We have three listening sessions. In the final week of let's see the middle week of August 8, ninth and 10th. We're going to do Yuma County, Lopez County and Mojave County. And this week, we're doing listening sessions for covered covered populations, and also a listening session for anyone across the state who wants to join a community call. And I can put these I can put links to the Eventbrite. Registration in the chatroom do that now. So anybody is welcome to to attend these. And, you know, with the so the covered populations that we're doing our veterans, older adults, people with disabilities and people, incarcerated individuals, either formerly or existing. So what we're looking for is, is lived experience people that will show up and tell us what what they're going through, in terms of trying to trying to get and stay on on the internet. And, yeah, so it should be interesting, they're going to break into small groups like they have in the, in the in person listening sessions. And they really get in close, they have an hour and a half each. And they get in close with dialogue between the facilitator and the people that show up for the meeting. So they've been very effective. And then see, I've also got a link to the log, the login for the the county ones that I just mentioned, you met Lopez and Mojave, that's the link I just dropped in there. Many of you have been attending the monthly community table conversations, these are intended to be like office hours with the broadband office around the digital equity planning. And those are on the same page as the as the signups for the community, the community. sessions. So you've got
was that last one recorded recorded?
The month the table needed? Yeah. Yes, it was. And it's already on the website. Yep. See? And that that is about all everything, you know, everything's just proceeding a pace. dei is, is gathering their, their data and and proceeding as quickly as they can on on pulling the digital equity plan together. Yeah.
And the question, Cindy the I mean, I know you've been getting a lot of information. But if you've been hearing any kind of really new things we haven't really discussed before.
I mean, out of the sessions, yeah.
Yeah. Erins's very, very guarded about talking about the anything that ahead of all of the data being collected, the data set is is the is from the listening sessions, and also the surveys. So they really don't want to they really don't want to talk ahead of time about what they're what they're uncovering, because they want to have a very accurate picture. So that's, that's kind of the standard line at the moment. I think it makes a lot of speakers.
Okay. Great. Thank you. Thanks, Cindy. So let's go ahead and jump into the presentation today. Glad to welcome Derek Masseth who many of you know is the Executive Director of the Sun Corridor Network? Excuse me, and he's been a busy boy, so to speak, and that the sun corridor network is kind of growing by leaps and bound
So anyway, as I was saying that the sun corridor network, particularly since Derek has become a full time Executive Director, has really been reaching out to communities and and school districts and so forth. And so it's very exciting to see what's what's going on with the second quarter network, from the days when we had our taskforce and suggested that we needed to have a strategic plan. So anyway, Derek, I'm gonna turn it over to you. Do you want it you want to share?
No, Steve. And maybe we can maybe I, as I thought about kind of coming into today, maybe I do need to put a 30 minute PowerPoint deck together or something like that. I didn't do that for today. But yeah, we have been, we have been pretty darn busy. So I know, Sandeep was here last week. I had hoped to be here with him. Because some of what I might talk about, he may have spoken about last week, particularly when you are when with respect to the middle mile ecosystem, and the the operations and management, did he cover that RFP at all? Yes. Okay. So well,
Derek, can you kind of back up for a second? Because we do have a lot of new people who may not even know what some corridor is? How about, you know, kind of where you're going and that sort of stuff? So, take a couple of minutes to do that, please?
Yes, of course. So, I'm Derek Massa, I'm the executive director of the Sun quarter network. And we are Arizona's Research and Education Network. Founded 10 years ago, we're in our 10th year anniversary by the states universities. So that's Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University came together to create a network between themselves and connecting the state's universities to the national r&d ecosystem, and, you know, fiber backplane known as the Internet to, and throughout the course of the last 10 years, then we've been we've been gradually kind of expanding that mission into K 12. And libraries and community colleges and, and then during the, during the pandemic really, really got engaged in, in helping students connect wherever they might happen to be whether it was a pet fast food joint, the parking lot of a school or a library, or in their home. And so if have was certainly early on very active participants on this call, in recent months, haven't haven't been able to make it much on Monday afternoons. But is that good for in terms of background, Steve?
Yeah, I think so, Derek. So Derek, and maybe we'll get into this a little bit later. But if you can also share with people, so how do you with all the new stuff that you're kind of getting into? How do people connect with you? How do they take advantage of your services, and so forth.
So I mean, connecting with us is often as simple as, as writing me an email or reaching out in our contact us page on our on our website. And then, you know, brainstorming, how we might help or how we might engage is, is really just, it's an it's effectively a collaborative brainstorming session. And we've, I mean, we we do things where we see ourselves as, you know, public sector focused broadband experts, right, so we build an operating networks, we build and operate, you know, some of the fastest networks, I'll suggest in the state, serving the two largest enterprise and education enterprises in the state of Arizona, right. So we, we know, a little thing or two about, about, about building and managing networks and, and, and we're really just here to help, right? So we can help advise communities as to, you know, how to enter and participate in broadband ecosystems all the way up to and including, you know, we might actually build and manage a network for for a community or a city or a county. And literally everything in between. So if if somebody wants internet service, and they're in the public sector, we're happy to, you know, quote, services if somebody just wants advice in terms of how you know, how to think about the broadband ecosystem, whether they're a city or county or not for profit organization, we're happy to help. In most, most of our interactions, start from a meeting like this or, or a cold, cold email introduction. So
Does that help Steve? Yes, yes. Okay. So I'm trying some questions, but maybe we'll cover up. So where we are afterwards?
