Illinois Broadband Deployment Council (BDC) Minutes

March 6, 2008



Charles Benton, Benton Foundation;

Pierre A. Clark, Chicago Digital Access Alliance Inc.;

Bill Cusack, Motorola;

Darcy Davidsmeyer, Motorola;

Nancy Emrich, Benton Foundation;

Wendy Farley, Comcast;

Alan Kraus, NIU Broadband Development Group;

Joe Mambretti, Northwestern University International Center for Advanced Internet Research;

Bruce Montgomery, Montgomery & Co.;

Layton Olson, Howe & Hutton;

Doug Power, NIU Broadband Development Group;

Frances Roehm, Skokie Library;

Don Samuelson, DSSA;

Ray Williams, DCEO;

Thomas Hampton, CDW;

Mike Kozeliski, LOEA;

Kip Roderick, The Benton Foundation;

Nicol Turner-Lee, One Economy;

Samreen Khan, Governor’s Office


Staff Attendee: Marlena Jentz



Faith Bishop, Illinois State Board of Education;

Skip Brinkley, Norlight;

Bruce Cooper, NOW Wireless;

Michael Dickson, WIU;

Doug Dougherty, Illinois Telecommunications Association;

Jeff Gerhardt, Wonder Lake Network;

Jeffrey Hoagg, Illinois Commerce Commission;

Brad Housewright, RidgeviewTel;

Matt Johnson, Verizon;

Jody Johnson, University of Illinois Extension;

Louie Midiri, IDOT;

Herb Kuryliw, NIU;

Marybeth Lauderdale, Illinois School for the Deaf;

Kathy Lively, Connect SI/Man-Tra-Con;

Tiffany Macke, University of Illinois Extension;

Kirk Mulvany, CMS;

Mayor Chet Olson, City of Rochelle;

Deno Perdiou, at&t;

Deborah Seale, SIU School of Medicine;

Kay Shipman, FarmWeek;

Lori Sorenson, CMS;

Ed Hoyt, Illinois School for the Deaf;

Frank Stec, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;;

Chris Kamba, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;

Michael Gaines, IDPH

John Miller, Illinois Deaf & Hard of Hearing Commission


Staff Attendees: Carolyn Brown Hodge (CBH), Holly Copeland, Rudi Hancock, Ryan Croke



John Scrivner, Mt.;

Lynn Betts, Sterling Group Services;

James Carlini, Carlini & Associates Consulting


Jody Johnson moved to accept the minutes from 7/18/2007. Seale seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.


$21 million FCC Rural Health Pilot grant

Kraus:  A few weeks ago we went to an extensive training from USAC to implement the rural health care grant project in Illinois. 59 of the 69 grantees were in Washington. It marks the beginning of a big change in health care in rural America. The FCC, Health and Human Services and USAC have been very helpful in the process. Funding is for three years, but the projects can last for five years. Money will carry over to each of the years. Illinois Rural HealthNet is an official nonprofit in Illinois. There will be more to come in the near future.


Croke: The FCC invited all states to apply for grants to construct high-speed networks for health care. At $21 million, Illinois Rural HealthNet won the third largest grant in the country.


USDA grants and Rural Broadband workshops

Croke: Community Connect Grant application information and Digital TV transition information and information on FCC/USDA rural broadband workshops are being distributed.


Committee updates

Croke: Three committees were formed to provide recommendations by April 1 to position Illinois as America’s leading broadband technology state.


Dougherty: The policy committee completed a draft document and is meeting this week to finalize its recommendations.


Mambretti: The infrastructure committee is looking at 5 areas: educating policymakers; governance of next generation large-scale infrastructure, standards for excellence in broadband infrastructure, process streamlining and finally, removing impediments and barriers to infrastructure improvement.


Power: Regarding all three committees, we should keep in mind that we are not talking a bout a one-size-fits-all, lowest-common-denominator recommendations. This is to avoid endless debates over “what speed is the right speed”.


Seale: The demand committee developed eight categories in which broadband technology can be a useful tool. We are collecting examples in each category to demonstrate the practical benefits of high-speed networks.


