East Central Vermont Telecommunications District (ECFiber)
Executive Committee Meeting
August 6, 2019
Call to Order – Irv Thomae, Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:22 PM.
X indicates attendance
Attendee, Affiliation, Role, Expiry
x Irv Thomae, Norwich, Chair (annual), 2020
x F.X. Flinn, Hartford, Vice Chair (annual), 2020
Jim Masland, Thetford, Member at Large (3 yr.), 2022
x Dan Childs, Brookfield, Member at Large (3 yr.), 2020
x Chris Noble, Royalton, Member at Large (3 yr.), 2021
Clare Holland, Sharon, Member at Large (2 yr.), 2020
x Elizabeth Warner, Pittsfield, Member at Large (2 yr.), 2021
x Marty Blumberg, Thetford, Treasurer
x Daniel Leavitt, Barnard, Secretary, 2020
x Chris Recchia, ValleyNet, Managing Director
x Stan Williams, ValleyNet, CFO
Carole Monroe, ValleyNet, CEO
x Fred Thomas, ECFiber, Finance Committee
Visitors: Tim Courts and Ed Burger from Chelsea
2. Changes to Agenda
Irv asked to add an agenda item for discussion of CCI make-ready as item #6.
3. Accept July 2, 2019 Minutes
Minutes accepted by consensus, no changes.
4. Government Relations Update
Irv reported having communicated with a PUC hearing examiner with some questions and that he will have more to say when we get to item #6.
5. Construction & Operations Update
Chris Recchia reports that we are at 3642 customers and 868 lit miles as of 7/15 and that newer numbers would be ready before the Governing Board meeting. We have hired two new installers who are no in various stages of on-boarding. We now have six installers plus their team leader on staff. We also hired a customer service and sales representative who started two weeks ago.
Chris also reported on the status of telephone issues that were the result of the provider having changed to a new phone switch that they thought would be an improvement. The change was unknown to us at the time and problems with echoes, call waiting, caller id and the inability to make connections all surfaced quickly as issues. Those issues have been fixed but they (and by extension us) have lost the ability to configure some customer settings. We are preparing to move to a new provider once scripts to automate the task are written and tested.
The committee discussed ways to help improve new customer connection velocity, including the suggestion to arrange neighborhood builds or maybe more rigidly arranging the build schedule based on location.
6. Discussion of CCI Make-ready
Stan, Irv and Chris Recchia reported on abnormally high make-ready costs billed by CCI. Now that they no longer own the poles it seems that they may no longer be held to the same price controlled tariffs as before — the make-ready costs have nearly doubled as a result. Stan reports that they are paying for the cost as billed but they are doing so under protest. ECFiber/ValleyNet are pursuing our options, including the possibility of invoking a rule that basically says that the lowest entity on the pole must share the cost of make-ready if they insist on remaining the lowest on the pole. These price increases may also be a problem for new CUDs in Vermont as well as for us. Stan is working up a cost comparison model to help determine what actions, possibly legislative or legal, should be taken and we will be communicating with PUC to get to the bottom of this issue.
7. 2Q2019 Financials Review
Stan reports concerns about missed miles and lower customer install velocity and that increasing the latter is very important. Penetration in some existing areas is lagging and we may want to consider our first ever subscriber price increase.
8. Governing Board Agenda Planning
Agenda items for next week include:
• Government Relations Update
• Construction & Operations Update
• 2Q2019 Financials Summary
• Communications Committee Update (Tunbridge Fair)
9. Other business
Motion to adjourn (M/Childs, S/Warner) – Passed unanimously at 7:34 PM.
Dan Leavitt, Secretary