I mean, it might be a great place to start just with your questions, Steve. Because I struggled with kind of where where, where do we even start in terms of an of an update? If Sandeep talked about middle mile then then I won't. He it, that's really a commerce authority initiative that we advise on and, and will be an active participant in once it's once the network is live. But if he talked about it, I don't I don't need to. In the in the last six months, I'll say that, that, you know, that was the right season. Right. And, and we had a pretty run of the mill rate season in terms of expansion, we took on somewhere between eight and 10, you know, new sites, which is, you know, growth but slow growth, when you think about the number of sites that exist. And we've had,
what kind of sites are those?
Oh, we took a collection of Basis, the Basis charter schools, a number of them came on more of the school. There's on a state school for the deaf and blind. I could give you a list, but I don't
know whether, you know, what kinds of folk Yeah,
I would say mostly charters, and we, I think five of the winds were basis in particular. And we're working with, as you might imagine, given the the our connection to the, to the universities, the ASU Prep Academy, as they, you know, they've traditionally been embedded in ASU campuses, while they're beginning to establish more brick and mortar presence outside of ASU campuses. You know, we're helping them we're helping them to do that, through the E Rate theory ecosystem. And I'll just say we've talked about it before on this call. We continue to kind of grapple with whether or not Arizona's Research and Education Network should continue to be fundamentally a provider in the ERate parlance, or if we should consider, you know, more kind of statewide consortial kinds of activity. That really just changes the business model in terms of how we get to schools, but anyway, it's something that we're, we're considering yet again, maybe we'll maybe we'll consider it every year for a while. I don't know. But
related to that is the discussion about your guys becoming a 501. C three.
I don't know if the two, the two necessarily have to interact. But certainly that is also a conversation that has been ongoing. is at the moment stalled? There's not any, any movement on that front. At this moment, the universities are are pretty happy. Exactly where we are doing exactly what we're doing. And so not particularly keen to advance a 501 C three in support of Sun corridors efforts at this point. It's not to say it won't come back, but it but that's another conversation that's moving forward at the moment. Did you have other questions, Steve? Yeah.
Well, I guess related to that is, I believe you've been working on a strategic plan or you've completed a strategic plan. Where is that and kind of where do you see suncourt are being in the next couple of years? And of course, related to that is your plans for for BT funding, and digital equity funding and all that kind of good stuff.
Those are pretty deep, pretty deep conversations. Right? So I've spoken to this group before about, about some of the work we've done in places like Paige and Yuma and hat Ranch, where we've built networks that are that are kind of multipurpose, right. These are these are sites where our university partners have an interest in, in building, building networks to come collect data, whether it's whether it's environmental sensor data, or heck, in some cases, we're talking about, you know, managing and monitoring herds of livestock, right with CVRs networks of all things. Well, these tend to be places where they're pretty difficult to get to get residential connectivity to as well. So we, we, we tend to try to think about these networks as multipurpose where, if we're there to collect data about horse or horses or cows, you know, maybe we could connect the students in their homes as well. And that's the kind of work we're, we're doing in Paige and hat Ranch, in particular, hat wrenches out out in the shadow of, of Mount Williams in in north eastern Arizona. And just for frame of reference, where we do some wildfire monitoring and and and because we're there, we can do some digital equity, networking as well. And we're right on the verge of in fact, we we have some funding we're we're we're right on the verge of of announcing that we have all of the funding required to build the collaborative network that we've been talking about in Yuma for a while, which would be again, a research network that can be dual purposed or multi purposed in terms of of smart, smart city sensor net kind of activity. The reason we're that are at our core, the reason we're doing it is to build a STEM education, data acquisition and retention Network in support of the the high schools have a collaboration we've built between the high schools, the Community College and the University of Arizona's experimental farms down in Yuma. And again, because we're there, we can, we can expand that network, as needed or as desired to do to, you know, to do some, some, some digital equity work, or at least some some last mile broadband, if applicable. And then in support of research networks, the kind of the entirely other end of the sphere. The University of Arizona and Arizona State University have both announced fairly substantial, collaborative, or not collaborative, fairly substantial quantum networking laboratories. Two of the most prominent researchers in that space in the country are at each of the two universities and they seek to establish a collaborative network that spans the entire state. And this is, this is not networking for quantum computing. This is actually quantum networking. So the completely other end of the spectrum, of of kind of hard to do, but really interesting network things is is this this quantum collaborative where we're trying to take dark fiber and connect these two quantum networks. And then the other probably the biggest thing we've been up to recently is the is the Maricopa County grant that we got funded late last year, which is a multi part set of efforts where we're a collection of the dollars is set aside for digital equity work with our partner, the digital equity Institute, Aaron, Aaron Carr, Jordan, who many on this call, no. And sin quarter network is handling a collection of the in fact all of the broadband efforts under that grant. And they amounts to fundamentally building a middle mile ecosystem that connects community anchor institutions, from which we will be deploying, to and through networks into some of the most disadvantaged and or hard to reach neighborhoods in Maricopa County. You know, Maricopa County, you know, that is predominantly you know, metro Phoenix, but not exclusively, so we've been hard at work planning for it and in at least a couple of, of cases already building networks. It's exciting to note that in support, in particular of that grant, because it's it's 34 million total dollars again, divvied up between mapping digital equity and broadband. But we've added four new full time staff and, and a warehouse and set of offices dedicated to sun corridor network. So those things are exciting as well and in in a A lot of what we've been working on in the last in the last six months or so. There's so much more, but I'll stop there.
