Bringing Broadband to Maine’s Rural Communities

 

Bringing Broadband to Maine’s Rural Communities:
Insights for Maine from National Success Stories

Maple Hill Farm
11 Inn Road, Hallowell, Maine
October 25, 2016
8am-2pm

Broadband access is a critical driver of economic growth and prosperity, and necessary for rural Maine’s future. Our speakers are leaders in creating and implementing innovative rural broadband models.  They will share their stories and discuss how they engaged stakeholders, providers, funders, businesses, and state, local and county government to bring broadband to their communities and spur economic growth. Thank you to our co-sponsors: Island Institute and NeighborWorks America.

8:00 -8:30 Registration, Coffee and Muffins
8:30 -8:45 Welcome and Introductions, Carla Dickstein, Senior Vice President, Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
8:45 -10:00 Municipal Broadband Network Models:  Islesboro, ME and Leverett, MA.  Page Clason, Integrated Knowledge Solutions, Islesboro; Denzel Hankinson, Chair of the Leverett Municipal Light Plant Board; and Peggy Schaffer, Moderator, Office of Maine Secretary of State
10:00 -10:15 Break
10:15 -12:00 Regional Broadband Network Models:  RsFiber, West-Central Minnesota and EcFiber, East-Central Vermont; Carlos Mello, Moderator, Chief Risk Officer, Finance Authority of Maine; Mark Erickson, Board member, RsFiber, and Director, EDA Director, City of Winthrop, Minnesota Economic Development Authority; Tim Herwig, Central District Community Affairs Officer, Office of Comptroller of Currency, Chicago ; Carole Monroe, CEO, and Stan Williams, CFO of Valley Net, operating company of EcFiber
12:00 -12:45 Lunch
12:45 -2:00 Next Steps for Maine, facilitated discussion with panelists and audience: Tim Schneider, Maine Public Advocate, Moderator; Don Williams, Ph.D., Senior Broadband Development Officer, BroadbandUSA, NTIA, US Department of Commerce –comments on morning panels.

Presentations and Resources:

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About our Speakers and Moderators

Page Clason – Page Clason is a member of the Broadband Committee for the Town of Islesboro.  He was heavily involved in engaging community members in a discovery process finding the island community’s best solution to their broadband access challenge.  The FTTP network currently under construction will provide universal access with gigabit service to every property in the town.  The Town will own the network and will contract GWI to operate and maintain the network. Page supported corporate computer and communication networks in the 1980s while working for banking, manufacturing, insurance and pharmaceutical companies in the Los Angeles area.  In the 1990s he focused on the use of computers and networks for various corporate and military aviation training projects in the Denver area.  In 2003 he abandoned the cubicle life returning to Maine to be part of the island community on Islesboro.  Since then he has been supporting computing, communication, and entertainment systems for the town government, businesses, and residents of the island.  He has a B.S. degree in Instructional Technology from California State University.

Denzel Hankinson – Denzel Hankinson is Chair of the Leverett Municipal Light Plant Board and was involved in much of the subscriber outreach efforts leading to more than 80% take rate as well as several other projects in support of the build. Denzel is retired from James River Corp after 28 years working with and managing various divisions in NH, MA, CA and NY in various capacities including Research and Development, Dynamic Recording and V.P. of Electronic Imaging, Business Development, and Book Papers Division.  Since retirement he founded and was CEO of Computer Stuff an imaging media supplier. Denzel was raised and educated in Massachusetts. 

Peggy Schaffer – Peggy Schaffer serves as the Small Business Advocate in the Secretary of State’s Office.  For eight years, she was the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Policy Specialist, where she advocated on behalf of Maine’s businesses and economic development community, helping develop many of the State’s key economic initiatives under both the King and Baldacci administrations.  Recognizing the importance of high speed internet access for Maine businesses and Maine communities, Ms. Schaffer helped create the Maine Broadband Coalition, which successfully lobbied for significant changes to the ConnectME Authority, the program that oversees the state’s efforts to expand broadband.  She continues to serve as co-chair of the Coalition, organizing its legislative and outreach efforts.  

Mark Erickson – Mark Erickson is the EDA Director for the city of Winthrop, Minnesota and has been helping organize and promote the RS Fiber project in West Central Minnesota since 2009. Prior to Winthrop he was employed by Hiawatha Broadband Communications in Winona, Minnesota, working with communities interested in building advanced telecommunication networks. He currently serves on the board of the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association and is a past member of the Blandin Foundation’s Telecommunications Strategy Board.

