Greenbelt Internet Access Cooperative

Monthly Board Meeting – November 5, 1998

Conference Room, Greenbelt Police Station

 

M E E T I N G   M I N U T E S

 

DIRECTORS:   Tom Crompton, Jim Heagy, Doug Love (late arrival), Neil McLeod, Chris Morris, Nancy Revis, Brian Schieber (Absent: Ralph Bram)

MEMBERS:     Ed James, Patty Merryman, Claude Revis

GUESTS:       Ashok Saxena (SigmaNet president - arrived at 8:00pm)

 

=== PRELIMINARIES ===

 

1.      The meeting was called to order at 7:00pm, with Nancy Revis presiding.

 

=== MONTHLY REPORTS ===

 

NOTE:  Due to pressing issues on Nancy’s agenda, the regular monthly reports were tabled.

-         Minutes of the Monthly Board Meeting – October 1, 1998

 

=== OLD BUSINESS ===

 

2.      None

 

=== NEW BUSINESS ===

 

3.      ISP Elimination/Replacement

·         Tom Crompton initiated a discussion about GIAC's ongoing problems with the administration of ISP services and the dearth of volunteers.  The discussion recounted ideas that were floated at a recent Officers’ meeting.  "Should GIAC be in the ISP business at all?" was the focal point of much of the discussion. 

·         It was pointed out that the quality of service from our ISP is poor, due in part to SigmaNet's recent move (although later in the meeting assurances were given by SigmaNet president Ashok Saxena that service would improve). 

·         The Officers are reluctant to continue to provide ISP service to Members at the level of effort currently required. 

·         The Officers have looked into rates associated with transferring all ISP administration and billing to another ISP.  It appears that a move to a well-established provider could raise member rates to the $20/month level. 

·         Another ISP possibility is NovaNetwork.  Nancy and Tom recounted informal discussions with Honore Francois, formerly of the Greenbelt Library, who now works for NovaNetwork.  Honore has expressed interest in helping GIAC.  NovaNetwork does domain hosting and has dialup access.  They also claim to have large corporate accounts.  No price structure was discussed, but the impression was given that NovaNetwork would offer competitive rates to GIAC members. 

·         Doug Love has also called a few ISPs seeking out rates and services.

 

4.      Future of GIAC

·         The issue was raised that if GIAC ceases to offer ISP service it makes little sense to continue to call the organization "GIAC".  The possibility of dissolving the Cooperative was raised.  This would require that GIAC refund Members, although there was disagreement on the particulars of such a refund.  Chris was of the opinion that each Member should be refunded the full share value, while Neil stated that according to Maryland State law, refunds are limited to $50/Member and that share value in excess of $50 is required to be given to an existing nonprofit entity.

·         It was generally agreed that, even in the event of ISP service elimination or the dissolution of GIAC, the organization should retain the GREENBELT.COM website.

 

5.      Announcements

·         Due to time constraints Ralph Bram has expressed interest in resigning his Board seat.

·         Doug Love stated that soon he would not be available to help with classes, as he is teaching a class at Bowie State.

 

6.      Volunteer Incentive Program

·         A brief discussion was held on the VIP.  Neil McLeod asked whether in fact VIP credit was now being awarded to Members for attending the monthly meeting.  A check of the previous month's minutes showed that Nancy had indeed made the decision to give VIP credit for attending the monthly meeting.

 

=== GUEST PRESENTATION ===

 

7.      SigmaNet Update

·         GIAC members welcomed Ashok Saxena, SigmaNet president, who was there to discuss the recent outages and other disruptions with SigmaNet service and support.

·         Ashok explained that three events contributed to the severity of outages and service disruptions:

-         The first event was their move from the Greenbelt office to an interim office in Germantown.  Hardware is still located in Greenbelt, but it is currently housed in another business space within their original building.  The long-term plan is for SigmaNet to move their administrative headquarters to Rockville (in ~3 months), but to keep some hardware in Greenbelt.  The Greenbelt site will be unmanned and they claim that they will be able to monitor this hardware remotely from the Rockville site; monitoring will include the capability to remotely reboot servers.

-         The second event was an ongoing clock problem with Bell Atlantic.  This was resulting in dial-up users being kicked off.  Ashok reported that this problem might still be unresolved.

-         The third event was a disk failure in one of their servers.  This required the immediate and full attention of SigmaNet technical representatives and, as a result, they could not properly attend to incoming trouble calls.

·         Ashok stated that SigmaNet is hiring new tech reps and that they are working on getting more pagers for their technical staff.  He also stated that operational procedures at SigmaNet would be changed to give appropriate notice before planned system outages.  According to Ashok, the newly created account ‘new@greenbelt.com’ is being monitored.

·         Ashok concluded by saying that for SigmaNet, "the commitment is there" and "we will do whatever is needed to makes things right." He also provided his personal cell phone number for contacting him.

·         SigmaNet's current address is:  SigmaNet, 13242 Executive Park Terrace, Germantown, MD 20874.

 

=== CONCLUSION ===

 

8.      Scheduled Meetings

·         The next meeting will be held at 7:00pm on Thursday, December 3, in the conference room at the Greenbelt Police Station.

-         Minutes of the Monthly Board Meeting – December 3, 1998

 

9.      The meeting was adjourned at 9:00pm.  Side discussions continued afterward.

 

 

- 11/__/98 Posted by Jim Heagy
- 09/01/05 Reformatted & edited by Neil McLeod