When we want to hear it all.
Well, it's just detail. Like there's a lot of detail under all of that, because you might
So Derek, what, if anything, are you doing with the final mile project? Is that something you're engaged with? Or not? Or?
Well, what's interesting is, is no, we're not and we should be probably should be. We work, though. So our, our, our, our county grant program, issued an RFP fairly early on to identify partners, and I'm comforted to see I don't know when he joined maybe just recently. But Rory Conaway at triad wireless is one of our primary partners, if not the primary partner, on the last mile segments of what we're doing in in the, in the metro Phoenix area. And as you all know, he's, he's the prime partner on on the final mile as well, because what we're doing on the Maricopa grant is very, very similar to the to the final mile efforts out in rural, you know, the more that because that was rural schools, predominantly. And so anyway, Rory is in the middle of both projects, just to just to be clear.
And we do hear from Rory fairly frequently. But, Rory, you can get a chance in just a couple minutes. If you want to add anything else.
I don't know how much I'm supposed to say. There's still some contracts being worked out. So we have right, but the bottom line is, I guess we're gonna we're not the first one. You know, Derek loaned us one of his engineers today, and our guys were working together and they're about 80% Ready to start lighting the tower up tomorrow. So you know, we'll see how they how that goes.
That's at Capri mobile home park and the kind of the heart of Yeah, that would be
okay. So apparently, that's out. Yeah, I think
I can I think I can share already. Okay. All right. Review approve it. Derek.
You're the man. So yeah, we should we should be should be lit up tomorrow, or worst case, Wednesday. We have we have a guy over there now doing some stuff. And and they almost got all the network stuff worked out. And Andrew is coordinating is with the high gain and on the back end of the network stuff. And so yeah, we should be ready to rock and roll here shortly.
Yep. So Derek, going back to some I guess some of my earlier questions that when we were talking about South corridor network, you know, a couple of years ago, I think there was there seemed to be a lot of interest in seeing some corridor become a true education, libraries and even telehealth or telemedicine network. Is that something that's still on the agenda? Is that consistent with what you're, you're now doing? Or what's your thought about that?
Well, that's complex. So
I don't want to make this easy for you.
And, I mean, Karina is on the call. So she may have thoughts here as well, but this is so so the way that we currently interact with you rate. In that is like, if you're a school in a library, and you're not using your rate, you probably should write, especially to get your ISP. And the way that we current interacts with with, with schools and libraries in order to get them on our network is we have to compete for their business, under the E Rate, you know, parlance. And we do that and, and, and we win some and we lose some. But that's just the way that it works. Right, that. And the other option, I would say, for the state of Arizona, to consider would be a consortium model, or some model that got you know, support from the state, either through the Department of Education or directly with a with a legislative allocation that said, you know, we believe so strongly in the value of a statewide education network that we're going to we're going to put some sort of skin or some sort of policy teeth behind some some effort. I will just say that Arizona has not traditionally been friendly to those kinds of ideas. And so, you know, we continue seeking to bring schools on net, you know, through the through the, through the lens of the of the prescribed business model. I think, you know, there's always opportunities to think differently or maybe to put different ideas into into different ecosystems. But at the moment, Steve, we sunk quarter network, or, you know, kind of just operating inside of the ecosystem as as, as generally prescribed. And, and, and haven't kind of pushed against those. Those forces, I guess, in recent years, maybe now's the time? I don't know.
Yeah. And maybe I shouldn't say there again. If you want to reopen those conversations, I will be more than happy because it's also like about one year and a half already since we met last time, because it was with Beth and she was brand new. It's right at you. Right. Right. So she's already been with us for one year and a half. We have done a lot of movement in, in this space, and maybe an opportunity to revisit that conversation we were talking about, maybe, you know, exploring, doing some focus groups, or surveying or exploring how K 12 will feel about a consortium and creating some movement, and eventually, if needed, take it to legislation, but we need to have some data to support that. Yep. Okay. Yeah. Let me know if we want to re gather.
I think that that would I would be delighted to do that. Then, you know, when the time is right, the time will be right. And so, yep. Yeah.
Yeah, I'll be more than happy to support on that.
