ITTC July 2020 Minutes

Date: 
Thursday, July 16, 2020

Iowa Telecommunications & Technology Commission July 2020 Minutes

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

FINAL
July 16, 2020

To ensure the most efficient use of State resources, the July 16, 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 via video conference.

Roll Call:

Commissioners Present via phone

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 phone

Deb Evans, Acting Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer
Mark Johnson, Chief Operating Officer
Mike Cruise, Finance Bureau Manager
Randy Goddard, Business Services Bureau Manager
Scott Pappan, Operations and Engineering Bureau Manager
Ryan Mulhall, Network Services Bureau Manager
Dave Marley, Field Services Officer
Lori Larsen, Executive Officer 2 (Recorder)

Guest Attendees via phone

Scott Golberg, Fiber Network Services (FNS)
Rob Smith, Fiber Network Services (FNS)
Ray Warner, Aureon

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 June 18, 2020 Meeting Minutes:

Chair Kniff McCulla requested a motion to approve the June 18, 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

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

Monthly Revenues and Expenses:

The month of June resulted in an operating margin of $708,035. This is favorable to the budget of -$231,889 by $939,924. This is the eleventh month in a row that we have been favorable to budget. We did see increases in Internet/Ethernet bandwidth and voice usage due to COVID-19 related requests. This month we did have increase in revenue due to: 1) quarterly billing that we started for the Homeland Security 911 project, which is the quarterly billing for the fiber and equipment/maintenance costs. We also billed the second half of the fiber installation project at the Clear Lake Police Department.  

Year-to-Date Revenues and Expenses:

The June year-to-date operating margin was -$376,692, which is favorable to the budgeted margin of -$2,277,192 by $1,900,499.

Comparison to FY 2019:

The operating margin for FY 2020 is favorable to the June FY 2019 operating margin by $352,528. This can be attributed to an increase in gross margin, which is largely attributed to a $283,002 increase in revenue over June of FY 2019.

Year-to-Date Comparison to FY 2019:

The June year-to-date margin is $1,246,004 favorable to the FY 2019 margin which was

-$1,622,697.21. There were no major issues in June.

COMMENTS:

Chair Kniff McCulla – This is great, keep it up.

Business Services Update – Randy Goddard

Healthcare Network: Iowa Rural Health Telecommunications Program (IRHTP)

  • Working on contract renewals and bandwidth increases.
  • Twelve of the hospitals and clinics asked for free temporary bandwidth increases for two months during COVID. Half of the hospitals have decided to keep the increased bandwidth and are now paying for those services.
  • Several hospitals have proposed fiber builds that have been submitted to USAC for funding.

Government Update:

  • We continue to provide consultation services for the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) for their proposed datacenter relocation. OCIO is moving out of the Hoover State Office Building to LightEdge in Altoona, IA. DHS is also moving from the building their servers are located.  We are working with both agencies on providing a redundant path.
  • The State Public Defender’s internal phone system failed at their Iowa City site. ICN was able to restore their voice services in 5 days with our MVS product. There are additional sites that are interested in the product.

Public Safety Update:

  • Department of Corrections’ (DOC) Clarinda site moved to ICN’s MVS phone system. It was completed in three phases within six weeks. The Newton Correctional Facility is next.
  • DOC Inmate Tablet RFP – The evaluation is completed, and the award is ready to be made.

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

  • 911 Wireline Aggregation – Started to bill the quarterly fiber and equipment maintenance for this service. Our Network is in place and operational.The next phase is migration of all Wireline 911 Traffic from local exchanges.Marshalltown and Davenport PSAP migrations are completed.Mason City is scheduled next.Project to be completed late FY 2021 for all 113 PSAPs.
  • 911 Wireless Secondary Connections – Iowa will be the first in the nation to use FirstNet to provision a wireless path for delivery of 911 calls into Public Service Answering Points (PSAPs). The project includes 23 PSAPs (including DPS Mobile) and data centers. Site surveys are completed and the first install will occur at JFHQ. This is a state-wide project.

Education:

  • Consultations continue. We are shifting our focus on contract renewals for colleges.
  • FY 2020 E-Rate season has completed. There are schools that have not made awards for this coming school year. We will be completing an analysis soon.
  • The 470 (application window) for FY 2021 is now open for E-Rate. We are also waiting for the FY 2021 list of eligible services. FY 2021 starts the new five-year cycle for category 2 funding.
  • ICN has worked with Iowa State University on their Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWRNET) Grant. Their application is the Wireless Living Lab for Smart and Connected Rural Communities. This would create a wireless broadband Internet canopy over Boone and Story counties. The purpose of it is an agricultural based grant that would provide remote monitoring and control equipment. ISU was selected from the finalist list to move to the planning stage.

Outreach:

  • SYBAC Applications – Received 19 applications, Deb Evans reviewed and selected 10 students.
  • Scheduling meetings with Agency Directors and some customers. Met with Department of Education. Future meetings will be with DOT, OCIO, DHS, IWD, IRHTP, IACCT (Iowa Association of Community College Trustees).

COMMENTS:

Chair Kniff McCulla – The hospitals that received some funding, are they using that funding to make infrastructure improvements?

Randy Goddard – They are using the money for bandwidth increases and fiber builds at this time.

Carrier Updates

Network Services Update – Ryan Mulhall

Outages / Customer Issues:

  • There were three fiber cuts this month. All cuts restored within SLA time.
    • Two cuts occurred when counties were performing work on culverts. Both cuts saw 10-15 customers affected.
    • The other cut occurred when a contractor was performing on-ramp work. They were performing work without locates. No ICN customers were impacted, but DOT cameras were down between Grinnell and Tiffin. Our Outside Plant team is reviewing this cut.
  • ICN has had some recent heat issues related to our HVAC at the Lucas State Office Building. A contractor needed to perform some emergency work.

