City to help plan out the new department. Those transition teams include, for example, the HR transition team that are helping to develop the approach to workplace practices and helping us to understand how to run the consolidation process. The finance transition team is help to find things like charge-backs and other administrative practices. The culture and values team is coming together to help think about what is it we need to instill in this department to make sure it’s a place where IT professionals want to work and stay and build out. Those efforts are moving forward and we expect to send the legislation to affect consolidation in the Mayor’s budget, which will be translated to Council on September 28. The effective date for the new department in that legislation will be April 6, 2016.
A few other things going on: The Digital Equity Initiative. Since the last time we spoke, we were pleased to release our page one report outlining the six goals that were important to the community as we think about how to make sure that everyone in Seattle is getting access to leveraging the benefits of technology in our high tech society. The Phase One report outlined a number of action strategies for how we can achieve our goals. And so our next step is to begin digging into those action strategies, identify what we can most affect, given the resources available to us. And then to hopefully advocate for some additional resources. And we look forward to kicking off that work soon.
Vicky Yuki: We do have only four copies of the report left. I know some of you got copies in the mail, but if you would like some, we can order some more. Also, you can still get it online [linked at Seattle.gov/digital-equity].
Michael Mattmiller: On the broadband front, since the last time we talked–in June, we talked about the results of the broadband study. As much as we would like to build out a municipal broadband system, we looked under the couch cushions and couldn’t find $360 million. But what we’ve been doing since the last time we spoke is we’ve had a number of conversations with our federal elected officials, our Members of Congress, and the delegation of our Senators to understand what their broadband priorities are and what types of funding opportunities might be available to us. We’ve also talked across the region with other cities about how they’re looking at the broadband challenge. And on Thursday of this week, I will be meeting with the Lake Washington Mayors Association. It’s all the mayors of the cities across the Sound area that touch Lake Washington, to talk about broadband and the challenges of how we might move forward. It is worth noting that in the year or so since the Mayor outlined his broadband strategy, we’ve gone from having about 20,000 homes with access to gigabit speed broadband to about 140,000 homes today. And on top of that, Century Link, on August 17, announced that they are starting to sell cable television service, in part because of building out to Seattle area homes. While 140,000 homes is not the full range of Seattle households–I think the number is 270,000–we are making progress towards competitive, affordable and equal gigabit broadband options.
And I’m very excited about a project Bruce Blood is going to be talking to you about a little bit later called our Interactive Broadband Map. One of the challenges we have with broadband right now is, while I think we can all agree that we’d like better service, faster service, cheaper service, we don’t have a lot of data specifically on what that looks like across Seattle neighborhoods. So, on Queen Anne, what is the current experience in terms of the cost, in terms of what our providers are delivering versus what they promise. And then how is it different in Rainier Beach and how is it different in Columbia City, and my new neighborhood, West Seattle. And so the Interactive Broadband Map that Bruce will talk to you about is going to hopefully give us some additional data to better target our efforts and understand our opportunities for success.
On the Privacy front, I’m very excited to see a lot of the work that we’ve been investing over the past few months come to fruition. And by that, I mean the Council passed by resolution a set of privacy principles back in March that give us an ethical framework to think about the public’s personal information and how we collect and use it here ion government. And since then, Ginger Armbruster, who many of you have met in her role as our privacy program manager, has been working with departments across the City with our external advisory group, on standing up a privacy program–designing a privacy program–that will help take those principles and turn them into something actionable, that we can educate City staff about how to think about data collection, how to think about data use, and how to think about getting ahead of projects before they are announced, to make sure that we have the right consideration around privacy, the right risk identification, and to put the right mitigation in place. For next steps on that account, we will be at a full Council briefing on October 5, to talk about the privacy program that we’ve developed and the timeline for implementation. I know a number of folks read the Crosscut article this morning on the e.cyclical system in SDOT and it’s a very interesting scenario for what we think about what we’re trying to affect with the privacy program, it’s exactly the type of thing where we would have liked to have been involved before the system was purchased. Not because it would have meant that we wouldn’t have purchased the system, but it would have been great to have had the conversation at that time about what the technology is, and what are the privacy risks and how do we mitigate it. SDOT didn’t do anything wrong in their procurement this cycle, they didn’t miss a step, it’s that when they procured it, we didn’t have a privacy program in place. We had developer privacy principles. But going forward, for example, one of the ways that we would make a purchase like this is we would have a gate as part of our technology procurement review process, something called MITI process here in the City, and there would have been questions about what are the potential privacy hacks, and this system would have triggered a more in depth review that Ginger Armbruster, or a member of her team, would have run to make sure that we properly considered the risks and mitigated any potential harms. In the case of the e.cyclical system, we learned about the system a couple of months ago and we immediately intervened, reached out to SDOT and said let’s have a conversation about what the system does, how it works, and make sure that we really thought about what information we’d collect, what privacy risks exist, and how do we mitigate them. Through a series of conversations with SDOT staff, through a series of conversations with the vendor, we identified a set of controls we would expect to be in place with a system like this to minimize the risks that the public’s information could be re-identified or used beyond simply understanding traffic flow. And we feel, based on the controls described to us by the vendor and the assurances we received, that there is minimal privacy risk to the public. Now, conversations are not sufficient and so we have talked to this vendor and we are requiring them to go out and get a third party audit to validate that the controls described to us are not only in place, but that they are operating effectively. And we are continuing to work with vendors to scope and perform that audit.
Beryl Fernandes: Just a story from the field: Somebody, I guess maybe ten years ago, had applied for SPU’s low income subsidy. Somebody came to their door wanting to install for them a free toilet. The plumber arrived with paperwork which showed this person’s very detailed financial information. That guy was horrified. This happened a couple of months ago. This was a person of color, lower income, and he said, “I couldn’t believe it! Why would the City give it to someone who was going to do the installation?” I don’t know if you are going to get to that granular level in your controls, but that would be something to consider.
Michael Mattmiller: It would be worth understanding more about it. To whatever extent that’s appropriate to share, I would love that scenario to work with.
Beryl Fernandes: Sure!
Michael Mattmiller: I would be happy to answer more questions in a minute. The one thing I will end with, is, for those at the table, I’ll pass them around the room here. I’m happy to share with you the City of Seattle Department of Information Technology 2014 Report. It took a little bit longer this year, as you might imagine with being new and getting used to the department. But also, it’s been a few years since we put out a report. But I want to make sure everyone here has a copy of the report so we can talk about what it is we’ve been doing within DoIT. As you can see, in the report, that a number of achievements that we’ve been talking about are really thanks in part to the great work that CTAB does, what you guided us to do, we do call that out here in several places. So thank you again for all of your efforts.
Jose Vasquez: Is there a section in here or online where we can see how the City of Seattle is doing as far as diversity in employment numbers? Because that’s something I personally would be interested in seeing in self-reflection of the City.
Michael Mattmiller: It is not in this report, but earlier this year, SDHR (Department of Human Resources) put out an equity study in terms of the City’s workforce. And the results were very interesting. The good news–and I don’t have the numbers in front of me, I’ll come back with them next month–is that DoIT is more diverse in it’s staffing than the technology industry here in Seattle. The downside to this is that the technology industry here in Seattle is not very diverse. So, while on one hand I can say it’s great that we’re better than the average, the average is really not sufficient. We recognize that as a lens we really need to look at, when we look at our staffing needs, we consider that through RSJI, and when we looked at the process of identifying who is in scope for IT consolidation in the City, we applied the RSJI lens to make sure that we created an organization not exclusionary based on race. We also found that within DoIT, there was pay equity across diversity lines in all areas except for IT professional CD band where we saw potential disparity that we need to spend more time on for diverse individuals. What that means is … well I’ll bring more information next month.
Chrisopher Sheats: Are you taking off soon? Will you not be here for the comments?
Michael Mattmiller: I do need to take off soon. I know, Christopher, that you mentioned concern with the E.Cyclical system. Would you like to share that?
Chrisopher Sheats: For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an unemployed masters student, studying information security. I intern with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). I’m on the board of directors of the Seattle Privacy Coalition, and I also educate lawyers, activists and journalists, so I’m a little knowledgeable about how serious this is. A few months ago, I raised concern at CTAB about the connected car seat technology and about technology’s capability because Seattle’s residents will not be informed if Seattle government and Seattle leaders are not informed. Today, Crosscut reporter David Kroman published an article entitled, “Seattle Installs New System to Track Individual Drivers,” which concerns a related parking identification tracking technology. There are a few problems that I have with Seattle’s interpretation of what it considers to be a surveillance system and how it’s unable to safeguard its residents from intrusive surveillance, even in light of its recently adopted privacy principles. Some of the facts of the system has Seattle government, including its Chief Technology Officer, doesn’t consider this to be a surveillance system despite the manufacturer calling it a tracking system. History proves that tracking systems easily become surveillance systems. Just look at our cellphone network. SDOT is free to pursue infrastructure improvements without approval from the City Council and even called this project ‘business as usual.’ The public was not brought into the conversation before the deployment of this tracking technology. A privacy assessment was not performed. The tracking system records when and where an identifier exists, including personal cars, personal cellphones. And markers such as speed and distance and behavior are analyzed. Seattle does not receive raw data, and so the claims that they do not store raw data, despite there being no audit for the system. Washington State Supreme Court (SIC) recently unanimously passed a bill restricting the use of Sting Rays and other surveillance devices that mimic cell towers because of the privacy implications. The tracking system was something that was already in place and it’s privacy invasive capabilities were later upgraded to include these wireless surveillance mechanisms. The data is collected 24/7, 365, including nearby homes and workplaces that are within reach of monitored intersections. The data is transmitted to a third party, but we do not know if the data is encrypted at rest before it is transmitted or if the transmission is encrypted. SDOT Public Information Officer Norm Mah was quoted in the article, saying the City receives no raw data from the readers, which they say means it cannot trace information back to individuals for individual devices. Mah compared it to a bar code on a baseball ticket. The system knows you’re there but not who you are. The data is fed into the readers. It’s scrubbed, meaning that it’s analyzed and aggregated into a lump of useful information absent of discrete data. The metaphor, itself, is wrong, and the explanation is not a true presentation of reality. We do not carry baseball tickets with us everywhere we go, 24/7, and they are not scanned every time we go through an intersection. The public knows that American businesses do not have the ability to keep collected data safe from governments, be it the American government or the Chinese government. It would appear that employees of Seattle forget their history. Do not forget that in 1943, census-related Japanese Americans data was released. Congress passed saying that they could release the census data so that they could detain Americans of Japanese descent. Seattle has no business collecting and tracking Seattle residents’ physical location data and handing it over to third parties, because they cannot control how it is used once it’s collected. Thank you.
Michael Mattmiller: Thank you, Chris. You make a number of really great points there. And you’re right. Going forward privacy impact assessments–thinking about privacy risks before systems go live–is critical to standing up our privacy program. Some of the things we’ve learned about the E.Cyclical system since they came to our attention, just to give you a quick sense of the high level data flow, when you pass by one of the E.Cyclical readers, it does capture your MAC address to understand at a point in time how a car is traveling through the system. Once it is read, your MAC address is encrypted and transmitted. It’s not stored locally. When it gets to E.Cyclical solution. the MAC is decrypted and immediately salted and hashed. So once that happens and it gets written out, your MAC does not live in a decrypted state at rest. It’s always either encrypted in transit or salted and hashed and then written out until the point where it can be determined how you’re crossing through.
Chrisopher Sheats: What cyphers is it using?
Michael Mattmiller: That is a good question. I apologize. I know it’s a Shaw 256 based cypher, but specifically, I am not sure. In terms of them being able to go back and identify, the vendor has expressed to us that they do not maintain the salt. So it is not possible for us to take the MAC address, then go back and look for that information at a later point in time. This is what has been communicated to us. Do I have the audit to say this has been observed and tested? That’s what we’re requiring the vendor to go back and do. So I will have that update for you as we go back and get those results.
Chrisopher Sheats: Well, you probably don’t know this, but I’m a member of the Washington State Address Confidentiality Program. Physical location is paramount to families in that program. This system that you equate is similar to Cisco’s network analysis system, where any WiFi device, be it a laptop or cellphone, is monitored in the WiFi network. And looking at this system, I can say. okay, here’s this device. There’s no name on on the device, it’s just a number. But I can physically go there and say, oh, that’s that person. And now that I know, every time I see that number, whether it’s a physical MAC address or not, I can know that it’s the number assigned to that person. This is not a system that’s designed to withstand.
Michael Mattmiller: Thank you.
Nourisha Wells: Any other questions?
Beryl Fernandes: I would just like to add that the issue I brought up relates to much broader issues of low income subsidies. And the Brookings Institution made a nation-wide on low income subsidies and it said they are not being used. They’re being under-utilized. Well the reason for that is the lack of trust in government’s ability to protect their data and themselves.
Michael Mattmiller: It’s a very valid point and we very much recognize that. When we set up the privacy initiative last fall, building the public’s trust in how we collect and use data was very much a part of it. And I very much look forward to having the program operationalized, when we can ahead of these technology purchases and have a conversation about the right way to minimize risk. We’re also going to have increasing scenarios across the City where there’s a desire to improve City services, make more data-driven decisions, and in this case, be able to better manage traffic through downtown. So we’re going to continue having these conversations where there’s a tension between what is the right way to protect. So one-way data collection and also make sure that we ensure quality of life here in Seattle. They are not in conflict, those two things, but I really do look forward to the conversations that we’ll continue having about how we navigate that tension. I just realized that there are some people from SDOT here and yet I’m talking.
Nourisha Wells: I just noticed that I skipped over approving the minutes from last month. My apologies. So, we need to do that. May I have a motion to approve the minutes from last month?
AUGUST MINUTES APPROVED
Nourisha Wells: Announcements?
Bruce Blood: I guess that would be me, for one. As Michael, mentioned, we’re about three weeks from officially launching an application that we’re developing. Actually, M-Lab, part of the Open Technology Institute, is doing most of the development, although certainly, Open Seattle was very much involved in the early parts of it. It will allow anyone to measure their broadband speed on whatever device from wherever they are. Derrick, are you running that thing? You could actually open it up. http://seattle.gov/broadband/broadband-map . This has been a really interesting project because of working with a nonprofit to do the development–actually a couple of nonprofits to do the development. So this site is not yet live for testing because I happen to know there are a couple of bugs in here that we have to fix before opening it up. But, hopefully within the next couple of days or early next week at the very latest, because we need to get it tested, I’m going to ask you folks to go out and bang on it. Basically, I’ll probably just shoot it out to the CTAB list and for those of you who are not necessarily on the CTAB list, I’m email@example.com. I will be happy to shoot you the URL for testing. There will also be a Survey Monkey survey to track the results you get. All that should be available at the latest early next week. We’re really pretty excited about it. It actually works. Except for the fact that there’s a bug. The M-Lab folks have been wonderful to work with. They’re really sharp folks. So the way it’s working is that they are doing all the development for free for us. It hasn’t cost us anything except for the labor in the City to get it on our servers and for me to project manage it, more or less. And then they will take it and basically start handing it off in any number of other cities to work in the same way. This is the first time that I’m aware of that you’ve got actual third party pretty much verifiable speed testing of broadband. Now we’ll see if our providers have been telling us the truth.
Beryl Fernandes: We’ve had some people who live in apartment buildings where it varies a great deal from one floor to another, one side of the building to another. Is this going to capture that?
Bruce Blood: No, it will not, unfortunately. Once again, for privacy issues we have to anonymize it to the census block level. We can’t be exact because then you would be able to track people down.
Beryl Fernandes: So, what do you do? Take the average?
Bruce Blood: Right now we’re taking the mean. What we will do eventually is take the highest and lowest, take the extremes, and then in Phase Two, we’ll start plotting in. We’ll need to get this out by the end of the month.
Nourisha Wells: Do you have any questions for Bruce?
Comment: I noticed you had the demo site up earlier, broadbandtogether.com. It is further along on that site now?
Bruce Blood: Yes, that was the original site that John Tigue was working on. And he basically, became the point person and he got really busy paying the mortgage and things. But I don’t want to diminish that work because that was important. M-Lab took it from there.
Comment: Is it still open source?
Bruce Blood: You know, I haven’t asked them whether it’s going to be open source. I think it is, actually.