Okay. So I'm sorry. So sort of go back to a couple of the other questions that I asked earlier about, about BT and BT funding, and whether or not there's some opportunity there to do exactly what we were just talking about. And again, whereas you know, there's the intersection of final mile, your projects in Phoenix and all these different pieces of things. And it seems to me, I don't know that we've ever I mean, I know you're most of your funding, except for these projects now has come through the three universities, if I'm not mistaken, is that correct? Yeah, that's correct. But it has at least the least that I'm not aware of, that there hasn't been a an official request to the legislature saying we want to create this network. And we need some funding to do that. Is that our assumption or
that is an accurate statement? Absolutely. So there's never been a formal legislative budget request.
So it seems to me that now with all the stuff that's happening, that that would be an appropriate time to, to have that discussion. That's my own opinion.
It very well could be. And, and in with with the BEAD dollars, there could be some interesting opportunities in there.
So it sounds to me if you haven't had that conversation with Sandip that that. I mean, I know you work and collaborate a lot with Sandip, but it seems to me that be an important discussion at this stage.
Yep, we agree. And then there's
Karina saying, Oh, well, we should do this. So yeah, there's three of us agree.
That's fair. That's yeah, that's, it's fabulous. And and so, I mean, I think I think that commerce has a has a difficult job in front of them to put a program together that, you know, $993 million, is a lot of money. Yeah. But I don't know anyone who thinks it's enough to get to get to every unconnected household in Arizona, right. So he's got, he's got a lot on his plate. And, and a lot to think about, and certainly we've worked, we're happy to encourage him to think in in particular ways about about community anchors, and happy to have as much support from folks like you all as possible in that, in that in those talking points.
Well, as you know that there's some key players with Milan and Mala and so forth in the right space. And so again, all those pieces were in my opinion, all seem to come together, and now might be a good time. I'm here to help further leverage that the BT funding. I don't know if it's applicable or not. Mark, you probably know that better than I do, about whether BT funding could possibly somehow support the SABC quarter network and so forth. So I'm just throwing that out there for
it's our read of it. And I'd love marks, but our read of it suggests that it's kind of up to the discretion of the state broadband office. There, there is some wiggle room for community anchors inside of the the DC legislation. But, you know, only after you've gotten a certain amount of of last mile impact accomplished is kind of generally what, what, what what our read of it has been.
Mine is similar, but it may be that ca eyes can't be served until you're close to completely reaching the unserved and underserved or third priority in the right patient. So yeah, limited opportunity, they're probably probably that doesn't mean they can benefit from last mile being deployed in their community with associated the middle mile conductivity, that that will often bring middle mile or last mile within reach of them, even if it doesn't fund it specifically, to their point of demarcation. It may get it right in the neighborhood.
Yeah, I mean, it's an interesting, it's an interesting conversation, right? Because you don't have a community anchor without a community. And so if if last mile is getting to the community that Southern underserved, it's going to at least be within half a mile of the of the anchor in most cases. And so, arguably, if last mile gets to where it needs to go, anchors are, you know, very nearby at minimum, if not on net, because they're close. Right. So anyway,
yeah, maybe better than a half mile because generally, your your laterals that pass, pass every home, and it's the last 100 feet are under your right, you know, so absolutely CIOs will benefit from the fibre to the home that's deployed under bead if not directly getting their connections. Fine, right.
You're right. Yep. Well set mark.
So Derek, obviously, one of the other projects, which you've already mentioned, that you're involved with, is the highways project. And so where do you are do you see any further role with Sun Corridor regarding what's that? What's that now those networks are built? Or is that going to be mostly open to the private sector? What's your take on that?
Well, the commitment the state's commitment to giving us, you know, exclusive access to 144 strands of fiber has remained pretty solid through throughout the course of of all of this. And so yeah, I mean, we'll be we'll be very engaged in in the go forward. Network. The, so I presume Sandeep talked about the OMC RFP last week, and the fact that it was awarded, but the contract negotiations are underway. So there's, there's a fair amount that is not yet ready for, you know, public consumption. But it's close. Right. And, and kind of depending on how those negotiations go, we may or may not have a role in in helping to take care of the network itself. We're certainly open and flexible. But we'll have fiber that we can use to serve schools, and we will use to serve universities and, and colleges and our existing K 12 customers. along the interstate system, so we'll be very much involved. It's just a pittance.
Derek Mark, Mark again, though, isn't it the case that out of the 993 million, some may be applied to the KPMG middle mile strategy, additional highway infrastructure, with the balance, of course, being competitive grants. But isn't that the next big opportunity how commerce decides to split that pie?
I think it is. Yeah. And you know, for their part, I think they're the that Well, I guess broadly speaking, the idea would be if you know, if middle mile is needed to get to get sufficient capacity to finish the last mile, then, you know, you can use speed money to do that. And so, yes, I think there's there's certainly an opportunity in some in some parts of Arizona to advance the the interstate middle mile with with the dollars.
Again, there for me the it seems that the collaboration is going to be really critical for us. As, as you indicated that even with all the bead money, it's not an end all be all of what we need. And so the more that we can leverage that money, it seems to me is really critical. Yep. Yep. Nicole
did say it really well here in the chat.
