ITTC February 2020 Meeting

Thursday, February 20, 2020


Pursuant to Iowa Code, Chapter 21, the Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission hereby gives notice to the public of its intended meeting on Thursday, February 20, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. via conference call. The proposed agenda for the meeting is included with this notice and incorporated herein by reference.

Members of the public and interested persons are invited to attend the Commission’s meeting.  The meeting will be accessible to members of the public through attendance at the Grimes State Office Building.

The Commission welcomes public comments as a part of the Commission’s open meetings. The time for public comment is during the Public Comments portion of the agenda. Comments should be limited to five (5) minutes. Please send advance notification of appearance to the Iowa Communications Network, Lori Larsen at (515) 725-4713 or e-mail If you require the assistance of auxiliary aids or services to participate in or attend the meeting because of a disability, please call the ADA Coordinator, Lori Larsen, at 877-426-4692 toll-free or if you are hearing impaired, call Relay Iowa TTY at 800-735-2942 toll-free or e-mail Questions regarding the meeting agenda may be directed to Lori Larsen, at (515) 725-4713, or 877-426-4692 toll-free or e-mail


Call to Order
Approval of 1/16/2020 Meeting Minutes
Old Business
New Business
  • ICN Agency Updates
    • Finance Update
      Mike Cruise
    • Financial Audit FY 2019
      Mike Cruise
    • Business Services Update
      Randy Goddard
  • ICN Carrier Updates
    • Network Services Update
      Ryan Mulhall
    • Operations/Engineering Update
      Scott Pappan
Other Business
  • Legislative Update
    Mark Johnson
  • ACTION: ETC/RTC Rules - Approval of "Adopted and Filed" Publication
    Mark Johnson
  • ITTC Committee Updates
Public Comment
Notice Posted
February 13, 2020

Iowa Telecommunications & Technology Commission February 2020 Minutes

Grimes State Office Building, 1st Floor
400 E.  14th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319

February 20, 2020

To ensure the most efficient use of State resources, the February 20, 2020, ITTC meeting was held via video conference pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.8. A video conference also ensured that more Commissioners were able to participate in the meeting and reduced the risk of delays caused by weather or other impediments to travel.  The meeting was accessible to members of the public through attendance at the Grimes State Office Building and via video conference.

Roll Call:

Commissioners Present:

Barb Kniff McCulla, Chair
Bob Holz, Member
Steven Olson, Member
Kelly Dolan Lange, Member (LightSpeed Plus phone)
Timothy Lapointe, Member

Commissioners Absent:

Annette Dunn, Ex-Officio Member
Rob Sand, Ex-Officio Member

Iowa Communications Network Staff Present:

Deb Evans, Acting Executive Director, Agency Division Administrator, Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Mark Johnson, Carrier Services Division Administrator, Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Mike Cruise, Finance Bureau Manager
Randy Goddard, Business Services Bureau Manager
Ryan Mulhall, Network Services Bureau Manager
Scott Pappan, Engineering/Operations Bureau Manager
Lori Larsen, Executive Officer 2 (Recorder)
Karen Alessio, Secretary 2 (LightSpeed Plus video)

Guest Attendees:

Scott Golberg, Fiber Network Services (FNS)
Sean Cory, CenturyLink
Alan Nagel, Attorney General’s Office


Prior to the start of the meeting, the Commission, ICN staff, and guests reflected on the life of Executive Director Phil Groner.

Call to Order:

Chair Kniff McCulla called the meeting to order at 10:39 AM.  It was noted that a quorum of members was present for the meeting.

Approval of the January 16, 2020 Meeting Minutes:

Chair Kniff McCulla requested a motion to approve the December 16, 2019 meeting minutes. Commissioner Olsen moved to approve the minutes. Commissioner Lapointe seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Old Business:


New Business:

Agency Updates

Finance Update – Mike Cruise

January Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget-to-Actual Report:

  • Monthly Revenues and Expenses:

    The month of January resulted in an operating margin of -$70,835.17 or -2.80%. This is favorable to the budget of -$98,670 by $27,835. Issues to note were that Ethernet customers were transferred to Internet direct service, causing a shift in revenue between those two cost centers.

  • Year-to-Date Revenues and Expenses:

    The January year-to-date operating margin was -$990,155.00, which is favorable to the budgeted margin of -$1,477,672.00 by $487,517.00. Revenue, direct expenses, and allocated operating expenses are all now favorable to budget.

