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TWG Minutes - August 7, 2008

CITY OF FULLERTON

 

TECHNOLOGY WORKING GROUP

 

MEETING MINUTES

 

August 7, 2008

 

9:00 A.M.

 

 

 

  

CALL TO ORDER       Chair Burtner called the meeting to order at 9:03 a.m.

 

ROLL CALL                 Members Present

                                                Roger Burtner, Chair            Madusha Palliyage

                                                Mike Carter                            Carl Samantello

                                                Fred Canfield                        Thad Sandford

                                                Larry Iboshi                            Paul Stover, Vice Chair

 

                                                Helen Hall and Ed Smith arrived after roll call.

 

                                                Members Absent

                                                Harry Lamberth

 

                                                Guests

                                                Nicholas Vannatta, TWG applicant

                                                James Mata, Program Manager, Office of the CIO,

                                                     County of Orange

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Chair Burtner asked if there were any corrections to the minutes of July 17, 2008.  With no corrections, Carl Samantello moved approval of the minutes.  The motion was seconded by Thad Sandford, and the minutes were unanimously approved.

 

DISCUSSION ITEMS

 

Citywide Wireless

 

Chair Burtner began with Discussion Item #2 – Citywide Wireless.  He introduced guest James Mata, Program Manager, Office of the CIO, County of Orange.  Mr. Mata is spearheading a feasibility study for a countywide wireless network, and Chair Burtner had invited Mr. Mata to present to the TWG a review of the County's efforts. 

 

Mr. Mata explained that in 2007 a formal program was launched by the County of Orange to look at wireless technology for the future and the county.  Recognizing that the county is a very large area with many interests and many cities involved, and knowing that the county would need to reach out to political bodies, cities, city managers, city councils, special districts, local businesses, etc., it was determined that the county would need to partner with a consultant to conduct the necessary research.  The county issued an RFP and the selected consultant was the Orange County Business Council.

 

Mr. Mata provided a PowerPoint presentation to the TWG (with accompanying handouts) titled "County of Orange Regional Wireless Feasibility Study."  Mr. Mata indicated he wanted to share the study results with the TWG and invite their feedback on where the City of Fullerton may be with respect to its wireless program and its future plans.

 

Below is a recap of the presentation:

 

County of Orange Regional Wireless Feasibility Study

 

Local Control with Regional Coordination

u  Seek consensus with cities about how to proceed.

u  Ensure that, if we choose to go forward:

   City, County, Agency needs are met

   Cost savings are realized

   Business model is economically viable

   Governance models mutually acceptable

u  Opportunities from a regional effort

 

Potential Benefits of Wireless

u  Public Safety

   Emergency Response/Disaster Recovery

   Coordination between agencies (EMT, Fire, Police)

   Video Surveillance

u  Government Services – Productivity/Savings

   Automated Meter Reading

   Traffic Management

   Remote access to databases and applications

   Equipment cost savings

u  Economic Development

u  Education – Distance learning

 

Government Applications Include

u  Public Safety

   Traffic, parking citations                                 

   Fingerprint ID

   Fire code inspection

u  Building Department

   Permit inspections

   Code enforcement

u  Streets and Traffic

   Street and sidewalk repair

   Sanitation management

   Sewer repair and maintenance

   Storm drains/flooding


u  Environmental Services

   Environmental code enforcement

   Hazardous material inspections

   Asset tracking

u  Justice

   Booking

   Prisoner movement

   Investigation

u  Emergency Services

   Real-time status reporting

   Credentialing

   Event management

 

What's In It For Me?

      Each Orange County community has different needs and motivations:

u  Public Safety

u  Digital Inclusion

u  Economic Development

One size does not fit all.

 

Where We Are Now

u  Measured interest by cities, special districts and businesses in wireless.

u  Identified business models and applications, addressed questions at the Summits.

u  Need to identify stakeholders willing to partner with the County in a regional  

    network.

      Meet face-to-face with cities, special districts.

u  Develop governance models for partnership agreements as required.

u  Propose governing body for collective oversight of future wireless in O.C.

 

Mr. Mata noted that cities are concerned with return on investment and sustainability.  Cities such as Anaheim and San Francisco, where EarthLink agreed to build the network at their expense, with EarthLink's economic return based on subscriptions, have seen EarthLink basically abandoning the sector because they could not get the economic model to work.

