Iowa Telecommunications & Technology Commission March 2020 Minutes
Grimes State Office Building, 1st Floor
400 E. 14th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319
March 19, 2020
To ensure the most efficient use of State resources, the March 19, 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 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 conference call)
Bob Holz, Member (via conference call)
Steven Olson, Member (via conference call)
Kelly Dolan Lange, Member (via conference call)
Timothy Lapointe, Member (via conference call)
John McCormally, Representing Rob Sand, Ex-Officio Member (via conference call)
Annette Dunn, 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 (via conference call)
Scott Pappan, Engineering/Operations Bureau Manager (via conference call)
Dave Marley, Field Services Officer (via conference call)
Lori Larsen, Executive Officer 2 (Recorder) (via conference call)
Scott Golberg, Fiber Network Services (FNS) (via conference call)
Rob Smith, Fiber Network Services (FNS) (via conference call)
Alan Nagel, Attorney General’s Office (via conference call)
Ray Warner, Aureon (via conference call)
Call to Order:
At the request of the Chair, Deb Evans 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 February 20, 2020 Meeting Minutes:
Deb Evans requested a motion to approve the February 20, 2020 meeting minutes. Commissioner Holz moved to approve the minutes. Commissioner Lapointe seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Update on COVID-19 Situation for ICN – Deb Evans (Deviation from the agenda)
Operations and Security teams have been working on setting up laptops for those that have desktops, so they will be able to telework. There is a small group of employees located in the office to monitor the network and handle items as they come up. Leadership has a set schedule to telework. Ryan Mulhall, Scott Pappan, and David Marley will alternate days in the NOC to ensure someone in ICN leadership is available in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC). The rest of the leadership will alternate days in the Grimes Office. Deb Evans and Mark Johnson are participating on the Governor’s calls with agency directors, Mark Johnson and Lori Larsen are on the calls with PIOs (Public Information Officers), other information and changes coming from other agencies is being monitored by Deb Evans and Mark Johnson and forwarded to others in the agency as needed. Vicki Harris is our COOP/COG coordinator and David Marley is her backup. They are monitoring the web EOC, which is the Emergency Operations Center. Randy Goddard is in contact with Homeland Security to make sure all needs are addressed. We have had a significant number of expedited orders, which staff has completed quickly to assist the agencies. We are now looking at ways to increase redundancy and security of the network. Individual details on orders will be given by Randy Goddard during the Business Services update.
Finance Update – Mike Cruise
February Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget-to-Actual Report:
- Monthly Revenues and Expenses:
The month of February resulted in an operating margin of $103,877.11 or 4.16%. This is favorable to the budget of -$83,907.00 by $187,784.11. This is the seventh month in a row that we have been favorable to budget. One item of note is the allocated operating expense was negative for the month. We built out several fiber cuts, and what we billed out was more than what we booked for the expense, creating a negative expense amount. We do not recognize those as revenue.
- Year-to-Date Revenues and Expenses:
The February year-to-date operating margin was -$887,416.35, which is favorable to the budgeted margin of -$1,561,579.00 by $674,162.65.
- Comparison to FY 2019:
The operating margin for FY 2020 is favorable to the February FY 2019 operating margin of $76,143.23 by $27,733.88.
- Year-to-Date Comparison to FY 2019:
The February year-to-date margin of -$887,416.35 is $393,939.00 favorable to the FY 2019 margin of -$1,281,355.35.
Chair Kniff McCulla – Nice work Mike, your team is doing wonderful.
Mike Cruise – Congratulations to everybody, we are also doing cost cutting measures to keep the revenue flowing and reduce expenses.
Financial Audit for FY 2019 – Mike Cruise
On March 12, we had our Fiscal Year 2019 Audit - Exit Conference. Happy to report that we had no reportable audit comments for FY 2019. Congratulations to all staff and thanks to all staff for implementing the rules and processes and being diligent in all efforts in following the State and federal rules and policies. We did have eight non-reportable comments. Those were split evenly between the categories of inventory and accounts receivable. Non reportable comments are not considered material for our financial statements. Three of the eight comments that were noted were considered common errors in our business, and due to our current practices which are acceptable to the auditors. One of the comments can be corrected in change of processes in how we account for allowance of accounts receivable accounts. We had a good audit this year.