Comment: If someone wants to know what the metrics are to represent different areas…
Bruce Blood: I’ll ask. Don’t know why I haven’t asked before.
Dorene Cornwell: I have a question, sort of a follow up to Beryl’s questions. I’ve been collecting anecdotal stories about people’s issues with Century Link, and in my building it seems to be that they have to come to the building and do something to increase the speed. And so it happens on different floors at different times. And the speed, until they do it, is zero. I have these random conversation with other people who I think must live in multi-family buildings, although I sometimes hear about it second hand. So it’s all very nice that Century Link has got 100,000 households that have gigabit speeds, but there are some other households where it’s taking a week to schedule the physical visit, so the speed is zero.
Bruce Blood: And it’s not 120,000 households that have gigabit speed. You still have to pay for the gigabit speed. It’s 120,000 households where it’s available. And that’s what they say. I don’t know what the solution is to getting that granular except for maybe that there’s nothing that says for a person who wants to opt in, say, could run the test over a period of time, keep the results and then talk to the Cable Office.
Nourisha Wells: Any other questions? We will have Mary Catherine Snyder for the Pay by Phone Parking update.
PAY BY PHONE PARKING UPDATE
Mary Catherine Snyder: I’m in the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). I’m in the Parking Program, which is in the Transit and Mobility division. I’m here to talk about our Pay By Phone project that we’re still working on and trying to expand. Just wanted to provide a brief update about where we’re at and maybe see if you all had some feedback or ideas about how it’s going. I would just say generally that I have a suspicion that there’s not a lot of people on the staff that do either project management, technology, or data management that are really aware of the resource that you might offer as an advisory board or at your monthly meetings. So that might be something for us to work on.
And if we have time, I’m happy to talk about our broader efforts to share parking data and work with app developers to develop parking apps. So, I was here in April and at that point, we were just starting to think about how to grow Pay By Phone use. So, if you’ve been paying for parking on-street in Seattle since 2013, you can use an app called Pay By Phone by our vendor that we contracted with for that purpose. You sign up for an account and from a customer perspective, it’s pretty straightforward to pay for parking. It tends to be quicker than a pay station. You get a text message, you can extend your time, so there are some customer service benefits. And that’s really why we’re trying to push more use of the Pay By Phone app. I think over time, we’d also see a better management of our infrastructure on-street, because it’s pretty expensive to operate pay station kiosks on the street. So if we can encourage more and more people to use the phone app, then we can reduce our reliance on infrastructure like that. But right now, we’re promoting it as a payment option that we’re trying to emphasize.
Right now we have a drop plan that we’re working on getting funding for. Right now there’s a user fee. If you pay by phone, there’s a thirty five cent per transaction user fee, and we would like to eliminate that fee for the parker. So that would really put Pay By Phone and pay stations on an equal footing. There would be no penalty for using one versus the other. And then we would really like to get some funding to market the program. That’s really where we’re at.
We’re also talking about, if you’re familiar with the racial equity toolkit that the City has, we’re building that out for Pay By Phone. So it’s been really helpful to use DoIT’s technology access survey. Because there’s a lot of information about smart phone ownership. The challenge we have is we don’t track who parks. We don’t know a lot about parkers. So, we don’t really have a way to say, if we do this thing, it’s going to have certain regional disparities, because we just don’t know.
We’re hoping to be able to identify funding through our departmental process, that we could launch an expansion plan in December or early next year. So I was really here to provide an update and see if anybody had any comments or questions or ideas about how to understand technology access. It’s smart phone access but it’s also credit card access, because you need a credit card to sign up for Pay By Phone. It’s a similar discussion that people are having with other services, like Car To Go, or Uber, all of those are also credit card and app based.
Joneil Sampana: Based on your early marketing plans, do you feel that engagement with citizens has been positive for the last couple of cycles?
Mary Catherine Snyder: When we launched in the summer of 2013, we spent some resources on our marketing program. We had online media, online ads, we had postcards we put out in business districts, and I think that helped. We also had word of mouth and media announcements to get people to sign up. Just anecdotally, we know people that use Pay By Phone love it. People say, “I’ve used it and will never go back. I haven’t been to a pay station in years.” Almost 90 (SIC) percent of our transactions are by phone now, which for us is about 80,000 to 90,000 a month. So we’re trying to figure out whether we’re at some point where that’s the market in the City and we need to do more marketing. And we really think the user fee is a barrier to use. Especially if you’re buying a dollar’s worth of parking, the idea that you pay 35 cents more is really a problem. I’m hoping that removing that barrier helps. We’d like to get to 30 percent of transactions by phone by the end of next year, which is a big goal. So we’ll see if we can figure out how to do that.
Dan Moulton: Is there a Chinese wall between ticketing and your racial point, referencing Ferguson, Missouri?
Mary Catherine Snyder: I need a little help with that.
Dan Moulton: [unintelligible]…revenue generation.
Mary Catherine Snyder: This is the pay for parking part of it. Separately, the Seattle Police Department handles parking enforcement.
Dan Moulton: Is there a Chinese wall between them? Never the twain shall meet.
Mary Catherine Snyder: When you pay for your parking on-street, if you’re the parking officer, which is really a great job, you’re walking down the street and you see either a pay station receipt on the vehicle. You’d see some other way that they’ve paid for parking legally or that license plate shows up on the Pay By Phone database that parking enforcement has access to. All parking enforcement uses are license plate and whether they’ve paid by phone and how much time remaining. So there isn’t any other vehicle information if/until the officer goes to write a ticket.
Dan Moulton: My question is a futuristic question.
Dan Stiefel: Does he or she punch in a number? Or is it scanned?
Mary Catherine Snyder: It’s punched in. At this point, there’s no scanning.
Dan Stiefel: So, it looks like the car might be subject to a ticket before they punch in the license plate number.
Mary Catherine Snyder: Yes.
Lee Colleton: So, the Seattle Police do have license plate readers on some of their vehicles, including some of their parking enforcement vehicles. As for the futuristic point, they could put license plate readers on all of their vehicles and have a more perfect enforcement of parking regulations than they do today. But only the meter readers are actually checking for the sticker.
Dan Moulton: I don’t want to see people ending up in a cycle of debt. That’s my point.
Mary Catherine Snyder: Are there any more comments on the Pay By Phone program? I’m hoping that by the end of the year we have a plan that’s funded. We’re pursuing that. I can come back and talk about it more.
Karia Wong: Is there going to be any translation? Or language version of the app available?
Mary Catherine Snyder: The app is available in French, because they’re actually a Canadian company and they operate in Paris, and Spanish as well. We have over time translated our parking materials into various languages. We continue to try and do that when we can, especially on the public education side.
Karia Wong: But for the actual app, is it going to be localized in Chinese or Japanese or other languages for where we have our poorest residents?
Mary Catherine Snyder: Right now, French, Spanish and English are the only languages available to us. If that’s something we’d like to pursue, we’d have to work with them or see if there’s somebody else that can do it. Our pay stations are in Chinese and Spanish and English languages.
Lee Colleton: I have a concern about the third party provider that is storing this information. You said that SDOT does not view any analysis currently of who’s parking where. Does this third party provider store these records of people’s phone, their other identifying information, a record of where they’re parking? Do they sell that to other third parties? How are those privacy concerns presented to someone who is just trying to park, and they may have their credit card appear on the app?
Mary Catherine Snyder: Pay By Phone has transaction information that’s connected to your license plate and payment because they’re charging your credit card for that. When you accept the app, it states that they may not sell that data to anybody. They also meet the highest levels of PCI security, both for the app and they also have an IBR phone system. So that’s really important to us. On our end, we actually do get transaction data from Pay By Phone. What we use is location of purchase, and the amount, but we don’t have any vehicle identification information. So we don’t know who’s parking. We just know that a parking event occurred. We compile that data, along with similar data from the pay stations. We track parking occupancy based on that data. We track the time, location, and amount, but we don’t have any information about the parker.
Christopher Sheats: I just wanted to make a note that even the platinum level of PCI identification is still a check box that gets checked on. It’s not a preventative measure by any means.
Beryl Fernandes: When the language says they do not sell, does that mean they could gift it to somebody?
Bruce Blood: They can’t redistribute it in any way. I don’t know. I haven’t seen it. But I have seen similar language and that would be what we would ask in a contract.
Mary Catherine Snyder: Well, I really appreciate your time. If there are other projects or programs at SDOT that people are interested in hearing about, I’m happy to help connect people up. You guys are a really helpful resource, and it’s a very different view of how we do our projects.
Nourisha Wells: Thank you. Next up we have Kathy Putt from Comcast.
COMCAST INTERNET ESSENTIALS LOW INCOME PROGRAM
[CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION TO THIS PRESENTATION – History of Internet Essentials
This clarification is offered in response to the statement below about the history of the Comcast program and city of Seattle. This clarification from David Keyes was approved at the October 13, 2015 CTAB meeting:
From David Keyes: The proposed “Comcast Broadband Opportunity Program” that later became the Internet Essentials program was proposed by Comcast in December 2010 as part of the FCC regulatory review of the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal (FCC MB Docket No. 10-56) and included in the FCC Memorandum Opinion and Order adopted on January 18, 2011. See https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-11-4A1.pdf. City Council Resolution 31328 to launch a Great Student Initiative to form new partnerships to provide internet, computer, software and services for low-income students, was introduced later, on September 19th, 2011, by Councilmember Bruce Harrell and adopted on September 26th, 2011. The resolution acknowledges Comcast’s Internet Essentials program. This resolution is available via a search for 31328 at http://clerk.seattle.gov/~public/RESN1.htm.]
Kathy Putt: [Hands out brochures and swag.] Is it safe to assume that everyone knows what Internet Essentials is or should I explain? I’m Kathy Putt and I do local government relations for Comcast. And I’ve been there for 15 years so I’m sort of surprised that I haven’t been here before. Thank you for having me. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Internet Essentials, it’s a program we launched four years ago where we provide discount internet to low income families. It’s a program I like to remind people that was Bruce Harrell’s idea. He pitched it to me and we floated it up and we ended up launching it at a national level. So I always try to give him credit when I can. We are now halfway into our fourth year in the program. We launched it back in 2011 and in the last four years nationally, we’ve connected about 1.8 million Americans or 450,000 families. In Washington, we’ve connected about 14,000 with Internet Essentials, and in Seattle we’ve connected about 1,700 families. That’s about a 27 percent penetration rate of eligible families. So, in my mind, that’s pretty good, but there’s still room to grow. Over the years, I’m happy to say that we’ve enhanced the program a number of times. We’ve created a dedicated call center. We’ve created partnerships, both at the national and local levels. We’ve increased internet speeds multiple times. We’ve produced an online application. If you happen to be at the library and want to submit application online. And last year we announced this amnesty program for families who have a debt with us that is older than a year. I should say that one of the limiting factors on Internet Essentials is that it is for families without internet and you have to live in our footprint, obviously. And if you have a past due balance with us, normally you would have to pay up before being eligible for the program. However, as I said, last year we announced an amnesty program where if you have a debt owed to us for more than a year, then we will go ahead and forgive that if that’s what is keeping you out of Internet Essentials.
Just last month we announced our 2015-2016 enhancements. I think that’s really what you wanted to hear about tonight. The first one I’m excited to announce is the doubling of speeds. We’re going — it does sound so low, but it is for our starter customers–we’re going from five to ten megabits per second, which is not only faster but allows for more devices to be connected in the home. We also added a wireless router to the package. This was probably the most requested enhancement of anyone who has ever inquired. We’re really excited about the different enhancements and add ons that will allow multiple devices to be connected. At the same time, it will allow multiple family members to be connected within the home at the same time. How many people have multiple kids all trying to do homework at the same time? And then also it will allow people to connect to their home internet service versus using their data on their phones. So we think that will be a good thing.
Also, we have expanded the auto-approve schools. This is where if you attend a public school where 50 percent of the families are on free or reduced lunch, every family attending that school, regardless of income, is now eligible for the program. That’s a huge enhancement. We’re really excited about that and that actually eliminates the school lunch verification process and it adds 315 more schools to the auto-enroll list, for a total of 576 in the state. In Seattle, there are 46 schools that meet that criteria. And as a result of the enhanced auto-approval, we’ve added 17 more schools to that list. That just eliminates any redundancy for work by the school administration, and it just allows all families, regardless of income, who go to those schools to participate.
Originally, somebody had asked how we were trying to get the word out about these enhancements. We have historically, and continue to work with the schools and our community partners to help get the word out. Seattle School District has been a great partner of ours. They do have a non-solicitation policy, which was a challenge initially. Because we’re Comcast, we couldn’t send out materials to students with a Comcast logo on it because we’re corporate. But we did find a work-around where we crafted a brochure without the Comcast logo, and instead we listed some of our national nonprofit partners, like the Urban League. And there are multiple partners. We ended up crafting a non-branded brochure, and they allowed us to distribute it. Since that time, for the last three years, we’ve distributed materials twice a year. And every time we distribute brochures, we see the numbers go up. So, it’s proven to be a really positive thing. It’s back to school time, so we always try and hit it in the fall and in the spring.
The district has had a number of turnovers in administration, so I’m working with the new administration to get yet another distribution going.
In addition to the schools and our community partners, we have also been working closely with Seattle Goodwill in their back to school backpack giveaway program. They had a big event at their Seattle facility as well as at seven other facilities in the vicinity, including Marysville, Everett, Burien, Bellingham, Spokane–a whole bunch of other locations. So they handed out backpacks in all their facilities, and we made sure that all those backpacks had Internet Essentials materials included in them. And they probably had some pens and mints in them, too.
One of the other enhancements that we announced was the introduction of Internet Essentials to low income senior citizens. We’re starting with a pilot program in just a couple areas so we can test out how the program will work with that demographic. It’s a totally different demographic than low income families. Right now we are testing it. The first pilot was announced August 4. It’s in Palm Beach, Florida. It’s really way too early to provide any preliminary results, unfortunately. We did just announce that the second pilot program will be located in the Bay Area. We’re hoping that as soon as we establish some best practices, we’ll be able to apply those as we launch it in additional areas. Hopefully, it will come to Seattle. People have asked about it. Councilmember Licata has asked me about it several times. Hopefully, we’ll learn how to best hit that demographic, how to teach them best how to use it. It’s a totally different segment, so hopefully that will be coming soon. I don’t know when at this point in time.
I’m happy to answer any questions or concerns.
Beryl Fernandes: Do you have designated staff in Comcast who will answer questions for families who don’t know what to do and where to go? And I ask that question because a large family that lives in Yesler Terrace, definitely low income, who had cancelled their internet subscription because they couldn’t afford it anymore. It was another company, not Comcast. Most of those kids are in school and they absolutely need it. So I suggested they call the Cable Office here, and call you people. I also suggested them trying to contact Century Link and Comcast to see if they could get some kind of deal going.
Kathy Putt: We do have a dedicated call center. We also have a web site. Not that they have internet, but if they happen to go to the library and they go online, assuming they know how to navigate–that’s the problem, a lot of times they don’t know how to navigate. If you call Comcast locally, they would probably route you to one of the three or four people who do my job.
Vicky Yuki: Just to clarify, and I’m glad you brought this up, that it is in the area where your footprint is. Yesler is part of WAVE. So, there are certain limitations. We’re hoping that some of those can be addressed.
Kathy Putt: I would just point out that Century Link also has its version of this program. And over the last few years, FCC has been urging all broadband providers to adopt this type of program. Except for WAVE, I think all the other major providers have some version of this type of program. We are probably the largest and most out in front on it. But I know Century Link has a program.
Beryl Fernandes: So, if they’re with WAVE, is there any place they can go to get it reinstalled?
Vicky Yuki: There are basically three providers in Seattle that offer $10/mo. internet as a low income program, and they are Century Link, Comcast, and Everyone On’s basic internet program, which used the T-Mobile network. So those are the three options currently in Seattle that we are actively talking about.
Karia Wong: I’m just wondering how many do have access to the auto-approved school list?
Kathy Putt: I have access to it. I don’t know why I wouldn’t be able to share it.
Karia Wong: The reason I ask is because we work with a lot of families. If we know the school is on the list, we can just mention it to them. Is that an option? We work with Vietnamese and Chinese families in Seattle area.
