La Plaza Telecommunity

Executive Director's Report

Board Meeting

December 8, 1998

Technology Report

  1. The Questa Demonstration Project in conjunction with the State Radio and Communications Department is completed except for testing.  The tests, which were scheduled for Monday, December 07, 1998, were cancelled due to inclement weather and have been rescheduled for Wednesday December 9, 1998.  Once the tests are completed, then the project "switch" will be thrown and the 4 municipal agencies will have microwave service equivalent to a T-1 line.  Those 4 agencies include the Questa School District, Questa Health Clinic, Questa Youth and Family Center, and the Questa Village administrative offices.
  2. To alleviate the busy signals in Questa, we will be moving the server, 56 Kbps line,and 5 modems to the Questa Youth Center.  We will add 3 modems to the existing modem bank and will have a total of 8 modems to serve the 96 users.  The Youth Center will provide a much more efficient location for the server and the Center will be accessible to the Technology staff all year.  Once the Questa Demonstration Project is implemented, we will contact USWest for the move of the phone lines.  The cost for the move includes the construction material and labor of a small closet to house the server and modem bank, and the move and install of each line. The projected cost for the move is $1000.
  3. Penasco users remain in the fifties and seldom do they experience busy signals.  Until the number of users grow, we do not have any plans to increase modems.
  4. Regional Development Corporation received a 20 million-dollar grant from the Department of Energy to provide more backbone Internet service in the northern part of New Mexico.  This was primarily done to accommodate the needs of LANL, as USWest has no future plans to lay more cable in northern New Mexico.  RDC hired a private consultant to develop service plans for the designated area.  Albert Cota and I attended a meeting in Espanola hosted by LANL to learn about the project.  A private corporation has been formed and will provide frame relay to the area.  It will be done in two phases, the first phase in Santa Fe and Espanola, the second phase in the smaller communities.  We will continue to meet with the company representatives and stay informed of the progress.  A frame relay cloud does not provide the same fast and efficient service as a point-to-point T-1 line, and the only service they will be providing is frame relay.
  5. I met with Susan Herrera, LANL Foundation director, on December 4, 1998.  I proposed a donation from the foundation to purchase new web and mail servers and PCs for the lab. Ms. Herrera was very interested in the work La Plaza has done with outreach and training.  She suggested I submit a proposal for the January, 1999 cycle of funding for educational needs.

Future Funding

  1. The grant which was submitted to the National Cancer Institute for the Healthy Communications request for papers, was not approved. However, the two collaborating agencies have recommended the same proposal be submitted under a different funding mechanism with NCI by February 1, 1999.  This proposal does not have a funding cap and the revision for La Plaza's section will include more hardware, connectivity, and personnel costs.  Dr. David Buller with AMC in Denver  will revise the entire proposal with recommendations from the partnering agencies.
  2. The Benton Foundation read and approved the first application we submitted for funding the Open Studio:  The Arts Online project.  They sent an invitation to La Plaza to submit a final application form to become one of the of the ten Mentor sites in the United States.  Briefly, the grant requires the receiving agency to provide free ongoing Internet access and basic Internet training to underserved artists and arts organizations, and to build a communications network among them.  The final application is due December 15, 1998 and the selection announcement will be made by January 5, 1999.  The budget is limited to $25,000 with a 1:1 match.  We have partnered with Artesanos de Questa and La Jicarita Enterprises' arts program for implementation.  Nancy Montano will be the coordinator of this 6 month grant.  After this grant there will be another cycle of funding which will entail expanded training to include more advanced Web page building.
  3. LANL Foundation see #5 above.
  4. School and Libraries Corporation/ Universal E-Rate:  I received the directions for completing and submitting the billing forms to SLC for Internet service provided to the 3 school districts in Taos County.  As soon as the approval from SLC is received for billing the schools, we will begin the billing process.

Norwegian Visit

Thanks to Dan Bayless for the assistance to the presentation and luncheon for our 19 visitors from Norway.  The 3 hour presentation was extremely informative to them and the 70+ community attendees for the luncheon was very impressive.  There were two articles in the Journal North, one prior to and one after the event.  An article will be published in the Taos News on November 10, 1998.  This event was extremely successful and very well received by the visitors.  They were so impressed by the community spirit that was exhibited at the luncheon.

Projects for Board Consideration

Dollars are needed to provide a more productive package of benefits to the La Plaza staff.  I would like for the Board to consider a fund raising event to provide a retirement plan and more coverage for medical and health insurance.  Currently, La Plaza pays 50% of the premium for only the employees' health insurance and there is no provision for retirement funds.

November Monthly Statistics

Public Access Users

Location  # users  # hours  average 
La Plaza (Taos) 996 1152.60  1.16 hrs 
Penasco 280 34  1.12 hrs 
Questa 190 58  0.31 hrs 
San Cristobal 28 350  1.25 hrs 
Note: 183 of the 996 Taos public access signins were from registered users.


Class # of Classes # of Participants
Public Orientation 3 26
Intro to Email 2 13
Intro to WWW 3 22
HTML 1 5
Marketing Your Web Page 1 2
Total 10 68


New Primary Accounts 103
New Secondary Accounts 30
Reactivated Accounts 8
Free Accounts 3
Total 144

Closed Accounts

Past due balances of >50 days 53
Per User Request 31
(9 moving)
(6 not using)
(3 unable to access)
(3 no reason given)
(4 opened in error)
(5 secondary accts)
(1 change to primary)
Total 84

Net Change In Accounts: 60 gained

Telephone Statistics

Tech Support Calls 157
Billing 40
New Accounts 55
Hours 37
Classes 21
Web Site 6
Voice Mail 35
Other 265
Total 616

Dial-in Statistics

Location #Users #Dial-in Connect Time (hrs)
Taos 1331 68615  30142.83 
Penasco 58 2665  3184.57 
Questa 97 2913  3297.10 
Total 1851 1458
(78% of total users)

Respectfully submitted,

Judith Pepper, Executive Director, La Plaza Telecommunity