  • Comparison to FY 2019:

    The operating margin for FY 2020 is favorable to the January FY 2019 operating of
    -$292,112.11 by $221,276.94.

  • Year-to-Date Comparison to FY 2019:

    The January year-to-date margin of -$990,155.00 is $367,343.58 favorable to the
    FY 2019 margin of -$1,357,498.58. There were no major issues in January.



Business Services Update – Randy Goddard

Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HSEMD) and 911 Project:
Wireline and Hosted Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) Equipment:

  • Wireline Aggregation – ICN is working on the migration plan with CenturyLink, public-safety answering point (PSAP), and HSEMD’s other contractors. Completion of the migration is dependent on the HSEMD’s contractor completing and testing Automatic Number and Automatic Location Identification (ANI/ALI) database. Targeted to have migration completed by end of June.
  • ICN continues working closely with HSEMD and contractors for strengthening 911 ESInet solution. Discussion topics include secondary connections, wireless service provider (FirstNet).
  • Discussions have started about providing security services at the PSAPs.

Education: USAC/E-rate

  • Form 470 (Applications): Window is open until February 26, 2020.
  • Form 471 (Awards): Begin in January and continue until March 25, 2020.
  • 1425 service request bid applications are currently posted, increase of over 800 since last meeting. ICN has responded to 300 bid applications. By the end of the window there will be around 1,600-2,000 applications.

Service Growth:

  • Grant Wood AEA’s proof of concept based on professional services for two schools to assist in maintaining their Wireless LAN.
  • Discussion with Mississippi Bend AEA. They are moving back to the aggregation model. They are inquiring about our Internet and Security services. This service will be USAC eligible.
  • Security Products – Firewall opportunities for Mississippi Bend AEA, HSEMD’s 911 project, and DHS.
  • ICN procured, provisioned, and managed Firewall solution available for all customers.
  • ICN partnered with Blue Ally for IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and Managed Wireless network solution available to all customers.

Other Significant Opportunities:

  • Iowa Lottery has procured our Colocation service.
  • Managed Voice System (MVS) for Rockwell City Corrections, MVS and Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) for DHS’s call centers.
  • Renewal of contracts and bandwidth increases for all sectors.
  • 600Mb Ethernet connection for Iowa National Guard in Boone.


  • Business Services meeting with Mississippi Bend AEA.
  • Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) Net Grant support for Iowa State University. Two counties: Boone and Story.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Grant opportunity for Rural Community Colleges.
  • SYBAC Day, April 14 – Bring students to the Capitol Complex and provide tour of facilities.


Commissioner Lapointe – Can you explain the USAC bids. Is that something that schools release, and does leadership review? What role does the ICN have?

Randy Goddard – Prior to K-12 schools and libraries posting 470s applications, ICN provides consultative information. In the past a lot of customers would use a centralized firewall for multiple locations. Now, best practices is that a firewall should be at each edge site. That is the type of consultation ICN can provide in advance. Once a K-12 school files their 470, we can’t go back to provide recommendations. Additional USAC overview information was provided detailing the steps to file.

Commissioner Lapointe – These are all mandatory users, so business will be ICNs?

Randy Goddard – No, these are all competitive bidding. Each AEA is posting their own 470 application this year. We have to stay competitive.

Chair McCulla – Do the school’s talk amongst themselves?

Deb Evans – It use to be that schools and our relationship carried more weight in the scoring, but now a lot of schools don’t process their own 470s, so it is strictly based on pricing.

Carrier Updates                                 

Network Services Update – Ryan Mulhall

  • Fiber cuts – (2):

    Type/Location: 6th and College Des Moines, Feb 10, 2020 (ICN Owned)
    Affected: 5 Customers, 18 Links (DOC, DPS, IWD, NG911 Polk County to West Des Moines and Newton Data Centers. Cut affected many Ethernet connections.
    Reason: Contractor Cut
    Length: 3.5 hours
    Restoral Action: FNS worked with contractor that damaged the fiber and spliced temporary solution.

    Type/Location: NG911 Outage, Feb 11, 2020 (Windstream)
    Affected: 12 customers, 31 links (2 NG911 locations and all redundancy connectivity to secondary data center, AEAs, DNR, IRHTP, DHS, DPS, Judicial, and DOC.
    Reason: The underlying ICN vendor redesigned the circuit suppling connectivity between Des Moines and Newton.
    Length: 15.5 hours
    Restoral Action: Technicians were then dispatched to swing the connection on the Des Moines end and restoring service.

