ITTC November 2020 Meeting

Thursday, November 19, 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, November 19, 2020, 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 November 19, 2020, 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

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 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 10/15/2020 Meeting Minutes
Old Business
New Business
  • ICN Agency Updates

    • Finance Update
      Mike Cruise
    • Business Services Update
      Mike Lauer
  • ICN Carrier Updates

    • Network Services Update
      Ryan Mulhall
    • Operations/Engineering Update
      Scott Pappan
Other Business
  • ITTC Committee Updates
  • Maintenance Contracts Report
    Mark Johnson
  • Action - 2021 ITTC Meeting Dates
Public Comment
Notice Posted
November 13, 2020

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

November 19, 2020

To ensure the most efficient use of State resources, the November 19, 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
Dave Marley, Field Services Officer
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, Aureon
Sean Corey, Lumen
Alan Nagel, Attorney General 

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 October 15, 2020 Meeting Minutes:

Chair Kniff McCulla requested a motion to approve the October 15, 2020 meeting minutes. Commissioner Olson moved to approve the minutes. Commissioner Holz seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Old Business:


New Business:

Agency Updates

Finance Update – Mike Cruise

Comments on Fiscal Year 2020

SWCAP report was submitted for FY 2020.  This completes the major reporting for FY 2020.

Auditors finished three weeks of auditing in a four-week span and will return the week after Thanksgiving for one week to work on internal controls.


There was nothing new from WorkSmart, which is the State’s project for implementing WorkDay. Currently working on data validation, which will replace our current time keeping system and state financial applications.

September FY 2021 Budget-to-Actual Report

Monthly Revenues and Expenses

The month of October resulted in an operating margin of -$201,773 or -7.9%.This is $126,919 unfavorable to the budget of -$74,854.Revenue was $159,504 unfavorable to budget and direct expenses were $37,487 favorable to budget.There were three major factors for the negative operating margin: the first was a decrease in toll revenue for 800 service with a large customer moving some of their traffic to AWS, and the second factor was an increase in Outside Plant expenses booked in the month. The third factor was the booking of one of our larger maintenance contracts. The good news is that we are expected to recover a large percentage of the Outside Plant expenses as they are fiber cuts and causes of nature.

Year-to-Date Revenues and Expenses:

The October year-to-date operating margin is -$143,504 or -1.3%, which is $593,422 favorable to the budgeted amount.  Gross margin remains favorable by $468,590.

Comparison to FY 2020

The operating margin for FY 2021 is $197,000 unfavorable to October FY 2020.  The major differences are reduced revenue compared to FY 2020 which included an ACD install and a high amount of Outside Plant billed revenue in FY 2020.  Also a factor is increased Outside Plant expenses in FY 2021.

Year-to-Date Comparison to FY 2020:

The October year-to-date margin is $809,239 favorable to FY 2020.  The gross margin remains strong and overall allocated expenses are favorable.



Business Services Update – Mike Lauer

Healthcare Update

  • Iowa Rural Health Telecommunications Program (IRHTP) Network refresh update continues with the goal to be completed by the end of the calendar year.
  • ICN participated in the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) annual meeting on November 18.
  • We are working on a contract review for IRHTP.
  • ICN submitted contract language for a fiber build for Great River Health System in Southeast Iowa. Great River Health System is reviewing the final contract.

Government Update

  • We continue to provide consultation services for a proposed datacenter relocation for the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), Judicial, Secretary of State, and Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS).
  • Continued interest in Managed Voice Service for Iowa Lottery in Mason City and Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals (DIA) locations in Council Bluffs and Des Moines offices.
  • The Iowa House and Iowa Senate are updating their connections to the Network by installing wireless access points. This is a larger cabling project to connect wireless technology throughout the Capitol.

Public Safety Update

  • Inmate Tablet RFP: ICN is currently waiting for the decision from the administrative hearing.
  • Department of Corrections (DOC) Newton: New Voice system and we are also working on a cabling project.
  • ICN continues to provide DOC with one free call each week for each inmates. DOC is sponsoring this program.
  • Iowa Department of Public Safety office in Fort Dodge is a new Voice customer.

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: 44 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 telecos.
  • 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. Nineteen (19) or the 23 sites are installed and handed over to Homeland Security’s vendor.


