ITTC January 2021 Meeting

Date:
Thursday, January 21, 2021

NOTICE OF COMMISSION MEETING

Pursuant to Iowa Code, Chapter 21, the Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission hereby gives notice to the public of its intended meeting on Thursday, January 21, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom.  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. To ensure the most efficient use of State resources, the January 21, 2021, ITTC meeting will be held by Zoom pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.8. To receive the Zoom meeting instructions, please send notification to Lori Larsen at (515) 725-4713 or e-mail lori.larsen@iowa.gov.

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 written notification of appearance to the Iowa Communications Network, Attention: Lori Larsen, Grimes State Office Building, 400 East 14th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319 or e-mail lori.larsen@iowa.gov. 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 lori.larsen@iowa.gov.  Questions regarding the meeting agenda may be directed to Lori Larsen, at (515) 725-4713, or 877-426-4692 toll-free or e-mail lori.larsen@iowa.gov.

MEETING AGENDA

Call to Order
Chair
Approval of 12/17/2020 Meeting Minutes
Commission
Old Business
Commission/Staff
New Business
Commission/Staff
  • ICN Agency Updates

    • Finance Update
      Mike Cruise
    • Contracting Update
      Mike Cruise
    • Business Services Update
      Mike Lauer
    • Action - DMACC Waiver
      Mike Lauer
    • Action - Heartland AEA Waiver
      Mike Lauer
  • ICN Carrier Updates

    • Network Services Update
      Ryan Mulhall
    • Operations/Engineering Update
      Scott Pappan
Other Business
Commission/Staff
  • Legislative Update
    Mark Johnson
  • ITTC Committee Updates
    Staff/Commission
  • Action
    Commission
Inmate Calling Solutions' request for oral argument
Consideration whether to grant Inmate Calling Solutions' request for oral argument in ICS' appeal of proposed decision to the Commission seeking final agency decision. 751 IAC 5.19(5).
  • Action
    Commission
Review and deliberation of vendor appeal proposed decision
Review of proposed decision, record, and relevant authorities in vendor appeal as well as related deliberation to reach final agency action of the Commission.

Closed Session: May be conducted in closed session pursuant to Iowa Code §§ 21.5(a), (c) and/or (f).
Public Comment
Commission/Staff
Adjournment
Commission
Notice Posted
January 14, 2020

Iowa Telecommunications & Technology Commission
Grimes State Office Building, 1st Floor
400 E. 14th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319

FINAL
January 21, 2021

To ensure the most efficient use of State resources, the October 15, 2020, ITTC meeting was held via video conference pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.8. The current public health recommendation is to minimize public gatherings. A video conference ensured that more Commissioners, staff, and the public were able to participate in the meeting and reduced the risk of delays caused by the public health recommendation.  The meeting was accessible to members of the public.

Roll Call:

Commissioners Present via Zoom

Barb Kniff McCulla, Chair
Bob Holz, Member
Steven Olson, Member
Timothy Lapointe, Member
Krista Wenzel, Member
John McCormally, Representing Rob Sand, Ex-Officio Member

Commissioners Absent

Matt Behrens, Representing Annette Dunn, Ex-Officio Member

Iowa Communications Network Staff via Zoom

Randy Goddard, Executive Director
Deb Evans, Chief Financial Officer
Mark Johnson, Chief Operating Officer
Mike Cruise, Finance Bureau Manager
Scott Pappan, Operations and Engineering Bureau Manager
Ryan Mulhall, Network Services Bureau Manager
Mike Lauer, ICN Sales Engineer
Mark Dayton, ICN Sales Engineer
Lori Larsen, Executive Officer 2 (Recorder)

Guest Attendees via Zoom

Scott Golberg, Fiber Network Services (FNS)
Rob Smith, Fiber Network Services (FNS)
Ray Warner, Aureonbr /> Sean Corey, Lumen
Sean Corey, Lumen
Brad Horn, Attorney General
Ryan Koopmans, Representing Securus Technologies (phone)
Mark Schultheis, Representing Inmate Calling Solutions
Mark Clark, DMACC
Alan Nagel, Attorney General
Jason Richey, K&L Gates

Call to Order:

Chair Kniff McCulla called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM.  It was noted that a quorum of members was present for the meeting.