Olson: These eight categories put emphasis on quality of life improvements. California’s recent broadband report highlighted five categories. We should also discuss whether our committees need resources to carry out their objectives.


Croke: Everyone is invited to participate and contribute to all of the committees. The eventual reports will be distributed to members of the General Assembly and relevant committee staffs, in addition to interested members of the public. We are hoping for a hearing on broadband deployment in Illinois in the General Assembly this year.


Broadband in Speaker Madigan’s budget hearings

Roehm: Please attend Speaker Madigan’s budget hearings and speak out about the need for support for broadband technology infrastructure and programs in Illinois. Hearings will be held around the state. We don’t have a clear statement yet but we have a variety of expertise and concerns. Can anyone speak at Decatur or Marion on Monday? We need statewide solutions to statewide problems, and broadband is a major issue. My phone number and email address are in the handouts.


SB766 High Speed Internet and Information Technology Act

Williams: We have not received the $4 million supplemental appropriation heading to DCEO. The comptroller has not established so the funding has not been transferred from the ICC to DCEO. We are preparing language for a supplemental but there were issues with the appropriation language. My plan is to have the RFP out to the public and a decision made prior the end of this fiscal year. We submitted emergency rules to JCAR and they became effective February 27. These rules could run a program so that is moving forward.


Samuelson: An account, appropriations language, and an RFP must be developed. What is the timeline

Why is the timeline for this any longer than a week or two?


Williams: We’re still in session, but there are other reasons. I am looking at the end of the fiscal year, June 30.


Samuelson: So in four months, there will be a nonprofit?


Williams: Our goal is to have reviewed RFPs by then.


HB5000 Children’s Low Cost Laptop Act

Croke: This bill, sponsored by Rep. Soto, passed out House Computer Technology today and calls for a grant fund to give up to 300 schools access to low-cost (under $400) laptops. $100 million could bring a laptop to every first, second and third graders in Illinois.


Lt. Governor Quinn:  I believe in laptop education. These are the textbooks of the 21st century. I don’t know if we can get $100 million dollars, but lost talent and unfulfilled potential are more costly. I don’t know if we can get $100 million dollars, but we’re off to a good start.


DCEO Community Technology Center Grants

Williams: The deadline for submission was February 15th. We received 270 proposals, for requests totaling roughly $20 million. We can only award $3 million. We will award roughly 50-60 grants averaging roughly $60,000 per grant. May 30 is our target date for notifying successful grantees.


Lt. Governors Association Resolution to Bridge the Digital Divide in America

Lt. Governor: Lt. Governors across the country are speaking with one voice on access to high speed Internet for every part of America. Our attached resolution calls on the FCC to reform the Universal Service Fund and encourages national and state leaders to work together to make sure no one is left out of the information revolution. We will keep everyone informed as we make progress towards the resolution’s goals.


Community Wireless Grants

Croke: Four Illinois “Main Street” Communities – Belleville, Carbondale, Mt. Vernon and Quincy – have received small grants to construct and maintain downtown public wireless broadband networks. We’ve expanded the grant opportunity to include every community –and their associated libraries, park districts, schools and other organizations -- in Illinois, which has led to a record number of applicants for the 2008 grant cycle. We expect to award between four and six new communities with “Community Wireless” grants of less than $10,000 each intended to provide free public Internet access “hotspots”. Look for an announcement of at least four winners by May 1 and at the next meeting of the BDC.


Wireless seminar project

Stec: We’re from the UIUC Project BroadCAST. This stands for Broad Collaboration for Advancing Spectrum Technology. With the guidance of professor Christian Sandvig, we’re hoping to help communities learn more about creating wireless networks and spectrum policy.


Kamba: We want to assist communities who are interested in applying for and carrying out community wireless projects like the one offered by Lt. Governor Quinn. We’d like to fill in the gaps for communities who have not located local experts to help them construct wireless networks.


Stec: We’d like to gather information from all parties who are interested in working with us today.


Lt. Governor: I’m pleased that, with the help of our broadband community, we can make more of these networks effective today with relatively modest amounts of money.


