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TMCNet:  Connecticut DPUC - CATV Issues Final Decisions Regarding Application of Town of New Fairfield Board of Education for a Public, Educational and...

[January 03, 2013]

Connecticut DPUC - CATV Issues Final Decisions Regarding Application of Town of New Fairfield Board of Education for a Public, Educational and...

(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Connecticut DPUC - CATV Issues Final Decisions Regarding Application of Town of New Fairfield Board of Education for a Public, Educational and Governmental Programming and Education Technology Investment Account (PEGPETIA) Grant NEW BRITAIN, Conn., Jan. 1 -- The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority - CATV, issued the following final decision: DOCKET NO. 12-09-08 APPLICATION OF TOWN OF NEW FAIRFIELD BOARD OF EDUCATION FOR A PUBLIC, EDUCATIONAL AND GOVERNMENTAL PROGRAMMING AND EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT ACCOUNT (PEGPETIA) GRANT January 1, 2013 By the following Directors: Arthur H. House John W. Betkoski, III Michael A. Caron DECISION I. INTRODUCTION A. SUMMARY This Decision finds that theTown of New Fairfield Board of Education grant request meets the criteria set forth by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority in the March 26, 2008, Decision in Docket No. 07-10-11,DPUC Proceeding to Establish Administrative Guidelines for the Public Educational and Governmental Programming and Education Technology Investment Account Pursuant to Public Act 07-253. Therefore, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority awards theTown of New Fairfield Board of Education a grant of $25,768.



B. BACKGROUND OF THE PROCEEDING On March 26, 2008, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (Authority or PURA) issued its final Decision in Docket No. 07-10-11, DPUC Proceeding to Establish Administrative Guidelines for the Public Educational and Governmental Programming and Educational Technology Investment Account Pursuant to Public Act 07-253 (March 26, 2008 Decision). The purpose of that proceeding was to comply with Section16-331cc of the General Statutes of Connecticut (Conn. Gen. Stat.). Conn. Gen. Stat. Section16-331cc created the "public, education and governmental programming and education technology investment account" (PEGPETIA).

Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. Section16-331cc, the PEGPETIA funds must be expended by the Authority as follows: (1) fifty per cent of the funds are to be made available to local community antenna television and video advisory councils; state-wide community antenna television and video advisory councils; public, educational and governmental programmers and public, educational and governmental studio operators (programming entities)to subsidize capital and equipment costs related to producing and procuring such programming; and (2) fifty per cent of the funds are to be made available to board of education and other education entities for education technology initiatives.

In the March 26, 2008 Decision, the Authority established eligibility requirements and procedures for applying for PEGPETIA funds and the criteria that it would apply when evaluating requests for funding. The Authority also established the eligibility criteria that applicants must satisfy when applying for funding and the information that must be provided when making an application for the funding. In addition, the Authority established an application and funding disbursement schedule that it intends to employ when awarding funds to grant recipients.

The Authority also determined that the PEGPETIA funds were intended to promote and improve public, educational and governmental (PEG) access programming in Connecticut. March 26, 2008 Decision, pp. 2 and 3. The Authority concluded that the goal of the PEGPETIA was to use 50 percent of the funding to increase the quantity, quality and variety of community access productions made available to Competitive Video Service Providers (CVSP) and Community Antenna Television (CATV) subscribers by making funds available to a wide array of entities involved, directly or indirectly, in community access-related activities. Id. The Authority further concluded that the Legislature's goal was to increase the quantity, quality and variety of educational programming currently being produced in Connecticut by public, educational and government studios, boards of education and other educational entities by the inclusion of the phrase "education technology investment fund" in the definition of the account. Id.

C. CONDUCT OF THE PROCEEDING By application received on September 19, 2012 (Application), theTown of New Fairfield Board of Education (TNFBOE or Applicant) requested a PEGPETIA grant in the amount of $25,768. Application,p.1. The Authority determined that a hearing was not required and none was held.

D. PARTICIPANTS The Authority recognized theTown of New Fairfield Board of Education, 3Brush Hill Road,New Fairfield, Connecticut 06812; and the Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC), Ten Franklin Square, New Britain, Connecticut 06051, as Participants to this proceeding.

II. AUTHORITY GOALS AND CRITERIA To ensure that the PEGPETIA program is implemented in accordance with the Legislature's intent, the Authority established the following goals and eligibility criteria as it administers the PEGPETIA program: 1. Increase the quantity, quality and variety of community access programs made available for viewing by CVSP and CATV subscribers.

2. Increase the quantity, quality and variety of educational programming produced in the state by boards of education and other educational entities.

3. Ensure availability of 50% of PEGPETIA funds to (1) local community antenna television and video advisory councils, state-wide community antenna television and video advisory councils, public, educational and governmental programmers and public, educational and governmental studio operators to subsidize capital and equipment costs related to producing and procuring such programming, and ensure available of 50% of PEGPETIA funds to (2) boards of education and other educational entities for educational technology initiatives.

