Illinois Broadband Deployment Council (BDC)

March 21, 2007



John Andrews, US SONET LLC; Charles Benton, Benton Foundation; Katherine Dawkins, Digital Educator; Manny Flores, City of Chicago 1st Ward Alderman; Wendy Farley, Comcast; Matt Guilford, City of Chicago; Tony Hylton, Broadband Technology Associates; Marsha Koelliker, Equip for Equality; Alan Kraus, NIU Regional Development Institute; Herb Kuryliw, NIU IT Services; Keenan Leesman, Broadtech Solutions LLC; Joe Mambretti, International Center for Advanced Internet Research; Michael Maranda, AFCN; Jack McInerney, Illinois Finance Authority; Bruce Montgomery, Montgomery & Co., Inc; Joel Mulder, Adesta LLC; Layton Olson, Howe & Hutton Ltd.; Deno Perdiou, at&t; Scott Piehn, Computer Dynamics; Doug Power, NIU Regional Development Institute; Francis Roehm, Skokie Library; Don Samuelson, DSSA; Nicole Turner-Lee, One Economy Corporation; Ray Williams, DCEO; Ted Young, Illinois Tollway Authority


Staff Attendee: Bridget McCarte



Paul Adams, UIUC Graduate School of Library & Information Science; J.J. Adkison, Red Hill Wireless; Ryan Alderks, City of Rochelle; Kathy Barnhart, State Board of Education (ISBE); Nancy Bradbury, ISD; Marybeth Lauderdale, ISD; Willie Cade, Computers for Schools; Bruce Cooper, Now Wireless; Ron Duncan, Shawnee Community College; Doug Dougherty, Illinois Telecommunications Association; Anne Godman, Computer Banc; John Hester, Illinois Commerce Commission; Howard Kenner, Illinois Finance Authority; Pete Knopf, Illinois Virtual High School; Sumantra Lahiri, ISBE; Wade LeBeau, Kankakee Daily Journal; Karen Lee, USDA; Sara Lieber, Chicago Medical Society; Sara Nelson, Office of Senator Dick Durbin; Pete Schiel, City of Kankakee; Deborah Seale, SIU Telehealth; Mario Sebastiani, Kankakee Daily Journal; Dana Smith, Rural Electric Convenience Coop; Michael Dickson, WIU; Lori Sorenson, ICN; Kathy Harrington, Sen. Obama’s office; Brad Housewright, Heartland Communications; Jody Johnson, University of Illinois Extension; Terry Sullivan, Shiloh CUSD # 1-Edgar County CUD #6; Philip Wood, Verizon, Bryan Stevens, Rural Comm; Doug Sigrist, Rural Comm; Don Wood, Assoc. of Illinois Electric Cooperatives; Doug Wilson, USDA Rural Development; Maria Wynne, Microsoft


Staff Attendees: Carolyn Brown Hodge (CBH), Katie Stonewater, Ryan Croke



Matt Brady, Federal Signal; Chuck Brown, Integrated Technology; Dave Loomis, ISU; Sascha Meinrath, CUWiN; Mike Glodo; Gisele Hamm, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs; Mike Hammett, Intelligent Computing Systems; Doc Mueller, Illinois Municipal Utilities; Mayor Chet Olsen, City of Rochelle; Jim Rechner;  Cathy Roger, City of Peoria; John Scrivner, Mt; Glen Semple, Farm Credit Bureau; Kenneth Terrinoni, Boone County Government



CBH welcomed guests and motioned to approve the December meeting minutes. Brad Housewright motioned to approve the minutes. Jody Johnson seconded the motion, which was approved.


CBH asked the group to approve video and teleconference attendance options for future meetings. Deno Perdiou motioned to approve the minutes. Deborah Seale seconded the motion, which was approved.



Rural Telecommunications Conference

CBH: The 2007 Rural Telecom Conference will be jointly hosted by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs and the Lt. Governor’s Office in Springfield from October 14-17. She encouraged everyone to share the conference request for papers widely.


USDA Broadband programs

Wilson: The rural broadband access loan process cycle is ongoing; it has helped fund Fiber 520-522, a fiber-optic “triple play” company in Salem. USDA also sponsors a community oriented connectivity broadband grant program worth roughly $8.9 million. USDA also wants to support distance learning and telemedicine to give rural communities opportunity to consult with larger cities.


Lee: The $7 billion application window for Rural Access Loan guarantees is ongoing. Interested parties should contact Alan DeForest or Karen Lee to apply.


CBH: Who can you serve?


Wilson: We are not here to finance large corporations. Underserved areas and independent providers can work through USDA loan programs to take advantage of 40 different programs that offer a variety of opportunities.