  • DOT Contract – Worked with DOT personnel to revisit our contract agreement for providing fiber maintenance and professional services. The initial contract was signed in 2008 with amendments added for sites and cable facilities each time a new DOT fiber project is completed. The contract was due to expire this month, and it was determined, by both sides, that the timeframe was too short to pursue an overhaul of the contract, so a six month extension was the best course of action. We will continue to work with DOT to strengthen the agreement and better define our relationship.
  • Louisa County – There was a permit request discussion to connect the PSAP at the Sheriff’s office in Louisa County directly to the ICN. The PSAP there has been down over 30 times in the last two years. A member of the board of supervisors had concerns about the proposal of utilizing a conduit across a bridge that is being constructed. It was the best path for the ICN. Louisa County previously had issues with another provider not relocating their cable in a timely manner causing major delays and costing their taxpayers money. ICN staff attended their Board of Supervisors meeting to discuss the project and productively come to an agreement to allow us the ability for ICN to move ahead with the project as designed.
  • ServiceNow Renewal – We are working to renew our ServiceNow agreement for the next year. We are taking a hard look at how the system is truly utilized, the licensing requirements, and removing some of the modules that were originally purchased three years ago. We should be able to cut costs, since there is a significant yearly expense. We are also working to identify alternate avenues of procurement.
  • Customer Service Management – We continue to work internally and with our integrator INRY to develop our Customer Service Management portion. We had originally targeted March 1 to be completed and deployed into production. We are taking more time to develop the requirements for the customer portal.  The intent of the project is to make it easier for our customers to order or change services through an improved customer portal, as well as make it better for our staff to serve our customers by providing one place to go to see all work assigned to them whether it is incidents, orders, tasks, etc.
  • Security – We are currently taking our annual security awareness training. We are not requiring the Commission to take the training.  ICN leadership doesn’t feel any confidential ICN or State of Iowa Commission information is shared through email, all information shared is considered public record information. There is also some limitations with the system.


Commissioner Lapointe – When a vendor, or whoever, cuts our fiber, is there a recoupment of costs from the responsible party?

Ryan Mulhall – Over the last five years there has been a big push to recover the costs. It can be hard, but our outside plant lead does a fantastic job in building the case. There are times it can be a location issue, and we have our locate provider that we will bill for the damages of improper locating the cable. For the most part we will try to recover costs. We have also requested assistance from the Attorney General’s office if we run into issues recovering the costs.

Operations/Engineering Update – Scott Pappan

100GB Network Core Upgrade:

  • Transitioning circuits off our legacy core to our new infrastructure (Layer 2). Multiprotocol Label Switching [MPLS] backbone).
  • Moving forward with expanding our new Internet/IP Infrastructure (Layer 3).
    • Installed Locations: Ottumwa and Council Bluffs
  • ICN should see the completion of this Network and Core upgrade within the next three to four months.

E911 Wireline Network Project (TDM/Ethernet Solution):

  • First datacenter circuits to West Des Moines are installed.
  • Second datacenter circuits to Davenport will be installed over the next three weeks.
  • DS3s from CenturyLink are scheduled to be delivered to the ICN late January/early February.

Iowa Rural Health Telecommunications Program (IRHTP)/Hospital Ciena Upgrades:

  • All IRHTP orders engineered.
  • Clinics: 64 installed and 8 pending orders.
  • 108 network devices installed on IRHTP Network.
  • 39 requests to be installed by Fiber Network Services (FNS).

Virtualization Server Platform:

  • Virtualization Upgrade moving forward:
    • Network for virtualization is installed. Installation of compute and storage to follow.
    • 165 instances/servers will be supported internally.

Data/Network Integrity: To fix or improve upon operational efficiencies within the ICN.

  • TDM/ATM Cleanup.
    • Project – 427 DS3s needed to be removed, 69 are left. We have removed two-thirds of the network.
  • Legacy Voice Cleanup. We previously had 5 Voice platforms, we will now have 2.
  • Network consolidation/cleanup of facilities/huts are moving forward being led by Dave Marley.


Chair Kniff McCulla – Do we have a timeline for the clean-up?

Scott Pappan – That will take years. We are looking at 15 locations.

Dave Marley – Some of the locations are at schools. There are times that we can’t make concreate decisions until a school makes decisions regarding the equipment location.

