State Telecommunications Policy Workshop

I was late to this, because I dropped “Girl Scout the younger” at GS day camp on the way to DC.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
9:00 – 4:00pm
Washington Convention Center, Room 147 A/B

9:00-9:30 Welcome and introduction
Lynne Bradley, Director, ALA/OGR
Rick Weingarten, Director, ALA/OITP
Michael Dowling, Director, ALA Chapter Relations

9:30-12:00 Issues exploration
Christopher McLean, e-Copernicus
John Windhausen, Telepoly

—I arrived here—

Mark Lloyd, Center for American Progress

Mark was speaking about the necessity of urban library support for the rural libraries provisions in this year’s Farm Bill. Please say to your Senators and Representatives: “Please support the rural library provisions in this year’s Farm Bill.”
12:00-1:00 lunch and keynote
Gloria Tristani, Spiegel & McDiarmid (former FCC Commissioner)

Gloria spoke about the importance of sufficient bandwidth for public libraries, wherever they are. She spoke about ALA WO efforts to simplify the E-rate for libraries, modify “poverty calculations” to bring libraries into parity with school districts and respond to “Notices of Inquiry” from the FCC.

(I got to review three Telcom-related responses in my positions on the OITP Advisory Committee or the OITP/COL Telcom Subcommittee)

Though FCC comment periods may say they are “closed,” if you have a comment you should send it in anyway (up until a decision is made). Grassroots advocacy and grassroots comments count with the FCC when they come in significant numbers.

While we are all here in DC, we should take the opportunity to drop in on the FCC Commissioners — we are competing with many other players and a massive drop by of interested parties. Take the time to have a few relevant statistics about library connectivity to hand and encourage the FCC. Wisconsin specific data here for example.

1:00-2:30 Broadband deployment models that work

Bob Bocher Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Described development of BadgerNet and follow-on departments. Partners: between state gov’t, K-20, libraries, tribes, telcos. Funding: costs are “postalized” same cost anywhere — benefits rurals *big time* T-1=~$100/month, higher=~$250/month. Centralized purchase of access and divvied internally. Services: Video distance Ed, 24/7/365 Tech Support. Statewide VoIP soon, internet via WiSCnet, shared ILS in ~90% of WI libraries for resource sharing etc. Challenges: WAN circuts insufficient, State USF has had 6 years of no growth, Web 2.0 interactions loading network, working to improve funding, general sys admin stuff (security, spam, remote mgmt, etc) Success because: strong state network office, strong legislative and executive support, governor support, collaboraive environment (inclusive), state-wide funding of connections.

Steven Hedges OPLIN

Discussed Ohio’s path to a working state-wide network INFOhio, OSCnet, OhioLink, MORE. OPLIN also provides “postalized” pricing, same anywhere. All 3 agencies are now working together as Libraries Connect Ohio.
Policy issues about funding of bandwidth for gaming may crop up if legislators ask about what kinds of trafic are being funded.

William Giddings MOREnet

MOREnet started in 1986, REAL started in 1994, now 131 libraries with 107 branches. Connection depends on tax revenues for service area — you get the connection speeds you need (smaller libraries pay ~$300/year, largest pays ~$12,000 per year) no questions asked. T-1 to 45 MBps. Partners: Governor, State library, Dept of Ed, Dept of Higher Ed, U Missouri One network to rule them all (wait, no, There can be only one) in Missouri. Funding: Dept of Higehr Ed, Sec of State via State Library, participant fees, E-rate reimbursements. Services: Network Svcs, Video, Securoty, Resources, Training, more Challenges: growing demand for bandwidth, term limits, site visits by MOREnet (to keep issues tied to local issues), Techies resistant to loosening local control Successful because: Shared Leadership, program manager, single state-wide network, level playing field, public procurement.

Andrew McNeill Connect Kentucky

Am having a hard time note-taking (handout being read out loud), will have to scan & post the handout (sorry)

2:30-4:00 You can do it! Concrete approaches to tackling the most important telecommunications issues at the state level

Find out what is important to the person to whom you’re speaking.
Find solid examples to support what you’re saying.
Find a compelling story to share.
“Fiber to the Library” will also benefit the local community, nearby businesses, students doing homework. This initiative (or it should be an initiative) may be a great way to get fiber to the home rolled out. I think the Rural Libraries provisions in this year’s Farm Bill may have more on funding this?
Aim to get something scalable without huge new capital outlay

See ALA WO / Public Libraries and the Internet 2006: Study Results and Findings handout for more suggestions.

  • “We are what we share” (from Jessamyn on Twitter earlier today) seems very appropriate.
  • Way to think about libraries and information technology: “Libraries: Universal Service Providers” (quote from Nancy Kranich)

3 thoughts on “State Telecommunications Policy Workshop

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