Iowa Telecommunications & Technology Commission April 2020 Minutes
Grimes State Office Building, 1st Floor
400 E. 14th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319
April 16, 2020
To ensure the most efficient use of State resources, the April 16, 2020, ITTC meeting was held via conference call pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.8. The current public health recommendation is to minimize public gatherings. A video conference call 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 via conference call.
Barb Kniff McCulla, Chair (via Zoom video)
Bob Holz, Member (via Zoom video)
Steven Olson, Member (via Zoom video)
Timothy Lapointe, Member (via Zoom video)
Kelly Dolan Lange, Member
Annette Dunn, Ex-Officio Member
John McCormally, Representing Rob Sand, Ex-Officio Member
Iowa Communications Network Staff Present via Zoom Video
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
Dave Marley, Field Services Officer
Lori Larsen, Executive Officer 2 (Recorder)
Scott Golberg, Fiber Network Services (FNS), Joined at 10:56 AM (via Zoom phone)
Rob Smith, Fiber Network Services (FNS), Joined at 10:56 AM (via Zoom phone)
Alan Nagel, Attorney General’s Office (via Zoom phone)
Ray Warner, Aureon (via Zoom video)
Call to Order:
Chair Kniff McCulla called the meeting to order at 10:33 AM. It was noted that a quorum of members was present for the meeting.
Approval of the March 19, 2020 Meeting Minutes:
Chair Kniff McCulla requested a motion to approve the March 19, 2020 meeting minutes. Commissioner Olson moved to approve the minutes. Commissioner Holz seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
COVID-19 Update – Deb Evans
- ICN has implemented a staffing plan that emphasizes the use of teleworking capabilities for an average of 85.0% of staff. Three leadership members are alternating at the Network Operations Center (NOC) in case there is a need from the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC).
- We have signed and accepted the mission from Iowa Homeland Security to provide two Public Information Officers to assist. They are currently on standby.
- The management team is participating on numerous calls during the week to stay up-to-date with government agencies, and assist where we are needed.
- MVS Enhancements: Business Communicator is supporting teleworking of state employees, providing a unified application that can be used on PCs, tablets, and smartphones. We quickly in conjunction with CTL increased the number of licenses to allow all customers to use Business Communicator. We are also working with customers to adjust the number of trunks to assist with increased call volumes.
- Reservationless-Plus is our audio conference calling system. We have had a significant increases in accounts for all sectors. The Governor uses this system for her meetings and we have increased the available calls from 125 to 300 participants. Operator assisted calls support 1,000 participants, which the Governor has used to address State, County, and local officials.
- Network PRI and Voice Trunk reconfigurations to support increased volume of calls coming in from the public being directed to Public Health and Workforce Development.
- We have had 30 bandwidth increases. Total COVID-19 provisioned bandwidth for Internet and Ethernet is 41,755Mb. We have processed 34 expedite orders, all orders have been completed within 24-48 hours of being submitted by state agencies, healthcare, judicial, National Guard, and federal government.
- Due to the FCC rule change during this time, telecoms are able to provide free bandwidth to hospitals and education under the USAC regulation. ICN has provided 12 rural hospitals and 1 urban hospital free bandwidth at no charge during the emergency proclamation.
- Partnering with the Iowa Department of Corrections to provide free calls to inmates to support communication between inmates and families. Providing one free five-minute phone call every week.
- For our Network, we have implemented peering increases to other providers to adapt to increased traffic. We are monitoring utilization of the network and making changes as needed.
- Network Security: We are monitoring threats and risks. We are working with our managed firewall partner to help education sites setup VPN capabilities.
- County Services: ICN is authorized to provide connectivity and services to County governments and local County Emergency Management Agencies (EMA) for the time period of the disaster proclamation.
Chair Kniff McCulla – The ICN has been very instrumental in multiple areas.
Deb Evans – Bureau chiefs and staff have done a good job. I am really happy with the 24-48 hours turn around on orders. We are turning these orders around quickly. They have done a good job.
Commissioner Olson – With all of the updates that have happened the last couple of years, is the Network running at near capacity with these different programs?
Deb Evans – We are not. We are watching the Network, and we are making adjustments when needed.
Administrative Note: Commissioner Lapointe rejoined the video call.
Chair Kniff McCulla – At schools, is the public parking in the parking lots and connecting using the wireless school system?
Randy Goddard – We did setup that system for Eastern Iowa Community College at the Bettendorf and Clinton campuses. They have Wi-Fi in their parking lots and students can connect. They are very happy with that service. We have several others that are doing similar things with their existing Internet.
Finance Update – Mike Cruise
March Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget-to-Actual Report:
- Monthly Revenues and Expenses:
The month of March resulted in an operating margin of $76,422.77 or 2.94%. This is favorable to the budget of -$98,141.00 by $174,563.77. This is the eighth month in a row that we have been favorable to budget. We did see increases in Ethernet, Internet, and Voice usage due to COVID-19 related requests.
