Southern Berkshire Technology Committee

Broadband for all the Berkshires

Minutes: Meeting of SBTC 29 April 2009

By rohaver • Apr 30th, 2009 • Category: Local Meeting Schedule & Minutes


A meeting of the Southern Berkshire Technology Committee was held on 29 April 2009 at the Town Hall, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, at 4:00 PM, as previously posted. Present were Charles Flynn (Chair), Tim Newman (Vice Chair), Bob O’Haver, Rob Rocke, Monica Webb, Robert Lichter, Jim Lovejoy, Michael Storch, Brian Killeen, Paul O’Brien, and Lee Glazerman.

Tim Newman and Bob Lichter reported on the meeting on Monday, 27 April, in Northampton, organized by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety & Security and the Massachusetts Broadband Institute to make Western Massachusetts Public safety officers aware of the Broadband Stimulus legislation. There seems to be some uncertainly about the MBI’s proposal strategy, whether it will comprise a series of individual proposals or one statewide proposal. Guidelines for proposal submission are anticipated in July, with first awards in September, followed rapidly by two more rounds through June 2010. MBI Program Director, Donna Baron, was optimistic that with the appointment of the yet-to-be-announced Director, Sharon Gillett, MBI would move faster toward clarifying its procedures. After discussion, the Committee agreed that Sharon Gillett’s appointment was a positive step and that arranging quickly for a working meeting with her and Donna Baron was important. The purpose would be to get a commitment that SBTC will be part of the conversation about the practical pathways for building out a broadband backbone

The Committee then discussed the proposal to restructure as a not-for-profit organization. The purpose of such an organization, the creation of a business plan for it, and its role in the MBI process were discussed, along with the attendant challenges for a volunteer organization. After further discussion, the Committee agreed to defer formation of a not-for-profit organization and continue the focus on obtaining pole locations as an important component of its goal of getting “fiber on the poles.” This is important whether or not the SBTC participates with the MBI in developing a proposal or prepares one independently. The Committee also acknowledged the importance of identifying the unique needs of each community in the SBTC region.

The decision to go forward with the request for $1,500.00 from each town was discussed.  It was determined that how to approach this would be at the discretion of each town representative. However, the committee agreed that this money would not be needed in the near term.

Robert Lichter, Alford, volunteered for and was elected Secretary.
 After further discussion, the Committee agreed on the following:

• Incorporation as a not-for-profit will be deferred.
• Tim Newman will request a meeting of SBTC representatives with Sharon Gillett and others of her choice for a working session that will help the Committee formulate its planning, preferably in collaboration with MBI.
• Charlie Flynn will contact Mass Development for possible assistance n writing proposals. He will also continue conversations with Lee contacts about the possibility that Lee will join SBTC.
• Work will be accelerated to develop a business plan/prospectus for articulating SBTC’s goals.
• Jim Lovejoy will contact an engineering firm to explore getting an estimate of costs for developing an engineering plan.
• Structured discussions with representatives of member towns to clarify SBTC’s current status, future needs, and how it will achieve its goals, will be arranged.

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, 13 May, at 4:00 PM in the Great Barrington Town Hall.

The meeting adjourned at 5:45

Respectfully submitted,

Robert L. Lichter

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