 

Mr. Mata suggested that cities look at some of the success stories, e.g., Minneapolis and Riverside, where the cities have taken the anchor tenant approach.  The network is built out in partnership with a provider, with a commitment by the city to purchase a certain amount of services from the ISP or a portion of the network, whether it's some, all or a majority of it, and use it for government operations -- but the sustainability question is still a big issue. 

 

He further explained that by working as a collective group in a regional setting, there might be more funding opportunities available, e.g., federal grant money from the Office of Homeland Security, as well as the California State Office of Homeland Security, noting that Homeland Security grants would most likely require a matching funds commitment from the participants.

 

Other examples of Homeland Security funding:  Anaheim received more than $10 million to help build their network; Cook County, Illinois, received $50 million; and the County of Orange, just for some basic research, received more than $40 million. 

 

Mr. Mata pointed out the benefits of creating a regional network, e.g., in Silicon Valley a group of cities has banded together and are working collectively with Covad to build out a series of networks, starting with one city and then growing the network through the Silicon Valley area.  This collective effort results in a single contract with a single provider, the network will work the same from city to city, the cities will go to the same source for support, and have the same operational model.  In addition, participation in the regional network will add value to the individual networks, i.e., networks tend to have more functionality the bigger they get.

 

Mr. Mata noted that the main reason for meeting with the TWG is to get their thoughts about wireless technology, the direction Fullerton is going, and whether there is interest in participating in a regional network.  He indicated there are different reasons why a city may want to become involved regionally, but it's a decision that has to be made by each agency as a result of an internal assessment to determine whether the network would be worth it and how it could benefit or enhance operations.  One of the recurring points from the study is that a wireless network could create better government efficiency, i.e., provide new services that could not be offered before, result in cost savings for providing services, expand existing services without hiring more staff – in essence, enabling technology for the government.

 

He stated that he believes that one day widespread wireless networks will exist throughout Orange County, and we currently have a chance to be involved in that in its infancy and, as a collective group, guide where it goes for our benefit, as opposed to waiting for it to be built by private industry.

 

In conclusion, Mr. Mata asked if Fullerton is interested in participating in a network or even talking about it, or becoming a participant in a governance group where we can start talking about it, and asked if there were any questions, thoughts, or discussion.

 

Ms. Palliyage asked if there is a plan on how revenue would be distributed among the participants.  Mr. Mata explained there are models for how that works in other cities, and noted that the group would have to decide on a model that would be consistent across the network as it grows, whether it's distributed based on square mileage, access points, etc..  He suggested that the model chosen by the governing group would need to be able to change or be modified with time, as the network develops and evolves, and adjust it in ways that make sense.

 

Mr. Stover asked what the trigger mechanism was in cities like Minneapolis and Riverside to motivate them to go the distance and actually get their networks built, noting that Fullerton has been talking about this for nearly a decade.  Mr. Mata noted that in talking to both CIOs of Riverside and Minneapolis there was a definite interest on the political side (either a council member, elected official, etc.) that was the driving force.  But even with that support, the networks would not have gone anywhere if the management (the CIO or City Manager) had not seen the value in it and made it work in dollars and sense.  There has to be political support for it, but there has to be a working model that's sustainable and shows some return on investment or cost savings or some new service that will be provided that's going to benefit the city.

 

Chair Burtner asked what the next steps were for the county or the group that Mr. Mata is putting together – is there a plan to look at and prioritize applications that cities would be interested in and then look at technological solutions?

 

Mr. Mata explained that he would like to see the cities do that analysis or assessment internally, and then provide him with an idea of where those applications should be, i.e., a top 5 or top 10 list that cities would be interested in.  Ultimately, this information would be compiled into a report that will go to the Orange County Board of Supervisors to let them know what the interest levels are from the cities, what the potential is for future programs.

 

Chair Burtner noted that it takes a very strong upfront commitment or guarantee on the part of a city to back a network in terms of dollars, such as with those cities who became anchor tenants.  For example, when Fullerton had discussions with MetroFi and various other firms, MetroFi first said the network would be ad supported, but then came back and said that if Fullerton became an anchor tenant, they would build the network if the city guaranteed $200,000 to $300,000 per year in services.  Chair Burtner explained that Fullerton would never guarantee that kind of money for someone to build a system.  He asked if cities were looking at other alternatives to the typical outdoor WiFi.

 

Mr. Mata suggested that looking at other alternatives should be part of a city's own analysis, and if a city has a limited deployment, there are other options available in the market today instead of building their own network.