National Broadband legislation

Nelson: The Lt. Governor’s office is a great partner for us. Senator Durbin is working on two separate broadband bills. One seeks to reform the USDA broadband grant program housed through the USDA (in the Farm Bill).


The bill will unfold through an interactive online drafting process.  It would create a matching grant program to apply for seed money to have own state proposal – would be competitive and match $25 million. 14 state per year to use the legislation. The Senator hopes to introduce bill in next two weeks.


Provisions to allow broadband services through USF funds. Going to use blogging, etc to write the federal legislation with constituents


CBH: When it is ready, we will forward draft legislation to the group.


Broadband service map

Loomis: The broadband service study is not yet complete. We need information from several providers who weren’t comfortable filling out survey. We’re still waiting on responses from Comcast and Mediacomm.


Duncan: Zip code areas are an imprecise measure of availability.


Broadband infrastructure development

Mambretti: Illinois should promote and prepare for next generation technology.


The state should bring together a “foundation infrastructure” plan for the state. Current planning has developed in ad hoc ways. A forum I’m convening will explore this in more depth at a later date. 


Next generation network fabrics are exclusive to the research community. Some corporations are planning to use these capabilities as basis of their global corporations. If we’re not connected to this fabric, we can’t participate in global community.


Power: Many countries are doing what Joe is talking about. We need funding to do this, and if we don’t get it – we need to move ahead without funding.


Technology Immersion Pilot Project (TIPP)

Barnhart: In 15 schools within seven districts – every sixth grader has a laptop thanks to TIPP.


CBH: The Lt. Governor’s goal is for every 6th grader to have one and keep it until high school. The only impediment is funding.


Lodo: How has program been influenced with Negroponte’s $100 laptop initiative?


Barnhart: Those are targeted at students in third world countries


Meinrath: We have some of the $100 computer prototypes in Urbana. They are not ready for prime time and I doubt they will be in 2007.


Cade: How about giving a memory card to every student to store digital “textbooks”?


ICN Update

Sorenson: The ICN has expanded baseline bandwidth to schools, reduced cost to non-ed people, and overseen an increase in available bandwidth.


Computer Refurbishing

CBH: How can we efficiently take used computers, load them with software programs, and then get them to places with the greatest need?


Godman: Computer Banc in Springfield provides refurbished computers but many families don’t have home Internet access. We get a number of PCs, but can use more. We have a 2-3 month waiting list to access computers.


Cade: We ask families to make a contribution from $10-$75 to obtain a refurbished computer. There is a 3-year warranty on our equipment. We are looking to work with any broadband provider to bundle hardware (whether WiFi or cable, DSL) with refurbished computers. This is the place for federal and state government to be helpful in process. The equipment we have is far superior to available bandwidth.


Adams:  Research suggests home computers improve student test scores. We recycle donated computers for home use. We also set up public access computer labs. There are a number of sites in CU, Bloomington, Peoria and E. St. Louis.


Schilling: There is a need to teach people how to use computers.


Cade: Microsoft is engaged in this also.


Wynne: We need to plan for digital inclusion and training. Microsoft will work with cities and states to help.


Johnson: Are any of the programs expandable downstate? There is a need for computer labs like the one in E. St. Louis further south.


Housewright: Training should be part of any computer-literacy funding source package.


Hylton: What if we started a community technology program as a 501C3 with an educational component?


Wilson: Within the USDA we are working with community groups and community colleges to have computer labs. 


Wynne: Cities can create 501C3s, also use options in workforce development.



Alderks: NITT is making progress in some of the issues dealing with legislation and bonding. We’re trying to facilitate agreement to broaden scope of NITT.

We have contracted with a developer to build a facility to house Rochelle Municipal Utility’s broadband unit for the city of Rochelle.



Seale: A telemedicine grant will benefit 340 community agencies. 16 sites connected throughout the state. It will be the regional locus to get to specialists. There are severe demands on medical system and many patients are incorrectly diagnosed because of lack of decent access to medical professionals.


Update on telepsychiatry reimbursement bill.


Power: FCC has a round of funding for May 7th for telemedicine for regional or statewide health initiatives. We are working with ISU and several different hospitals. There is rural health network funding. We are putting together an application and if interested contact us. The FCC is looking for statewide interest, with an emphasis on rural entities. We would be happy to incorporate anyone to the application. The grant would fund 85%. This is really attractive and a good position in state to get money. Trying to put the coalition together as an Illinois initiative. Overall amount $100 million for two years.


Seale: Todd Hart taking the lead on exploring an application for this as well.


CBH: We don’t want to overlap in our applications for federal funding.


Loyola University Health-e database

Ludwig: There is a project sponsored by Nation Library of Medicine that links medical information in every state. We hope to go live with the project on Sept 1, 2007. Current work is on disaster preparation and recovery.


LTG: this fits into topics rural affairs council is reviewing. We want to work with Loyola.