4. Encourage a wide variety of applicants (organizations and individuals) to be eligible to apply for PEGPETIA funds.

5. Establish eligibility requirements that are clear, fair and broad.

6. Establish an application process that is transparent, applicant-friendly and not unduly burdensome.

7. Evaluate all applications for PEGPETIA funds using the same criteria.

8. Ensure awarded PEGPETIA funds are expended as the grant award specifies.

9. Ensure all awarded PEGPETIA fund results are documented by the recipients.

Additionally, the Authority indicated that it would evaluate each application for funding based on, but not limited to the following criteria: 1. How the PEGPETIA funding application meets the administration goals outlined above.

2. The geographic area(s) that would benefit from the request, (i.e., schools(s), town(s), region(s)).

3. The total number of subscribers/students who will benefit from the grant in light of the request and/or amount funded.

4. Whether the funding application is for new, supplemental equipment, replacement equipment, and upgraded additional media or equipment.

5. Whether the applicant has received grant funding for a similar proposal in the past.

6. Whether the applicant has received grant funding for a similar proposal from another entity.

7. The applicant's request expresses a reasonable budget and timeframe.

8. The ability of the proposal to advance varied public interest goals and/or values.

9. How this proposal compares to similar proposals filed by other applicants and the amount of the grants awarded to them.

III. PEG AND EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVE FUNDING A. PEG ACCESS To be eligible for funding, the Authority must determine if the applicant is a programming entitythat is requesting fundingto subsidize capital and equipment costs related to producing and procuring programming, or is a board of education or other education entity requesting funding for education technology initiatives.

In its March 26, 2008 Decision, the Authority did not define the terms "other education entities" and "education technology initiatives." In addition, the Authority did not limit how broad those eligibility criteria might be in order to receive a wide variety of applications. Therefore, the Authority must determine whether a request for funding falls under the PEG access portion or education technology initiative portion of the funding. The Authority has determined that any PEGPETIA application from a programming entity that is requesting funding to subsidize capital and equipment costs related to producing and procuring such programming will be subject to the capital costs and equipment guidelines addressed in Section C. below. However, individual PEG producers' requests for grants proposing to offer educational programming as part of PEG will be evaluated under the PEG funding, and not the 50 percent of the funding earmarked for education technology initiatives.

The Authority believes the mission of PEG access is to afford citizens the ability to create, communicate and distribute their messages to as broad an audience as possible. PEG access has historically been an important public forum that has been shaped and cultivated by dedicated programmers, studio operators, and volunteers with a desire to disseminate information. The spirit and intent of PEG access has always been to provide local communities a public platform for the exchange of ideas and information through the efforts of PEG programmers, studio operators and volunteer producers.

In the March 26, 2008 Decision, the Authority included public, educational and governmental programmers and public, educational and governmental studio operatorswhom may or may not be anindividual PEG access producer among those eligible for PEGPETIA grants. It was the Authority's intent to provide convenient access, through individual ownership of cameras and basic video production packages, to the equipment necessary to produce PEG programming. Access studios throughout the state currently have equipment available for use by all of Connecticut's citizens who are trained to produce programming. The PEGPETIA program encourages those individual producers with defined ideas and an expressed commitment to produce ongoing and continuous programming to apply for grant funding. Such funding would allow them the opportunity of using their own equipment to film and/or edit projects without having to rely on the equipment of the local access studio.

It is expected that placing video equipment in the hands of producers will result in an increase in the amount and variety of PEG programming. The Authority believes those individual producers who may be thinking of producing an individual program or a very limited amount of programming should continue to utilize the certified access provider in their area for equipment needs. In the event such producers increase the amount and variety of programming produced, they should then apply for PEGPETIA funding to foster their efforts.

B. EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES The Authority will evaluate "other education entities" as used by the Legislature, on a case-by-case basis. The Authority must also determine the definintion of "education technology initiative" as it relates to the March 26, 2008 Decision and Conn. Gen. Stat. Section16-331cc. For purposes of the PEGPETIA and pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. Section4d-80(e), educational technology shall include, but not be limited to: (1) computer-assisted instruction; (2) information retrieval and data transfer; (3) telecommunications related to voice, data and video transmission of instruction related materials and courses; (4) the development and acquisition of educational software; and (5) the instructional uses of the Internet and other technologies.

Additionally, while the Authority will evaluate applications for grants for education technology initiatives pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. Section4d-80(e), such applications will also be subject to the capital costs and equipment guidelines defined in Section C. below. The Authority will continue to evaluate applications filed under the PEGPETIA for "education technology initiative" on a case-by-case basis.

C. CAPITAL COSTS AND EQUIPMENT For the purposes of evaluation of PEGPETIA grants, the Authority considers capital costs as the one-time setup costs of an applicant's activity or project. Conn. Gen. Stat. Section16-331cc specifically authorized the Authority to fund "capital costs and equipment" to produce and procure programming.

Capital costs do not include ongoing expenses such as rent, supplies, insurance, maintenance, salaries, and other like expenses (operating expenses). Capital costs, unlike operating expenses, are typically one-time costs and have a clear start and finish to the activity or project. An example of a qualifying capital cost would be a reasonable cost for a contractor to ship and/or install the necessary equipment requested for a project.Limited training to use the equipment is also permitted as a qualifying non-equipment capital cost.