Kathy Putt: If you’re going to help us get the word out, I’m happy to provide that list to you. And just so you know, we do provide our brochure in about 10 languages. Our standard is English on one side and Spanish on the back, but they’re available in many different languages.
Karia Wong: I guess the challenging part, as we have discussed earlier, is the navigation. For people who don’t have experience, it will be hard for them to get it done by themselves.
Kathy Putt: Okay. Let me just get your contact information.
Question: David Cohen announced in Florida a similar program for seniors. When will it come to Seattle?
Kathy Putt: I don’t know when it will come to Seattle. The pilot started a month ago. We just announced a second pilot in the Bay Area. I think we’ll probably see how those play out, and then launch additional sites as we move forward. If and when Seattle gets added to the list, I will certainly let everyone know. Because I know everyone is excited about it.
Dan Stiefel: About a year ago, I was trying to help a low income person sign up. So I called Comcast to try to get some questions answered and they forwarded me to a machine. And they never called back. I called and left a message twice, and I never ever received a call back. Now, I don’t know if that’s still the way it’s working? Did you address that as far as responses?
Nourisha Wells: Do you have the actual number?
Kathy Putt: I don’t know the number. It’s probably in the brochure. 1-888-972-5982
Dan Stiefel: Is that the low income program?
Kathy Putt: That’s the Internet Essentials number.
Dan Stiefel: Do you know if it ever gets picked up by an answering machine?
Kathy Putt: It should get picked up.
Dan Stiefel: A year ago, that wasn’t the case.
Kathy Putt: That’s not good. It’s a live call center today. I’ll give you my card. If you call and get an answering machine, let me know because we need to address that.
Jose Vasquez: Two quick questions. First, do you have plans to expand the program to all children?
Kathy Putt: We have no plans to do that.
Jose Vasquez: Many families, unfortunately, don’t have children but are low income. This would be very helpful to them. Talking about Digital Equity, if I remember correctly, the FCC put out a statement that the bare minimum of internet speeds is 25mbps. Is Comcast trying to achieve that goal through this program, or are you just going to keep it at 10? I know you’re saying that you doubled it from five to 10.
Kathy Putt: This is still an introductory service. It is lower than our lowest tier. In the last four years, we’ve raised speeds twice. I actually was thinking that we have to be climbing towards that 25. So I don’t have a definitive answer. I’d be shocked if we didn’t continue to increase it to get to that level. Especially as people consume more and more bandwidth. The need is there.
Karia Wong: I just have a comment. I echo the comment. For the past two years, I have never successfully helped people to sign up for internet basics at Comcast.
Kathy Putt: I’m going to give you my card.
Karia Wong: Every time I call, it’s voicemail.
Kathy Putt: I’m sorry to hear that. That’s not good.
Nourisha Wells: Do you have to leave?
Kathy Putt: No. I can stay.
Nourisha Wells: Okay, if you don’t mind sticking around, we have to move through the rest of the agenda, but we’ll have a break in the next few minutes, and you guys can come up and ask any questions you might have.
Beryl Fernandes: Can we make sure that her name and contact information gets into the minutes:
Cass Magnuski: Can I have one of those?
Kathy Putt, Director, Franchising and Government Affairs, North Puget Sound.
Comcast Cable, P.O. Box 97007, Redmond, WA 98073
Nourisha Wells: Thank you, Kathy. We’ll move on to the Comprehensive Plan. There is a Council meeting next Tuesday at 2:00 to discuss some proposed changes and amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, and so we wanted to allot space on our agenda today to talk about anything that we want to present. And I just read the announcement of the hearing and they’re going to specifically talk about three areas. None of them are actually related to our topic, and so I don’t know if we want to still have the conversation and then look for the chance where we can present that input. So I’ll put that question out there. Are there specific things that we definitely want to give input on? And then, do we have that conversation now or table it for another meeting?
Beryl Fernandes: What are the three areas?
Nourisha Wells: The three areas are the periodic updates that are made to the plan under the Washington State Growth Management Act; they’re look at amendments to the future land use map; to adjust the boundary of the urban center and change some single family and multi-family areas to commercial mixed use areas; and then the last one is to look at amending the Comprehensive Plan related to affordable housing.
So input? Do we want to table the conversation for another meeting when the Council meeting is going to be more relevant to our subjects? Or do you want to go ahead and have the conversation now?
Nourisha Wells: It’s got the commercial mixed use, so it’s combining the two for some areas. It doesn’t necessarily say where, but it’s definitely going to be related to the urban center neighborhood, the urban village thing that they have going on.
Community participant: That doesn’t include things like where the cables will be laid?
Nourisha Wells: I imagine it could. It doesn’t specifically say. So if there’s anything under that area that we would want to address, then it could come up. But I’m not sure.
Dorene Cornwell: When I think about one framework and change, I think how did this flow, so I can get at it in an open data way without having to fund my business or buy up a whole bunch of real estate. Which I’m unlikely to do, but just think about it in an open data perspective.
Nourisha Wells: I don’t know if you guys are aware, but there is an open data web site, http://2035.seattle.gov . That’s an interactive collaboration on the Comprehensive Plan where you can go and share your thoughts and comments. They have some of the key proposal components. You can weigh in on it. It requires you to give your information, but you can do it anonymously or you can have your information included. So there are some interactive things available for that. So board members, are we going to have this conversation or are we going to table it for later?
Joneil Sampana: For upcoming meetings from this commission, do we happen to know what the sequence is going to be?
Nourisha Wells: I’m not sure. I just saw the announcement of what was going to be covered.
Beryl Fernandes: [unintelligible]
Nourisha Wells: It’s actually going to be presented to the full Council.
Beryl Fernandes: If it’s going to the full Council, then I would say that unless we have a really well-defined set of issues, then I would say table it.
Nourisha Wells: Okay. So with that, we’ll go ahead and take a quick break.
PRIVACY COMMITTEE UPDATE
Beryl Fernandes: Last month, I reported that we’d finished the third in the series of workshops that made up the collaborathon. Since that time, we’ve been having meetings out in the community, as I have been for the last year, but the five commissions that deal with under-represented groups at the City Boards and Commissions, and they invited me to come and talk to them. And probably 25 to 30 showed up. It was really good, really engaged people. They were very pleased that we were taking this approach with marginalized populations. That is their business, and to see us come in with this was very exciting. They are going to help us in whatever way we would like them to and they would like to. And have individual meetings, offshoots of that one, with the Mayor’s Office for Seniors, and several other small meetings like that. Those are very targeted. So that’s what’s going on there.
On the symposium, I’ll give you a better update next month. There are a lot of moving parts, a lot of challenges with nailing down a date, so I’ll wait until next month to do that. So I’ll just end there.
Nourisha Wells: Any questions for Beryl? Next we’ll have Amy Hirotaka with Cable and Broadband.
CABLE AND BROADBAND COMMITTEE UPDATE
Amy Hirotaka: As we discussed last meeting, I went ahead and submitted the FCC comments on the Lifeline update. I just got an email from David Keyes that those have been put up on the web site with a blog post. So people can check it out there. I was unable to attend the last Broadband and Cable meeting, so Sarah Trowbridge led in my absence. But I have some high level take-aways, and then she and Dan can give any specifics needed. There’s a pre-briefing on the Comcast franchise renewal that will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 16, for the Public Safety Technology and Civil Rights Committee. This would be something that would be good for us or members to attend. The actual public comment meeting is on November 18. So we should come up with a position statement before then. This is something that the Broadband Committee is talking about, so the progression of events would be that we would come up with a position statement, share it with the group here, and then we could approve it. And then we would work with Councilmember Harrell’s staff to make sure that it gets addressed.
Also,l my understanding is that folks will be working with the Digital Inclusion Committee and Jose Vasquez on the Digital Equity Initiative. Because there are some shared concerns and overlap between the two groups, especially in regards to outreach and low income internet.
Sarah, do you want to add anything?
Sarah Trowbridge: Just specifically, that pre-briefing on the Comcast franchise renewal negotiations on potential public benefits that are getting negotiated, we can come up with a position statement that we can share with City Council.
Nourisha Wells: Can you share those dates again?
Amy Hirotaka: The pre-briefing is on September 16, and the public comment meeting is on November 18.
Nourisha Wells: So we’ll need to review at the October meeting. Any questions for Amy or Sarah? Next we’ll have the Digital Inclusion Committee update with Jose.
DIGITAL INCLUSION UPDATE
Jose Vasquez: I’m glad I got extra time because I might need it. First I want to follow up on what Nourisha said. I’m also hearing conversations here. The broadband providers talking about opening up access to their Lifeline program to more people, but then a comment I just now heard was that they don’t have the staff capabilities of doing that. I think that’s what we’re going to start talking about at our Digital Inclusion meetings to see if there’s a potential fund it from multiple nonprofits to be able to provide that capacity and share more of the resources. I know people that work directly with low income communities. I think there’s a lot of opportunity here, so I’m excited about that.
I want to give a brief update. We did a site visit to one of last year’s Technology Matching Fund grantees, the Boys and Girls Club up in Shoreline. They got close to $20,000 to create two fully equipped computer labs with 23 computer stations. In the past year, over 500 youth have used the computers to do homework after school, and partnered with Google to do some coding curriculum. I got to see the kids interact and play. They were creating games from the coding they learned. It’s pretty cool because it’s drag and drop. This was elementary kids learning about programming and very basic coding, which I’ve never seen. Somebody told me that there are schools that charge hundreds of dollars to provide this type of curriculum. The grant that they got enabled them to provide this for free to the kids that use their services. So that was great to see the actual impact of TMF. With that, I want to open the invitation. If you want to get involved in next year’s TMF review committee, you are all invited. We’re having our next Digital Inclusion Committee meeting Tuesday, September 22, at 6:00 p.m. at the Beacon Hill Library. We’re going to start preparing for next year. I really want to get committee members involved in being more engaged prior to the application process, so that we can get to know ourselves, and through our communities, recruit organizations that could really benefit from this program. I think it’s a really cool thing we do here at CTAB.
Joneil and Beryl have been talking about updating the TMF criteria to make it … maybe I’ll let you talk a little about it–the reason behind–making it a stronger emphasis on targeting under-represented communities, as well as focusing that criteria into a more measurable way. The things that we have talked about, as far as–some of these aren’t necessarily updating the TMF guidelines or criteria, but maybe recommendations for City staff. And I talked with them about a couple of these things and these are some things that we can start implementing and we can work towards. For example, adding some working opportunities to help facilitate a collaboration between potential applicants, both prior to the actual application process, and inviting previous grantees to come. So that new applicants can learn from previous projects. And maybe partner on some really cool projects. Another point was trying to find a way to simplify the application process. I know it’s a City-wide application process. Neighborhood Matching Fund goes to the same web application, so I don’t now how easy it would be to update or make it easier to use. I think that’s always going to be a challenge. Or maybe providing some basic trainings for potential applicants who are interested, to make it easier for under-represented communities, or communities that are not used to applying for a grant . I know in this last round, we saw a couple applications where you could clearly see which organizations had a paid grant writer and which did not. We took that into consideration, making sure that we didn’t weigh one lower than the other because it wasn’t written professionally. So that’s something that we can work towards as far as closing that gap. I think it’s important to not set up more barriers or more bureaucracy to a grant that’s supposed to build capacity in the community, and to provide more opportunities to under-represented communities. And that brings me to a point that Beryl brought up about focusing on and emphasizing under-represented communities. And I think that’s the motion that you (Beryl) wanted to bring up, so I’ll let you talk about that a little bit.
Beryl Fernandes: The reasoning behind putting an actual motion on the table–we’ve had this discussion over the last three and a half years here at CTAB, about not only having the grant funds benefit kids in classes, take classes and finish summer programs, things like that, but actually have people from the community running the programs, managing the programs, participate as technical and in management roles. So I thought that if we had it as a motion, it will 1) be searchable on the agenda, as we asked for earlier; and it will also be searchable later on and findable in the minutes, and hopefully that way it will be a reminder to all of us that what we want to make sure of is that we are building capacity within the low income communities. To be able to formulate and run and manage their own programs. Sometimes it might take a step or two before they can get there but we thought it was important that the groundwork be laid so that it’s not just people from the outside coming in and doing it to them or for them, but people from the inside actually running these programs. So with that, Jose and I have talked and here’s what we ended up with. There is a clause already–and you probably know the criteria–but it says applicants must actively seek the involvement of community members and/or business proprietors–that’s actually in the language right now–and I added, “in all possible roles, including training, technical, and management positions. They must also show how this will be achieved and the results measured.” That is a motion that we add that to the existing criteria.
Question: How is this measured? Do you have any ideas on how to measure outcomes?
Beryl Fernandes: Well, the outcomes for each project will be different, but measurement is always possible and outcomes should be stated at the proposal state. It should be tailor-made.
Vicky Yuki: One of the criteria is evaluation. There is a component that is evaluated and that’s a place where you could note your community participation. We actually weight community participation quite high when we go through the applications. Each of the criteria is weighted differently. One might be worth 10 points, but then weighted double, it might be 20 points. We do weight community participation higher.
Beryl Fernandes: Vicky, since you know the program as well as you do, the purpose of this was trying to take it one step further. The purpose of this was to include training, technical, and management positions. Do you not feel that this is adding something to it?
Vicky Yuki: We like to encourage applications from everybody. One of the challenges is that when you add elements to criteria, that might make it more daunting, so we want to be careful in the way in which we word things. If they don’t have people in their community that they feel could represent well in those types of leadership positions–it’s not leadership training grant–so the portion that makes it challenging is that we want to encourage leadership in the community and we want to encourage community participation and people being able to bring applications that represent what the community needs are. And so we try not to be too prescriptive because we find that the more prescriptive we are, the less likely that under-represented communities will apply. I’m totally for weighing more participation at the granular level, but I do get a little bit concerned about adding elements to the application that might hinder somebody from applying because they don’t have that element. It’s recommended, but what that might look like in your plan.
Beryl Fernandes: Recommending is fine and then you can weight it, give it some points. But here’s what I’m hearing out in the community and especially the low income communities. Jobs, employment, training–that is number one. What we see is the frustration and the anger coming out, feeling like they’re being left out. Throughout the ages, when we talk about the STEM fields, environmental, tech–when there are grants that are earmarked for low income communities of color, too often the people who come in and apply are people who have grant writing skills, have the education and know how to put together a good proposal that the evaluation panel will respond positively to. I’ve seen that for like 20 years. So this is an attempt to say these funds from the City Council, the Mayor, and people were earmarked for low income communities of color and all marginalized people–people with disabilities, seniors, whatever. We want to make sure that they are having the opportunities to apply and succeed in it. If they don’t have capacity in the community. If somebody comes in from outside, it’s okay. But they’re actually building capacity from inside so that the people can in the future run their own programs. But otherwise, they’re being left out. And they’re being left out generation after generation. And we as a society can only take so much of it. And I’m hearing it. I’m out in the community all the time. I was in an African American meeting, and I could see they were looking for some technical help. I said, you guys should apply for the Technology Matching Fund. Well, they didn’t know where to go, how to do it. And I just think that we’ve to to have opportunities for people who have never ever stepped into this realm. We as staff or whoever need to get out there in the community and talk with those people on their own turf.
Vicky Yuki: Also, we try to make it so that communities that are under-represented–many of them work with fiscal agents. We actually connect them with fiscal agents so that they can have a successful program once they apply and are granted. I just want to say for the record, that I’m very proud of the work that the team effort of the City does, not necessarily taking the applications word for word, but looking at the underlying need within the communities. A grant that sounds like a really great grant gets dissected down to where we ask does it really reach the community and population that we want to serve. I think that if you have a motion on the table. I like the idea of it. I don’t know how you would really implement it. This is the first I’ve heard of it. That was my only word of caution. Sometimes if you set the bar too high at the application stage, then it makes it very difficult and challenging for people to actually apply. Let’s make sure that this is not like that. Requirement, but more like a recommendation, or a way in which a given mechanism, for instance, the networking sessions you were talking about at the very beginning, those are opportunities in which to get some of those skills and maybe make some of those connections that make it easier for you to respond to that element, criteria.
Beryl Fernandes: I was hoping that Jose’s committee could take it and figure out how to actually implement it.