Carole D. Monroe  – Carole Monroe is the CEO of ValleyNet, the operations company of ECFiber. ECFiber is a community-owned, fiber-optic network in East Central Vermont. ECFiber delivers high-speed internet access to the homes, businesses, and civic institutions of 24 member towns. Their top priority is reaching the unserved and underserved locations, with a focus on back roads and outlying neighborhoods.  As a Broadband Consultant, Carole worked with the City of Keene, NH on a Gigabit City vision. As the Executive Director of  New Hampshire FastRoads, she lead the build of the regional fiber-optic network in western New Hampshire delivering gigabit broadband to community anchor institutions, businesses, and residents.  Carole has 30 years of technology and leadership experience. Prior to her work with New Hampshire FastRoads, she spent ten years as the CIO for Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H. and the previous two decades at BankBoston as a Vice President and Sr. Technical Manager Networking Services. Carole Monroe was co-chair of Monadnock Connect, a predecessor to New Hampshire FastRoads, founded in 2001. She holds a MBA in finance from the University of Connecticut and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Western Connecticut University.

Stan Williams – Stan Williams is the CFO of ValleyNet in central Vermont, has 20 years of international telecommunications experience, beginning with Cellular Communications, Inc. (one of the original applicants for US cellular licenses in 1983), and continuing with various spinoffs, Cellular Communications of Puerto Rico (CCPR), Cellular Communications International (CCIL), and NTL. Stan was Chief Financial Officer of both CCPR and CCIL when they were sold to SBC/Cingular and Mannesmann/Vodafone, respectively, in 1999. CCPR was a cellular operator in Puerto Rico, and CCIL was instrumental in helping the Omnitel consortium secure the second Italian cellular license in 1994. NTL (now Virgin Media) is the largest cable company in the United Kingdom. He lives in Norwich, Vermont with his wife, Jenny, and three children, and is a board member of The Upper Valley Land Trust and Vital communities, as well as a former member of the Norwich and Dresden school boards. 

Tim Herwig – Tim Herwig is a District Community Affairs Officer in the Central District of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, located in Chicago, Illinois.  In this capacity he provides community development outreach, training, and partnership development to national banks and federal thrifts, training and technical support to examiners, and other outreach services to organizations representing the interests of low- and moderate-income individuals and communities.  Tim has focused his work to the extent possible on rural community and economic development in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.  Prior to joining the OCC, Tim was the Central Region Community Affairs Liaison with the Office of Thrift Supervision.  He also served ten years as a Vice President of Community Affairs and CRA Officer for TCF National Bank in Chicago.  He has served on a variety of boards in Chicago including Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, the Greater Southwest Development Corporation, and the Donors Forum.  Tim holds a B.A. from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota and an M.A. from the University of Virginia, both in English Literature. 

Carlos Mello – Carlos Mello has over 35 years of banking, lending, investment, finance and accounting experience. He is currently the Chief Risk Officer at the Finance Authority of Maine. Mr. Mello was the President and CEO of Prudential Bank & Trust, FSB and held other leadership positions at Prudential Financial (2005-2012).  He has held senior vice president and managing director positions at People’s United Bank (1987-2005) and Mr. Mello currently serves as emeritus board member of the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County and recently served as its chief volunteer officer (2011-2013). Mr. Mello is a certified financial planner and has held investment representative, investment advisor, and securities principal licenses. He is a former certified public accountant and received his B.S. in accounting from Boston College. 

Timothy Schneider – Tim Schneider was appointed Public Advocate by Governor Paul LePage, and confirmed by the Maine Legislature in May of 2013 for a four year term. Prior to becoming Public Advocate, Tim represented clients in a wide range of matters before the Maine Public Utilities Commission and FERC, focused primarily on natural gas and electricity. Tim received his B.A. from Harvard University and his J.D. from New York University School of Law. 

Don C. Williams, PhD – Dr. Williams serves as a Senior Specialist for Broadband Development for the new BroadbandUSA program, at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, United States Department of Commerce. He serves as a strategic advisor to communities as they implement broadband deployment and adoption programs to advance economic development, education, healthcare and public safety. Prior to the new program he provided support to NTIA by overseeing $300 million in grants for large telecommunications infrastructure projects in the South and Northwest in the Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program (BTOP) program. Prior to NTIA, Dr. Williams was COO and Director of Research for Rice Williams Associates, a telecommunications consulting firm serving over 200 client cities, counties and state governments. Services included design and conduct of telecommunication market surveys on customer service, new technologies and willingness to pay; design and conduct of community needs assessments to determine current capabilities and future communications needs; right of way cost studies; municipal ownership feasibility studies; analysis of transfers of ownership; telecommunications regulation; rate cases; ordinance and franchise agreements and negotiations.  Dr. Williams taught at the College Of William and Mary and the University Of Massachusetts