Chair Kniff McCulla – That sounds fantastic, it sounds like the ICN is working together just beautifully. To have a nice clean audit has to feel good to all of you. Thank you from the entire Commission. Great Job!
Commissioner Lapointe – Congratulations, I think this is probably in large part that we responded so well to the last crisis. Kudos to the work that was done going forward.
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 points (PSAPs), and other HSEMD contractors. Completion of the migration is dependent on the HSEMD’s contractor completing and testing Automatic Number Identification and Automatic Location Identification (ANI/ALI) database. Targeted to have CAMA Trunks migration started in May and completed by end of September.
- ICN continues working closely with HSEMD and contractors for strengthening 911 ESInet solution. Discussion topics include secondary connections via FirstNet.
- Discussions have started about providing security services at the PSAPs.
- Education: USAC/E-rate
- Form 470 (Applications): Window reopened on March 13 until April 1, 2020.
- Form 471 (Awards): Extended until April 29, 2020.
- Last month reported about 900 applications (470) were filed, ended up with approximately 1,800 posted. ICN reviews all applications and submits quotes for the services that can be provided. Seeing increased opportunities beyond Internet and data for Internet access with Basic Firewall, Managed Services, and infrastructure builds. Higher bandwidth requests for 5-25 Gb.
- Other Significant Opportunities
- Bandwidth increases and contract renewals for healthcare.
- Managed Voice for Rockwell City, Newton, and Clarinda Corrections. Managed Voice and Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) for DHS Call Centers.
- Inmate Tablet RFP new due date for vendor responses.
- Renewal of contracts and bandwidth increases for all sectors.
- Wireless Access Point wiring for the House of Representatives.
- Several new fiber builds.
- 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. The 470 application bid is released, they opened their question period.
- ISU Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWRNET) Grant support for Iowa State University. Two counties: Boone and Story.
- Community College Trustees: Bill and Melinda Gates Grant opportunity for Rural Community Colleges broadband access.
- SYBAC Day, April 14 – Has been canceled due to COVID-19.
- COVID-19 Telecommunications Support:
ICN is providing telecommunications and broadband support and consultation to a number of State, Legislative, and Judicial government entities, healthcare providers, and educational institutions.
- Installation of new 10Gb Internet connection for the additional VPN bandwidth needed for government teleworkers to connect back to their network resources from remote locations.
- Over 15 agencies have requested increases in bandwidth.
- Managed Voice System (MVS) support by adding Business Communicator for government teleworkers.
- Testing and operational validation of phones used for Emergency Activation.
- Installation of cabling and switches to support data and voice. MVS reconfiguration to support relocation of MVS phones and fax line from Lucas Building to Joint Forces Headquarters.
- Increase Reservationless-Plus Conference Calling accounts for judicial services.
- Additional 800 phone numbers implemented.
- Direct Event Conferencing to support 1,000+ callers.
- In communications with community colleges, private colleges and area education agencies regarding telecommunications assistance.
- Communications with Iowa Hospital Association, to provide additional telecommunications support for hospitals and clinics.
- Assisted with healthcare bandwidth increases.
Commissioner Lapointe – Are the hospitals going to use ICN video or telemedicine?
Deb Evans – Most of the hospitals have their own video systems and their own telemedicine programs. We provide the increase in bandwidth.
Commissioner Lapointe – Staff working off-site, I would think the ICN would be uniquely situated to have people work from home or remotely? What needs to be done onsite and what can be done remotely? The more distancing we can do the better.
Scott Pappan – About a week and a half ago we wanted to make sure we were ready if an event did occur. At that time we already had a VPN client and a dual authentication to secure the Network setup. We prepared to make sure that everyone was available that would be remote for four hours. Our bandwidth utilization went up to 15 Mb and our Voice client/business communicator worked across the Network. The best part of the project was that it made everyone get prepared beforehand.