- Year-to-Date Revenues and Expenses:
The March year-to-date operating margin was -$810,217.20, which is favorable to the budgeted margin of -$1,659,720.00 by $849,502.80.
- Comparison to FY 2019:
The operating margin for FY 2020 is favorable to the March FY 2019 operating margin by $139,023.03. This can be attributed to an increase in revenue of $131K.
- Year-to-Date Comparison to FY 2019:
The March year-to-date margin of -$810,217.20 is $533,738.41 favorable to the
FY 2019 margin of -$1,343,955.61.
Business Services Update – Randy Goddard
- Noted that many customers in education and healthcare are limiting access into their buildings. The orders continue to come in and we are doing everything that we can to get the orders installed.
- 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 points (PSAPs), and other HSEMD contractors. We are finalizing the connections in Cedar Rapids and Davenport. Once completed the Core of the Wireline Network will be completed, which will allow the migration of the CAMA (Centralized Automatic Message Accounting) trunks. Targeted to have CAMA trunks migration started in June.
- ICN continues working closely with HSEMD and contractors for strengthening 911 ESInet (Emergency Services IP Network) solution with secondary connections. We are using AT&T’s FirstNet product which is a wireless connection. This should be started in the June/July timeframe.
- ICN is one of the first states to be given permission to use Band 14 for FirstNet.
- Discussions have started about providing security services at the PSAPs.
- Healthcare: Iowa Rural Health Telecommunications Program (IRHTP)
- At this time the healthcare facilities are sensitive to their network. They have asked to only provide corrective and minimize work.
- Education: USAC/E-rate
- Form 470 (Applications): Window extended until April 1, 2020.
- Form 471 (Awards): Extended until April 29, 2020.
- To date USAC has posted 500 awards.
- ICN continues to be the major provider receiving the most awards throughout the State.
- Other Significant Opportunities
- Managed Voice and Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) for DHS Call Centers.
- DHS Medicaid will incorporate an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) application.
- Lottery field offices added Managed Voice.
- Department of Correction’s (DOC) Inmate Tablet RFP - New due date for vendor responses.
- Renewal of contracts and bandwidth increases for all sectors.
- Communications team is working on a new website design. All state agencies are required to transition to the Drupal 8 application.
- ISU Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWRNET) Grant support for Iowa State University. Two counties: Boone and Story. Moved out to August 2020.
- SYBAC Day, April 14 – Transitioned to a Zoom video conference, which did include a virtual tour of LightEdge’s data facility.
- COVID-19 Telecommunications Support:
ICN has provided consultations for customers. We do have partnerships with great companies.
- Bandwidth utilization reports – Customers may notice that their internal networks are slowing down. ICN Operations can review circuits and peak times. This report is another tool for customer’s visibility, so they know if they need to increase their bandwidth.
- Education consultations have picked up in regards to wireless options and devices for home use.
- We provided contacts to our partner to United Way of Quad Cities for Internet access to students.
- Explained how we can support community colleges to the Iowa Association of Community College Trustee.
- Provided County and Local EMA services and support to Wright, Louisa, and Pottawattamie County.
Chair Kniff McCulla – It is nice that we can consult with our partners to help others through this.
Commissioner Lapointe – Thank you for all the work that everyone is doing. I have seen articles on distance learning and on telemedicine. Last time we talked, I know it was said that hospitals have their own telemedicine system, I want to circle around if ICN can be of further assistance with telemedicine? Years ago we had an active tele-justice subcommittee, there was a pilot project in Sioux county where we had full-motion video in the court room. As I finalized my last deposition and telephone hearing, I was wondering if there was any way that tele-justice could help the judicial community.
Randy Goddard – Judicial was one of the first and largest recipients for the Reservationless-Plus Conferencing. Every one of the district judges added an account to that product, so they could continue to have conference call hearings. For telehealth, we are seeing a lot of bandwidth increases, not just for screenings, but for their administrative staff too.
Commissioner Lapointe – Is that full-screen video still operational in Sioux county? I don’t think they removed it from the courtroom, I have seen it in person. I think it would be cool to use it right now. People may not know it is there.
Randy Goddard – We can reach out. Our customers have moved to Zoom and Hangouts to hold their video meetings.
Chair Kniff McCulla – On the telemedicine piece, I had a conversation last week with Senator Ernst and she believes in telemedicine and how it will become a bigger piece moving forward. We are working with the Iowa Hospital Association, correct?
Randy Goddard – Yes, we have one of our account consultants dedicated to healthcare. We work with Iowa Hospital Association and IRHTP. We provide services to others also within the healthcare industry.
Network Services Update – Ryan Mulhall
- Outside Plant
- Network Outage: April 2, 2020
- Reason: Routing Engine Fail on a Core Router
- Affected Customers: Customers may have experienced network slowness, unable to reach the Internet, or were kicked out of VPN or video calls for a very short period of time.