Approval of the December 17, 2020 Meeting Minutes:

Chair Kniff McCulla requested a motion to approve the December 17, 2020 meeting minutes. Commissioner Wenzel moved to approve the minutes. Commissioner Olson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Old Business:

None

New Business:

Agency Updates

Finance Update – Mike Cruise

December FY 2021 Budget-to-Actual Report

Monthly Revenues and Expenses

The operating margin shows the month of December resulted in an operating margin of -$211,393 or -8.3%.  This is $226,180 unfavorable to the budget of positive $14,787.  Revenue was unfavorable to budget by $248,000, but direct expenses were $89,000 favorable to budget.

Contributing to the unfavourability to budget is the fact that the budgeted revenue for December is about $200,000 higher than November and the following month January.  ICN allocates the budget over the 12 months based largely on the prior year’s activity.  Revenues from December 2019 were higher than in other months of FY20 creating a higher margin for the budget.

A factor for the negative margin is Outside Plant (OSP) revenue decreasing $69,000 from November, which we expected since revenue was reported as being up for cost recovery from fiber cuts and relocates.  Another factor is that a few of the allocated expenses increased in December.  Allocations for OSP were up as we received invoices for three medium-to-large projects.  Payroll was up due to December having  two extra work days or holidays which contributed to the 7 percent increase over November.  Equipment expenses increased as we received a shipment of new laptops for replacement of older models, and we received two POs for network equipment totaling over $100,000.

Year-to-Date (YTD) Revenues and Expenses:

Through December the YTD operating margin is -$252,154 or -1.6 percent, which is still $496,161 favorable to the budgeted amount.  Gross margin remains favorable by $439,299.

Comparison to FY 2020:

The operating margin for FY21 is $255,000 unfavorable to December FY20.

Year-to-Date Comparison to FY 2020: 

The Operating margin is $667,000 favorable to FY20.  The gross margin remains strong and overall allocated expenses are favorable by $214,000.

Workday

There was no December meeting and the January meeting is this January 21. We are accepting and selecting volunteers from staff to become WorkDay trainers. Train-the-trainer for the HCM module will be beginning soon.

COMMENTS

None

Contracting Update – Mike Cruise

This update is in regards to formal Request for Proposals (RFPs) and all sole source contracts for the benefit of the Commission.  For January, ICN issued a sole source contract with Ventraq for maintenance and support so our current billing system will be up-to-date with systems current version.

COMMENTS

None

Business Services Update – Mike Lauer

Healthcare Update

  • IRHTP Equipment Refresh Project.
    • Testing the interoperation solution between ICN and IRHTP networks.
  • Great River Medical Center 10 Gig Proposal; presented pricing to add Henry County Health Center in Mount Pleasant.
  • Compass Memorial Healthcare signed up for DDoS service.

Government Update

  • Judicial data center project.
  • DOT: Discussion/discovery meeting regarding cost saving options for DOT’s network connectivity. 
  • Legislative services increased their Internet circuit in anticipation of the legislative season.
  • OCIO Data Center Project: latest proposal is being reviewed by OCIO management.
  • DNR Atlantic field office Internet service renewal.
  • Banking and Commerce added DDoS Service.
  • Nine remote DHS offices added remote MVS phones.

Public Safety Update

  • Judicial, Black Hawk County, bandwidth increase from 10 Mb to 50 Mb

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

  • 911 Wireline: ICN continues to work on the migration of all 911 wireline calls from local exchanges.
    • PSAP Migration: 57 of the 113 PSAPs have been migrated. ICN will continue to support this initiative. Ten (10) counties will require direct connections to several local independent telecoms.
  • 911 Wireless Secondary Connections: Iowa will be the first in the nation to utilize FirstNet to wirelessly connect the redundant selective routers to the PSAPs in the event the primary route that utilizes ICN’s fiber is damaged. Twenty-three sites are installed and have been handed over to Homeland Security’s vendor.

Education

  • USAC Update: The window for E-rate is open for the 2021-2022 school year.  Currently ICN has reviewed 688 requests.
  • Continue to focus on Community Colleges and Private Colleges with contracts that are set to expire in the next few months.
  • New opportunity: University of Iowa RFP for Web/Cloud based Telephony Systems, response due by January 22, 2021.
  • Grinnell College requested DDoS service.
  • Two Part II locations are looking to demolish the buildings that our network equipment is housed in. We are beginning to review location options to move the equipment.

