Illinois Broadband Deployment Council
Minutes of the September 27, 2005 Meeting
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Room 214
Illinois State Capitol
Videoconference location:
15 th Floor
James R. Thompson Center

Roll Call.

Springfield Attendees. Lt. Governor Pat Quinn, Jason Bird (Illinois Municipal Electric Agency), Brian Chapman (Central Management Services), Michael Dickson (Western Illinois University Center for the Application of Information Technology), Ed Feser (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), John Hester (Commerce Commission), Jody Johnson (Southernmost Illinois Regional e-Partners), Matt Johnson (Verizon), Mark Kinkade (Department of Transportation), Herb Kuryliw (Illinois Municipal Broadband Communications Association), Deno Purdiou (SBC), Greg Robertson (Globalcom, Inc.), Deborah Seale (Southern Illinois University Telehealth Network and Programs), Terry Sullivan (Shiloh School District, TECH 20xx).

Chicago Attendees (videoconference). Kirk Brannock (SBC), Jay Carlson (Central Management Services), Annie Collins (Fiber for Our Future), Tony Daniels (Central Management Services), Carlos Estes (Rep. Connie Howard), Representative Connie Howard (34 th Representative District), James Kaplan (Illinois Board of Higher Education), John Mitola (Toll Highway Authority), Melville Nickerson (CUB), Jill Rendleman (Illinois Finance Authority), Rev. Bill Samuels (Minsterial Alliance Against the Digital Divide), Kelly Weiss (Ald. Manny Flores), Ray Williams (Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity).

Not Attending: Mark Kolaz (Illinois State Board of Education), Donna McCann (Illinois Association of County Boards and Commissioners).

Guests. Troy Fodor (Attorney), Tony Hylton (telecom consultant, City of Aurora), Alan Kraus (Broadband Development Group – Northern Illinois University), Doug Power (Broadband Development Group – Northern Illinois University), Susan Satter (Office of the Attorney General), Alex Villar (graduate assistant, WIU Center for the Applications of Information Technology).

Other Attendees. Carolyn Brown Hodge, Steven Simon (Office of the Lieutenant Governor)

Call to Order and Opening Remarks. Lt. Governor Pat Quinn welcomed the attendees to the first meeting of the Illinois Broadband Deployment Council. He discussed his similar role in several other state councils. He then identified the following overarching goals for the Broadband Deployment Council: making state infrastructure available to third parties; having state agencies envision telecommunications infrastructure as the successor to traditional infrastructure such as roads and sewers; using the Illinois Finance Authority to develop a funding stream for telecommunications projects; fostering competition; and identifying where telecommunications infrastructure is throughout the state by becoming “our own dark fiber detectives.”

Introductions. All council members introduced themselves and discussed their connections to telecommunications issues throughout the state. In addition, Jay Carlson noted that the cable industry should be represented on the Broadband Deployment Council. He explained that the industry was overlooked during the Governor's Broadband Task Force in 2004 and that Task Force discussions were improved once cable industry representatives were appointed to the Task Force.

Council Discussion.

In response to Jay Carlson's comments, Lt. Governor Quinn noted that the Governor made the appointments and that further appointments would need to go through the Governor's Office. He added that the Council would look into further appointments.

Lt. Governor Quinn then began to go through each council duty mentioned in the Broadband Deployment Council Executive Order. He explained that working groups would deal with each duty, and that members should decide which working groups they want to work on.

Toll Highway Referring to duty (a), Lt. Governor Quinn asked John Mitola to discuss the Tollway's model for leasing dark fiber and other infrastructure to third parties. John explained that the Tollway has been involved in auctioning access to cell towers for four years, including a national auction that began two years ago, which has resulted in more competitive bidding. Subleasing of fiber across the Tollway's 275 miles has principally involved commercial entities such a telephone companies. Municipalities have also subleased fiber but the Tollway has found it much easier to deal with commercial entities than public entities.

At this point Representative Howard arrived. The Lt. Governor introduced Representative Howard, who then expressed that she was glad to be a part of the council.

John Mitola continued that no standard process exists for leasing Tollway infrastructure to municipalities.

Northern Illinois Technology Triangle At Lt. Governor Quinn's prompting, Herb Kuryliw discussed progress on the Northern Illinois Technology Triangle, which utilizes Tollway fiber along I-88. Rochelle is currently connected to I-88, and within the next 60 days, Batavia, Dekalb, Fermilab, and NIU will be connected. Herb also mentioned plans to move north toward Rockford. Brief discussion of a proposed fiber-optic connection along I-39 came to the conclusion that funding is the major obstacle to this leg of the NITT project.

Mark Kincade (IDOT) and Jay Carlson (CMS) discussed “some possibilities” for working together to help the NITT project along. CMS has recently become involved, while IDOT has been for months. There have been three meetings discussing this project with CMS. IDOT and CMS believe the project may coincide with IDOT needs for road surveillance and congestion mitigation.

Jay Carlson also mentioned CMS plans to extend ICN to Macomb. Mike Dickson discussed a plan forming to create a fiber ring in this area.

CMS and IDOT Fiber Resources John Mitola asked if any fiber is currently on I-39. There is not, but Mark Kincade said that IDOT laid fiber for years and they have a good grasp of where it is. Carolyn Brown Hodge asked if IDOT had fiber on I-57 that might be used by Deborah Seale's telemedicine group. Mark Kincade said they would have to check.

Jay Carlson and Mark Kincade discussed plans to light fiber along I-55 between Collinsville and Chicago during this calendar year. This will be used for traffic cameras, traffic mitigation, and other state purposes.

Doug Power (NIU Broadband Development Group) asked if ICN could be opened to private information traffic and Jay Carlson replied that the state can't do that because it isn't certified as a CLEC. He added that what the state can do is make excess bandwidth available at cost on an equal basis to private and public providers. The Governor's Broadband Task Force discussed this.

Tony Hylton added that the real problem for communities is not fiber backbone issues but last mile connectivity, particularly for the “lower socio-economic realm.”

Mike Dickson acknowledged the last mile problem but added that WIU needs dark fiber but cannot find out where this is available.

John Mitola pointed out that the Toll Highway Authority once put information about all of its fiber resources on the Internet, but that this transparency was curbed because of Homeland Security concerns.

Jay Carlson noted that carriers had similar concerns but that a GIS map could be created without detailing specific routes and geographic locations. To John Hester's concern that cable would not share infrastructure information with the state, Jay Carlson responded that they agreed to do so during the Governor's Broadband Task Force.

Regional Public-Private Initiatives Lt. Governor Quinn noted that duty (b) is related to duty (a) and moved on to duty (c), which deals with regional public-private efforts. Doug Power noted the difficulty of private entities gaining access to public networks for information traffic, but that they extra effort in doing so would be well worth it.

Terry Sullivan noted that when the Illinois Century Network's predecessor LincOn was created, there was a need to encourage collaboration between public agencies and to determine how to ensure charges between them were equitable.

Annie Collins noted that the private sector broadband providers in her area (Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles) have been unwilling to work with the public sector, and that local government is sometimes the only entity willing to provide services.

Doug Power reiterated that there are often contracts, statutes, and ordinances that prevent effective public-private partnerships. Annie Collins responded that private providers are often unwilling to use public networks for their traffic, to which Tony Hylton responded that this might be due in part to security concerns. Annie Collins agreed that this issue needed to be studied.

Herb Kuryliw interjected that we needed to determine whether the council was discussing actual broadband or just dark fiber access. Terry Sullivan added that this depends on the size of the businesses involved, and that smaller businesses would be more likely to be interested in reselling broadband service rather than gaining access to dark fiber. Herb Kuryliw disagreed and said that sometimes smaller providers are very interested in dark fiber.

Funding Information, Illinois Finance Authority, E-Rate Lt. Governor Quinn again reminded members to assign themselves to subcommittees for the council. He then moved on to a discussion of (d) which deals with providing information about telecommunications funding opportunities, as well as determining how the Illinois Finance Authority can be used to fund telecommunications projects.

Terry Sullivan voiced concern that Illinois is no longer getting its share of the $2.2 billion available in federal E-Rate funding, which uses Universal Service Funding to provide Internet service to schools.

