October 10, 2012
The Halifax broadband committee was called to order at 6:37 p.m. Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at the Halifax Town Office. Present were committee members Jessica Bruno, chair pro tem; Curtis Caroll; and Gretchen Becker. Members of the public present were Linda Huebner, Edee Edwards, and Chris Parkins.
Bruno moved and Carrol seconded the minutes of the August 8, 2012 meeting as written which passed 3-0-0.
The committee decided to amend the previous meeting’s decision on restricting membership in the committee to those who had attended a minimum number of meetings after a certain date to provide exceptions to people who were absent because of illness.
It was agreed that there is enough news about broadband and cell service that we should put together something for the Town Report. This would include the School Board’s approval of the FiberConnect project, the cell phone grant, VTel’s wireless plans, and the case of the 29 addresses where the state said they had no current plan to bring broadband there. Bruno will write a proposed report to bring to the next meeting.
Caroll reported that SoverNet is working on installing fiber down Route 9, and it should reach Wilmington High School in a few months.
Bruno reported on the town Web Page statistics that she had gleaned from StatCounter. In August there were 432 visitors to the pages, including 348 first-time visitors and 84 returnees. In September there were 559 visitors, including 446 first-time visitors and 113 returnees. Most people visited the Home page, and the next most popular were, in order, the Contact page, History, Policies, and Selectboard, and then fewer on the various other pages. We can search on keywords used in searches if we wish.
The Committee discussed various broadband and cell phone options, but no decisions were made.
It was noted that the Stamford Broadband Coop had gotten a grant to bring fiber directly to homes.
It was noted that the selectmen have applied for a potential VTA disaster grant that would bring cell service along Route 112. There is no guarantee that the town will get the grant. If it does, the grant also supports WiFi hotspots, and Edwards said the town chose the Town Garage as a suitable hotspot as they have no Internet service at all at the garage.
The committee and members of the public discussed the potential use of the school’s current T1 line and whether it could somehow be converted to a faster connection for the town. They also discussed whether the town could establish some kind of town library at the town offices so the town could use the FiberConnect connection without compromising the school’s e-rate.
Parkins indicated that he might be interested in joining the committee but made no firm decision.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:37 p.m.
Gretchen Becker, secretary pro tem