Karia Wong: I am putting myself into a grant writer’s shoes. If you raise the bar too high, I would think that would be a challenge for a small nonprofit, or grassroots nonprofit. Because different communities have different situations. If they are not up to that level to be able to have the leadership development to write into their program, then they lose. But if we put it in the grant that we encourage the people who are interested to apply, like Vicky said, they are not ready. Who is in the community that can do that? I would be intimidated. It will hinder my intention or my interest to apply.
Beryl Fernandes: Well that’s why what this says is that they could bring somebody from the outside to help manage or lead or use whatever skills they don’t have at that point, but those people, the outsiders, then are obligated to build capacity off that community.
Jose Vasquez: I’m kind of in between. I definitely agree with the sentiment. At the same time, I don’t like the idea of adding more requirements, but I definitely want to emphasize building capacity. I do want to include the Review Committee in the process. Maybe a quick training, and that’s something we can talk about in the Digital Inclusion Committee more in detail. There is a motion on the table. I definitely want to continue this conversation with City staff to look at more specifics. I think we can all agree with the sentiment. It might just be the wording.
Amy Hirotaka: Or what part of the process to implement that, whether it’s in the application or in the review.
Nourisha Wells: So we have a motion. Do we have someone to second it? No. So, the motion dies.
MOTION TO AMEND APPLICATION CRITERIA FAILS
Jose Vasquez: But I am going to take that wording and talk about it within my committee, and work with City staff, too.
Nourisha Wells: Beryl can you send it around so we can look at it. Jose, can you say when you are meeting?
Jose Vasquez: September 22, 6:00 p.m., Beacon Hill Library, and that will be a topic of discussion. I know my time is up, but there is one other thing. Can I get three more minutes?
Nourisha Wells: There are several more things on the agenda. We’ll have to decide if we want to extend the meeting.
Jose Vasquez: We will have to wait until the next meeting.
E-GOV COMMITTEE UPDATE
Joneil Sampana: Our biggest event is coming up that we’ve been striving for all month. It’s the WTIA, which is the Washington Technology Industry Association’s full contact event next Tuesday. It’s an all-day conference where they’re bringing together a minimum of 500 folks from tech, education, business, and government sectors. The interns that have been working all summer are going to showcase their solutions to five agencies at the state level. We have a special invite for all those in the E-Gov distribution list at attend the VIP session in the evenings, and it does count for the full day conference if you’ve registered. If you’re interested in attending let me know. It’s next Tuesday, 8:00 to 5:00, and the VIP session is 6:00 to 8:00.
Nourisha Wells: We have on the agenda to talk about board member talents and composition needs for future members. I think that that’s definitely going to take longer than three minutes. But one of those things to think about is that we have two positions that are open. One is open in October, and that’s Ben’s position. And then Dana’s position will be open in January.
Beryl Fernandes: Mine too, in January.
Nourisha Wells: So that’s three positions
Dana Lewis: I thought mine was October.
Nourisha Wells: Okay, Dana is October and Ben and Beryl are January. so we will have three positions that are going to be open. We wanted to have a conversations to think about what areas we want to look at that are going to be needed on the board, given the scope of work that we’ve had over the last couple of months, and projecting for the next few years. I guess we can probably add that to our agenda for October? But we can start the conversation through email. People can say what they think their skills are, and maybe some areas that we are missing on the board. And we can talk about that in October.
Joneil Sampana: Nourisha, this is my first time going through this type of conversation. Is there a framework that we’ve used in the past to help us come up…?
Nourisha Wells: It’s been different every time. There was at one point a major kind of theme. We did a survey. It’s happened all kinds of ways. I’m for the simplest way.
Beryl Fernandes: Is it best for us to just send out comments via email?
Nourisha Wells: I think we should just have the conversation through our listserv. I think we should talk about what you think your areas of strength are for the board. And then what are some areas we could use moving forward. Then we will add that to our agenda for October and talk about it in more detail. We have a space for public comment. Let’s keep them very short.
Christopher Sheats: In a recent Capitol Hill Seattle article, it was said that in the wake of a recent shooting. (The owner of the place where the shooting took place) told DHS that he and a couple of other owners are exploring a new heightened scanning software that will track who has been kicked out of a club. This is a system where you give your I.D. to the officer and they scan it into a computer and use a web cam and take a picture. And they upload that data to a third party. The third party keeps that data for 90 days and they give it to any police investigation with or without a warrant. Does that concern you guys that Seattle bar owners are going to start employing an official recognition system?
Comment: I don’t know if you know it, but that system was recommended by [unintelligible]. They are the official suppliers of body cameras for police.
Nourisha Wells: Yes, I think that is definitely an area of concern. I don’t know that we can necessarily speak to how the City would respond to addressing that concern.
Christopher Sheats: Well, this is a community technology issue.
Nourisha Wells: Right. Absolutely.
Beryl Fernandes: The Mayor isn’t exactly using that kind of evidence in making his most recent edict, either, on the hookah clubs.
Comment: They actually allow the marijuana smoking pipe.
Christopher Sheats: So, I don’t know if that’s something that needs to be escalated to City Council or if you guys should organize something around it. I want to work with Seattle Privacy Coalition in writing a letter to the owner and other bar owners using this system.
Nourisha Wells: I don’t know anything about it, other than what you said. So I think it’s something we can definitely look into. Any other public comments?
Community participant: Is there some way we can put it to Comcast and other broadband providers that the bare minimum is 25mbps upload and 25mbps download so that we can stop talking about five and ten, which doesn’t do anyone any good. Just never talk about it again?
Nourisha Wells: We’ve included that comment….
Community participant: It should be part of the legal negotiations. No one want to hear that.
Amy Hirotaka: The opportunity to do that is now, as we’re negotiating the franchise agreement.
Nourisha Wells: I think the statement was for it to match what the FCC had said.
Community participant: This is a City negotiating with a commercial interest. So I think the City should set what the standard is. And in the same way, I think the City should also be setting where the mouth for broadband is, where they put their infrastructure in. It’s up to Seattle, the foremost place in the nation that could possibly get done to say, if you’re going to put broadband in, you’re going to include our communities so that we can achieve our goals, instead of just talking about our goals.
Sarah Trowbridge: What most likely happened is that the legislation comes down to what you can affect with cable. So we can attempt to negotiate an added benefit for internet, but at the end of the day, there’s no way that we can legislate the minimum. So you could have a map that shows (unintelligible).
Nourisha Wells: I think the Comprehensive Plan guards against that. I think that the conversations from the City’s perspective area definitely there. As far as negotiations, I think the Broadband Committee is working to make sure that we include all those concerns in our statement.
Iga Fikayo Keme: My question was just clarification of a question. Is the 25 megabit from the FCC a mandate or a recommendation?
Sarah Trowbridge: It’s a mandate if you’re providing internet broadband.
Nourisha Wells: We are out of time. Joneil, do you want to give us the summary of action for the next meeting?
Joneil Sampana: Sure. 1) Michael to respond to SDOT’s system questions, including what site do they use in their privacy impact approach. 2) For all of us, let’s be prepared to test the interactive broadband map in about three weeks. 3) Consider SDOT’s exposure to CTAB. Some of our opinions and offerings may be partnered there in the future. 4) Get access to the auto pre-school list. And share that list to our constituents. 5) Send comments regarding your board member strengths to the rest of the board for our board evaluations. 6) Explore potential action to take for tasers or a facial recognition system.
Jose Vasquez: I forgot to hand this out earlier. It the current TMF criteria. If you want to just take it and review it to prepare for a conversation that we’ll have at the next meeting.
MEETING ADJOURNED AT 8:08
The following position statement was adopted by CTAB at its 3/10/15 meeting.
Position Statement: Low-Income Internet Access
Internet access is critical for anyone to keep up in modern American society. Everything from education, job seeking, banking and most government services are routinely offered online. The lack of an Internet connection puts people at a profound disadvantage.
According to the 2014 Information Technology Access and Adoption in Seattle study, nearly all households surveyed reported that Internet services are very important. However, only about a quarter of the lowest two household income groups (under $30,000) have cable Internet, compared to two-thirds of households who make $100,000 per year or more. There is clearly a digital divide, separated by economics.
Unless easier and more affordable access to the Internet is created for Seattle’s low-income population, it will be increasingly difficult for them to improve their personal and economic situation. Better lives for Seattle’s residents individually will help raise the City’s standing and competitiveness as a whole. It benefits everyone to make Internet access affordable for all residents.
Private Service Provider Plans
In our review of privately subsidized low-income Internet service plans, we found that most plans had complex application processes that make it difficult to participate in the low-income plans.
These low-income plans also fail to provide the bandwidth necessary for their users to be full participants in the digital economy.
Our recommendations are:
- To verify income eligibility, we favor giving low-income applicants the option of providing proof of participation in an existing low-income verification process to reduce the burden and complexity of applying multiple times. Existing income verification options might include Medicaid, DSHS programs, Seattle City Light utility discount programs, or federal income tax forms. This will streamline and shorten the process for both applicants and internet providers. Current plans often rely on reduced lunch programs for students as the sole qualifier, thereby omitting participation by low-income residents without children in public schools. All plans should be inclusive of all low-income people.
- Allow low-income residents to participate, even if they are an existing customer. Most current programs today are only valid for a new customer. Allow participation of low-income residents whose past accounts ended in arrears, provided the customers satisfy their previous debt obligations.
- Allow low-income residents to subscribe to a month-to-month option, rather than a long-term contract.
- Current plans often list an application contact that ends in a voicemail recording, which are often not responded to. Provide a dependable single point of contact to support applicants in the signup process and/or partner with a qualified local organization to provide the support. For example, ISPs should ensure that the application and instructions are available in multiple languages and in accessible in formats for those with low vision.
- Publish and share subscription statistics showing broadband adoption for low-income residents.
- Provide data speeds equivalent to modern day standards:
- For wireline connections (e.g., cable, DSL, fiber), we recommend low-income plans in Seattle offer bandwidths that match, at a minimum, the current definition of broadband as defined by the Federal Communications Commission.
- We recommend no data caps or throttling be applied. If caps are applied, they should not be lower than the lowest tier of standard accounts. If data caps or throttling are initiated, customers should receive a data usage warning before overage fees or throttling are applied Service providers should treat all content equally without employing any form of data cap or bandwidth discrimination.
- Connectivity for low-income plans should not discriminate. Acknowledging that cellular devices provide another crucial link to the internet for low-income residents in Seattle, we recommend that cellular connections be treated the same as wireline connections with regards to ease of application, terms, access, and usefulness of the low-income cellular plans.
There will always be an economic barrier making it difficult for low-income residents to access the Internet if the private sector does not provide reasonable means of low-income Internet access. Public policy needs to be created to ensure that the appropriate pricing and subscription mechanisms are established so that low-income constituents are not denied this critical tool.
Price and ease of access are only two factors to consider in closing the digital divide. Further investment is needed in initiatives like the City of Seattle’s Community Technology program to provide the education and outreach necessary to connect those without access. Providers should be encouraged to provide or fund community education sessions at local neighborhood and community centers and Seattle Public Libraries.
We believe that as a City, we can do better to improve Internet access for all. Meeting the minimum bar is not good enough. Policymakers and service providers are all responsible for doing our part to close the digital divide.
Citizens’ Technology and Telecommunications Advisory Board
City of Seattle Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB) 12/9/2014 Minutes
Topics covered included: Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller report; committee reports and summary of 2014 accomplishments; election of officers for 2015; selection of committees to develop work plans for January drafts; wrap/next steps.
This meeting was held December 9. 2014; 6:00-8:00, Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2750
Podcasts available at: http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/CTTAB/podcast/cttab.xml
Attending: 22 people
Ben Krokower, Nourisha Wells, Daniel Hoang, Brian Hsi, Dana Lewis, Beryl Fernandes, Sarah Trowbridge, Jose Vasquez, Joneil Custodio, Rob Dolin
Public: Phillip Duggan, John-Gabriel D’Angelo, Nancy Sherman, Doreen Cornwell (STAR Center), Chris Lona, Elizabeth Lunsford, Jeramey Crawford, Ann Summy, Dan Stiefel
Staff: Michael Mattmiller, Sabra Schneider, David Keyes, Cass Magnuski
Meeting was called to order
Agenda was approved.
Minutes for November was approved with one change. Ben Krokower’s name should be added to Privacy Committee update. (Done.) Approved as amended.
Michael Mattmiller: Chief Technology Officer
There are three things I’m going to cover today. Broadband, revisions to cable code to Council, and the Privacy Initiative. After each, I’ll take questions.
First the broadband update. Last Friday, Century Link held an event at Cupcake Royale in Ballard to announce that they have gone live with their fiber to the premise gigabit broadband service, specifically for the Ballard neighborhood. They put out a subsequent press release today to announce that they have officially passed 22,000 homes. So 22,000 homes in Seattle as of today can go online and order gigabit service. This is just the first step for them. They expect in January to go live with their service in West Seattle. Later in 2015, with service to Beacon Hill and the Central District. The total commitment that Century Link made to us is that they will serve tens of thousands of Seattle homes by the end of 2015. Technically, they will hit that by the end of 2014. So we look forward to seeing more.
Also, since the last time we saw one another, we are very excited that WAVE, under their Condo Internet brand, is doing their first fiber build-out to the home, starting with the Eastlake neighborhood, where they plan to serve all homes with their gigabit product. Pricing will be consistent with their Condo Internet broadband. I believe that’s $60 for 100 megabit down and $80 for a gigabit down, symmetric. One point of clarification: Yeah, these gigabit speeds sound great but if you have a 250 gigabit cap, you’ve reached that in 30 seconds or something like that. I don’t know about WAVE, but I did confirm with Century Link that their gigabit service does not have a data cap on it. So this is true gigabit.
As we talked about regarding the Mayor’s broadband strategy where we’re reducing barriers to competition, we’re exploring public/private partnerships but we need to understand the City’s ability to step in if the market fails to deliver affordable, competitive broadband that approaches that gigabit standard. So we did kick off last week our update to our municipal broadband study. What that means is that we formally selected CTC Engineering, which is a firm based in Maryland. They have tremendous experience in both the broadband and utility space. They have worked with the City before. They were the authors of the 2009 study, and we greatly trust in the expertise they will be bringing to us. We have primarily asked them to answer two questions: 1) What is the cost and the City’s ability to be successful in delivering fiber to the premise–retail broadband product here in the City of Seattle. 2) What would be the build-out cost, what would the take rate need to be for us to break even, what would the prices be. Those types of things. Now specifically, we are asking about broadband–not the triple play–so no cable, no television, just broadband.
The second question they are answering is what would be the cost to the City to deliver a ubiquitous broadband product, which would be WIFI. It would be a City-wide WIFI build-out. Consider now that the UN has said that Internet is a right, even with the most inclusive programs around fiber to the home and fiber to the premise, we’re still not going to be able to roll out to everyone. There will always be some type of barrier with that high touch level of service. But through the tech Indicators Report that this body worked so hard on, we know that there is a high penetration of WIFI capable devices across income levels in the City. So we expect to get the results of that study in the April time frame. We are going to have conversations in the City to understand if that report comes back positive and says there’s a path here, what do we do with that. So, we’re talking with Finance and the Mayor’s office, about the potential next steps could be, depending upon how that goes.
I was very fortunate to be able to visit Chattanooga, Tennessee last month, and meet with two great bodies. The first is an organization called Next Century Cities, formed earlier this year, to help cities of all sizes think about how they get to gigabit broadband Internet in their cities. Members include cities like Portland, Austin, San Antonio, Boston and a host of others. It has a wonderful executive director, Christopher Mitchell, who many of us met when he was here in Seattle. They held a great summit to think about the opportunities and challenges that come with delivering gigabit Internet, and what that empowers a city to do when they get it.
