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Nebraska Information Technology Commission
Friday, September 20, 2002
Wahoo School District
Wahoo, Nebraska



Mr. Keith Bartels, Nebraska Association of School Boards
Ms. Yvette Holly, UNMC
Dr. Jerry Harnisch, Midland Lutheran College (Alt. for Con Dietz, Creighton University)
Ms. Linda Engel, Nebraska City Public Schools
Mr. Terry Haack, Elkhorn High School
Dr. Jack Huck, Southeast Community College
Ms. Judi Carter, Falls City Public Schools (Alt. for Jeff Johnson, Centennial Public Schools)
Mr. Joe LeDuc, Diocese of Lincoln
Dr. Jerry Moskus, Metropolitan Community College
Dr. Robert Manzer, Nebraska Wesleyan University (Alt. for Thomas O’Neill, Jr., Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Nebraska)
Dr. Kent Hendrickson, University of Nebraska–Lincoln (Alt. for Dr. Harvey Perlman, UNL)
Mr. Ed Rastovski, Wahoo Public Schools
Mr. Al Schneider, ESU 5
Mr. Alan Wibbels, ESU 10


Mr. Wayne Fisher, Nebraska Department of Education
Mr. Bob Huber, Nebraska Education Telecommunications Commission

MEMBERS AND LIAISONS NOT PRESENT: Ms. Brenda Decker, DAS Division of Communications; Dr. Tom Krepel, Chadron State College; Dr. Sheila Stearns, Wayne State College; Dr. David Powers, Postsecondary Coordinating Commission


Co-chair, Dr. Huck, called the meeting to order at 9:12 a.m. There were 13 voting members present at the time of roll call. A quorum existed to conduct official business. Dr. Huck stated that the meeting notice was posted to the NITC and the Nebraska Public Meeting Calendar Web sites on August 19, 2002 and that the meeting agenda was posted to the NITC Web site on September 18, 2002. Members and visitors introduced themselves.


Dr. Hendrickson moved to approve the September 20, 2002 meeting agenda. Mr. Haack seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Holly--yes; Harnisch--yes; Engel--yes; Haack--yes; Huck--yes; Carter--yes; LeDuc--yes; Moskus--yes; Manzer--yes; Hendrickson--yes; Rastovski--yes; Schneider--yes; Wibbels--yes.


Mr. Bartels arrived. Ms. Holly moved to approve the August 16, 2002 minutes as presented. Dr. Hendrickson seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Holly--yes; Harnisch--yes; Engel--yes; Haack--yes; Huck--yes; Carter--yes; LeDuc--yes; Moskus--yes; Manzer--yes; Hendrickson--yes; Ed Rastovski--yes; Schneider--yes; Wibbels--yes; Bartels-abstaining.


There was no public comment.


Mr. Rolfes requested that the Council wait for the Nebraska Network Update until Lt. Governor Heineman arrived.


Training Advisory Workgroup--Tracy Klosterman reported that NETC voted to cease the training grants as of August 22. Recipients of 2001 grant awards will be allowed to finish their projects. The workgroup will be on hiatus until grant funds are reinstated.

NET Distance Learning Report--Bob Huber reported that Network 2 hours were down 28% from the previous year. Network 3 hours increased. NEBSAT classes were down 24% and NVCN hours were also down 34%. The Lincoln Executive Building and Scottsbluff were the most used NVCN sites. Visits to satellite sites increased because satellite receivers are currently being replaced. By the end of the month, approximately 300 receivers will be replaced.


Carl Mesecher reported that NET will begin digital television broadcasts in March of 2003. All nine transmitters will run 3 to 4 hours per night. NET is implementing a pilot project to deliver educational content to Nebraska schools using a variety of DTV delivery methods:

Datacasting--sending of digitized materials such as teacher guides, video programs, and interactive activities.

Multicasting--with the capability of sending multiple channels of programming, NET will develop a pilot channel for educational programming that includes both K-12 and postsecondary materials.

ESUs will assist NET in selecting schools to participate in the pilot project during the 2002-2003 school year. Each ESU will identify a minimum of two schools. During the spring of 2003, hardware and software will be installed at participating schools, and teacher training will be conducted. The service will begin in the fall of 2003.

For more information about the Instructional DTV Pilot Project, contact Carl Mesecher, (402) 472-93333 ext. 224 or


Tom Rolfes gave an update on the Nebraska Education Portal. Nebraska Online received a $25,000 grant from the State Records Board to develop an education portal. Mr. Rolfes visited all 50 of the state education Web sites. Of the 50, California was the only one organized around the needs of parents, students, and educators. Using the California site as a model, Mr. Rolfes developed a list of categories around which the education portal could be organized. The education portal is expected to go live on January 1, 2003. Mr. Rolfes asked members to e-mail him their feedback on the proposed portal organizational structure.

The Council took a short break.