Conferences / Outreach

  • ISU PAWRNET Grant Opportunity – Awaiting notification on award; will be announced early spring.
  • Internet2 outreach.
  • SYBAC students listened to the ISU PAWRNET project during their January meeting.
  • We launched our new website on January 13.

COMMENTS

Chair Kniff McCulla – Will you look for another school location?

Mike Lauer – Yes, in some instances if there is a location close by and the construction cost isn’t too much, we will try to locate another school to house the equipment. ICN may have to look for land or a space for cabinets and huts. We need to plan, it is not only ICN at the locations, but also other vendors like our local telecom partners that provide the last mile connections to Part III sites.

DMACC Waiver – Mike Lauer

DMACC requests to move Long Distance services to another provider. The waiver is to reduce long distance costs. We as the Commission need to decide if we grant DMACC that waiver. 

Chair Kniff McCulla requested a motion to approve the DMACC waiver. Commissioner Olson moves to grant the waiver to DMACC. Commissioner Lapointe seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Heartland AEA Waiver – Mike Lauer

Heartland AEA requests to move toll numbers and toll service to Zoom. We as the Commission need to decide if we grant Heartland AEA that waiver. 

Commissioner Lapointe – The paperwork laid out the case for the waiver. At a later date will ICN be competitive with the rates listed and will we get the business back?

Randy Goddard – Many times Toll services are provided at no cost for long distance. We do have a competitive product, but that is if customers sign-on for the Managed Voice Service. For PIC (primary interexchange carrier), if customers select ICN, there are costs associated to that service, since we use Windstream and another provider for the last mile transport. We will continue to review the long distance rates, but we will never get to free.

Chair Kniff McCulla requested a motion to approve the Heartland AEA waiver. Commissioner Holz moved to approve the Heartland AEA waiver. Commissioner Olson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Carrier Updates

Network Services Update – Ryan Mulhall

Fiber Cuts / Outages / Customer Issues

No fiber cuts on ICN infrastructure this month. 

We did have a fiber cut on a last mile provider’s fiber that caused a healthcare clinic in Conrad to be down for over 24 hours that occurred on January 13. After it was determined to not be ICN fiber that was impacted we engaged the last mile provider and it took them a while to dispatch a repair crew.

We did have one network outage to report on that affected state agencies that occurred on January 19 for about two hours. We had a firewall issue that affected internal work as well as Internet service for those agencies behind the state firewall. Our technicians determined that rebooting the system would take care of the issue and services restored shortly after that. Obviously, we are sensitive to any outages, but we look forward to continue towards decentralizing the current firewall platform to help alleviate these issues.

Outside Plant (OSP)

Added 14 projects in December making the average per month through the first six months of the Fiscal Year at 27 per month or 324 projected for the Fiscal Year.  This is still well above the normal, but consistent with recent trends.  As expected, the colder weather and gradual shutdowns have slowed work and resulted in fewer projects.  Additionally, some of our work has been delayed due to poor performance of several contractors resulting in additional work for ICN OSP personnel. Bulk of the projects were maintenance related and relocations.

TAC (Technical Assistance Center)

Our TAC team spent a lot of time over the last few months finishing up structured cabling and wireless access points in the Capitol to get ready for the legislative session. We were able to deliver the project on time, as well as our Finance team to provide the billing on time, so that CARES Act funding could be used by the various customers and increase the ability for legislators, staffers, and visitors to maintain social distancing and spread out with sufficient wi-fi coverage during the pandemic.

Another focus of the team in getting ready for the legislative session was assisting in turning up the MVS phones prior to session beginning.

Information Systems/Security

ServiceNow Planned Timeline:

We have worked through all of our defects and enhancements from our Customer Service Management rollout in ServiceNow. Next, we will be turning our attention to contract renewals as it relates to our ServiceNow instance. We will be looking at a new Statement of Work with INRY for CSM. We will look towards what’s next which will be mostly upgrades and maintenance as no new large initiatives.

Oracle

We are continuing to push to the end of our project to install Oracle appliances and upgrade our database versions. The equipment is in, and most of the work migrating our databases to the new infrastructure is completed. There is one remaining application that we are working through and waiting on the go ahead that the support is re-established.

Laptop Refresh

We have received a shipment of new laptops to begin the rest of the lifecycle replacement of our systems. We will be working through the list to get new machines out. That will be a focus of some of our technical folks for the foreseeable future.