After the meeting, I had the opportunity to meet with Electric Power Board or EPB, which is the municipal utility for the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee. They are quite famous for having perhaps the most successful municipal broadband utility in the country, and a really great story. To put it in context here in Seattle, I know that we got some feedback from the public around the number of studies we do. Not to call out names, but to have a headline about a study about a study for broadband I think is somewhat unfair. We have done studies in the City about broadband and seen real challenges that we could not figure out how to overcome, so we did not proceed. Chattanooga, Tennessee did two studies between 1999 and 2005 that showed that they could not succeed in offering municipal broadband, so they didn’t do it. But in 2007, they did a third study and that time they said there could be some value here. Specifically, what they found is that they needed to build out an infrastructure for advanced metering or what we tend to call smart grid or smart meters. And, based on the topology of Chattanooga, a wireless deployment was not going to be successful. They had to connect to every single home. And they ultimately decided to do fiber. They made the decision to go with the full triple play. So they did a city-wide fiber build-out across their 600 square mile territory and began offering those services. Their strategy was to do services at market pricing. The incumbent providers in that market were Comcast and Century Link. They didn’t want to be a loss leader and try to be as cheap as possible because they knew that Comcast and Century Link could always win the price game. So they met the market. They didn’t offer gimmicks and it was a huge success. Based on the studies they did, the take rate to be successful was something like 25 percent. If 25 percent of their addressable market were to buy the product, they would break even. Three years in, it’s 47 percent of their addressable market has taken up their products. What that means is that they are now able to subsidize the price of their electricity with the profits from their communications–broadband, telephone, and cable television services. That’s really incredible. Based on Washington state law, I don’t know that we could do that, but it’s really interesting that that has saved their consumers $60 million in just the past four years.
Public perception is, of course, a huge component of any municipal project’s success. So everywhere I went in Chattanooga, I asked the question, “What do you think of EPB?” The answers were, “Oh my god, it’s amazing!” It was really interesting to see people love their cable, electric and Internet provider.
(Mr. Mattmiller showed photos taken in Chattanooga.)
Beryl: In Chattanooga, are there any other competitors?
Michael: They have a 600 square mile territory. It’s quite expansive. Within the city limits, the incumbents are Century Link for the incumbent local exchange service and Comcast for cable television service. Once you get outside the city core, AT&T service is part of that 600 square mile area. What is interesting — some may have read the recent news coverage about AT&T’s Gigapower service. They had some consternation, given net neutrality rules. But when AT&T announced the ten cities they were going to build out gigabit service to, it was places like Austin, San Francisco, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Regardless whether you think a municipality should be engaged in broadband, what you can’t deny is that it has moved the needle on competition. It’s moved the needle on prices. Things like that are a sign that there is a need for cities to be in this market.
Brian: Can you talk about the upcoming cable renegotiations with Comcast?
Michael: We are in the midst of Comcast negotiations. Tony Perez had some of the conversations on how that would be approached and some of the things we were thinking about. And given the ongoing nature of these conversations, I don’t want to say too much more specifically about Comcast at the time. It is interesting in cities like Chattanooga, where the municipality has chosen to provide cable television service, how you make the rate payer and the taxpayer whole when you’re straddling both sides of the fence. The city is technically providing public benefit to itself to deliver the service. It’s interesting that they almost self-impose a franchise fee on themselves.
Within Seattle, we have had conversations with our current and potential providers to say that we are talking about this in the City, but we’re talking about being a municipal provider in the context of the market not delivering. So, if you’re going to commit to us to do a city-wide build, and help us influence pricing, we’ll step back. But they haven’t agreed to do that. I don’t expect it to materially impact the franchise negotiations.
Ben: Do they go outside the city limits at all?
Michael: Good question. The answer is no. My husband’s business partner lives in Ringold, Georgia. Ringold and Chattanooga border each other. There happens to be a state line. And quite literally, her back yard goes up to the line, and she gets her power from the EPB. But under current FCC rules, there’s a lot of authority given to states. The State of Tennessee has said that you cannot serve outside your borders using your municipal utility. So whether you’re in unincorporated Cleveland County, Tennessee, if you’re in Ringold, Georgia, EPB may have fiber optics already coming to your home to read your meter, but you cannot sell Internet over that fiber. You may have heard that Chattanooga, along with the City of Wilson, North Carolina, has petitioned the FCC to use their authority to override those state laws and say that it is a power given under the FCC act that you can tell states that they have that authority.
Brian: I know from the last Broadband Committee meeting that Tony was at, he was expecting that answer in Q1. I want to say February for a time frame?
Michael: So that’s the broadband report. As we learn more, we’ll keep you posted.
CABLE CODE REVISION
As many of you know, the City has the authority to franchise. That means we have some regulatory control over cable television providers who come in to market. And that means they must use City resources, such as rights of way and other lands to deliver that service. We first passed the cable code, or what is called Chapter 21.60 of the Seattle Municipal Code in 1976. We made some revisions in 2002, but largely the code was written in 1976. There are a couple new technologies for how television is delivered since 1976. When we think about where technology has gone and where we want to be as a City, specifically around competition, we want to incent competitive providers to serve our market. We wanted to adjust the regulation to both facilitate and encourage competition, but to be in a more technologically current state. So, for example, we have providers that are coming in and putting fiber into our city and connecting fiber to homes. Our cable code referred to coaxial cable. That’s not going to work if people are getting television over fiber. Those are the types of technology changes we’re looking at.
The code has had a major restructuring. The law department is putting together something that’s a more realistic comparison to help facilitate understanding. But here is a quick summary:
We have taken out pieces that are no longer relevant because of telecommunications reform acts that have gone through federally. And those include the Cable Communications Policy of 1984, the Cable Television Consumer Protection Act of 1992, and the Telecommunication Act of 1996. We opened the door in the code to the idea that the FCC may change how broadband is regulated. If the FCC makes the change, we have given ourselves the foothold to say that we are ready to respond to that change and be a regulatory body, if the FCC sets that up. We’ll learn more about that in Q1 from FCC Chairman Wheeler, but you will start to see that language in the code. And what that might look like is we will start referring to things like the in scope services, including television and other things authorized by the FCC. The code is better organized now with a better structure to allow folks to find the relative sections around the Consumer Bill of Rights and privacy information. And we also reflect our current practices. There are some things here in the City that we were no longer doing and thus weer needed certain types of reports from providers. We were able to change the frequency to make what they provide us more useful and more amenable to their processes.
Rob: Is there a way for us to locally embrace net neutrality?
Michael: There is not, because today we don’t have the regulatory authority over broadband.
Two other critical things that will be of interest to this group. 1) This is the legislation that will change the name of CTTAB to CTAB. That will take effect when this legislation goes to Council. And we’ve also proposed to change the name of the Office of Cable Communications, realizing that while today we may not today under current regulation be able to have oversight over broadband, within the City, so much of what we are doing around broadband in through the Cable Communications office, that it is appropriate to call them the Office of Broadband and Cable.
And those are the highlights of code revisions. Questions?
Brian: To what extent are requirements around franchise addressed in the cable code?
Michael: We are removing the requirement that companies commit to certain build areas. That was one of the major barriers to competition that we had. So now, as a provider, when you come into the City when you apply for a franchise, you can say where you intend to provide service.
Brian: What sort of assurances are there to insure that the residents of Seattle don’t get left behind by providers cherry picking highly profitable areas?
Michael: Speaking purely about cable television, today we have the entire City built out, which was the intent of the original franchising areas to insure that multiple companies had a chance to come into the market to provide service and that the entire City would be served. What we have seen is that this city-wide build out is largely complete and that the market has changed such that we don’t have small minority cable companies anymore. We have merged into basically Comcast and WAVE. We don’t have a mechanism right now to ensure that everyone in the City will be receiving competitive television options through franchise providers. What we were focused on was creating a space where those competitors could come to the market, be successful, and based on that success, choose to continue expanding their footprint. Interestingly, we all know that the world is changing, and we are starting to see true, over the top, television providers. DISH TV is going to be the first. They are going live with their over the top service this month. It’s going to be called New TV. And granted, it’s not going to bring you 400 channels over your Internet connection, but I think they’re going to start with something like 75. So, truly, you are now getting to an unbundled state where you can choose who your Internet provider is going to be. You can choose who your TV provider is going to be, anywhere you have sufficient bandwidth. And you can also choose if you’re going to have HBO, add Netflix, and so on down the list. It’s not a perfect answer. It’s six of one, half dozen of the other, but we do see television competition coming. And this will be part of that.
To your point around broadband, because we don’t have regulatory authority. That’s why it’s so critical that we do explore a municipal broadband option and understand our ability to deliver that. Who knows, maybe by then there will be three over the top television providers that you can bring to that service.
Beryl: I wonder how competition it really brings into the picture. I called Comcast a couple days ago, and said, “if I unbundle my Internet from cable, what would Internet cost me?” They said, “the same.”
Michael: It’s a fair point. And I think the way we try to improve that is what if you had a truly competitive broadband provider and maybe you could get the same speed at your address. You could cancel Comcast and say, “I’m going to go with your competition.” And as we’ve all heard the memes online, “No, no, no! Wait!” And tell you that you can’t really cancel it. That’s not fair. So I think competition is the way we improve service. Competition is how we lower our prices. We just need to make sure we have the right quality of competition throughout the City.
Brian: Are there success metrics? How do you know you’re successful?
Michael: When we get competitive providers in the market.
Brian: Is there a timeline associated?
Michael: We heard some things from potential companies who would like to serve the market. My hope would be in 2015. I’ll be transparent in my performance plan with the Mayor.
Question: In Chattanooga, how long did it take them from the time they finished their last study to build out?
Michael: I don’t know the exact answer to that, but my understanding is that they went to market for that study in 2007 and they started tuning up homes in 2009. They didn’t finish their full build-out until, I think, 2012. One of the thing that did help Chattanooga is that they received a federal BTOP grant that paid for about 60 percent of their bill. Now, they had done the math and thought they could be successful without any federal support. But the fact that they got that money helped them to greatly accelerate their activity.
Question: Would that be a special case, or are there grants like that that would be available in Seattle?
Michael: We did apply for that same round of grants and we were told that we were just on the line, but we missed it. There are still continuing granting opportunities that they can pay for. Unfortunately, based on the programs that are out there now, my basic understanding is that we would not be a good fit for them. They favor communities that are much smaller and have much greater challenges. We don’t have the broadband we want today, but we’re not the worst out there. That said, I’m trying to be creative and think about getting us some federal money.
We have had some great success in our first rounds of the privacy work. Our goal is by June of next year to have a privacy framework for the City that outlines our ethical approach to privacy decisions, City privacy statement, educational materials that we will use to socialize our approach to the City, and the structure of our privacy program. The first gate, as I said, are privacy principles that we will deliver by the end of this year. And that’s our ethical framework. When we talk about privacy in the City, what does that mean? Where do we want to be? And have concurrence around it. To help build both that and the other sets of deliverables, we set up an inter-departmental team in the City. Eight departments have come together: IT, Police, Fire, Libraries, City Light, Transportation, and a couple more, plus the Mayor’s office and Council. And they’ve drafted those privacy principles. Then we took them to our privacy advisory committee, which is an external group of nine thought leaders in the City and community members who have really put the principles through their paces.
The meeting video, I believe, is live on the Seattle Channel web site. http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos?videoid=x29787 It was a very lively, in depth conversation. We had leaders there, including Ryan Calo of the University of Washington tech policy lab, a number of lawyers from town including the litigation chair of DLA Piper, who is also serving on the Mayor’s task force; general counsel for Alaska Airlines; Ben Krokower, representing CTTAB, and Tracy Ann Kosa, representing the Seattle Privacy Coalition. With the feedback from that group, we are now going back and revising the principles. We will circulate that with this group for their concurrence before we sign off at end of year. The next steps will be then to delve into privacy statement, which we will start right after the new year. We will take that to the privacy advisory committee in the February time frame. I’ll make sure that this group knows about that meeting when it gets scheduled.
Brian: When thinking about municipal broadband options for privacy, I trust that that conversation is still being carried forward towards potential municipal broadband panels. Is that correct?
Michael: That’s correct. We’re still at the front end and haven’t thought much about operations, per se. I will share something interesting from EPB in Chattanooga, where we asked that question. We were told that we’re such a small shop in the grand scheme of things that there is absolutely no business case for us to think about how to monetize Internet usage of our public. So, they don’t even store activity. They, of course, are required to comply with DIMCA notices. If a music company says you need to tell your user to stop pirating music or cut them off, by law they have to do that. But the traffic that they route through their network, they don’t even capture that. So there’s extremely limited risk of inappropriate usage of that information.
One other thing on privacy: I’ve gotten a few questions from individuals as well as folks from the City, saying that when we’re done with this project, you’re going to be able to tell us how it is you’re going to use this technology appropriately. And the answer is no. That’s not the intent of this project, per se. This project is to really create that foundation where we can have consistent thinking and decision making about new technologies, about specific activities. It’s not going to be the playbook that says, “When you want to use drones, here’s how you’re going to do it.” I think what the actual answer might be is, “You want to use drones? Here’s why that’s a bad idea.”
I just want to put that level setting and that expectation setting out there about what this process is. But again, feel free to Tweet me, email me, and I’ll answer any questions.
Question: Do you have any action items for us?
Michael: I’m excited to be thinking about 2015. I’m going to start working with my team on what’s in our work plan for next year. There are a number of very high priority projects in the City. Our data center consolidation Office 365 migration PCI. How to make IT more efficient and valuable within the City. As we work, I think I’ll have some pointed actions for this group as you develop your 2015 work plans. In the interim, I do look forward to hearing about your 2014 successes. What worked really well and what we can improve in the City.
Question: How’s was the Seattle Channel Civic Cocktail show?
Michael: For those of you who haven’t had the chance to see it, I encourage you to go to the Seattle Channel web site, which is brand new today. Congrats to the team. Watch the episode. It was Rick Stoltz of One America talking about the President’s new immigration policies. And then I had an opportunity to sit on a panel with Kurt DelBene, the former president of Microsoft Office Division at Microsoft, and the man who saved Healthcare.gov. He’s the person who the President said, “I unabashedly beg you to come save Healthcare.gov.” So, no pressure on me to sit on a panel like that. Kurt is tremendous and has great perspective. I enjoyed it immensely.
Ben: Next up, we have committee reports and a summary of 2014 accomplishments.
Rob Dolin: Four quick bullets for this past year: We’ve been working to publicize Hackfest. We did the Open Broadband Performance Survey. We tried to build up a cadre of potential volunteers to test the City’s redesign of its web site in 2015. And, we also worked on a devices and browsers testing matrix.
Stacey Wedlake: For digital inclusion, the TMF grants this year. We funded 23 projects this year. Those were approved in July and then Get Online Jobs launched over this summer. And we are working right now on Get Online Learning, which will be launching in January. http://seattle.gov/getonline
Broadband and Cable
Brian Hsi: There were director’s role changes that got through with the help of other parties with regards to Chris Mitchell on municipal broadband. That was quite informative and successful. There has been a lot of discussion and we set up a baseline for low income broadband programs, based on some community input, asking the question, well, what about WAVE? We started digging and came up with some guidelines that we will then start shopping around and baking into all sort of other things. Cable franchise renegotiations: we’ve been doing some legwork associated with that. That really kicks off next year. We’re just getting started with some net neutrality items that have come up as of late. Some interest around crafting a statement there. It’s been a busy year.
Beryl Fernandes: I can tell you where we started, where we went through the year and at this point, I’m not sure where we’re headed. I won’t go over the same ground on the symposium, but we had scheduled it for August and then we were asked to move it to September, which we did. And then we were asked for another postponement, and the date that we were able to get from Justice Yu was for March. So that’s where it stands. Everything has gone through the Privacy Committee, approved, adopted there and then sent over to CTTAB for approval here.
Now there’s a lot of things going on since Michael came on board and exciting stuff that we haven’t really talked about exactly how they work in parallel. So I think we have a bit of coordination to work through. I see them as supplementing each other. The approach that we took is very definitely a ground up approach. First of all, there was very little talk of privacy a year ago. Little interest in it, also. After bandying about various definitions and terms and wondering which ones we should pick, we decided to ask the people what’s important to them. So, with that, we started out saying let’s have a symposium, but in three phases. The first phase would be asking the people what’s important to them through crowd sourcing. And not just online but in person, so we get people who don’t normally go online. Then we’d have the symposium itself and after that, we’d have a post-symposium Hackathon type of event that we call the Collaborathon. And the purpose of that was to bring together techies as well as non-techie types and resolve issues by merging different competencies. So that was the third phase. At this point, we still have Justice Yu’s calendar with March 26, 2015 on it. I don’t know whether that’s still something we want to do. We need to figure out what to do. In the last committee meeting, which was October 15, Sabra and Michael dropped in. And there were questions. Why do we need phase one, why do we need Collaborathon. Can we just do the middle part?