Commissioner Lapointe – Are you talking about the codecs, ATM switches, and Grass Valley? It will all be virtualized?

Scott Pappan – Yes. What is happening is that a lot of the ATM was over TDM infrastructure. We will still have an ATM infrastructure, but it will be ATM over Ethernet not TDM over ATM. We are bringing it to newer technology that is more stable.

Other Business:

Legislative Update – Mark Johnson

February 21 is the first major funnel date for bills originating out of the committee process.  At this point some of the issues will begin to dwindle. Three bills that ICN is tracking include:

  • Wholesale proposal was amended. It directs the ITTC and OCIO to conduct a feasibility study related to establishment of an Internet Exchange point(s) and provide a report with any findings and recommendations by December 15, 2020. This passed out of the House Committee and still needs to go to the Senate, if the full House passes the bill.
  • The Governor’s broadband empowerment bill has moved forward on both sides. It adjusts some of the grant money and the qualifications for the money. It encourages providers to provide greater capacity to its customers.
  • A house file was passed out of the Commerce committee with amendment, which moves the conduit installation program from the OCIO to the DOT. The conduit installation program would involve the ICN as we maintain the records of DOT network assets.



Action: ETC/RTC Rules – Approval of “Adopted and Filed” Publication – Mark Johnson

Last fall ICN started the process of eliminating the Educational Telecommunications Council (ETC) and the Regional Telecommunications Councils (RTC) consistent with the statutory change that was adopted during the 2019 Legislative session. The notice of intended action was approved and was published through the administrative bulletin. There is one more step that needs the Commission’s approval. It is the approval to move forward with the adopted and filed stage. ICN needs your approval to take this action. Once this action is taken, it will be filed as ‘Adopted and Filed’. It is the same rules, there were no changes to the original notice of intended action. That will appear in the administrative bulletin. Once it appears it will go into effect in 30-45 days. This is a necessary procedural steps.

Chair Kniff McCulla requested a motion to approve the ETC/RTC “Adopted and Filed” Publication. Commissioner Holz moved to approve. Commissioner Olson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.


Chair Kniff McCulla – No Changes?

Mark Johnson – Correct.

ITTC Committee Update – Staff/Commission

Customer and Services Committee – Randy Goddard

Meeting Date: February 12, 2020.
Attendance: Commissioner Holz, Lori Larsen, Ryan Mulhall, and Randy Goddard.
Topics Covered:

  • ICN’s authorized user requests. None.
  • New customers. One new customer.
  • Requests for waivers from certified users. None.
  • Sales outreach.
  • Customer outages: Ryan Mulhall covered fiber outages (2).

Finance Committee – Mike Cruise

Meeting Date: February 17, 2020.
Attendance: Commissioner Olson, Commissioner Holz, and Mike Cruise.
Topics Covered:

  • Review of financials as presented today.
  • Explanation of differences in amounts on the budget-to-actual report compared to the Statement of Changes in Net Position.
  • Reviewed the FY21 budget process schedule.

Personnel Committee – Mark Johnson

There were no new personnel issues at the beginning of the month, so the personnel committee did not meet.



Public Comment:

Note: At this time the Commission deviated from the agenda to discuss the approval of the Chair’s appointment of Acting Executive Director.

ACTION - Acting Executive Director Appointment

Commissioner Lapointe: I believe that the entire Commission understands and agrees that Chair Kniff McCulla has appointed Deb Evans as Acting Executive Director. In the past when it became apparent that the Commission needed to appoint a new director, the full Commission approved the acting appointment. Is it appropriate to do that today? Do we need to note that in the agenda for next time?

There was discussion. Commissioner Lapointe provided background as to the reasoning why he believes approving the Acting Executive Director appointment is necessary until a search can be completed for the permanent executive director.

Alan Nagel – For purposes of acting executive director, the Commission would be okay to take that vote.

Chair Kniff McCulla – That is a necessary vote?

Alan Nagel – Yes, the Commission can take that vote. We are deviating from the agenda, but this is obviously an exceptional circumstance. This is only for the Acting Executive Director designation.

Commissioner Lapointe moved to approve the Chair’s appointment of Deb Evans as Acting Executive Director of the ICN effective immediately. Commissioner Olson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.


The ITTC meeting adjourned at 11:24 AM.

Barb Kniff McCulla - Chair, Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission

Downloadable Agenda (PDF):
Downloadable Minutes (PDF):

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