January 14, 2015
The Halifax Broadband Committee met at the Town Office on January 14, 2015. The meeting was called to order at 6:35 p.m. Present were committee members Edee Edwards, Curtis Carroll, and Gretchen Becker and visitor Blaise McGarvey.
The minutes from the December 10, 2014 meeting were approved as written, 3-0. The minutes from the December 24, 2014 emergency meeting were approved as written 2-0 with one abstention due to not being present at that meeting.
Edwards described the state of the BBID broadband project after a telephone discussion with CJ of the Southern Vermont Broadband Cooperative and Chris Campbell of the VTA. CJ said the cost to subscribers would be about $35 a month for the fastest service, up to 20 megs upload.
However it turned out that the VTA technical people had an incorrect location for the proposed tower. It would have to be at the new town garage because it requires electricity. At this site, it couldn’t send a signal strong enough to satisfy the requirements of the BBID grant. Hence it is impossible for this grant project to go forward.
Edwards would like to get the VTA’s position in writing.
Next the group discussed the USDA’s Community Connect Grants, which are for the “acquisition, construction, or leasing” of land or buildings used for broadband service. Edwards said the Halifax EMS is interested in acquiring the old town garage to use as a place to park their vehicles. She suggested that if renovations were done, the town could include a restroom and meeting rooms to be used for health-related activities.
Another suggestion was to apply for a grant to rent the Community Hall, which already has a restroom that will be handicapped accessible and a full kitchen, to use as a possible business center for two years, at the end of which time the town could decide whether or not to continue on a permanent basis. Joan Courser, head of that organization, was out of town but will be contacted when she returns to see if she would be agreeable to such a plan.
Edwards will bring up both ideas at the next Selectman’s meeting.
Edwards noted that the final Vermont Telecommunications Plan is now available online at the Department of Public Service website.