I don’t think we had a full discussion of that, but it is your prerogative as CTO to say this is how we want it. I haven’t had a chance since that meeting to touch base with the volunteers, so I’ve held everything in abeyance and thought let’s wait and see what you guys are going to be doing and how we fit in, if at all. I think that the bottom up approach is the one that has received most applause from academicians. Ryan Calos was to be on our panel.
For several reasons, people were interested and applauded it. One was because we were going out of our way to make sure that the non-techies and people who don’t ordinarily have voices as this table were included. We went to great lengths to make it inclusive. Secondly, it was bringing the techie types and giving them the opportunity to lend their skills.
David Keyes: You also brought the policy statement to the board, which the board approved. That was another accomplishment. There was the resolution that came in with the proxy call.
Beryl: It was an action to support the concept of having a privacy initiative.
Nourisha Wells: The biggest thing was that it was going to be ad hoc and be there to support other committees as they needed help with promoting and getting public engagement.
Rob: I think our social media situation over the last year has gotten a lot better.
Ben: Public Engagement helped a lot with the Indicators Report and municipal broadband events.
Rob: The CTTAB Twitter account sends email to my email account whenever someone tweets at CTTAB, and there is a lot of traffic on that, so kudos to all the people who are both around the table and listening at home that have been tweeting CTTAB. There is a good, healthy discussion on social media that is truly open and enables a large portion of the community to participate.
Daniel: I want to give a big shout out and thank you to the folks that aren’t necessarily on this board here, but have dedicated a huge amount of time.
Stacey: I definitely echo that, especially around TMF. That takes a tremendous amount of time to go through all of those. We could not do it without volunteers from the community.
Beryl: Same here for the privacy committee. A tremendous amount of work and effort went into getting it up to this point. Lots of people in the community offering to bring in people to help on various tasks.
Ben: I realize that I skipped over public comment. I apologize. Anybody who is attending this meeting who would like to say some words or have something they would like to add, please feel free to do so.
Nancy: I’m just curious, for those of us who live downtown, any chance of any kind of WiMax or anything that we could piggyback onto whatever is being done for City and County government?
Rob: There was an interesting article that went across the listservs about New York City replacing telephone booths with WIFI kiosks.
Michael: I thought that was pretty cool. We don’t have any active plans to bring WiMax specifically. In terms of WIFI, as part of our broadband study, we are having our consultant help us understand our ability to deliver WIFI city-wide. We do have a public WIFI announcement that we will be excited–not to deliver ourselves but to support–for one part of the City. So stayed tuned for that later this month or early January.
Jose: I heard that a couple of years ago, South Park was trying to do their own rollout of WIFI. How does the City feel about them taking that on themselves?
Rob: If you see something, would you send it around? Pretty awesome.
Jose: I saw some hot spots going on, but I guess the devices didn’t work well, so they just dropped it.
Brian: More of a mesh network?
David: It’s a part of the broadband connections at the South Park Information and Referral organization. Another site in town donated their building and put in another access point, so they meshed between the two of them. We were giving them some technical assistance and support. Some of the community members were managing the access points for those. The information referral group moved, so they lost their emanation point. They didn’t have the ongoing funding to do that, but they were still maintaining it. They probably need an upgrade.
Rob: If anyone hears about these ad hoc WIFI sharing networks, I’m particularly interested in it. We don’t really have a CTTAB “discuss.” We have CTTAB “announce.” We have CTTAB, and we have CTTAB members. But we don’t have CTTAB “open discussion.”
David: A couple people brought that up. As the committees have asked for it, we’ve opened up those lists to be discussion lists. So, we have Broadband, the Privacy list, and eGov.
Election of Officers
Ben: I’ll describe how we did this last year. If anyone wants to make changes, I’ll be happy to entertain them. Last year, we had nominations around the table for chair, then we all voted, then we did first vice chair and second vice chair. Sabra helped organize the vote counting. Are you able to do so again?
Sabra: I am.
Ben: Also, if there are multiple people vying for a position, we will allot about a quick minute to tell us why the person would like to be elected. And then we vote. Anything to add?
Rob: Just one comment. I think we limited speakers to two minutes, rather than one.
Beryl: I would find it really helpful to hear from Michael. What he sees as priority issues. We hear from Council, but it would be helpful to also know what you have in mind.
Michael: In general, what I’m trying to drive in the study is a way to connect pubic to their government, where we empower our City employees to be productive and efficient, and where we have a pubic that is actively engaged in our high tech economy. What I see CTTAB’s role is 1) advising me on how we achieve those things, specifically as technology is evolving that we are thinking about the right way to utilize those technologies in the City; 2) and then also as we think about the types of policies and initiatives that we need to move the City forward, especially in that digital equity piece. How it is we do that, how liaise with the community and do so in a way that we can all be successful. Specifically, for 2015, the greatest priorities for me on the policy side are going to be landing the privacy initiative; broadband, especially when we get that report back. There are going to be some very interesting conversations, I think. And then, what will be a digital equity initiative that we’re still working on. I really look to this group to be involved in that. Think about, in our high tech City, what are those standards that we want to set for ourselves around digital equity. People who can help do those things and balance that desire to save the world tomorrow and decide how we can get there in time together, I think will be very effective.
Ben: First, we’ll start with chair candidates. Are there any nominations for chair?
Brian: I’d like to nominate Ben Krokower for chair.
Ben: I accept that nomination. I would be honored to serve as chair again.
Beryl: I nominate Dana. Dana served as co-chair.
Rob: i would suggest we have the candidates have their two minutes to present their candidacy and then that candidate may yield to their nominator if they have extra time. I think that Nourisha technically has the gavel now that Ben and Dana have both been nominated.
Stacey: People can also self-nominate, as well. Do not wait.
Nourisha: So do we have any more chair candidates to nominate?
Joneil: I nominate Sarah.
Beryl: Can we nominate more than one? I was going to say Nourisha.
Dana: I’m going to decline nomination, so I can take the gavel back. Do we have any more nominations?
Beryl: Yes. Joneil.
Dana: Now we will go in order of nominations that are written on the board. Ben, are you will to accept the nomination?
Ben: I would be.
Dana: Sarah, would you accept the nomination?
Sarah: I’m going to decline.
Dana: Nourisha, would you accept the nomination?
Dana: Joneil, would you accept the nomination?
Joneil: I respectfully decline.
Dana: With that, we’re going to ask each to speak about their interest in serving. Ben, will you be the first?
Ben: I just want to say that, no matter the outcome, I would certainly welcome the support of Nourisha as chair. I think I’m uniquely positioned on this board to support all of the priorities that Michael talked about. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about being a chair and running meetings this year. I think that my knowledge of City issues is a benefit to CTTAB’s visibility. My attendance at the privacy advisory committee as well as various City Council meetings shows my passion for these issues. I love Seattle. I want everyone to have cheap, great Internet to every part of the City. And I think next year is a huge year for Seattle in tech for this issue in particular. And I want to be a part of it as a leader, and would like to continue as chair.
Nourisha: I don’t believe anyone should run unopposed, and that’s why I accepted the nomination. I think it’s a good idea to have a variety of voices around the table and leadership opportunities. This is the purpose of a community board: to share the opportunities for leadership and visibility. And I think that’s important. Obviously, everyone who is on the board is qualified to sit on the board. And I think it’s a good idea to give other people the opportunity to lead and to stay on board. So that is why I would be interested in serving. I also think that it’s an exciting time in the City. I want to make sure that anyone can benefit, whether they are citizens, legally or illegally, or happily or unhappily, that they are represented and that our board represents their interests.
Rob: Question of parliamentary inquiry. Who are the ten voting members? I believe Ben, Rob, Stacey, Brian, Beryl, Sarah, Nourisha, Dana and Daniel are all voting members. That’s nine.
David: Joneil is the current tenth member.
Rob: Jose and Carmen are to be appointed in January.
David: Yes. That’s when their terms start.
Ballots were cast and Sabra collected them.
David: While the balloting is going on, I’ll just hand around the Get Online Jobs leaflets. We should mention that we now have that available in Spanish, so this is the Get Online Jobs leaflet in Spanish. There’s a video coming up soon on some of the Get Online, which Jose has agreed to help star in. For more on Getonline, see http://www.seattle.gov/community-technology/for-everyone/get-online-seattle
Sabra: Point of clarification. Is it just majority rule?
Rob: I believe an election requires more than half. So, if nine votes are cast, five would be sufficient to elect someone.
Sabra: Based on that, Nourisha will be our chair for 2015.
Nourisha Wells was elected CTTAB Chair for 2015
Beryl: Can we at some point–it doesn’t have to be today–collectively talk about some of the ways we would like to have the chair do or not do. I would have asked, for example, Nourisha, can you assure us that you could be impartial as chair.
Nourisha takes the gavel.
Nourisha: Let’s move to the nominations for vice chair. Are we going to continue with the first and second vice chair?
Brian: I think the bylaws, technically, just say vice chair.
Nourisha: And additional roles as needed.
Bery: Can we discuss the issues of having one versus two? I would like to see just one. So that we have more people to actually do the work and not be on top of it?
Rob: I don’t see why serving as chair or vice chair prohibits anyone from also serving on a committee or serving as committee chair. When I was vice chair, I also chaired a committee. And when Ben was vice chair, he chaired eGov. Holding a chair should not be exclusive, or has not been in the past.
Nominations for Vice Chair
Nourisha: Let’s take nominations for vice chair.
Sarah: I would like to nominate Joneil.
Ben: I nominate Sarah.
Sarah: I nominate Dana.
Sarah: I nominate Beryl.
Beryl: Thank you, but I respectfully decline.
Nourisha: Nominations are closed. Joneil, do you accept?
Joneil: I do accept.
Nourisha: Sarah, do you accept?
Sarah: I’m going to respectfully decline.
Nourisha: Beryl, do you accept your nomination?
Beryl: I am going to respectfully decline.
Nourisha: Dana, do you accept?
Dana: I respectfully decline.
Nourisha: Ben, do you accept your nomination?
Ben: I respectfully decline.
Rob: Madame Chair, I move that this body elect Joneil to first vice chair by acclamation.
Seconded, passed. Joneil Custodio was elected CTTAB Vice-Chair for 2015
Rob: In the role of second vice chair, by capturing action items, that has been very valuable for this body. I would encourage the new CTTAB to either identify a second vice chair with that responsibility or assign that responsibility to a member of the board. For what it’s worth, titles are free, so giving someone the title of second vice chair is cheap, but recognizes that person is contributing in that specific way, even though the gavel rarely passes to them.
Beryl: Can’t the first vice chair do that?
Rob: He or she could, but there seem to be a non-trivial number of times when the chair either is not present or biases themselves in discussion and therefore the gavel passes. So, I think having that designation in succession is valuable. So long as we agree that the chair and the vice chairs will not limit themselves to participation within the committees.
Brian: Great point, but potentially premature given that there are new members at the table for the purposes of next year, so for logistics, I think it’s great if this body decides who’s on board for January. And then from there that discussion can go. Let the new board decide their fate, rather than us decide their fate.
Rob: Madame chair, I move that this body table the continuation of elections to a future CTTAB meeting.
Select Committees to Develop Workplans
Nourisha: I think the big broadband committee will continue to stand. And the digital inclusion and eGov. And then the digital equity, should that be something that would stand on its own or would that be included under digital inclusion, or would it be under broadband?
Michael: My suggestion at this time would be that it not stand up committee until we figure out the body of work and the structure of any steering committees that might come up. At that time, we can revisit it as a group.
Nourisha: So then we keep the committees as they are. Privacy as well.
Question: Do we need to reconfirm who all are going to be the existing CTTAB members on those committees?
Rob: Broadband is losing its chair and vice chair. eGov is losing a chair. Digital inclusion is losing a chair.
Brian: Sarah has been jumping in at some of the meetings already and has been helping figure out what next year looks like.
Nourisha: So do we actually need the board members to choose a committee at this point?
Question: Procedural question: One new non-voting member is absent today. But we have Jose here, who is not technically a voting member. Is he able to participate in this process? If he does want to be a chair or vice chair, is he able to do that?
Rob: I would suggest that the 2015 CTTAB members identify the committees in which they have interest. This will be helpful for the outgoing leadership of those committees to identify one or more people to which to hand information. And then the committees, among themselves, should elect a member to serve as the chair or vice chair, as well as identify the ongoing participation. So we don’t need to actually elect committee officers tonight. We just need to know who to email information about the goals.
David: I would just say, as much as you can, to acknowledge or affirm or clarify as early as possible who the chairs are. That will make it much easier for me to communicate with and facilitate the committees.
Joneil: For Michael, you mentioned three points for your major agenda for 2015: Taking advantage of our high tech economy?
Michael: Making sure that our public is participating in our high tech economy.
Joneil: Is that part of any one of these in your mind?
Michael: It’s actually spread across. Within how I think about my department and our initiatives, privacy, broadband and digital inclusion all fall within that category.
David: In terms of whether Jose, Carmen become committee chairs, from my staff end, I don’t see a problem. Things can always change on any committee, but the work really goes on with volunteers, etc.
Beryl: I would like to suggest that we ask Council sooner rather than later what their priorities are, because last year they came in so late. We can ask them right now.
Comment: I think last year was all about the elections. They weren’t sure what committees they were going to be on.
David: I would like you to refer back to last meeting and the discussion. From the timing from here, you’ve got your committees. I know Ben was looking at the work plan template that Rob had done two years ago. I would like us to send that out to folks so that between now and January, you could start to draft, sketch out your work plan, and then refine it in January and then have Mayor and Council or their representatives come to the February meeting. So, based on the priorities that you have heard already, and that Michael has shared here, that you’re presenting your work plan draft to them when they come. Then they can give feedback and things can adjust at that point. That would help them move along so that by March you’re really in place.
Brian: Just for transparency’s sake, at the last CTTAB broadband cable committee meeting, Tony outlined several near-term milestones. Basically, this month, next month, the first quarter. Daniel and I took a first stab at taking a proactive work plan process, as well. I don’t think that people need to feel like this group as a whole will be on pause. Because there is certainly no shortage of work.
David: We’ve got Tech Matching Fund coming up in the first quarter of this coming year.
Brian: Even if the official work plans don’t get finalized until later, there is still going to be near term action.
Beryl: I think it might depend on the committee. For privacy committee, there are questions as to whether we should be pausing now or whether there are expectations. We heard from Councilmember Harrell a long time ago, and there are things we want to revisit. The last meeting we had with Sabra and Michael, we raised a lot of questions. So in my mind, I need to know what we are left with.
Brian: For the purposes of outlining the returning board members, in terms of where they choose to affiliate, I think the work plan piece is perhaps secondary.
CTTAB Election Results
Nourisha Wells is 2015 chair
Joneil Custodio is 2015 vice chair
Joneil, Nourisha, Jose
Ben, Joneil, Jose, Dana, Sarah, maybe Beryl
Sarah, Beryl, Brian, Daniel
Ben, Nourisha, Beryl
Nourisha: If we are going to have work plan drafts, I think it would be cool if you put them up on the blog so everyone can see them before the next CTTAB meeting.
David: I’ll set up the new members for blog access.
Rob: You’ll probably want to deprovision the old members, for better or worse.
Nourisha: And if you’re interested a committee, you’ll want to join the listserv, too.
David: Of those, digital inclusion is the only committee without a listserv.
Dana: That’s a question for the new chair, which I would love to have nailed down before we leave here so I know who to connect with. So, are there any self-nominations for a chair and vice chair?
Rob: Maybe just a person to whom the gavel can be handed off.
Ben: I’ll take the gavel as the temporary chair and we can vote on it later.
David: For TMF, I think the new application is coming out around January 13. We’ll have a workshop in February. I think it’s the week of the 13th. Deadline will be early March, and then we’ll review applications between then and May. Then we get it to Council by July. Assuming digital inclusion folks want to participate, we’ll figure that out in committee, but if other board members want to participate in the review process, you can get back to me. And if members of the public–we always have a few–so if anyone present wants to do that, let me know and I’ll have Delia Burke, who manages that review process, know.