Deb Evans – We would like to have someone in the BRIC (Broadband Information Center), but we do have a few people that have issues teleworking due to the financial piece. We have checks and invoices that come into the office. Mike Cruise is having employees come into the office and scan their documents, and then they can go home to telework. We are trying to keep the numbers to a minimum. By Code of Iowa, we can’t take the original invoices and checks outside of the building. Then we have the network individuals and we have one network engineer in the BRIC. We also have someone in the warehouse for equipment. There are some situations where we need someone in the building. We are trying to have a minimum number of people right now.
Scott Pappan – We also know if something breaks, we will have to go onsite. We are trying to minimize that event and wait until it occurs.
Commissioner Lapointe – Sounds good. I think we are uniquely situated to do well in this environment. As a state agency are we able to assist others with this transition to remote work? What kind of services are we providing?
Deb Evans – With most of the state agencies, the VPN is handled by the Office of the Chief Information Officer, which was the 10 Gb connection that we installed quickly. That bandwidth will allow the other agencies to VPN in. The Managed Voice System (MVS) service is our voice service. Business Services worked really hard with CenturyLink to get all the licenses for Business Communicator and directions regarding how to use the application.
Commissioner Lapointe – Do we still have a general helpdesk?
Dave Marely – Yes, we have staff in the Network Operations Center (NOC), and staff teleworking. The MVS platform allows us to implement the ACD, and we can seamlessly receive calls if they are in the NOC, at JFHQ, or if they are remote. We are happy for the service that we don’t have to have people directly onsite.
Commissioner Lapointe - Sounds good.
Administrative Note: Alan Nagel, Attorney General’s Office – We lost someone from the call at approximately 10:46 AM. All Commissioners confirmed they were present on the call.
Network Services Update – Ryan Mulhall
- Outside Plant
- No fiber cuts to report.
- Group is on pace for new highs in the number of total projects in a fiscal year, with the biggest spike in maintenance activities (cuts and relocations).
- Based on current project totals for the eight months of this fiscal year (FY), projected out to the end of the FY:
- Maintenance: 162 (5-year average of 118).
- New Construction: 17 (5-year average of 21).
- Splicing & Other: 48 (5-year average of 15).
- Estimate: 32 (5-year average of 23).
- The workload continues to trend up over the last five years. We are looking hard at insights at why that may be as a few engineers approach retirement age, and our fiber plant continues to get older (most will say the lifespan is 25-30 years). It could be due to the fact that our network is much larger than in the past, and more digging is going on all the time, but we want to ensure we effectively manage our resources.
- ServiceNow – We continue to work with INRY on developing Customer Service Management in our ServiceNow instance. This will allow us the ability to have customers interact and order services with the ICN more efficiently and have a lot more control over the people in their organization authorized to order services. The initial goal was to have it deployed by March 1, to coincide with our ServiceNow yearly renewal, but we decided to slow it down to further refine requirements and not try for an arbitrary deadline. The new target date to roll out the features and functionality will be May 1.
- TAC Group (Structured Cabling Group) – Helping out CenturyLink providing technicians to accommodate a configuration change to provide better redundancy for our MVS service, as well as have been key on a few high profile engagements for agencies regarding COVID-19 response. Due to these shifting priorities, we likely won’t be able to respond to some e-rate bid opportunities for cabling this year as we hoped. Our TAC group will not be able to work remotely in the foreseeable future. They are the ones being called out to sites as well as our FNS field techs. We are looking at ways to keep them safe and healthy.
- Security – The ICN continues to examine opportunities for new services and public/private partnerships. Currently, we provide DDoS Mitigation protection and Managed Firewall and Unified Threat Management (UTM) (Intrusion detection/prevention, anti-malware, content filtering, etc.) services (ourselves and with a partnership with LightEdge). We also have partnerships for security monitoring, incident response/forensics, penetration testing, and other security assessments. We are coming up with a plan to add additional MSSP (Managed Security Service Provider) services internally such as endpoint protection, endpoint detection/response, external vulnerability scanning, and network visibility while still relying on private partners for advanced security services.