 

Mr. Sandford noted that Mr. Mata was asking cities if they are interested in participating, but without a more concrete proposal, it would be difficult to answer the question, i.e., why would Fullerton want to be engaged with a larger group when the larger group has not decided which way it's going.  He suggested that before the county can engage the interest of the cities, they need to provide a more detailed proposal of what the cities could expect in the way of network capability, available assets from other agencies that could be tapped, costs, security, time frame for implementation, etc.

 

Mr. Mata indicated that would be something he could bring back to the TWG  – a basic model that outlines how all of the pieces come together, based on the experience of other cities that have accomplished it.

 

Chair Burtner thanked Jim Mata for his presentation.

 

Fullerton's Downtown WiFi

 

Helen Hall reported that the downtown WiFi is being maxed out on a daily basis.  There are 300-400 users and some of the access points are overloaded.  She also reported that laptop use at the Library is booming.  Kids are bringing their laptops in from schools (because of the school district's laptop program), there are 125 public PCs at the Library in constant use, and the TWG needs to look at how to improve the network.

 

Chair Burtner noted that EarthLink is taking down their entire system in Anaheim, which consists of Tropos radios, and suggested that Fullerton might be able to purchase some of the radios from EarthLink at a very nominal cost, which could help expand Fullerton's downtown WiFi.  He also noted that the Tropos radios are 802.11b/g, which would be an upgrade to Fullerton's 802.11b's.

 

Mr. Samantello suggested that EarthLink might give the radios to the city if the city sent a crew to remove them.

 

Ms. Hall indicated she will follow up with EarthLink on obtaining the radios and report back to the TWG.  Ms. Hall also reminded the TWG that $50,000 is still available if needed for upgrading the downtown WiFi.

 

 

Creation of an educational/municipal (institutional fiber/wireless network, FullertonNet

 

Chair Burtner noted that Rob Ferrier, Assistant to the City Manager, was not able to attend today's meeting, but he had emailed a status list on the RFP:

 

1.      RFP mailed 07.31.08.

2.      Response period runs through 08.18.08

3.      City received executed MOA from Fullerton School District (FSD).

4.      Fullerton Joint Union High School District will have Board approval of MOA next week. (FJUHSD).

5.      Mr. Ferrier will contact individuals to establish proposal review board.  As discussed at last TWG meeting, participants will include 1-2 representatives from TWG (Burtner, Sandford), City (Ferrier), FSD (Lai), and FJUHSD (Samantello). 

 

Chair Burtner noted that the TWG had previously indicated they would like to have the consultant selected by August 29, which would allow for up to 45 days to complete the study (mid October).  The recommendation with regards to the evaluation study would go to the participants by mid to late October, and the TWG would have their recommendations to the City Council and school boards no later than late October.

 

Chair Burtner indicated he had sent a reminder email to the City (Helen Hall) and the school districts (Ted Lai and Carl Samantello) requesting their updated current and projected telecom costs, which need to be provided to the selected consultant.  Chair Burtner requested the updates by August 18.

 

ITEMS FOR NEXT MEETING

To be determined.

 

PUBLIC COMMENTS

None

 

OTHER COMMENTS

Paul Stover noted that at the last TWG meeting, when he asked Rob Ferrier about a technology corridor, Rob Ferrier had indicated that Fullerton had no plans for one.  Mr.  Ferrier had also stated there was a Cal State Fullerton/City working group in September to explore ways where they might work together collaboratively.  Mr. Stover asked who was representing the City at this working group, and if the TWG was excluded from participating.  No one at the meeting could respond, but Mr. Stover indicated he believes that the TWG should be at that working group.  He further stated that he is still adamant about the notion that if the city does not provide leadership in this regard (technology), it is not providing young people with what they need to maintain a future for them in this city – that the city must take a leadership role to have a technology corridor that invites and engages young people and others to participate in that arena.

 

Mr. Canfield suggested that if there was interest in pursuing a technology corridor that the group to contact would be the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency, which has the function of bringing economic development to the city.

 

Mr. Sandford noted that Beckman-Coulter was leaving the city to consolidate their operations in Brea, and asked why they chose Brea over Fullerton.  Ms. Palliyage indicated that, being the owner of a technology company herself, she had discovered that Fullerton does not seem to be looking into technology companies, and does not offer much assistance.  She noted that Brea seems to have economic development and creating technology jobs at the top of their priority list. 

 

ADJOURNMENT

With no further business, Chair Burtner asked for a motion to adjourn.  The motion to adjourn was made by Larry Iboshi and seconded by Carl Samantello.  The meeting was adjourned at 10:27 a.m. with unanimous approval. 

 

 

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