Jeff Barske Retirement

We are saying goodbye to one of our developers, Jeff Barske whose last day is January 21. I would like to thank Jeff for his service all these years to the State of Iowa at the DNR and the ICN. I truly appreciated how he always looked for ways to make things easier for people to do their jobs here at the ICN and his strong desire to leave this place better than he found it.

The Commission also congratulated and thanked Jeff Barske for his service to the State of Iowa and the ICN.

COMMENTS

None

Operations/Engineering Update – Scott Pappan

100Gb Network Core Upgrade

  • 65% completed with the hardware. Circuits are being migrated.
  • Equinix installation to Chicago: Connections are completed. ICN will cut two 10Gb connections with Windstream to Equinix.
  • We need to install the Gigamon equipment to test our DDoS Mitigation equipment, and OCIO will be able to test their FireEye service.
  • Completed a 100Gb connection from Tiffin to Bettendorf to allow the ingress to connect to our Network Core.

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

  • 80% completed. 
  • All IRHTP orders have been entered into the system and passed to FNS.
  • Clinics: 141 sites installed and 37 pending orders with FNS.
  • FNS has 181 network devices installed on IRHTP Network.
  • Working on migrating circuits.

Network Cleanup: To fix or improve upon operational efficiencies within the ICN.

  • TDM Upgrade/Cleanup: Earlier ICN had five TDM networks, those will be consolidated down to one. 350-370 DS3s are removed from the Network. We have 29 pending removals that are passed to FNS. There are 13 sites that need to be engineered and moved out of the network. 
  • When completed the ATM network will be sunsetted in June/July 2021 (Q2).

Network Update

  • FirstNet: LTE First responder connectivity (100MB): We are finishing the Boone install. That network is fully running. PSAP backup service is completed.
  • Disaster Recovery Platform: Installed and operational. ICN needs to purchase and install offsite storage for Tiffin to complete project.

Future Projects and Plans

  • Edge Services: Comprehensive solution enabling high-performance, scalability, and security at the Network Edge.
    • Testing and product development.
      • Hardware - WhiteBox – future service.
      • Firewall as a Service. Testing multiple firewalls.

COMMENTS

None

Other Business:

Legislative Update – Mark Johnson

Ryan Mulhall will be part of our legislative representation moving forward. It brings a younger set of eyes to the tasks and it provides some internal redundancies for ICN without adding staff. The session started on January 11 and Governor Reynolds gave her Condition of the State speech on January 12. One of her major proposals was her Broadband initiative which includes a $450 million investment to be made over the next three fiscal years, with the goal of insuring access to all Iowans by 2025. There are a couple of bills that ICN will be tracking. Fiber optic network conduit installation program, which would be moved from the OCIO to the Iowa DOT. Another bill is regarding the OCIO being encouraged to procure third-party cloud computing and IT services when feasible. The Governor has appointed several key staff persons. She has a new Director at DAS and a new COO in the Governor’s office. ICN is scheduling meetings within the next couple of weeks. There is also a new Homeland Security director.

ITTC Committee Updates – Staff/Commission

Personnel Committee – Mark Johnson
Meeting Date: January 4, 2021.
Attendance: Commissioner Holz and Mark Johnson. Provided email update to Chair Kniff McCulla.
Topics Covered:

  • Hiring Process for Chief Technology Officer.
  • Brief discussion regarding succession planning.

Customer and Services Committee – Mike Lauer
Meeting Date: January 13, 2021.
Attendance: Commissioner Olson, Commissioner Lapointe, Lori Larsen, Ryan Mulhall, Mark Dayton, & Mike Lauer.
Topics Covered:

  • ICN’s authorized user requests. None.
  • New customers: None.
  • Services: No new services.
  • New Waiver requests: No new requests.
  • Sales outreach as presented today.
  • Customer complaints and network outages. None.

Finance Committee – Mike Cruise
Meeting Date: January 15, 2021.
Attendance: Commissioner Wenzel, Commissioner Holz, and Mike Cruise.
Topics Covered:    

  • Review of December FY 2021 financials as presented today.
  • Answered a few questions on the general financial statements.