Chair Kniff McCulla – Do you have a separate program for the TAC Group since they are interacting with other companies?
Ryan Mulhall – They are on their normal work hours and coming into the office. Luckily they have been working at Joint Forces Headquarters where there are many protocols in place. They have been advised to follow the general guidelines.
Commissioner Lapointe – Is there an extra cost associated to working remotely? Do employees use their own computers or is it state equipment that they take home?
Deb Evans – It is not an additional cost, as of yet. Everyone has a laptop. We are used to the double screens. Within the last six months staff received new monitors, so we are allowing staff to take the older monitors home for telework purposes. At this time, we have not had any additional costs to the budget to allow people to telework. Everyone has a laptop, dual screens, and the equipment that they need.
Scott Pappan – From the network perspective, we already had enough licenses to go one-to-one with both Business Communicator and VPN.
Commissioner Lapointe – Sounds good.
Administrative Note: Alan Nagel, Attorney General’s Office (via conference call) – It was noted that someone disconnected from the call. All Commission members were present. Scott Pappan rejoined the call.
Randy Goddard – This conference bridge has a report, which can list who joins and disconnects. The report will show all numbers that have called in.
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 – complete, Council Bluffs, Lucas, and JFHQ.
- 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 scheduled to be delivered to the ICN.
- JFHQ is moving forward.
- Iowa Rural Health Telecommunications Program (IRHTP)/Hospital Ciena Upgrades:
- All IRHTP orders engineered.
- Clinics: 67 installed and 7 pending orders.
- 114 network devices installed on IRHTP Network.
- 72% of equipment is installed, with 42 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.
- Moved last TDM circuit off airport OC12.
- Legacy Voice Cleanup. We previously had 5 Voice platforms, we will now have 2.
- Multiple agencies are installing Business Communicator - VOIP connectivity / support remote usage.
- TDM/ATM Cleanup.
- Corona Virus Upgrades/Installs - Business Services/ Escalations - approximately 25+ past week.
- Engineered, configured and installed call center services, utilizing MVS, over last 48 hours at SEOC per Governor’s Office request.
- One 10Gb of Internet and two 10Gb Ethernet circuits installed for Executive Branch within 24 hours to allow for VPN (Virtual Private Networking) to occur so State employees could work remotely.
- Internet planning is occurring to meet demand.
- Corona Virus Upgrades/Installs - Business Services/ Escalations - approximately 25+ past week.
Legislative Update – Mark Johnson
The legislature did shut down and passed a resolution to adjourn until April 15. It gives the legislative council the ability to shorten or extend the timeframe. State of California and State of Nebraska have also halted their sessions too. The other piece of legislation that they did pass was supplemental appropriations and some adjustments to appropriations to the current fiscal year for certain agencies that needed additional funding.
ITTC Committee Update – Staff/Commission
Customer and Services Committee – Randy Goddard
Meeting Date: March 11, 2020.
Attendance: Commissioner Lange, Commissioner Holz, Lori Larsen, Ryan Mulhall, and Randy Goddard.
- ICN’s authorized user requests. None.
- New customers. Wayne County Hospital - Neighborhood Pharmacy in Corydon.
- Burgess Health Center Family Clinic in Whiting.
- Requests for waivers from certified users. None.
- Services – Managed Firewall.
- Sales outreach.
- Customer outages: Ryan Mulhall covered outages.
Finance Committee – Mike Cruise
Meeting Date: March 16, 2020.
Attendance: Commissioner Olson, Commissioner Holz, and Mike Cruise.
- Review of financials as presented today.
- FY19 Audit - Exit Conference results.
- Review of the FY2021 budget process schedule.
Personnel Committee – Mark Johnson
Meeting Date: March 3, 2020.
Attendance: Chair Kniff McCulla, Commissioner Lapointe, Lori Larsen and Mark Johnson.
- Retirement of Ed Parker and a cursory description that information would be provided to the Commission regarding the Executive Director search.
The ITTC meeting adjourned at 11:22 AM.
Barb Kniff McCulla - Chair, Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission