Telecommunications Advocacy Group
Northern New Mexico T.A.G.
A. The meeting was called to order at 1:30 PM by Rick Carlisle, Chair.
B. Old Business
Legislative Report – In Ed Spivak’s absence, John Dawson began his report by distributing a Telecommunications Bills handout. This sheet detailed five bills which were tracked; four of the bills were signed by the Governor and one was vetoed. The first bill—HB400a, Telecommunications Regulatory Amendments, Lujan—requires the Public Regulation Commission to do several important things.
For the first time, considerable funding is being provided to the PRC to enable it to do those things that it is being instructed to do in terms of giving all the carriers equal voice in getting access to the copper wire centers in New Mexico.
The second bill—HB181a, Access to Motor Vehicle Records, Picreaux—is a refinement of an existing law that allows specialized cases where the Taxation & Revenue Department, or a contractor working for the department, can reveal personal information regarding a vehicle’s ownership. In addition, salvage yard operators can receive personal information related to abandoned vehicles.
SB191, Information and Communication Equipment for PRC, Leavell—provides funding for the PRC Insurance Division for computers and telecommunications access. This bill appropriates funds that PRC already has.
HB261a, Clarify Call Center Taxation, Sanchez—exempts call center gross revenues/gross receipts related to sales to out-of-state clients. This bill provides a parallel to existing legislation for websites.
SB100a, Electronic Commerce Services, Eisenstadt—was vetoed. This bill would have added portals to State websites. Revenue generated would have been used for public education.
In response to a question from the Chair, Mr. Dawson explained that the PRC appropriation is for staff to enforce rules which the statute puts in place. This covers rules of engagement for vendors to use when approaching US West and GTE. Funds were allocated to create, for the first time, within the PRC, a group which has enough staff, internal management resources, and record keeping resources so that they can actually carry out that responsibility. The $250,000 appropriation covers the remainder of this year and $400,000 is for next year. This will be a recurring expense for the state.
Further discussion continued in regard to item 3. The actual costs of telephone service is not known to the average user. For years, after the Bell breakup, States have gone on with their own implicit subsidy arrangements. New Mexico rates are more heavily subsidized than adjoining states.
Mapping & Infrastructure – Mike French reported that the committee had 10-12 maps professionally scanned, put in a standard-based format, and converted to HTML files. Network Architechs absorbed the scanning cost (under $1000) and produced a web page. The maps were kept in their original format, as far as scale. When the maps are opened in a TIF file or a PDF file using an HTML browser, the user will see a piece of the map, which will be redrawn as the user scans around. The format allows magnification of a map section and get down to the exact resolution of the original map.
As the next step, Network Architechs went to a couple civil engineering firms and did a pseudo RFP. To reproduce all the maps in one standard format will cost $10,000-$12,000. Quotes from web designers to make everything web-based totaled $4000-$6000. Therefore, $15,000-$20,000 will be required to complete the project, which includes having a dynamic database via HTML where queries could be made and responses received.
The Chair responded that a $20,000 price tag was doable. Discussion continued regarding who would maintain the database. Mike French stated that contracting a civil engineering firm would cost $150-$200 per hour. Perhaps Network Architechs could volunteer some time. If several people could input information, dependence would not be only on one entity. Knowledge transfer from the
civil engineering firm that designed the database might be possible. Pat Vanderpool stated that the people assisting Connect New Mexico with their maps could be consulted.
Mike French reported that the the CD contains all the original maps, maps from Ed Spivak, Connect New Mexico maps, and maps from the statewide audit. According to the engineering firms, the two preferred formats for the maps are Visio and CAD. The two formats are interchangeable; they will import and export back and forth.
Once the maps are on the web, users can view the maps, and print a specific piece of a specific map. For northwest New Mexico, quite a cross section of maps is available. However, unless the user knows what he is looking for, a "needle in a haystack" situation exists. The optimum situation is for the user to query one database and access several different layers. It was suggested that this database be available via a subscription, whereby users can utilize the web page, have a user name login and be able to query and extract information. This subscription rate may pay for the upkeep of the maps.
Discussion continued regarding identification of users and use of the database. The maps are in PDF format. A user could download a map or view the map on the web page. Maps were kept in their original resolution; therefore, the professional scanning was costly. Most IT shops in state government were mentioned as users if the working database was kept up to date.
The issue of sponsors with banners on the web page was discussed. Large corporate entities whose customers would be using the database could be approached. Judith Pepper stated that since this was not a commercial website, a page would list corporate sponsors according to dollar value of donation. Solicitation of sponsors will be handled by the Public Relations Sub-committee.
Mike French distributed the four CDs to Judith Pepper, Pat Vanderpool, Rick Carlisle and the last CD would be loaned as requested.
Consumer Education – Judith Pepper distributed minutes of the committee meeting on February 17. It was discussed that T.A.G. could be showcased at the annual TRADE conference. Education and information sessions could be facilitated by T.A.G. members. In order to meet the needs of both groups, the TRADE conference could be held in a central location between Santa Fe and Taos, perhaps Pojoaque. A date has not yet been selected, and preparation of a full agenda is in process.
The U.S. Department of Commerce E-Commerce and Digital Divide Conference will be held in Albuquerque from May 30 – June 1. Judith Pepper will be making a presentation from LaPlaza. Pat Vanderpool and Senator Domenici are working on a T.A.G. presentation.
There is a need for more press regarding T.A.G. and its activities and, to address this need, a calendar will be added to the website. Any event in northern New Mexico that has telecommunications as part of its content will be listed on the calendar. Advertising is a must so that people will be aware of this feature.
Pat Vanderpool and Judith Pepper made a presentation about T.A.G. to the TRADE Board of Directors on Tuesday, March 14. It was suggested that a speakers bureau be created for future requests. In addition, a T.A.G. poster with a list of participating agencies/businesses and a contact number would meet other needs. LaPlaza could possibly develop a poster if given specific content information.
Pat Vanderpool related that doing a series of op-ed pieces has Senator Domenici’s approval. The Senator will do the initial piece, which should be available within days. The pieces will be placed according to Mark Duran’s suggestion.
Given the vast knowledge within the group, Judith Pepper suggested that a T.A.G. member develop an article about telecommunications each month for the next 12-18 months. If the newspapers could place the article in the same place each month, readers could begin to look for the articles. Pat Finn stated that perhaps these articles could be collected. By targeting a telecommunications success story in each county, a book could be produced.
After overcoming previous technical difficulties, Mike French demonstrated the use of the map CD. He browsed through several maps. It was discovered that highlighted portions of the original maps were not picked up when the maps were scanned. This highlighter problem will be addressed.
Rio Chama Telecom Coalition – David Breecker circulated a news release about the "Telecom Fiesta" hosted by the RCTC. Over 100 people attended the event, and they were motivated to learn. The RCTC website www.elsueno.com/rctc is now in operation.
Community Project – Pat Vanderpool related that providers need some documentation about regional demands and needs. Another part of the equation, which T.A.G. can assist with, is development of a technical proposal. He suggested that the T.A.G. volunteer their services to David Breecker’s project as the T.A.G. community project. David responded that RCTC wishes to put together a comprehensive proposal for a solution.
The Community Project Sub-committee was formed. Members are Anthony Segura, Pat Vanderpool, Emery Maez, Gil Martinez, Mike Warren, Patrick Finn and David Breecker. This group will meet at GTE in Espanola on Wednesday, March 29, at 10 AM.
T.A.G. Funding – Pat Vanderpool reported that in-kind work could be pursued with partners and a sub-committee will look at funding. In addition, Roberto Salazar has submitted an application to EDA for formation of a statewide telecommunications council, including funding for infrastructure management. The application for approximately $200,000 is pending. A decision should be made in the near future.
T.A.G. Communications – Judith Pepper suggested that meeting minutes be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org for posting on the website. The website will contain an administrative page and a minutes page. In the future, a budget page, a press release page, and a page with member photos and addresses could be added. The Connect New Mexico website was mentioned as a reference for setting up the T.A.G. website. Press releases could also be made available via the web. T.A.G. information is also being made available to organizations who wish to be informed about the group’s activities.
Respectfully submitted, Approved:
Signature on original Signature on original
Tina Barton, Recording Secretary Rick Carlisle, Chairman
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