Illinois Century Network update

Sorenson: We’re always seeking to expand the capacity of the network. We’ve been focusing on the backbone, working with DOT and by the end of FY ’09 we’re hoping to have the first route of an operational state-owned fiber backbone network from Chicago to Peoria to Springfield and down to Collinsville. By FY10, we will complete that ring by expand it to other parts of the state. This will create several new procurement opportunities. The first one is for DWDM equipment, hopefully in the next 2 months. In August, there should be another RFP for components of a level of managed service for the fiber project. That will be a part of a large state network services procurement opportunity, one of the largest in our history. Vendors on the phone – please register on the state RFP procurement bulletin. It is a heads-up on upcoming procurement opportunities. We want to encourage multiple responses. We have been working with telecom providers who have approached ICN staff for Ethernet solutions and negotiating predictable, standard volume prices across the state. This was made possible with at&t. Our staff does a lot of marketing of pricing and options. We do not have contract relationships with every network vendors. We would like to establish master contract pricing to make it easier for schools, hospitals and libraries to make network purchasing decisions. Norlight and Verizon and McDonough Telephone are working with us to serve rural Illinois. Other providers are always welcome. The at&t Optimon pricing is available in Champaign and it will soon be available in Collinsville, Peoria and hopefully Rockford. Commercial and private sector customers can take advantage of these services as well.


Olson: When are ICN regional meetings going to happen?


Sorenson: Sometime in the fall, probably October.


Mounting wireless equipment on government property

Stapleton: There have been 2 major impediments to broadband deployment from the Wireless Association’s view. One is use of state infrastructure and the other is use of county infrastructure. IDOT just approved use of all IDOT towers and other infrastructure like high-rise light poles for mounting wireless equipment. Standard state lease agreements for municipalities and private entities is available. Rep. Tryon introduced HB4766 to further standardize the mounting process.


Perdiou: Has IDOT published a bulletin about leasing state towers?


Stapleton: Yes. I will send it out.


DHS Telehealth Project

Seale: By the end of 2007, we have 27 sites funded through the DHS telehealth project. This serves people with developmental disabilities in institutional and supervised group home settings. A handout provides details. The public health dollars that have been invested in telehealth make long drives for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals less necessary.



Duncan: ConnectSI is a 20-county economic and community development initiative. The backbone of this effort is widely available affordable broadband Internet service. We have great partnerships with the provider community and leaders in every county. Our GIS mapping component ties the project together. In five years we’d like to have a “take-rate” of 54% for high-speed Internet services in Southern Illinois. It is currently 12%, compared to 24% nationally in rural areas. People who want to register their interest in service should visit .


Lawndale Wireless project

Turner-Lee: One Economy is interested in the community benefits of technology. In Chicago, we proudly facilitated the wiring of over 1,500 housing units, with at&t bringing free service to over 300 units. Wireless Lawndale was sponsored by the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the TOP program. The Motorola Foundation has also contributed to building networks with us in underserved parts of Chicago.  Lawndale is home to about 45,000 people, and a lot of economic development opportunity. The Lawndale network has between 4-500 users. Motorola donated about $100,000 worth of Canopy equipment. Our goal is to include 2-5,000 households. We are training 8-10 residents with Motorola and Lumity on network development and design. We are working on a new computer loan fund with the South Side Federal Credit Union with CHA residents. $500 computer and a non-predatory loan. We’re working with Kelman Elementary School and Apple to get 300 laptops to students in Lawndale. We have a number of citizen-generated content, including the “Beehive” and a “24-7 town hall” for civic engagement. We want people, and especially young people, to understand the potential benefits of technology and Internet access.


Herrera: I coordinate a program with Chicago Public Schools and we would like to work with you.


Benton: This is an exciting model, but its only exciting if you can generalize from it. What’s your plan for doing that?


Turner-Lee: We’re documenting as much of the Lawndale model and sharing it with other communities, like the Village of Riverdale.