Rob: I think Nancy brings up a good point about public engagement, that it’s important that we identify a point of contact and a few folks who are willing to help with that when that comes up. I know that with eGov, in February, we are going to have Transit Hackathon. It would be great to have a few folks engaged.
Rob: If maybe one person wants to volunteer as the handoff person from Dana and a few people want to volunteer to help with that, it would be a good thing to have as part of our transition plan.
Beryl: One thing, just to go back to TMF and before Stacey leaves, the criteria for selection. Would it be possible to just run those early in the process through CTTAB? One in particular that came up last year was the one about empowering communities to manage their own projects. And give preference to those who are managing their own projects.
Comment: Related to public engagement, we talked about creating a CTTAB events listserv. So that we can keep people aware of events happening.
David: Let’s talk about that, because they could go out through the CTTAB notices list.
Rob: I would suggest just having an events listserv that people can dump to. And then aggregating those, whether it’s once a week or once a month to CTTAB notice. I don’t think we want every single event going to CTTAB notice but we also don’t want to filter where people think there’s something that’s relevant and somebody having to make a moderation decision.
Brian: There are all sorts of community meetings where it may be of interest for those affiliated with CTTAB, either officially or unofficially, to check out whether it’s a neighborhood council meeting or tech meet-up or something like that. It’s not necessarily CTTAB business but it’s relevant.
Michael: There is something I want to share with mixed emotions to the room. We have a staffing change coming up in DoIt, and I think it’s of keen interest to this group. Many of you know Sabra Schneider, who has been in this room for the past three years and has been an amazing part of not only DoIT, but the City writ large. Sabra has accepted a position as the chief operating officer for the department of IT in the City of Bellevue. For which we are truly excited for her and the opportunities that that will provide, yet at the same time, we are equally devastated. So, I wanted to take a moment and just thank Sabra for her tremendous service to the City, to this group, and everything she has brought to us. As I’m sure you can imagine, the noise that you all just made is the noise I get whenever I share that news. Which is a tremendous testament to her abilities and achievements here. So I want to make sure we couldn’t let this moment go by without thanking Sabra for her service.
Sabra: It has been such a pleasure working with all of you these past years, truly from the first meeting. And I just think of all the things you have helped DoIT and the City of Seattle accomplish. I hope to be a good partner. I was joking with David earlier that I could come as a private citizen, except I don’t even live in Seattle anymore. Thank you. I so admire that you are all volunteers and that you are all so dedicated to the work that you do here. I won’t be far away, and hopefully, we can create strong partnerships between Seattle and Bellevue.
Nourisha: If there is nothing else, then I call this meeting of CTTAB closed.
City of Seattle Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB) 11/13/2014 Minutes.Topics covered included: Seattle Community Media public access TV update from Tom Butterworth; net neutrality, city broadband strategy and private companies, CTTAB draft statement on broadband for low-income residents, committee updates; advice from retiring members; officer roles and December election; work planning for 2015; wrap/next steps.
This meeting was held November 13. 2014; 6:00-8:15, Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2750
Podcasts available at: http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/CTTAB/podcast/cttab.xml
Attending: 23 in Total
Board Members: Ben Krokower, Daniel Hoang, Brian Hsi, Dana Lewis, Beryl Fernandes, Sarah Trowbridge, Joneil Custodio, Jose Vasquez
Public: Tom Butterworth (Seattle Community Media/Seattle College District), Doreen Cornwell (STAR Center), Webster Olson (Condo Internet), Karen Perry (Clarion Collaborative), Nancy Sherman, Jim Lewis (The Lewis Group), John Gabriel D’Angelo (Microsoft), Dashiell Milliman Janis, Kit Eldridge (First Solutions P3 Alliance), Julie Cochran (Condo Internet)
Staff: Sabra Schneider, Derrick Hall, Cass Magnuski, Tony Perez, Alice Lawson
Meeting was called to order
Agenda was approved.
Minutes for September and October CTTAB meetings were approved.
Seattle Community Media presentation by Tom Butterworth
Seattle Community Media has existed for about three and one half years. Services provided by SCM are paid for by self-funded Seattle Colleges Cable Television (SCCtv) and the City of Seattle. It broadcasts on cable in the greater Seattle area on Comcast Channel 77, Wave Broadband Channel 23 and to the world via live stream on this website. You can also watch nearly all programming on-demand on their website at http://seattlecommunitymedia.org/.
An early goal was to get producers out of the studio and into the streets. They made it possible for a lot of the work to be done remotely. Now at least 80 percent of the producers never step foot into the studio. They do all of their production work remotely and upload their content to a server. Some use community centers to upload their programs, others do it from home. Once a program has been encoded, the producer an email that they can schedule the program. Long time producers have qualified for a regularly scheduled program, newer producers must schedule their programs for an open slot. Programs are simulcast online, so that viewers from around the world can see it at the same time it is being broadcast on cable.
Statistics show that about 80 countries on average tune in to the online broadcasts. The entire repertoire of a producer is available online. No adult content is permitted. All content is available on IOS (Apple).
Fees are kept low. Other stations charge over $100 a year per producer, but SCCtv has created an ala carte membership so that everyone who joins is a producer: $35 is basic with $10 incremental fees to use the studio or check out production gear. Training classes are available to teach camera use, edit, and use the studio. A lot of time is spent teaching people basic computer use.
Membership requirement: must live in Seattle, King County. City of Seattle is the prime funder, which has allowed residents of King County use as well. There are presently 94 paid members, 354 people have signed in and created an account to become a viewer, and 48 to 50 people are creating shows almost every week. There is more activity in the winter than in the summer.
Programming is 24/7. Seventy-nine percent of the programming is from local producers. the remainder is Free Speech TV. SCCtv receives approximately 125 programs per month. This averages out to about 90 hours of fresh content per month, although some producers upload the same content over and over.
Studio B is a small studio that has remote cameras. The technical director can be host or bring in guests. They have been working to outfit a larger studio. It is available to those who have demonstrated the skills to use it. The level of expertise for most producers is low. Not professional level. There is a community room that has 11 editing stations. Three are Mac, the rest are PC. SCCtv walks users through the steps. Production equipment is available for checkout: audio gear, cameras, etc. They also offer phone support.
Topics include multi-cultural events, news focused programs, relocated people broadcast in their own languages, Ethiopian, Romanian, Korean, for example. There are cooking shows, gardening, women’s issues, travel, Somali issues, astrology, music, etc.
SCCtv gets about 4000 hits per month from every state in the union, and 600 Roku visits per month.
They are working on a new platform to replace aging equipment and methods. The goal is that it would be so user-friendly that English language is unnecessary.
City pays $187 thousand a year into the program, with occasional money from other groups. This funds about 4.8 months per year. SCCtv funds the rest.
Future: They have requested an HD channel for public access. They are upgrading a lot of infrastructure for HD. Studio B will be upgraded to HD. Most cameras are HD, and they are adding more, as previous equipment is showing its age.
They cannot provide live broadcasting. Financially unfeasible.
Brian: How do you see these channels working together with Seattle Channel in a sort of dialogue?
Tom: The missions are so different it would be difficult for the Seattle Channel folks to interact with Seattle Community Media. The level of support needed for public access producers would make it prohibitive. Also, Seattle Community Media cannot tell a producer to make something that the Seattle Channel wants. A secondary party might infringe on the freedom of the producers. They could ask for something they see, though.
Sabra: Did you say that the studios aren’t used much? Are people checking out the equipment?
Tom: The large studio is not. Studio B is used a lot. We have five complete packages of HD gear and couple other sets, one geared toward youth and the other is basically outdated. The five are almost always in use.
Sarah: What other outreach exists besides these channels.
Tom: Outreach is limited. Problem is time. Every month we gain two or three serious producers. Others spend a lot of time learning but walk away. With new platform, we hope to lessen the amount of time we have to spend with new users. We do outreach within the colleges a lot.
The board sent a shout out to Derrick Hall, for 20 years of service to the City of Seattle.
Q: What is the board’s stance on net neutrality?
A: The mayor is for it. CTTAB should draft a formal position.
Q: About four years ago, CTTAB took a positive position on a proposal that the City lay fiber. Has that changed since Century Link has plans to do the same?
Ben: CTTAB is supporting the mayor’s priorities for exploring municipal broadband. There is a three-pronged broadband initiative. Private companies investing in infrastructure; exploring public/private partnerships; and municipal broadband. So we held a municipal broadband forum with Chris Mitchell, the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative. We don’t currently have an official position on municipal broadband.
Sabra: The City is still looking at alternative approaches. The Stranger Slog ran this article about the City study on broadband that should be done in about 6 months: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/10/08/municipal-broadband-in-seattle-took-a-small-ste…
There was also the Council legislation passed that is helping CenturyLink build out broadband. We think we’re starting to see action on the three prong strategy.
Q: What is the policy regarding private companies?
Brian: A couple years ago, there was a Council resolution and RFI looking for partnerships with regard to leasing unused fiber. That is still viable.
Sabra: Certainly, the fiber leasing is still there. We’ve been focused on possible regulatory burdens for the City and thinking through what it means to be a private sector company trying to come in and do that, and looking at our processes and seeing what we can improve upon. One is the cable code, which we hope to send to Council over the next months. Another is bringing all the utilities and SDOT that have regulatory burdens around this and identifying what those are. Those are ongoing conversations, and one that CTTAB was very involved in.
Karen Perry: As a follow up to the stimulus funds for broadband, which was a $4.2 billion investment by the government, the Department of Commerce is working on a toolkit for local governments to try to pull together best practices from those projects. I expect them to be available sometime in the first half of next year. There’s always something to learn. That is ongoing and will complement that work. There is a lot of interest in broadband from the community that she’s seeing on the NextDoor neighborhood web site.
Ben: Please let them know that they are welcome at these meetings.
Brian: NextDoor just opened up their platforms to engage with Police Department and Mayor. It’s a one way communication. For example, SPD, when they post something, can see the responses, but we can’t track other things that are going on. Can the City see trends on a topic?
Sabra: No, we can’t see the trending or all topics. The police can get responses on their posts.
People are missing from the eGov Committee, Digital Inclusion, and Public Engagement. These were skipped.
Privacy Update: Ben Krokower
Q: Is the membership open?
Ben: We don’t know yet. I think every conversation will be made available to the public.
Beryl: Not sure what happens to the privacy work that we have done or are going to do.
A: I think they are happening in parallel. We have a symposium coming up.
Beryl: I don’t know that we are. I think we have to talk about how these two merge, if at all, or whether this new committee will take over. Once it’s done. Maybe there will be other options. I think we ought to release the Justice’s calendar [scheduling of Chief Justice Yu for the Symposium].
Brian: Are you there as a representative of CTTAB or individual?
Ben: I’m not sure, but will clarify and regardless, will be sharing what I learn with the Board.
Daniel: Broadband Committee meets on the last Monday of every month at O’Asian. A lot of our citizen members have been coming. We’ve been working on a draft statement on low income broadband access. We’ll be forwarding a draft copy in response to a letter we sent earlier this year.
High points of the letter:
1) Very supportive of having equal access for everyone, including low income folks, in the City of Seattle.
2) We believe that the speeds and the services should be equivalent what an average person is able to procure.
3) We believe in reducing some of the burdens of applying to some of those programs. A person may be eligible for the $10/month service, but needs a PhD to fill out the form to get these programs.
4) As public policy, this is not a technology issue alone, but also access, education, community involvement. We put out a comment supporting the Community Technology Program and local community centers. That’s where people are getting education.
Beryl: It is my understanding that the proposal was going to streamline significantly the process that people have to go through to use DSHS, food stamp program for example. In paragraph number two, it says ‘also may include the City’s utility discount, federal income tax forms, additional verification.
Daniel: We’re not prescribing a certain process. We’re saying leverage existing processes where you can take advantage of existing programs without creating extra burdens.
Brian: We’re supporting use of The City already does verification for utility low income discounts, for example.
Beryl: So if someone were already eligible for utility discounts, would they have to go through a reapplication process for broadband?
Daniel: In general, we’re not saying you must use this program or that program. We are saying that there are existing programs that you can use as income verification.
Brian: for any provider that offers a discount, they can tap into existing resources.
Daniel: The key take away is that this is a tool we can use with providers and people who are running low income programs. We’re not writing anything in stone.
Brian: It’s more a starting point to make sure people cover all the bases. Solid Ground coordinates some of these resources as well.
Ben: This is great. There were two things we mentioned offhand: proactive marketing of the programs and getting usage stats [take rates] from the companies on how many people are using these discount programs. Comcast was aggregated on the state level.
Dana: This is a great compilation.
Daniel: Earlier this year we made a request of Century Link and got a little push back in terms of getting the data.
Brian: There’s a lot happening with the cable franchise renegotiations coming up. Per Tony Perez, there are benefits that the City got in the past in terms of franchise fees. There’s an opportunity to take a look at these. What’s relevant? Are we solid with what we have? Do we want to look at other things, since the landscape has shifted dramatically in the last 10 years. NYC issued a statement to Comcast saying we want funding for training, access to all low income folks and seniors. That’s something worth considering. Likely more form us in the next couple months.
A recent cable survey, and also the Indicators Report, will offer some data points. The latest census will also. The census defines broadband as anything that is not dial-up.
BREAK: Eight minutes
Planning for 2015 and Advice from Retiring Members
Ben: We want to learn from some mistakes we made this year and we’ve gotten solid guidance from the City as far as initiatives and work goes and priorities go. I don’t think there are any mysteries re: what the work is going to be next year. The Broadband Committee has tons of work to do. The Mayor has released the digital equity initiatives and we have TMF coming up. Rather than waiting for full priorities from the Mayor and Council we will draft our own and get feedback from them. I want to hit the ground running this year, rather than wait four months to get rolling.
I want to combine the agenda items, Advice from Retiring Members, Officer Roles and the December election, and Work Planning for 2015 and have a free form discussion of all this.
Here is the proposed schedule:
- December: next month, we will hold elections and review the scope of work and timing as we know it in conjunction with DoIt. We will determineour own committees. Rob put together a fantastic Powerpoint template for work plans a year ago. I want to revive that, make some edits and hand it out so that all the committee heads take a look at it.
- In January, all the committee heads will have met and put together drafts of their workplans. And come for feedback to the rest of CTTAB to get group approval of general approaches.
- In February, we will present our workplans to Mayor and Council.
- In March, we will officially approve them. Maybe we can do this in February if there are not significant changes.
Daniel: Is there a way to get some input on the interests of members so nobody is assigned to something in which they have no interest? Perhaps we could use Survey Monkey or another tool.
Beryl: Let’s do that right now.
Brian: Committee structure.
Joneil: public engagement
Sarah: Public engagement, broadband, digital equity
Jose Vasquez: Public engagement and digital equity, digital divide, different communities and broadband access to low income people.
Brian: Anything outside these?
Joneil: Education Technology (Ed Tech)
Joneil: Ed Tech
Sarah: Smaller organizations
Brian: Partnerships in general.
Brian: The landscape has changed a lot. Seattle is a tech hub. There’s a vibrant start-up scene, whether it’s coding or manufacture. There are a lot of ways that tech impacts us. Note the Office of Economic Development start-up staff person.
Daniel: Excited to see the interest in public engagement. I went to the Ballard District Council meeting last night to speak on behalf of CTTAB. I think we should do more of that outreach. I was talking about low income broadband, a topic that was not on their radar.
Karen Perry: Two complementary thoughts on education tech. One, there is all the tech that’s here, and overall, the Washington Technology Alliance says we score really well on all the technology measures and really bad on all the education measures. So, a lot of people who moved here but were educated elsewhere are saying, ‘I like it here, but unfortunately I have to put my kids through your education system. So they care, which is good. And I’m also thinking about the model which the President does, where he sets up this public/private partnership where you stand up and do something big with him and commit to making change in some area. If it’s well managed, it can result in something. The Roadmap to Education project is another example. This would be a great way to create corporate partnerships and there’s a lot going on with the schools anyway. CTTAB could maybe make a difference putting those things together.