  • Customer success story: A high school reached out to the ICN when they were under a DDoS attack. They asked for immediate Internet (we turned up service within four hours) for DDoS mitigation. The customer was very appreciative to the ICN.
  • USAC Update: The window for E-rate is open for the 2021-2022 school year. No major changes from last year regarding new services and programs. USAC had another window that closed on October 15 for funding year 2020 due to COVID-19. ICN won 24 new contracts for increases in service.
  • Consultations continue with community colleges. We are focusing on contract renewals.


  • Statewide Youth Broadband Advisory Council (SYBAC) update.
  • Internet2 Outreach: ICN is the only provider in Iowa that can deliver Internet2 connectivity to educational research and facilities. We have had a recent push to send out information to our education customers.
  • Website development update.
  • Currently scheduling meetings with customers’ executive leaders to build relationships and awareness of services and support ICN provides.


Chair Kniff McCulla – Does every rural hospital belong to IRHTP?

Mike Lauer – No, it is a voluntary organization. As of right now there is membership of 88 rural hospitals. Ninety (90) percent of hospitals are part of IRHTP. Large benefit is that they provide unique secure connectivity to the clinics. It is a private network, which helps mitigate a lot of the concerns for HIPPA and provides secure information sharing.

Carrier Updates

Network Services Update – Ryan Mulhall

Fiber Cuts / Outages / Customer Issues

There were eight outages due to a variety of reasons including two rodent chews, counties damaging our facilities setting sewers and cleaning ditches, a landowner not calling in locates and hitting our fiber, and mis-located or contractor at-faults. It was a higher than normal month, and quite the variety of factors. Add in the amount of washouts discovered and relocations and it was again a busy month for Outside Plant.

Outside Plant

Our Outside Plant team added 32 projects in October. This is an average per month for FY 2021 to date of 33. The total projects through FY 2021 to date is 132.  Last year in FY 2020, we were at 100 at the same time, which is a 32% increase. Regarding cost recovery, we are looking at 75% – 100% at this point.

USIC Issues

Following up from last month and the issues we were having with our locate provider. We have had good meetings and discussions about the problems. They have been very direct and forthcoming as well as provided some great examples of changes they were making to improve the quality of work and retention of their employees. We believe it can make a difference when work begins in the spring.

Contractor Issues

We started to have some quality and timeliness issues related to construction work performed on behalf of the ICN. Examples of some of the recent issues include: cable or duct placement not at sufficient depth or alignments not as designed; failure to comply with safety regulations, especially those within DOT right-of-ways; hand hole installation standards not fulfilled; splice tails not exposed per construction design; open trenches left for extended periods and/or with no fencing; due dates routinely going unmet; and locate and warning markers installed improperly or not at all.

We are working closely with our contracting department and Deb Evans to come up with ways to address these issues and believe we are on a good path to making some positive changes occur, and most importantly, protect our Network.

TAC (Structure Cabling Team)

Our TAC team continues to go above and beyond to meet the needs and solve the challenges of our customers. As the pandemic surges again, they continue to be the frontline of the ICN. There is not a way to properly express the amount of appreciation I have for these gentlemen. They continue to work on a significant wireless access point project for the House and Senate with strict timelines and working closely with our Finance department as there is CARES Act money being utilized by the customer that needs to be spent and billed within a certain timeframe.

Information Systems/Security

ServiceNow Planned Timeline

ICN successfully completed its deployment of Customer Service Management into production on October 24th as planned. We pushed it out from early October to allow more testing and acceptance from our Business Service and FNS NOC staff. In addition, we were required to upgrade our instance to a new major version, at the same time, in order to stay within ServiceNow’s support. There have been some minor bugs, defects, and enhancements that have been worked through and continue to be worked through. Kudos to Vicki Wallis, Jeff Barske, and Vicki Harris for working closely with our integrator INRY and the various business stakeholders across the ICN to deliver this.

Asset Manager Upgrade

We completed a major upgrade of our Asset Manager application, which is what is utilized to provision circuits and track equipment across the network. We had a lot of work put into this from our developers, operations, and engineering, as well as TCR Consulting to perform the upgrade of the application.


We are installing new 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. We’ll continue working with our vendor Zirous on finishing up the project in the next week or two. Oracle is important to us as Asset Manager, Netplus Billing, and other critical applications utilize it.


Chair Kniff McCulla – How long do you think it will take before some of the fiber cut funding is back within the ICN…30 days, 60 days, 90 days?

   Ryan Mulhall – I would say anywhere between two - six months.

Operations/Engineering Update – Scott Pappan

Goal for 2021 is to build efficiencies. ICN’s Network vision is to develop, secure, enhance, and deliver relevant cost-effective technologies efficiently.