Co-Chair Wibbels reconvened the meeting after a short break. Mr. Rolfes distributed copies of the Final Report and Recommendations of the Nebraska Network Work Group. The final report was approved by the NITC on September 16. Mr. Rolfes reported that at the NITC meeting Chuck Friesen had voiced concerns over the Nebraska Network project, including postalized rates. At the meeting, Lt. Governor assured Mr. Friesen that postalized rates were no longer being considered and invited those with concerns to contact him.

Mr. Rolfes reported that Mr. Steve Coleman, Superintendent of Millard Public Schools, had sent the Lt. Governor Heineman an e-mail of concerns and plans have been made to meet with him to discuss the Nebraska Network project.

The NITC is currently strategizing implementation of the Nebraska Network project. Mr. Rolfes called attention to recommendations 3, 6, 9, 12, and 13. At the NITC meeting, Commissioner Christensen voted to modify recommendation 3, allowing the University of Nebraska to act as co-prime contractor with the Division of Communications. Mr. Rolfes showed the presentation on the Nebraska Network that was given by Walter Weir, Chair of the Technical Panel, to the NITC commissioners. The presentation explained the Collaborative Aggregation Partnership (CAP) as the "desired" core backbone sites. Norfolk, Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, North Platte, and Scottsbluff have been identified as potential network node sites. The Nebraska Network would be an IP-centric network.

Mr. Rolfes reviewed the conclusion of the report. The report found that the following steps are needed:

  • Adopt a vision statement that calls upon all entities to work together to achieve "an efficient, reliable, and scalable telecommunications infrastructure, widespread communications networks, and sufficient network support functions."
  • Promote statewide purchasing and bandwidth aggregation of telecommunications services.
  • Implement a telecommunications backbone (core routing network).
  • Implement an IP-centric intranet to improve K-20 collaboration and to serve other participants.
  • Determine the best option for providing interconnection of synchronous video networks.
  • Decide a long-term strategy for network management and support services.

Mr. Rolfes began discussing recommendations 6, 9, 12 and 13.

Recommendation 6 states:

K-12 entities, higher education institutions, and other interested parties should begin planning a shared Nebraska statewide IP-centric intranet to meet existing needs and provide a scalable path for future growth. Participation should be focused initially on those operational entities that can contribute monetary or operational resources, but the design should accommodate future expansion and the potential needs of non-educational entities with closely related interests including libraries and telehealth systems. As a practical matter, the primary goal initially is to provide connectivity among all educational entities.

Recommendation 9 states:

Under the auspices of the NITC, an interim work group composed of stakeholders should coordinate implementation of a shared Nebraska statewide IP-centric network (Recommendation 6). The work group should include stakeholders, with some representation of the Community Council, Education Council, and State Government Council. The work group should address technical requirements, network management, quality assurance and security needs.

Mr. Rolfes asked for recommendations on forming the interim work group.

Recommendations 12 and 13 address possible value-added services. Recommendation 12 states, "The Technical Panel, as a continued extension of its video standards activity should establish an implementation work group to determine how to provide a Nebraska Statewide Synchronous Video Network." The work group would address business case, scheduling, traffic prioritization, security, quality assurance, cost-sharing, and existing contractual arrangements of regional networks.

Recommendation 13 charges the Education Council with evaluating, recommending and prioritizing possible value-added services that would utilize the Nebraska statewide IP-centric intranet.

Lt. Governor Heineman arrived at 11:20 and was welcomed by Mr. Wibbels. Lt. Governor Heineman thanked members for their service on the Education Council and for their contributions to education in Nebraska. He emphasized that Nebraska is doing a wonderful job educating students. Among states where at least 90% of students took the ACT, Nebraska ranks number one. Lt. Governor Heineman also commented on the effectiveness of distance learning.

Lt. Governor Heineman expressed his determination to see the Nebraska Network Project completed as soon as possible. He reported that the pilot project between Lincoln and Scottsbluff has been completed. He is interested in receiving input on how to complete the project. He invited Council members and other interested individuals to contact him.

Lt. Governor Heineman thanked NITC Commissioners Doug Christensen and Dennis Smith for their leadership.

Mr. Fisher asked if there was a timeline for completion of the project. Although a timeline has not been established, Lt. Governor Heineman stated that the project needs to move quickly and may need to be done in phases.

Mr. Rastovski commended Lt. Governor for his leadership.

In closing, the Lt. Governor thanked members again for their work in education on the Education Council.

Mr. Rastovski suggested preparing a brief for schools which would summarize the issues surrounding Network Nebraska. Dr. Huck suggested that the brief include a summary of Nebraska Network recommendations 6, 9, 12, and 13.

Mr. Wibbels stated that Nebraska Network recommendations 6, 9, 12, and 13 would be discussed in more detail at the October Education Council meeting. Web course management tools will also be moved to the October meeting agenda.

The October meeting will be held in Lincoln at the Southeast Community College campus at 88th and O in Room G1.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:55.

Meeting minutes were taken by Anne Byers and reviewed by Tom Rolfes of the Office of the CIO/NITC.

Meeting Minutes