So actually, I was just gonna ask Nicole, based on what you've been hearing you have any thoughts or additions or comments?
Well, well, you know, we covered a lot of ground there. So I was just really interested in how the conversation was playing out. But I guess I would, you know, I hear a lot of anxiety around the terms priorities. Arizona is required to make a plan to serve all broadband serviceable locations via cells unserved underserved anchor institutions. It's not an afterthought. It's an all, you know, all or nothing effort. So, you know, that's how I like to interpret the priority list. And then, of course, the process of creating the sub grantee selection criteria, also looks at different different solutions that are needed for these different types of BSL. I think I also wanted to mention, eligible entities that are eligible as sub grantees are pretty wide. So Sun Corridor, other ISPs, nonprofits, LEAs, county, governments, tribal governments are all eligible for BEAD funding. So it's going to take a lot of creative partnership, and especially right now the the big puzzle of looking at all these other injections of broadband funding and networks to come, we'll say so yeah, it's a fun time to be in broadband.
This is Mark, though, though, the eligibility for is broad. The requirements for a bead applicant are, in my mind, a significant barrier and workforce letters of credit. And other things for young are smaller companies, there is inherent disadvantage based on the complexity and requirements, that will likely preclude many desirable eligible entities from being able to fully participate I, I don't mean to be too critical, but the bead, I've been spending lots of time looking at the bead requirements, and they are going to be a high bar for that will preclude some eligible entities from being able to practically participate.
You know, Mark, I share this concern and a lot of stos and NTIA employees also share the concern. But right now, that's what the law requires us to do is having a, you know, doing what they can to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. and they see the letters of credit and guarantee funds to operate in these networks into the future. As part of that. I think it reiterates Derek's point about creative partnerships to make sure that we can get this one. And we we really have this chance to think creatively about that capacity. So maybe they're not the eligible putting their their credit, their own credit on the line. But we have a lot of a lot of groups, including San corridor and others who are are interested in lifting everybody up. Yep. You know, Mark, Mark, please don't please don't feel self conscious about be critical. Like I I think it's an important part of my job to make sure that we're representing all these concerns. And certainly we're hearing a lot of, you know, a lot of criticism or feedback about how this program can get deployed.
Fair enough. No, I welcome the program, but I am working with parties, some of which are well unable to meet those criteria, and others of which will struggle or not practically be able to but you're right partnerships with You know, may provide the pathway for people who would be eligible but not practical to partner. So
good point. So,
So Derek and Nicole, just just to pick up on what my comments earlier, and we were just talking about in terms of partnerships, that perhaps now is the time to, and I know you guys all talk to each other a lot. Nicole, I know, you talked to Janet and, and so forth. But it seems like this is a time to maybe bring folks together and talk about, so what's the future? And how does BT particular play into that? And, you know, again, sun corridor, and Department of Ed and so forth. So, so my 12 cents?
Absolutely, I'd be happy to do a briefing or you know, we can have more, more discussions, whatever works for you.
Well, let's, let's talk offline about how we can, how's best way to proceed with that. So any other questions? Good.
Okay, so Derek, do you have anything else you want to add?
I don't, not today, it's just appreciate being back. And and look forward to seeing you all again. I'm gonna drop I gotta run. But good to see you all.
Hopefully, you can make it every couple of weeks or so.
Yep. Hopefully. That sounds good.
So Nicole, now that you're kind of back, do you have anything that you anything else you want to add?
Well, just the you know, the five year action plan is on track to be, I guess, posted publicly, the end of August. But the emphasis is now on the state's initial proposal, which is where they're describing their state map challenge process as well as the sub grantee selection. So I'm going to put a link in the chat to a webinar that NTIA just held last week on participating in the state challenge process. And then we can also expect to see a lot more conversation from the broadband office about how how people can participate. The one thing to note is an individual can't challenge the states map, they can't i can't say, hey, right now, I don't have great internet service. Only a local government or a nonprofit entity or tribal government can submit a challenge to the state's broadband availability map challenge process. So we're gonna see a lot more information coming from the broadband office soon. But that's sort of where the where the focus is. The digital equity plan is also on track. We should see a draft for public comment in mid October of this year. And Cindy shared about the the listening sessions that are going on and, you know, the virtual and the last of the in person ones.
That Nicole actually could you remind people where you are having an overview, but I think we have a few new people.
Okay, sorry. Sorry about that. I'm Nicole, Umayam. I'm the federal program officer for NTIA and I administer the program funds for the bead and digital equity programs. And I engage with a lot of stakeholders and try to support our decision makers and everybody impacted by this by these programs.
Okay, thank you, Nicole. Any questions for Nicole?