IV. AUTHORITY ANALYSIS OF THE APPLICATION On September 19, 2012, the TNFBOE requested a PEGPETIA grant in the amount of $25,768. Application, p. 1. The Applicant states that the grant will upgrade its current Digital Video Disk (DVD) player with hardware and software to create a Digital Enterprise Video Online Streaming (DEVOS) system.Specifically, the Applicant plans to replace its DVD system and install software to allow 24-hour streaming broadcast of community access programming and Video on Demand though its web applications. Id., p. 2. The funding would directly benefit over 2,300 students and the 15,000 residents in the greater New Fairfield area. Id., p. 5. TNFBOE also states that the newDEVOS system will allow for live programming to be viewed on such devices as the iPhone.Id., p. 4.

The Applicant submitted a budget requesting video equipment and software that total $25,768. Attachment, pp. 2 and 9.TNFBOE has been producing educational programming since 2003 and trains New Fairfield students in video production. Application. p. 6. The Authority has examined the Applicant's capital request and finds that less than seven percent of the grant request is for non-equipment related items. The Authority finds that the request would provide for an increase in the quantity and quality of PEG programming as defined under Conn. Gen. Stat. Section16-331cc(b). Therefore, the Authority hereby approves the full request of $25,768.

As a condition of receiving the amount granted by this Decision, the Applicant must file the affidavit and Connecticut Agency Vendor form (Vendor Form) included as attachments to this Decision. Failure to sign, file or fill out completely the affidavit and the Vendor Form by the due date may result in the revocation of the grant award.

The Authority will require that any community access program or production created or facilitated in whole or in part as a result of the grant awarded by this Decision will be made available to the community access provider (whether a cable company or a nonprofit third party) managing and operating community access in the municipality in which the grant recipient is located. The Applicant will be required to document to the Authority that the program or productions facilitated by the grant funds have been made available to applicable community access providers for cablecast.

Failure to comply with the reporting requirements contained herein and in specific Orders below may result in the Authority revoking the grant. Any applicant found by the Authority not to be in compliance with the requirements listed herein will be required to reimburse to the PEGPETIA, the total amount expended and to return any unused amount to the Authority.

The Authority awards the TNFBOE a grant in the amount of $25,768.

V. FINDINGS OF FACT 1. The TNFBOE requested funding for a video-server.

2. The Applicant's award includes equipment, software and capital costs under the PEGPETIA guidelines.

3. The Authority has determined that less than seven percent of the Applicant's requested funds is for non-equipment related costs.

4. TNFBOE has been producing educational programming since 2003.

VI. CONCLUSION AND ORDERS A. CONCLUSION The TNFBOE qualifies for a PEGPETIA grant in the amount of $25,768 for the purchase of capital costs and equipment addressed in Section IV above, subject to the conditions included herein.

B. ORDERS For the following Orders, provide an original and two copies of the requested documentation to the Executive Secretary, Ten Franklin Square, New Britain, Connecticut 06051 and file an electronic version through the Authority's website at www.ct.gov/pura. Submissions filed in compliance with the Authority Orders must be identified by all three of the following: Title, Docket Number and Order Number.

1. No later than February8, 2013, the Applicant shall sign and file the affidavit attached herein.

2. No later than February8, 2013, the Applicant must complete, sign and return the Vendor Form application attached herein.

3. No later than April8, 2013, the Applicant shall file copies of all receipts for all equipment and approved costs purchased with the grant funds.

4. No later than July8, 2013, the Applicant shall file a final report providing an overall account of the success of the grant and identify any increase in the quality or quantity of community access programming.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer that is committed to requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any person with a disability who may need information in an alternative format may contact the agency's ADA Coordinator at 860-424-3194, or at deep.hrmed@ct.gov. Any person with limited proficiency in English, who may need information in another language, may contact the agency's Title VI Coordinator at 860-424-3035, or at deep.aaoffice@ct.gov. Any person with a hearing impairment may call the State of Connecticut relay number - 711. Discrimination complaints may be filed with DEEP's Title VI Coordinator. Requests for accommodations must be made at least two weeks prior to any agency hearing, program or event.

AFFIDAVIT View affidavit at http://www.dpuc.state.ct.us/FINALDEC.NSF/0d1e102026cb64d98525644800691cfe/484899e0d5a9b76885257ae7005ba50b OpenDocument DOCKET NO. 12-09-08 APPLICATION OF TOWN OF NEW FAIRFIELD BOARD OF EDUCATION FOR A PUBLIC, EDUCATIONAL AND GOVERNMENTAL PROGRAMMING AND EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT ACCOUNT (PEGPETIA) GRANT This Decision is adopted by the following Directors: Arthur H. House John W. Betkoski, III Michael A. Caron CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE The foregoing is a true and correct copy of the Decision issued by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, State of Connecticut, and was forwarded by Certified Mail to all parties of record in this proceeding on the date indicated.

Date January 2, 2013 Kimberley J. Santopietro Executive Secretary Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Public Utilities Regulatory Authority TNS mv45 130103-4156959 61MarlynVitin (c) 2013 Targeted News Service

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