Operations Committee – Scott Pappan
Meeting Date: January 14, 2021.
Attendance: Chair Kniff McCulla, Commissioner Wenzel, and Scott Pappan.
Topics Covered:

  • Network contracts.
  • Fiber Network Services (FNS)
  • SHI

Action - Inmate Calling Solutions' request for oral argument – Commission

Consideration whether to grant Inmate Calling Solutions' request for oral argument in ICS' appeal of proposed decision to the Commission seeking final agency decision. 751 IAC 5.19(5).

Chair Kniff McCulla said that all Commissioners should have received all the paperwork. The Commission needs to decide if we will grant the oral argument request?

Commissioner Wenzel moved to oppose offering oral agreements for the Inmate Calling Solutions. Commissioner Holz seconded the motion. 

Commissioner Lapointe indicated that the Commission needs clarifications of what we can and cannot talk about in open session.

Brad Horn – The legal advice that the Commission has received is confidential. If the Commission needs to talk about the memo that was forwarded, then that is something to cover in closed session. Otherwise feel free to talk freely.

The motion passed unanimously.

Brad Horn provided clarification regarding the agenda.

Action - Review and deliberation of vendor appeal proposed decision – Commission

Review of proposed decision, record, and relevant authorities in vendor appeal as well as related deliberation to reach final agency action of the Commission.

Commissioner Lapointe – If we can reference the number regarding the proposed action, my thought would be number 2. If we need to discuss it further, then we will need to go into closed session.  As Brad Horn indicated, we all agreed not to allow oral arguments. The next question is how to proceed with the next action item.

Commissioner Holz said he would like to go into closed session to discuss what action the Commission will take with respect to the appeal.

Transition to Closed Session

Chair Kniff McCulla requested a motion to go into closed session pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.5, subsection c, for the purpose of discussing strategy with counsel in matters that are presently in litigation. Commissioner Holz moved to go into closed session. Second by Commissioner Wenzel. 

Commissioner Holz – Yes
Commissioner Lapointe – Yes
Commissioner Olson - Yes
Commissioner Wenzel – Yes
Chair Kniff McCulla – Yes

The motion passed unanimously.

The Commission convened in closed session at 11:22 AM. Those remaining in the room and on the Zoom call included the Commission members, Mr. Horn, and the recorder.

Closed Session

  • Closed session minutes separate.

Return to Open Session

The Commission reconvened in open session at 12:02 PM.

Regarding the action item for which the Commission went into closed session, Commissioner Lapointe moved that the ITTC would rescind the notice of intent to award and remand the matter back to the agency staff to have a new committee appointed to evaluate the bids received. Commissioner Wenzel seconded the motion.

Commissioner Holz – Abstain
Commissioner Lapointe – Yes
Commissioner Olson – Yes
Commissioner Wenzel – Yes
Chair Kniff McCulla – Yes

Alan Nagel – Will there be a written opinion followed?

Brad Horn – That was not an issue that was discussed. I would leave it up to the Commission to decide if anything else needs to be in writing beyond this.

Chair Kniff McCulla – Can we discuss in open session?

Brad Horn – Yes

Commissioner Lapointe – I would say this is the decision of the ITTC and no further written opinion is necessary.

Commissioner Wenzel – I agree.

Deb Evans asked for clarification, how it was stated by Commissioner Lapointe, we pull the RFP back and revaluate or do we issue a new RFP?

Commissioner Wenzel – You will reevaluate the proposals that were already received, and go through the evaluation process again with a new committee. 

Commissioner Lapointe – With advice from council, it is back to Alan Nagel to advise the process.

Public Comment:

Randy Goddard updated the Commission regarding a vacant Public Service Executive (PSE) position that was open for our executive team. With the reorganization, we have three divisions (Agency, Network Services, Administration and Facilities).  Deb Evans will continue on as the Agency PSE, Mark Johnson is the Administration and Facilities PSE, and Scott Pappan will be filling the role of PSE over the Network Services group. Mark Johnson noted about succession planning and identifying backup resources and cross training. I have asked other leadership what can we use our personnel for, we have had six retirements in the last year. We have identified a security specialist position that will be posted as a wide search.

Commissioner Holz asked if Randy would be sending a memo explaining the administrative changes as well as the staffing positions that fall within the areas. Randy Goddard said yes that will be sent out.

Adjournment:

The ITTC meeting adjourned at 12:11 PM.

ATTESTED TO:
Barb Kniff McCulla - Chair, Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission

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