Ludwig: There is a plan to expand this service, but funding is limited. We only have a small grant and are working with medical school libraries and health sciences libraries. The Illinois Rural Health Association and Illinois CLICK is supporting it.


--HB16, Rep. Lang (CLICK)

Roehm: No money has been directed toward content projects. We are trying to push HB16 and are grateful to get support.


LtG: Are you looking for foundation funding or any kind?


Roehm: Yes


--HB754, Rep. Howard (State “e-champion”), HB1258, Rep. Hamos (Municipal rights, healthcare, & funding)

Croke: HB754 and HB1258 HB754 will establish a statewide broadband authority in the spirit of Connect KY. HB1258 passed out of Computer Technology Committee. There is an amendment on HB754 that will be added tomorrow.

--SB678, Sen. Bond, Rep. Hamos (Trains)

Croke: The bill mandates IDOT to come up with a plan to deploy wireless broadband on Metra and Amtrak by the year’s end.

--HB1458, Rep. Miller (Bonding)

Keener: There is no provision for refurbished computers but it is possible.


Vienna Fiber Optic Industrial Park

Johnson: Through a grant from the Delta Regional Authority, we want to install fiber optic cable in industrial parks. This project part is of a larger effort to wire all industrial parks across state to link to KY. Then connect communities with fiber through telemedicine grants.


Kankakee Wireless

LeBeau:  With a $17000 original investment our wireless system has grown through sponsors. It offers free Internet service to more than 400 acres of public space, including a low-income housing development and senior citizen center. We maintain and expand the network by purchasing access points with money from advertisements on the home page portal, through which anyone who uses the network must register.


The partnership with city means the city installs the network and the Kankakee Daily Journal maintains the help desk and support. Everything on website is public. This is drawing a lot of people into the city. It’s easy to use and registration is free.


LTG: Do you need access to poles?


Scrivner: We have a pole attachment agreement with Ameren.


LTG: how long did it take you to negotiate terms of the agreement?


Scrivner: It was a long and frustrating process to get this done.


LTG: We need to get more info because we are in utility negotiations.


Cade: Philadelphia wanted to establish individual metering on each pole. Took legislation to prevent ComEd parent company, Exlon, from doing this.


Hylton: We are currently negotiating a pole attachment agreement in Aurora. Two issues: wireless access points didn’t have rate structure for unlimited capability. Second: energy, delivery, pole attachment. Banked and unbanked facilities have to have a controlling device to ensure constant connectivity.


Power: Ameren owns poles in Montgomery and Macoupin counties. Negotiators have tried to get rights to poles from Ameren and weren’t successful.


Scrivner: We need access to connect once mounted in the air. We can’t get to the access points they have on poles, because we don’t have right of way. This is a serious problem if there is a failure in device.

So there is a multitude of issues-far different than just getting a pole attachment agreement. Cost for pole attachment agreements is ridiculous. We had to negotiate down from $45 a month


Springfield Wireless

Perdiou: During our negotiations with the city of Springfield we discussed different contract issues. One is pole attachment agreement, which increases the cost and reduces economic opportunity. We have agreements with St. Louis, and Napa CA. We’ve filed a proposal with Chicago. And we’re close to agreement with a city in Ohio. We will need four months to wire the downtown area.


Chicago Wireless

Guilford: We have received three proposals. Negotiations can take awhile, but we are confident in the end we will have a solution for digital inclusion, education and government services. The Mayor created an advisory council on digital divide, we have a focus on creating broad policy framework.

Also, Chicago is hosting a wireless conference in May. It will bring key stakeholders from all over the world on May 22nd and 23rd.


LTG: Is Taipei a model of one of the best wireless cities in the world?


Guilford: Taiwan has been very involved; a lot of cities in Asia are early participants in these types of technologies.


Vince DeMuzio Rural Broadband Pilot

Power: In Montgomery and Macoupin counties, DSL is widely available. The counties lack high-end broadband infrastructure – past T1 speeds. An RFP for companies willing to improve the broadband infrastructure was released in mid-Feb. We had a vendor conference with good turnout. Information about it should be on the website,

There were questions and answers on vender conference and presentations done on vendor conference. Solutions can be service or equipment oriented. Thanks to Senator Deanna DeMuzio and the LtG for support. We will be implementing the project in late spring/summer.


LTG: This is a model to get high speed Internet to rural Illinois. This pilot is important, as is having digital map of assets – need to get a lot of counties to do this too.


Lieber: I was the author of the Medicare Part D and digital divide presentation last meeting. We annually require every senior to reevaluate Medicare part D plans online. The alliance that formed to help seniors with this process has evaporated. We need to find new members to help those who are interested in providing this help to seniors.


LTG: We will have another meeting before the end of May.


The meeting adjourned at 1:15pm.