Samuelson: This was started by a TOP program five years ago. There were 650 Technology Opportunity Program grants funded through the Department of Commerce over five years. Kate Williams at UIUC catalogued these projects. We should learn from them.


Broadband Access for the Deaf

Miller: Two years ago we started talking about the importance of videophones for the deaf, especially in rural areas. Videophones require high-speed Internet, at least 512 kbps in both directions. Video communication is for the deaf what telephone communication is for the hearing. Now is the time to figure out how we can make sure video communication is made affordable for the deaf, just as telephone service has been made affordable for the non-deaf. I look forward to working with all of you on this subject.


Lt. Governor: Broadband access for all of Illinois’ deaf citizens is a worthy goal. Almost 1 million Illinois citizens have some hearing loss and close to 100,000 are profoundly deaf.  Working together as a council we can make great progress to ensure everyone has access to these vital communication services.


Extending broadband coverage in rural Iowa

Cusack: Motorola is delighted to be here. Urban areas have many choices for broadband. Motorola Canopy technology was developed in our labs in Schaumburg about ten years ago. This is a wireless IP-based technology, which means an endless number of applications can be used with it. A small telephone company in Southeastern Iowa provided DSL service, but they were losing rural customers who could not get wired service. A neighboring rural community was unserved by any company. FarmTel contacted a local Motorola dealer who helped them deploy a 20mb point-to-point Canopy radio solution. It can go anywhere from 2-20 miles. They covered their community and neighboring communities, encompassing their DSL footprint. They had less than a 12-month return on investment and added dozens of new rural customers to their company. They went from losing 2-3% of customers each year to growing their company. The opportunities for rural communities in Illinois are endless. Several models for ownership are possible as well. Motorola has invested over $4billion in new wireless broadband technologies, including WiMax and point to point backhaul solutions which can provide between 30-300 mbps bandwidth up to distances of 125 miles. Our Canopy solution can provide service for rural and urban communities alike. We are also investing in Broadband over Powerline technologies. We have hotspot technologies and can tie these technologies in with public safety operations anywhere in the country. Please contact me if we can be of any help.


Rural Wireless:

Kozeliski: LOEA is based in Hawaii and San Diego. I am with Doug Eisold, our VP for sales. We’re new to the Broadband Deployment Council and will try to provide new perspective. LOEA is a Hawaiian word for high technology. We are a wireless complement to fiber and a catalyst to broadband. We’re the first licensed and certified millimeter wave in the 71-86 gigahertz range, which is more effective in inclement weather than other wireless standards. We are anxious to learn what you’re working on and work with you. We’re a backup to Lambda Rail and serving as a backup to government fiber.


Benton: Can you explain in plain English what you bring to the table?


Eisold: This was technology developed for a confidential project in the mountains of Hawaii, sponsored by Senator Inoyue.

We serve rural areas of New Mexico where fiber is not feasible.


Broadband Properties Conference, April 28

Carlini: I secured a substantial discount for all Illinois Broadband Deployment Council participants at the upcoming Broadband Properties Conference. Anyone in education can attend the whole conference for $50. Attending will help you gain a national perspective on these issues.



Gerhardt: I am assembling a free gathering at the ISP Convention. A group of people can go together at a big discount. Municipal wireless enthusiasts should attend because it will be led by the wireless “survivors” who have made it through competition with incumbent ISPs.


Lt. Governor: Our big job is to continue communicating to follow-up on the ideas shared today. The legislative session is not over. The goal is May 31st. We can address some of the policy issues with a longer than usual session, but money is going to be tough. We ought to have a robust legislative agenda from the council the legislature is here longer than usual. We will likely have another meeting in late May. Between now and then let’s roll up our sleeves and make as many of these ideas happen. We have to be the modern-day, 21st century Johnny Appleseeds, planting good technology projects all over the state.


Benton: I serve on the FCC consumer advisory committee. March 3 there was a Report and Order on the Digital TV transition. Anybody interested in the DTV consumer education initiative and transition should look up FCC proceeding code fcc0856 at As of Feb. 17, 2009, we’ll have no more analog TV. This is our last hope of getting our act together before the big changes ahead in TV.