Brian: I don’t know whether this falls under outreach, but the notion of partnerships in general interests me, incl the Technology Alliance that runs the Ada Academy. I think there’s a potential for all sorts of different partnerships, whether it’s tech meet-up groups, industry groups, educational institutions in hubs, such as UW or SU, Seattle Central, whatever. I think there are interesting opportunities to connect around technology issues for the region that I don’t think have been tapped. I don’t know if CTTAB should be a champion of this, but I think we can play a role in shaping those conversations and connecting.
Ben: I agree. I think it would be really nice to plug CTTAB into a larger eco-system. We’re just one player, but I think an important one in that we are a conduit to local government that no other group has. Where all of the work isn’t necessarily done by us but that we’re able to be part of the conversation.
Beryl: We need to have some kind of filter to determine our role. The term ‘partnership’ is a broad one. Organizations such as UW are well established, but there are other groups out there. We don’t know who they are, we don’t know who the chair of the board is, or if they have a board. We have to ask ourselves who it is that we want to partner with and do we have longevity? What do we get from it? Do they have any credibility outside of a small eco-system? We need to ask ourselves a few questions before we jump in.
Brian: Great point. Partnerships is probably the wrong word. It’s more about leveraging the different networks.
Dana: I remember two years ago, the year we had like 800 recommendations. I think we should make sure we’re smart in analyzing and not just accepting any request that comes to us to partner.
Joneil: It’s important for us as a board to be clear about our goals, so we can focus our attention on what we have to do.
Beryl: Especially if a group is asking us to support their mission. It may or may not coincide with what we’re doing.
Brian: So let’s inform them up front on what we can or cannot do.
Ben: I think it would be good if once a quarter a member of CTTAB goes to some community group, even as an audience member. Good for visibility.
Daniel: I think we should go in our official capacity. Maybe we could put together some talking points of our official positions, summarize, to let the communities know what’s going on. My company is getting involved in the Central District. There’s a lot going on over there. A lot of innovation.
Beryl: I go to a lot of community meetings, but not as a CTTAB member, as I haven’t been sent.
Dana: I think that is something the public engagement committee could take on.
Brian: I would say leverage the committee members, as well, because there are only going to be a finite number of board members. But there is a pretty regular crowd of committee members. And we have a rich alumni group. So leverage that.
Dana: I’d love to give everyone who regularly comes to these meetings a card. It could bring more people in.
Jose: Has CTTAB done an informal networking event for the public in general?
Dana: We tried that last year and didn’t get a lot of attendance.
Jose: Maybe just the committee members then. I might not be able to go to all these community meetings, but I would be interested to know who is stepping up and being a leader.
Sarah: Given our schedule for next year, if we want to make a special networking event, and encourage our active committee members to attend.
Beryl: Didn’t Sabra organize some happy hours last year that had really good attendance?
Sabra: It was originally going to be on a ferry. As part of our Evergreen Apps contest, we did Geeks on a Ferry. The ferry system was really jammed that day, so it was not a good day to do it. So we did a last minute change to a happy hour at a place nearby. And it was a great time. But we got such great attendance because it was supposed to be a pretty unique hack-a-thon.
Beryl: Some kind of open house. A holiday party would be great.
Sabra: We were getting really good media coverage on the apps event, too, so Geekwire published a story about it and then another. Good publicity. Our new CTO is very welcoming to community input.
Joneil: I’ve always hoped that there would be a stronger conduit with the Code for Seattle efforts. For December, I’d like to invite the code squads to come in with us.
Sabra: They do come periodically. Rob goes.
Brian: I know that at the municipal broadband discussions we took attendance. Can we communicate out to those who have proactively given us their info?
Sabra: I think it depends on what we’re communicating. We don’t want to spam people. We do have those mailing lists and if we were doing something related, I would feel more comfortable about leveraging those lists.
Sarah: Is it possible to have a check box that says, ‘yes, I would like to be added to the CTTAB listserv’?
Sarah: We may want a CTTAB events mailing list.
Dana: Good idea. A lot of times we get asked to spread the word about our minutes and that would give us a wider audience to do so, without it being a huge initiative for us.
Ben: I like the idea of changing public engagement to leveraging our networks, rather than using the public engagement committee as an admin function. Maybe we should rename a public engagement committee, if we have one, to reflect that.
Dana: Or just revision the work.
Ben: I like the idea of its being its own set of activities. If there’s an event and somebody needs to do outreach, it’s the responsibility of those organizing the event to do their own Twitter and Facebook posts. I don’t like to see it turn into a communications team.
Sabra: There are a lot of tech opportunities to do cocktails in the city. So our thinking through what our goals are going to be as opposed to those that already exist would be helpful. People have family and lives and other things they sometimes like to do, too.
Beryl: I would like to suggest that when we say ‘tech,’ what do we mean? In certain under-served communities, I can see them getting excited about certain issues that we are already dealing with or might deal with. But we don’t necessarily think of inviting them. If we invite them, I think we have to have some hook, something that is of interest to draw them in. I would like to see them included in open houses as well. That’s a great way to get to know them and their issues, and a great way for them to get to know us.
Sarah: As a new member, that brings up an interesting question for me. I want to know what CTTAB’s role is in providing guidance on technical tools.
Ben: My own take is that we synthesize public comment, add our own opinions to it, discuss it as a group and try to provide some sense of what Seattle residents think. We should deliver those opinions and policy guidance to the Mayor and City Council. Sometimes, we proactively say, ‘here is what we’re hearing, we’re going to tell you what we think as a group, and other times, we’re asked by Mayor or Council to come up with an opinion.
Brian: All those are examples of how I would like to see us evolve. When I first joined the board a couple years ago, privacy wasn’t really on the radar, per se. Last year, we started talking about it. It’s kind of a ground swell. Things that start popping up can be turned into a big thing.
Beryl: And I think that the challenge of coming up with a statement for CTTAB is that you can have a general principle to guide, but each of the neighborhoods are saying, ‘Think about us. We don’t exactly see it that way. You need to understand our issues before saying that all Seattle ought to go this way or that way.’ So it becomes a challenge.’
Sabra: One of the mandates to CTTAB is to make recommendations to the Mayor and Council. Some of that is stuff that is brought up through the community. And I think that has happened with Beryl and the Seattle Privacy Coalition and folks coming to this meeting and bringing some of those privacy issues to our attention. And sometimes the Mayor or Council will ask for our opinion on some of that stuff. But it is advisory.
Dana: I think sometimes we agree not to agree. We all have different opinions. We’re going to allow people to do that individually with other partnerships, too.
Beryl: It’s really important that we do give each other the freedom to disagree or veer off in another direction, but say why and just respect each other’s point of view. I don’t think we do enough of taking a different opinion. We tend to coalesce around one and go with it, regardless. I think we should give one another the freedom to do that. It’s part of the democratic process and healthy.
Dana: All are welcome at CTTAB, whether you agree or disagree. Everything is always fair game.
Ben: The idea of context: I’ve been hearing the same acronyms and same discussions for the last three years. These things have become almost second nature. But Seattle Community Media, for example, gave a presentation. What was missing was that there was context that CTTAB, when the last cable franchise negotiation happened, there was a giant controversy about moving money from SCAN (Seattle Community Access Network) over to this new thing, which is less money and less infrastructure. CTTAB was involved in that. So there was some context missing. People may have been wondering, who are these people? Why are we listening to this thing? People who could provide that context were in the room and should have stopped the presentation to discuss it, then continue on. We should do that because everybody in the public is probably in the same boat as you, so please, it’s important.
Sarah: If you do invite a group, it’s important to give them context ahead of time.
OFFICER ROLES AND SUCCESSION PLANNING
Ben: I’ll give a brief overview of the roles, what we’re going to do next time around to vote and encourage everybody to throw your name or that of other people to step into the ring as chair, vice chair or second chair. Next month, we’ll vote on the three leadership positions: the chair, vice chair and the second vice chair.
Beryl: Are we committed to having two vice chairs again? Is that really necessary?
Ben: I appreciated the administrative help. Dana, what are your thoughts?
Dana: I think it depends on the number of people we want in leadership positions. Last year, we had a really big group that wanted to be that actively involved. Given the limited number of returning members, I’m not sure that’s going to be the thing, so my suggestion is to see who is interested in pursuing roles before we make that decision.
Beryl: The board seems a little top heavy. If you feel you need the administrative support, then sure.
Dana: There’s a way for people who want to be involved. They can chair committees.
Beryl: Also, when there are three officers, we don’t have enough work for the committees.
Ben: So that’s an open question.
Brian: I think it’s a minimum of two.
Dana: Context for everyone: Last year, we moved to three, but it’s not written in the code.
Beryl: So will we take a vote on that at the next meeting? Do we want to have two vice chairs or one, and then move on from that.
Ben: I think we gauge who wants to be in the leadership against how much work there’s going to be.
Brian: I think we let the work decide, whatever committee structure, and the goals and what the board wants to accomplish in the next year. Us deciding right now seems a little premature without knowing those other pieces.
Beryl: I think one defining characteristic of CTTAB is whether it truly wants to be a community based board that takes initiative. I think there is a very important distinction–and I’m hearing this from the community. Some are saying, ‘That’s really great that you are a community board and you are really setting the tone and direction.’ And others are saying, ‘It looks more like you are responding to what staff wants.’ I think we need to be very clear on what our mission is and what our vision is for ourselves. I think the asset to the community at large is to be a truly independent body that brings different perspectives that are unencumbered by position and status to the table. And that also goes to Mayor and Council as perspectives from the community.
Daniel: Unless we are providing input that’s relevant to Council, staff, or ala carte issues, then we are not being as relevant to our customer. There are already existing forums for those discussions. We need to be the leading edge advising the City on current issues, such as the privacy statement or broadband. If we’re not involved in those discussions, then we are not providing that value to the City.
Beryl: It’s a question of whether we’re doing for staff, as opposed to doing it for the Mayor and Council.
Sabra: Well, staff works for the Mayor.
Brian: That aside, there is a very specific charter for CTTAB and if we don’t live up to that, first of all, we fail. Second, to your point, Beryl, I think you are spot on, because we are made up of the community at large, for us to not bring that perspective, we also fail. We need to first make sure we know what this group is chartered to do, whether it’s within the bounds or in addition to, or whatever, I think yes, I would support that.
Beryl: It is in the charter to provide advice to the Mayor and Council.
Ben: When we are doing our work we should be a truly independent voice in that work. To not be the rubber stamp but to synthesize public opinion in an actual voice, rather than helps along with whatever they want to do.
Beryl: Rubber stamping staff is not helping staff, Mayor and Council. It’s certainly not helping community at large. And I would like to see staff see and understand that and not see us as adversaries if we present a comment or position that’s different.
Daniel: Is that happening? There has to be a specific case for adversarial staff. I haven’t seen that so far.
Jose: I appreciate hearing that. As a new member, what the role is of CTTAB and the community.
Ben: So you wanted to talk about succession…
Daniel: For our cable broadband committee, two board members are terming out. Brian and myself. Starting in January, there will be no board member representation.
Q: Are there any requirements for chair, vice chair, to have had a year of experience?
Brian: I’m looking at the charter right now. It says, ‘shall elect and chair and vice chair.’ And they serve a term of one year. If they want to seek a successive term, that’s fine.
Beryl: For the committees, do they have to be CTTAB members? Because you’ve got some active non-CTTAB people out there.
Ben: We can choose to make committees. I think that the heads of the committees should probably be CTTAB members because they’re voting.
Ben: Next will be a very busy hour-long meeting and then we’ll have an informal party afterwards.
Sabra: Does anyone need staff to do anything with regards to the party? At some point, we should talk if you do.
Dana: I think it is best if we do it here because we’ll be having the elections and everything. If we go to another venue for the party, that’s fine, but the meeting should be here.
Ben: Yeah. That part of the meeting is important. I think the party part hinges on whether we can have alcohol on City property.
Sabra: If we have the party here, I would be more comfortable if we did not have alcohol. If we want to retire somewhere nearby as an after party, I would be happy to help facilitate that. Certainly, we can make a more festive environment here without alcohol. Sorry for being the wet blanket.
Dana: I’ve heard comments that having meetings in restaurants is sometimes limiting for people. But I think we should do it here, and afterwards, if there is a group that wants to put off the alcohol for an hour we can move to another location.
Beryl: I think whenever we split it that way, we lose a lot of people.
Dana: The formal party is here, but if a group wants to continue hanging out, we’re free to do that.
Brian: So the next meeting, aside from the officers, going back to work plans, committee structure and figuring out what we want to do next year: In the earlier conversation about public engagement and doing outreach, and getting people who we had some connections to in the past, I question the size of the room.
Ben: It has been crowded in the past.
Brian: We are expecting a larger crowd because of the specifics of what we want to accomplish during the meeting.
Dana: Are we talking about December or January?
Ben: For December, the plan was hold elections. Hopefully, we can get through that quickly. Review the scope of work and timing as we know it. I’ll come prepared having done with DoIt. And Dana too. We’ll come up with here’s what we see as next year’s core of work. Then we can determine committees around that. Then I’ll pass out the work plan template based on Rob’s Powerpoint that he did last year.
Sarah: And that’s where we renew signups for the committees, too, right?
Brian: So the notion is that we would expect a larger crowd.
Ben: Yeah. If members of the public want to be on committees, or have any input on what those committees should look like, then we would need to have them here.
Dana: I think it’s usually the January/February ones where we invite guests. So I think December will be a little bit bigger but not too big.
Sabra: When we have open recruitment, members who are thinking about applying tend to come. There are a couple months when we are recruiting when the meetings tend to be really full.
Beryl: Could we spill out into the hall when we open it up for the party?
Sabra: We can look at having a bigger room if people want that. We’ve been filling this room pretty regularly. This will be the first we haven’t in a while. So it may make sense to think about that for next year. But we can try to reserve whatever you need for December. I can’t guarantee that we can do it, but BKL is enormous, if we’re really having a party. The boards and commission room may or may not be available. There’s a room on the 40th floor that may or may not be available. It’s bigger than this one, so there are options. We just need to know what you need.
Ben: Dana and I will connect with David about it.
Sabra: Happy to help. Also happy to connect with O’Asia about 30 extra people going over there at 9:00.
WRAP UP OF DECISIONS
Dana: Here is what I heard: Broadband Committee is discussing its informal stance on Net Neutrality to happen. do your next steps on process and report back. Consider meet and greet. Talked about creating CTTAB events email list. That would be an opt-in so people don’t get everything. Ben and I will talk to David about getting the space for December.
Q: I came here to figure out what the group does. Is it to advise City on technology, advise the City on we the community, or possibly look at whatever the City is doing to provide services to the citizens? What is the group’s charter?
Brian: It is the duty of CTTAB to study and make recommendations to the Mayor and Council on issues referred to the board by the Mayor or Councilmembers of community-wide interest relating to telecommunications and technology, including such issues as cable television access, technology access, and regulatory issues within the City’s authority regarding wired and wireless communications. It goes on to cover conducting hearings, making recommendations, etc.
Sabra: In the past, CTTAB sent over policy statements, hosted events, hack-a-thons, etc.
Q: How does CTTAB decide which subjects they want to advise the City staff on?
Ben:What you’re seeing here tonight is sort of gearing up for a work plan next year. Once a year, either the Mayor or a member of his staff and/or Councilmembers or a member of their staff will come and give us their priorities. We set our outline for the year based on what we hear from them. In addition, we also get a lot of opinions from the public. We have our own opinions. We hear from people who are bringing things up. We will prioritize those. Privacy is a good example of that.
Q: How do you obtain the opinions from the public?
Daniel: This group is just an elected group representing different areas. We all applied for these positions. We represent different neighborhoods, different community groups, and we tap into our personal networks.
Brian: In terms of the board’s makeup, City Council and the Mayor’s office have a certain number of seats depending upon Council priorities. For example, there is always a Get Engaged member that is carved out. Get Engaged is a program that helps young adults get on boards and commissions throughout the City. Education is one priority. Historically, the Mayor wanted folks who were plugged into the startups over the years. Leveraging personal networks is a big part of it.
Dana: The committees are open to everyone, so if you are interested, please come next month. If you can’t come, please send us an email and sign up and join. Because we would love to have as many people as possible participate in the committees next year.
Brian: The CTTAB web site lists all the committees and when they are, minutes, etc.
Beryl: If you tell David Keyes that you are interested in something, he will forward it to the appropriate person.
MEETING ADJOURNED AT 8:15 PM