Nicole travel around $2 billion
end of this week. That's what I'm told. And it was weak. Excellent. And we will also see an announcement about the digital equity planning funds for tribal governments. end of this week as well. So hang tight. Okay. Question,
Nicole. What about digital equity? The other community grant program, I believe or what is the name of the other one? That is spending announcement? The key so the best seating capacity to grab the capacity
grants. Yes, the digital Equity Act is actually three different grant programs under digital equity one that's a formula grant to states will actually two that are formula grants to states the planning and the capacity grant. And the third is the competitive grant that's available for all sorts of nonprofits. Le A's different state agencies and states can if they if they want to take that on as well. So it's actually three different funds available. There was a set aside, there was a $3 million set aside for tribal governments out of the digital equity planning funds, but for a variety of reasons they had to delay that funding. So they're going to be making the announcement about how they're going to make sure that these planning dollars get to tribal governments, the end of this week.
Okay. For the three funding sources, there will be an announcement by the end of this week. Yes. Okay. Awesome. Thank you,
Steve. Hi, this is Karen. Karen. Oh, good. Hi, Nicole and Karina, I think Karina is asking about when the announcement will be for the capacity grant program. And Nicole, I think the first thing that has to happen is the Arizona digital equity plan has to be approved. And then sometime next spring, late spring on the capacity formula grants will be awarded to the state, then the state can make an announcement on sub reset like a grant program for sub recipients. Karina, is that Was that your question? That was exactly my
question. I wasn't sure about what was happening at the end of this week, then. Because I remember you mentioning spring. Yes.
Oh, thank you so much for calling that out.
Yeah, so I think to clarify, what Nicol was referring to is the announcement for the tribal programs. I in digital equity. And then, Karina, our conversation before was we have to get through the planning process and the approval from NTIA before the state can release an announcement for the capacity grant program. Got it? Thank you. Thank you.
Karen, while you're on Do you have anything else that you want to give us an update regarding broadband office?
I think everyone's done a really good job. i Sorry, I jumped on late right in the middle of Cindy's update. But I think she has provided the update on the final listening sessions that will be held in Yuma La Paz in Mojave County. And then there's some virtual sessions that will be held this week, through the digital equity Institute. The only thing I think I can add is that the ABDG grant program, we're actually getting contracts back into ACA. So they're being executed. So very excited that those projects are gonna start to break ground, hopefully very soon. They still have to go through some engineering. But those projects are very much underway.
Can you explain quickly, Karen, what those what those grants are?
Sure, Steve. Last year, there was $100 million announced through the Arizona commerce authority for the Arizona broadband Development Grant Program. 75 million of that went to rural Arizona and 25 million went to urban areas. And those funds were awarded last year. But there was a series of approvals and delays that the Arizona had to work through the US Treasury to get the final approvals. So we've gotten all that through, contracts out the door. And now like I said, the contracts are starting to come back in to get executed. So we're excited. You said to get those projects off the ground.
But you're out a lot to do with getting those all that stuff worked out.
That's, that's about all I have, unless anybody has any questions for me.
Okay. Any other questions for Karen or Nicole?
I actually have a couple of questions. Okay. Um, so Hi, Karen. And Nicole. So my first question is, is do you know, when the five year and the DEA plans are due, and when they'll become and when you'll do the comments on that? That's my first question. My second question is, is when did the state get the planning grant, where the clock started? Was that just in December of 22? Um,
so I think I'm gonna defer to Nicole on on that last question on But I think Nicole touched on the approval process right now, the state contracted or ACA contracted with the digital equity Institute to develop the plan. And that's why we're holding all those listening sessions to get the feedback. The draft plan will be open for public comment somewhere. mid October, probably that second week of October, it will be open for 30 days, we'll take all of that feedback, incorporate that into the plan, the plan will be submitted to NTIA by the end of this calendar year and then NTIA has to do you know that that and approve it, you know, for final approval before those capacity grants will be released. So and Nicole, please feel free to jump in on
that. Yeah, that's, that's accurate. Um, the award. Grant was September 30, of 2022. But the project start date is October 1 of 2022.
And that was for the digital equity and then sorry,
go ahead and call.
So to the second part, a lot of the bead, that BT five year plan is due the end of August. And then the initial plan, I believe, is due at the end of December. And the final plan is due I think 180 days after the approval of the initial plan. Right, Nicole? Yes. Got it. Still trying to get all of these dates like burned into my brain.
The fire the fire direction.
Any other questions or comments for Nicole? What
was Nicole just saying about the five year plan?
The bead five year action plan is due August 28. That one does not require a public comment period. So you there may be some engagement around it, but it'll be posted. And then the end of the year, December 27 is the initial proposal, which is the
November so, so November and then 30 days after that.
Well, the initial proposal deadline is it's based around when they got noticed the funding allocation, so then that ended up being December 27.
Okay, but the plan itself. So that's based on when we got noticed, so you these dates are really confusing.
Let me let me let me try to type in now as well. So the project starts for bead, the project start date was December 1, the five year action plan is due August 28 of 2023. This year, the initial proposal is due December 27 of 2023. Then it will take an undetermined amount of time for NTIA to approve the initial proposal. But then the state has 365 days after it's approved to the final proposal. And what that means in real terms is the state runs their sub grant selection process. So they run you know they they select those project areas and they get bidders for those areas and they submit that full list in the final. So that's what they have to do within that one year. Later, I'm
Sandip has a slide in some of his presentations with that timeline laid out let me see if I can.