Jay Carlson responded that Illinois is still a major E-Rate recipient, with ICN receiving $7-9 million per year and the schools receiving more than $50 million. However, the state's E-Rate staffer retired, which might result in a loss of $35 million in E-Rate funding. According to Jay, this issue should be an action item for the council.

Terry Sullivan responded that E-Rate staff member Ricardo Postando was hired away a year ago, and that the Illinois State Board of Education has been without E-Rate staff for a year.

Rights of Way Lt. Governor Quinn began discussion of duty (f), which requires the council to work on Right of right of way issues. He asked Mike Dickson to relate his understanding of problems with gaining access to railroad rights of way. Mike Dickson said that it takes three to four years to access a railroad right of way and that this is a tough process. Lt. Governor Quinn asked if other states had success with the issue. Mike Dickson mentioned Indiana and Iowa.

Matt Johnson mentioned that the Illinois Telecommunications Association introduced a bill during the last legislative session that set protocol for accessing railroad rights of way.

Cataloging Telecommunications Infrastructure Lt. Governor Quinn began discussion of duty (h) which requires the council to catalog telecommunications infrastructure in the state. He mentioned the efforts of other states, particularly Connect Kentucky, Link Michigan, and E-NC (North Carolina).

Carolyn Brown Hodge mentioned the upcoming Rural Telecommunications Conference 2005 in Lexington, Kentucky. Connect Kentucky's meeting is open to conference participants, and Carolyn urged members of the Broadband Deployment Council to attend if possible. The Lieutenant Governor cited Kentucky's slogan of “States as Broadband Laboratories” as something we should look to as a council.

Legislative Recommendations The Lt. Governor turned to duty (e), which entails making legislative suggestions about whether an entity should be created to distribute telecommunications state funding. He acknowledged that legislative suggestions for veto session are unlikely to be undertaken, but that we should have proposals ready for legislative session.

Lt. Governor Quinn also mentioned the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a Chicago nonprofit which helped construct an emergency communications network in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. CNT utilized WiFi mesh networking to allow shelters and emergency responders access to Internet, VOIP, and other resource.

Ray Williams stated that CNT's Illinois community wireless networks have been funded in part by DCEO Digital Divide Elimination grants.

Attendee Feedback and Miscellaneous Comments The Lt. Governor mentioned council duty (f), which requires the council to accomplish its other duties in a way that fosters telecommunications competition. He then opened the discussion to any comments that attendees wished to make.

Representative Howard made two requests of the council. First, she suggested that the efforts of the council should support smaller telecommunications competitors instead of just larger companies. Second, she asked members to give her any legislative ideas they might have for the legislative session, particularly with respect to Homeland Security or other pressing concerns (this was in reference to earlier comments about Homeland Security concerns resulting from public knowledge of telecommunications infrastructure). She then mentioned a recent phone call that she had with Jackie Grimshaw, Executive Director of the Center for Neighborhood Technology. The two discussed CNT's activities in Louisiana.

Jay Carlton pointed out the State of Illinois brought communications aid to Louisiana utilizing state VSAT satellite equipment. Twenty four thousand evacuees were processed using this equipment. He added that we should consider equipping all critical state building with VSAT technology for VOIP and data service in emergency situations.

Doug Power reiterated his concern that some federal funding might stifle the development of public-private partnerships due to limits on whether public sector traffic can be used on federally subsidized networks. Mark Kinkade said that we would need to review the appropriate statutes.

Jill Rendleman said that IFA has no problem working with public or private projects, so that funding from IFA would avoid the potential roadblocks that Doug Power identified.

Annie Collins mentioned that a major priority of the council should be ensuring that the legislature does not pass laws regulating municipal telecommunications services.

Doug Power mentioned the upcoming NIU Telecommunications Conference in Naperville on October 27.

Matt Johnson mentioned Verizon's partial funding of the Nov. 16 and 17 IL Community Technology Center and U of I Extension Conferences. These are being held in Springfield.

The Lt. Governor scheduled the next meeting for Wednesday, November 9 at 10:30.

Adjournment Matt Johnson moved to adjourn. Representative Howard seconded the motion. Meeting adjourned.