Broadband Committe Meeting Minutes – 9/4/19

Present: Paul Looney, Bob Anderson, Dick Hill, Rod Bouchard, Dennis Marcom, Steve Grenier, Peggy Pschirrer   Guest:  John Snowdon, Westmoreland


Paul Looney opened the meeting at 6:30 pm.  He introduced John Snowdon from Westmoreland who chairs the Broadband Advisory Committee (WBAC) 


Mr. Snowdon reviewed the work of the Westmoreland Committee which started seventeen months ago.   He indicated he would send us a copy of their RFP with the names and addresses of the companies they are writing.

 WBAC met with Consolidated in Jan 2019
 Wrote a Request for Information (RFI) which came back in 57 days.
 Determined that 89.8% are underserved; 11% served
 Never heard from Comcast
 Called Jay Kahn who reported legislators never considered a company would not respond to an FI – have no enforcement. New legislation will include retroactive penalties…???
 Argent Communications wouldn’t return calls/emails
 Sending RFP’s to Argent, Comcast, Spectrum and Consolidated.  Consolidated will respond.
 Westmoreland Cable Contract with comcast expires in 2020??
 North Walpole holds contract with Cable.  Walpole need to determine expiration date
 Every town needs to share information
 Carol Macky works for Consolidated
 Carol Monroe is in Dublin
 Carol Miller…….?
 Other companies in Maine are Otelco, GWY and Y Valley
 Matrix – Chris Lynch, privately held, builder of fiber networks, made a proposal to Westmoreland.  May be affiliated with First Light
 Matrix- all assets go into an LLC which can be purchased in three years then owned by Town. Westmoreland would need an 800,000 plus bond.
 Need someone to bid beside Consolidated; have reached out to Comcast
 SB 170 does not guarantee fiber
 SB will mail RFP; used 80% of Chesterfield’s work
 Poles must be ready; fees for adding lines on a pole
 Eversource is putting battery backups in Westmoreland
 $720,000 to buy space on a pole
 Consolidated owns poles in Walpole; replacing current poles with taller ones.  All towers connected toConsolidated
 Westmoreland found a survey useful – mailed it to 734 addresses – single sheet- written or emailed Used Survey Monkey- cost about $700.  Sent everyonespeed test
 Thirty-one percent responded – didn’t ask for names
 Could figure out which road responder was on?
 All online in Westmoreland’s web site; survey confirmed Consolidated numbers
 Business/resident/ home business – 93% Consolidated; 5% Argent
 Speed reliability of customer services
 Consolidated took over Fairpoint; is not taking care of copper lines which are now 50 years old.  New equipment all fiber.  Copper still used for fire alarms
 Westmoreland has 42 miles of road; 14 miles of state roads; 734 addresses; 1700 population
 Walpole has 70 miles of road; ?? of state road which are Prospect, County, Rt 123, Rt 12, South; population about 3870
 Westmoreland – started having town meetings- next one is Sept 14 at 10:00 am
 RFP due October 15
 Devise Millmet – Bond lawyers
 Kahn’s new legislation to allow Towns to work together
 John Snowdon left the meeting at 7:50 pm


Westmoreland needs bonding information


Check Homeland Security – is there money to upgrade in communications


RFP – Steve Grenier and Dennis Marcom will work on RRP

Need to add maps to RFP; should it include miles of Class V roads?


Dick Hill will determine number of underserved a well as property values


Can we ignore Comcast?  Are surveys required?


The aim is to be ready for March 2020 Town Meeting


The meeting adjourned at approximately 8:30 pm.  The Committee will meet every Wednesday beginning September 11 at 6:30 pm


Peggy Pschirrer





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