No I haven't. I haven't cared I just didn't get a chance to look at it. And I wasn't at the meeting last week because I had some dental surgery. But I was just trying to Yeah, I was just trying to get like a timeline
Okay, any other questions or comments for Karen are Nicole okay, if not, let's move on to first of all, a few still on like to introduce Lance Jones. Lance. You're still there? Yes, I am. So Lance, Lance and I go back. How many years Lance way too many Yeah. Steve. I hate to say it but this been over a couple decades now. easily, easily. You want to introduce yourself real quick.
My name is Lance Jones. I'm the director of philanthropy at Pima Community College. However, my background has been in it for numerous decades, I was initially hired by a company called simply beds here in town to do grant writing for the USDA broadband stimulus package back in 2009. Basically to do the same thing they're doing now to bring internet to unserved and underserved areas throughout southern Arizona. So essentially, what we did is wrote the grant, we didn't necessarily receive the funding, but we built our network out down from well, from Tucson all the way down to you know, Dallas, we were a whisper wireless Internet service provider. So it kind of gives you the just. Okay, anything else, Lance? I know, it's glad to be here. Glad to see your buddies kind of, you know, making the efforts going forward. It's great to see how, you know, Arizona is just expanding especially in that, that sun corridor and those areas, you know, right around that I 10, eight interchange. We need to bring internet obviously, throughout the states closer to the reservations want to have you so I'm glad we're kind of, you know, putting our best efforts in collaborating getting this work done. Hey, great, Lance. Well, thanks for joining us today. Good. Thank you. Good to hear you anyway. Okay, thank you. Okay, so let's jump in Mala Mala. And Aaron, you guys have some things that you want to share with us today.
Erin just had to jump off to another call. Okay. Yeah, I will take take this on. I don't know if you saw the press release from FCC. On July 20. They approved the draft order for the notice of rulemaking. This was for changes aimed at encouraging participation by tribal libraries. And relaxing the cost allocation requirements. I spoke about this a couple of times in earlier meetings. And basically what this does is I mean, it still has to be approved for rulemaking. But basically, what this means is that the tribal colleges and universities that serve the service, public libraries and their communities will be allowed to apply for any rate. So far, the colleges and university libraries cannot apply for a rate. It's only the public libraries and schools that can apply for the right, but here they are granting eligibility to tribal colleges and university libraries that serve the public. They're also granting exemptions to the competitive bidding process, which is great for those that are applying for less than $3,600. Which means that is a good relief for small rural libraries whose internet bills don't go beyond that per year. But they still have to go through the whole process. So now they're granting exemption. For those. The if there is also increase in the floor for Category Two, Category Two is internal connections. And it depends on the square footage of the library or the number of students that the school has. And that was capped at 85%. Now they've increased that to 90%. And also for those that those libraries that are smaller than 4000 square feet, the funding floor is 55,000. So that's the minimum that they would get if they were a small rule entity that is applying for Category Two. There's also they're also providing guidance on cost allocation to applicants cost allocation has been the bane of some for some of these smaller entities, especially if they are in a shared building. If they are, let's say on the second floor of a government building, then they have to cost allocate out what the rest of that building is using their internet for and that's a big pain. But now, they have provided some relief, some guidance on cost allocation, though not complete. You know, okay, whatever internet comes to your door for that building, you're allowed to you get exemption No, but there is more reasonable cost allocation. In the rules and guidelines that are being considered, all this is goes towards simplifying ERate for tribal libraries, there is another suggestion that I had made to FCC had a series of meetings two weeks ago with them. And that was for the category two deadline, having a rolling deadline for Category Two rather than having the same deadline as category one, which meant that when the tribal library or tribal school or small rural library is ready to apply for Category Two, they can apply rather than wait for the next cycle, or be too late for the current cycle. So the FCC staff listen to this made notes, hopefully they will consider it five year cycle because the next this cycle ready 25. And the next cycle starts 2026. So hopefully there will be some rule changes for the for the category to budget at that time. It's a five year cycle. Cybersecurity pilot program was proposed by Chairman Rosenworcel. She's proposed it's only a proposal just want us to be aware that there are no rules or guidelines for this yet. And it does need approval, but the proposal is for three years $200 million pilot support for cybersecurity for K through 12 schools and public libraries. While that's not a lot of money, there is also consideration for considering cybersecurity to be a part of category two budgets since I talked to you about this, that the budgets are kept for each entity they could use that money for cybersecurity is a proposal again, it's a proposal. Hopefully, if adopted, they will open it up to rulemaking finally making some dent in the cybersecurity war that we've been having with the FCC for so long. The last thing I'd like to report on is telehealth. Okay, Janet is not here today. But Janet and I were at Orlando last week. And we had we were we were speaking at the US Distance Learning Association Conference. And we spoke about our pilot program at Aho networker, and it was well received and hopefully we will have a link to the to our presentation soon. And I will make sure that all of you get it. The Janet and Erin are also hosting a hybrid telehealth event with BCPL, our branch Arivaca branch on Thursday. This is to help to demo, the kits, the health kits that we have at those libraries. As a part of Health Connect at your library. This is a new, this is a project name, under which we are working on telehealth projects throughout Arizona Health Connect at your look at your local library. So and the reason we need to do this is that, you know, it's not enough just to do an event and show the kids that are available and demo what the kids can do. But we need to have an ongoing program at the libraries in order to sustain the interest in telehealth and to make people aware that the equipment is available at the library for them to use to connect to their doctors. And the last event that I'd like to report on is that I had spoken earlier about the liver scan project, the study that we were planning to do for the tribes. And we had the first of this the week of July 4 and the following week we had another event. These events were at chapterhouse is in a neighborhood near Navajo County, and they were very successful. We had the first we had nursing students come to those venues to have to help with help the patrons with not only doing the vitals, but the nursing staff were there to talk to them about telehealth about liver health, about nutrition about how other you know, ailments like diabetes, BMI and things like that affect the liver health, and to do a preventive care for them, rather than just be there and let them know, Hey, this is what we're doing. It also helps them understand the that the library has these equipment, they can go back to the library, have not just not delivered scan equipment won't be there at the library, of course, the library will have equipment to help them take their blood pressure, their blood glucose levels, and things like that. And they can connect via the library's broadband to their doctors from the library itself. So it's making them aware of that, making them aware of the digital resources that the library has the resources, the NLM resources, what are the authentic healthcare resources that they can go back to and refer to
things like that, and if they needed a hotspot, so they can connect from home, the libraries, give them loan them the hotspots as well. So just to make them aware of all this, make them aware of ACP and they can sign up. The event was successful. Any questions anyone? As I know, I've talked at length to Craig settles, I can see that he's there here as well. Any any questions from anyone on this?
Amazing stuff. Thank you, Janet. They're doing great stuff with this.
Heading the sticking over the project for me soon. So I can focus on bead. Okay. Okay. Thank you.
Okay, thank you, Marla. I don't believe Holly is here today. And I know Janet's not here. But Karina Jones. So you still still with us? Here, kind of give us a more of an update on what's happening with Department of Ed.
Well, a lot of fun and interesting things we had the opportunity to go visit Tucson Unified last Thursday. And it was very nice conversation with a large group of, of the IT staff that have implemented a lot of policies, procedures, disaster recovery plans after their cyber cyber security incident in January this year. Now, they are sharing their stories and their experience with the rest of K 12. And they are being very good proponents of preparing K 12. For you know, these type of incidents that are this not a matter of if they will happen. But it's a matter of when they happen. Because everybody is exposed right now. So they are doing a great job. We also had the opportunity to present that the ASBO conference in Tucson and continue to share the Word of the work that we are doing on disaster recovery plan and promoting the cybersecurity efforts from the state including Department of Homeland Security. And Dima, the Department of Emergency and military affairs. Different from that on a different topic. Also, we are working on robotics. We had a great session last week with Flagstaff unified and Peoria unified they are going to be collaborating with the Department of Education on in increasing the amount of programs in robotics across the state and doing some sort of proof of concept and see how how we can eventually advocate for more support and resources for programs like that, that are helping our students so much. That's what I can think of right now. But yeah, a lot going on, Steve. Great.
Thanks, Karina. Any questions for Karina? Okay. Moving on. So Rory, do you have anything else that you want to add about? final mile? You still there Maybe he's gone. Atlanta, do you have anything that you want to talk about with the digital inclusion network?
Um, no, we had. So Aiden had a meeting last week. And Aaron facilitated, we got a lot done. We have chosen a logo, our website is just about done. We just have some things we want to add, like member logos and things like that. So we're in good shape. We've got we're going to be meeting we know we're going to be meeting again in August. If anybody's interested in joining us. Please just shoot me an email and I'll add you to the list. We're really kind of focused right now on digital inclusion week. I'm serving on the national NDIA Digital Inclusion we committee. So I'm hoping to bring all kinds of ideas and things back to our Arizona Digital Inclusion network group to share far and wide for people to start planning some events for that week, which is the first weekend October, the second through the sixth. That's about it, Steve,
any questions for Elena? If not, I think we're about done today. Any other announcements that anybody has?
Yes. Steve mark here. I posted early on, we've entered the annual refresh for the tech councils, state and federal public policy. I reached out this weekend to probably a couple of dozen people. But I also posted in the chat, the 10 page excerpt of last year state and federal policy, Steve Zylstra. The tech council president and CEO did recruit Sandeep specifically to partner with me as CO editor. So Sandeep and I will meet later this week. But there is an open invitation for the next two weeks for people to comment or offer markups or specific suggestions. So my ask for you, Steve, is to post that file, along with the meeting resources and mentioned it in your meeting summary as a place for the broader ACBS and community to find it if they're interested.
Yeah, I'd be glad to do that mark, and maybe we just need to devote some time, maybe at the next meeting specifically to talk about the talk about that and get people's input. Sure, would appreciate that. Okay. Let's talk offline about that. Okay, anything else anybody has? If not, I believe we are done for today. Stop Sharing. I'm going to stop recording