100Gb Network Core Upgrade

  • Circuits are being migrated.
  • Working on Bettendorf (ingress to Chicago). Equipment being configured in lab, will be sent to Bettendorf.
    • Ingress: Location the Network receives Internet from interexchange carriers (IXC).
  • Equinix installation Chicago - Equipment is setup.
  • Dallas and Chicago will overlap for at least a month.
  • Existing priority- Balancing priorities between IRHTP and the Core.

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

  • All IRHTP orders have been entered into the system and passed to FNS.
  • Clinics: 134 sites installed and 41 pending orders with FNS.
  • FNS has 176 network devices installed on IRHTP Network.
  • Working on migrating circuits.
  • ICN/FNS will be rebooting the Ciena devices to install updated code.

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

  • DS3s: 218 DS3s removed from the Network. We have 33 pending removal that are passed to FNS. There are 18 that need to be engineered and moved out of the network. When completed ICN will remove 6 CBXs, and the ATM network will be sunsetted.
  • TDM upgrade goal is to have TDM upgrade completed by January of 2021.

Network Update

  • Hut Consolidation/Cleanup - Evaluating 25 sites.
  • Power and facilities into JFHQ have been completed for future opportunities.
  • FirstNet: LTE 4G First responder connectivity (100MB): E911 PSAP Backup Service.
  • Disaster Recovery Platform: Installed and operational.
  • WIN peering completed for hospital network.
  • Aureon peering upgraded from 1Gb to 10Gb.

Future Projects and Plans

  • Edge Services: Comprehensive solution enabling high-performance, scalability, and security at the Network Edge.
    • Testing and product development.
      • Hardware - WhiteBox - Lanner testing - Going well.
      • Software - testing Hypervisors, different Automation directors and vCPE (Software emulating hardware)



Other Business:

ITTC Committee Updates – Staff/Commission

Personnel Committee – Mark Johnson

Meeting Date: November 2, 2020 (Commissioner Holz) and November 4, 2020 (Chair Kniff McCulla).
Topics Covered:

  • Internal personnel actions taking place.
  • Pending retirement in January and workload.
  • General discussion about retirements and vacancies looking forward. Determining where the needs are within the organization.

Customer and Services Committee – Mike Lauer

Meeting Date: November 10, 2020.
Attendance: Commissioner Olson, Commissioner Lapointe, Lori Larsen, Ryan Mulhall, Mark Dayton, & Mike Lauer.
Topics Covered:

  • ICN’s authorized user requests.
  • New customers: Cedar Valley Christian Schools in Cedar Rapids and DIA/DHS in Council Bluffs.
  • Requests for waivers from certified users. None.
  • Services: no new services solution.
  • Sales outreach as presented today.
  • Customer complaints and network outages. None.

Finance Committee – Mike Cruise

Meeting Date: November 16, 2020.
Attendance: Commissioner Holz, Commissioner Wenzel, and Mike Cruise.
Topics Covered:

  • Review of October FY 2021 financials as presented today.
  • Updates for FY 2020 as presented.
  • More detailed discussion of general financial statements.

Operations Committee – Scott Pappan

Meeting Date: November 12, 2020.
Attendance: Chair Kniff McCulla, Commissioner Wenzel, and Scott Pappan.
Topics Covered:

  • Network Updates.
  • IRHTP and discussed network tools we use to track IRHTP.

ACTION – Maintenance Contracts Report – Mark Johnson

Note: The agenda did not reflect that this was an action item.

Under Chapter 8D the Commission is required to submit a Maintenance Contracts Report. It is a review of maintenance contracts and a recommendation for continued funding. This provision goes back to when the legislature was appropriating dollars for the operation of the Network.

Chair Kniff McCulla requested a motion to approve the proposed Maintenance Contracts Report. Commissioner Lapointe moved to approve the proposed Maintenance Contracts Report. Commissioner Holz seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

ACTION – 2021 ITTC Meeting Dates – Chair

Approval was requested for the proposed 2021 ITTC meetings which are scheduled for the third Thursday of every month to take place beginning at 10:30 AM. All meetings are subject to cancellation and additional meetings may be called as determined by the Chair.

Chair Kniff McCulla requested a motion to approve the 2021 ITTC meeting dates. Commissioner Olson moved to approve the proposed dates. Commissioner Wenzel seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Public Comment:



The ITTC meeting adjourned at 11:12 AM.

Barb Kniff McCulla - Chair, Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission

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

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