Outside Plant:

  • We set a new high for the number of projects this past year with 270 projects. (41 more projects than the last high in 2016.) For maintenance projects, we had 180 projects related to relocations and responding to fiber cuts, as well as splicing.
  • We continue to add cable for the ICN network, DOT network, and IRHTP network.

Information Systems:

  • Continue to work on projects like upgrading Asset Manager, which is what ICN utilizes to track equipment, circuits, as well as the provisioning tool for engineers. Upgrade is needed in order to finish moving to Windows 10. We completed the upgrade in our test facility, we still need to upgrade the server, and then we will upgrade our version of Asset Manager in production.
  • Moving closer to deploying Customer Service Management in ServiceNow to pass it on to our internal quality assurance tester and then moving to Business Services for testing. A major version upgrade will need to occur in September.
  • Another project is upgrading our Oracle database software and purchasing new hardware. We have many very important applications that rely on this including our billing application, tech labor billing application, and Asset Manager.
  • There are two positions we are currently looking to be filled. We have a part-time contract position for a software developer/programmer to maintain finance applications. We also have a full-time administrator position to help manage our carrier network and internal infrastructure. We received the resumes this week and we will begin interviewing in two weeks.

COMMENTS:

None

Operations/Engineering Update – Scott Pappan

100Gb Network Core Upgrade:

  • Migrating circuits to 100Gb Core – Layer 2 (Ethernet Layer), upgrades are on-going.
  • Moving forward with upgrading new IP Infrastructure (Layer 3).

E911 Wireline Network Project (TDM/Ethernet Solution), Iowa Homeland Security:

  • Migrating 150 ILECs (incumbent local exchange carriers) to connect to 113 PSAPs, which connect to two datacenters.

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

  • Clinics - 79 installed / 29 open orders with FNS.
  • 125 new network devices installed on IRHTP Network.
  • 37 orders pending with FNS.

Virtualization:

  • Virtualization platform is installed.
    • Accessed 165 instances/servers, reduced to 90.
    • Removed OSV Voice platform.
    • Removed the Pexip Video platform.

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

  • TDM/ATM Cleanup: About 39 conversions left of 427 circuits. CBXs to follow.
  • In the future we will be able to sunset the ATM network.

Network Update:

  • Remote Network Monitoring - Local and National Peering & Transit/Internet Services.
    • Local Peering - support remote users.
      • Mediacom 10Gb peer - 10% to 20% utilization.
      • Aureon peer upgrading from 1Gb to 10Gb.
    • National Peering - about 10%, Coresite (Any2) and Equinix (XI) – Connectivity to all the large content providers.
  • Network Utilization - About 10 to 15 percent of capacity.
  • We want to create more diversity in the network by adding a third ingress provider.
  • Working on huts and ATM sunset.
  • Future Planning: Whitebox business case. Planning is to be able to place server on edge for virtualization for customers.
  • Goal for 2021: Building efficiencies.

COMMENTS:

Commissioner Holz – What was the situation with the Firewall this morning?

Scott Pappan – We have older firewall hardware that we planned to upgrade in two weeks. Last night the hardware failed three times. We will be planning to upgrade the firewall this afternoon. This only affected the ICN.

Other Business:

Action – FY 2021 Regulatory Plan – Mark Johnson

Each year the ITTC is required to put together a regulatory plan that identifies any administrative rules actions that we need to take during the upcoming fiscal year. This year we have no identified rules that we are required to implement or adopt. At this point we have not identified any actions or if we do identify any rules or corrections that we need to change, we will bring those to the commission.

Commissioner Holz moved to approve the FY 2021 Regulatory Plan. Commissioner Lapointe seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

COMMENTS:

None

ITTC Committee Updates – Staff/Commission

Personnel Committee – Mark Johnson

Meeting Date: July 6, 2020.
Attendance: Chair Kniff McCulla, Commissioner Holz, and Mark Johnson.
Topics Covered:       Current open positions and executive director search information request.

Customer and Services Committee – Randy Goddard

Meeting Date: July 8, 2020.
Attendance: Commissioner Olson, Commissioner Lapointe, Lori Larsen, Ryan Mulhall, & Randy Goddard.
Topics Covered:

  • ICN’s authorized user requests.
  • New customers.
  • Requests for waivers from certified users. No new requests to discuss.
  • Services – Covered Business Services sales personnel and customers.
  • Sales outreach.
  • Customer complaints and network outages.

Finance Committee – Mike Cruise

Meeting Date: July 13, 2020.
Attendance: Commissioner Holz, Commissioner Wenzel and Mike Cruise.
Topics Covered:      

  • Reviewed the June financials as presented today.
  • Detailed discussion on line items.
  • Request to add transitional financial statements to the monthly distribution.

Operations Committee – Scott Pappan

Meeting Date: July 6, 2020.
Attendance: Chair Kniff McCulla, Commissioner Wenzel, and Scott Pappan.
Topics Covered:

  • Progression of the ICN - video network, transport network, an IP network.
  • Current projects.
  • Future projects and planning.

Public Comment:

Commissioner Holz – Requested update from last month’s Commission meeting regarding the Mississippi Bend AEA waiver. Was a written decision issued, has anything happened?

Deb Evans – I contacted Alan Nagel. He said that is to be prepared by the ITTC’s legal counsel. I will get an official copy. When we do receive that copy, I will send it out to the Commission.

Commissioner Holz – I would expect that we would have a written decision regarding that report within 30 days.

Deb Evans – I will contact Alan Nagel again.

Adjournment:

The ITTC meeting adjourned at 11:20 AM.

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