- What Occurred: The traffic failed over to a secondary routing engine. The network performed as it should. Operations performed an emergency change that night to restore the routing engine, and took that time to perform a code upgrade that was to occur in a planned change taking care of a potential future network disruption at the same time.
- Network Outage: April 14, 2020
- Reason: Fiber Cut in Monroe
- Affected Customers: Disrupted services for approximately 5 hours to some customers. 12 customer Internet and Ethernet circuits in Pella were affected along with ICN links.
- What Occurred: Locates were off by our locate provider, and Mid-American hit our cable while installing power line poles. We will be able to recover the damages from our locate provider on this one fortunately.
- Network Outage: April 2, 2020
- TAC Group (Structured Cabling Group) – Continues to respond to expedited requests for COVID-19 as well as continuing on with other cabling projects as they are allowed by our customers. Some projects they are focusing on are finishing up the last phase of the OCIO’s move to 200 E Grand, and preparing to change out elevator phones around State buildings. They are also collecting remaining video codecs and equipment at customer sites as we near the June 30th end of life of the ICN Video service.
- Security – Currently in the process of implementing an add-on to our network security infrastructure to increase the monitoring capability and visibility into threats and risks to customers we protect. This will greatly enhance the capability of the ICN to potentially detect malware, botnet activity, and potential areas of data loss. The ICN has provided security information and best practices to customers on enabling remote work, tele-health, and tele-education and will continue to offer up any consultative services free of charge for those authorized and certified users during this time.
Operations/Engineering Update – Scott Pappan
- 100GB Network Core Upgrade:
- Migrating circuits off our legacy core to our new core infrastructure (Layer 2).
- Moving forward with expanding our new Internet/IP Infrastructure (Layer 3).
- Installed locations: Ottumwa and Council Bluffs.
- E911 Wireline Network Project (TDM/Ethernet Solution), Iowa Homeland Security:
- First datacenter circuits to West Des Moines are completed.
- Second datacenter circuits to Davenport will be installed once Windstream finishes the install of the OC12.
- DS3s from CenturyLink are being provisioned.
- Iowa Rural Health Telecommunications Program (IRHTP)/Hospital Ciena Upgrades:
- All IRHTP orders engineered.
- Clinics: 66 installed and 8 pending orders.
- 118 network devices installed on IRHTP Network.
- 70% of equipment is installed, with 61 requests to be installed by Fiber Network Services (FNS).
- All aggregation equipment is completed.
- 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.
- Virtualization Upgrade moving forward:
- 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.
- Legacy Voice Cleanup. We previously had 5 Voice platforms, we will now have 2.
- 15 circuits passed to FNS to be regroomed.
- TDM/ATM Cleanup.
- COVID-19 Upgrades/Installs - Business Services/Escalations
- 60 expedites/requests/orders within the last three weeks, which all have been done in 24 hours.
- Monitoring the network remotely. A couple of years ago ICN deployed laptops, completed the power upgrade, core upgrade, redundancy with the transit, and we built the network to scale.
- Peering and network monitoring is important: national peering for content, transit services, and local peering.
- Working on huts and sun setting legacy equipment.
- Internet planning is occurring to meet demand.
- COVID-19 Upgrades/Installs - Business Services/Escalations
ITTC Committee Updates – Staff/Commission
Customer and Services Committee – Randy Goddard
Meeting Date: April 8, 2020.
Attendance: Commissioner Lange, Commissioner Holz, Lori Larsen, Ryan Mulhall, and Randy Goddard.
- ICN’s authorized user requests. Highlighted Governor’s Disaster Proclamation.
- New customers. Mercy Air Ambulance and county services.
- Requests for waivers from certified users. None.
- Services – Covered COVID-19 services.
- Sales outreach.
- Customer complaints and outages: Ryan Mulhall covered outages.
Finance Committee – Mike Cruise
Meeting Date: April 13, 2020.
Attendance: Commissioner Olson, Commissioner Holz, and Mike Cruise.
- Review of financials as presented today.
- Highlighted some of the requests for services related to COVID-19.
- Update of the FY2021 budget process schedule.
Personnel Committee – Mark Johnson
Meeting Date: April 7, 2020.
Attendance: Chair Kniff McCulla, Commissioner Lapointe and Mark Johnson.
- Contingency staffing plan that identifies teleworking for the agency. We do have one pending retirement and a couple more that may come up in the next several months.
Commissioner Lange Recognition – Chair Kniff McCulla
Chair Kniff McCulla recognized Commissioner Kelly Lange for her dedication to the ITTC and ICN. Commissioner Lange will receive a plaque for her years of service.
Commissioner Lapointe – I wish she was on to thank her for her years of service and her friendship. I will try to contact her myself.
Executive Director Search – Chair Kniff McCulla
With the COVID-19 situation currently underway we have not started a search committee for the Executive Director. We are hoping in the future to pull together a search committee that will start the process of the search and put together information for a public position advertisement.
The ITTC meeting adjourned at 11:30 AM.
Barb Kniff McCulla - Chair, Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission