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TMCNet:  Connecticut DPUC - CATV Issues Final Decisions Regarding Application of the Town of South Windsor for a Public, Educational and Governmental...

[January 11, 2013]

Connecticut DPUC - CATV Issues Final Decisions Regarding Application of the Town of South Windsor for a Public, Educational and Governmental...

(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Connecticut DPUC - CATV Issues Final Decisions Regarding Application of the Town of South Windsor for a Public, Educational and Governmental Programming And Education Technology Investment Account (PEGPETIA) Grant NEW BRITAIN, Conn., Jan. 9 -- The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority - CATV, issued the following final decision: DOCKET NO. 12-11-16 APPLICATION OF THE TOWN OF SOUTH WINDSOR FOR A PUBLIC, EDUCATIONAL AND GOVERNMENTAL PROGRAMMING AND EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT ACCOUNT (PEGPETIA) GRANT January 9, 2013 By the following Directors: John W. Betkoski, III Arthur H. House Michael A. Caron DECISION I.INTRODUCTION A.SUMMARY In this Decision, the Public UtilitiesRegulatory Authority finds that the Town of South Windsor meets the criteria set forth in its 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. However, in this Decision, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority awards the Town of South Windsora grant in the amount of $35,434 and not the $38,813.07 requested.



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, educational and governmental programming and education technology investment account" (PEGPETIA).

Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. section16-331cc, the funds in the PEGPETIA 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 boards of education and other educational 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 employed 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 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 filed on November 5, 2012 (Application), the Town of South Windsor (Town of South Windsor or Applicant) requested a PEGPETIA grant (Grant) in the amount of $38,813.07. The Authority determined that a hearing was not required and none was held.

D.PARTICIPANTS The Authority recognized the Town of South Windsor, 1540 Sullivan Avenue, South Windsor, Connecticut 06082; and the Office of Consumer Counsel, 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 availability 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 Authority's Account administration goals outlined above.

2.The geographic area(s) that would benefit from the request (i.e., school(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 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 it 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 PURA 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 definition of "education technology initiatives" 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 initiatives" 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.

IV.AUTHORITY ANALYSIS OF THE APPLICATION By its November 5, 2012 Application, South Windsor requested a Grant in the amount of $38,813.07 to replace the failing camera system and audio recorder and to replace the projector in the Town Council Chambers (Chambers). The Applicant stated that the new cameras will help improve the quality of the programs, while other equipment to be purchased will allow programs to be stored. Application, p. 3.

The equipment South Windsor proposes to purchase includes three cameras to be wall mounted in the Chambers, a controller and monitor and associated equipment. The total cost of the camera system equipment, including installation, is $28,473.17. The Applicant also plans to purchase a LVD projector, long range lens, and a controller and control box. The Chambers Projector Equipment list totals $7,171.96. Application, Exhibit A.

South Windsor stated that it took control of the government channel in 2003 and three cameras and an audio system were installed in the Chambers at that time. Town Council meetings are filmed from a small control room on the ground floor of Town Hall. Servers and a new computer were purchased in 2008. Application, p. 1. Additional upgrades and improvements were made in 2011 and 2012, including the purchases of two HD video cameras and two wireless lapel microphone systems. Id., p. 2. South Windsor hired an individual to manage the government access in 2008. While the Town of South Windsor and the South Windsor Board of Education are separate entities, the Applicant stated that there are instances where the two overlap, and that purchasing the proposed equipment for the government access channel will result in benefits to the Town's school population. Id., p. 6.

South Windsor has been filming Town Council Meetings for over 20 years, and, beginning in 2007, has also been broadcasting specialty programs. Id., p. 8. South Windsor will keep a log of the events that are filmed and cablecast. The Applicant also commits to produce no fewer than three specialty videos within the first three months following installation of the equipment to be purchased with the PEGPETIA funds. Id., p. 9.

The Authority finds that the request represents a PEG request under the PEGPETIA Program guidelines, in that it will subsidize capital and equipment costs related to producing and procuring community access programming. The Authority also finds that the Applicant possesses sufficient experience in community access-related activities and grant administration to be awarded a Grant. However for the reasons cited below, the Authority awards a Grant in the amount of $35,434 and not the $38,813.07 requested.

The Authority has recently implemented a directive to limit non-equipment costs to no more that 10% of the cost of the equipment approved in most cases. As proposed, non-equipment costs ($6,600) are approximately 16% of equipment costs ($32,213). The Authority expects the Applicant to work with its proposed vendors or to provide the remainder of the needed funding for installation itself. Accordingly, the Authority approves $32,213 for the equipment listed in the Application, plus $3,221 for installation, for a total Grant of $35,434.

As a condition of receiving the amount granted by this Decision, the Applicant must file the affidavit and the state of 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 also require that South Windsor to document the use of the equipment to ensure that it is utilized as proposed in the Application.

Failure to comply with the reporting requirements contained herein and in specific Orders below may result in the Authority revoking the grant award. Any applicant found by the Authority not to be in compliance with the requirements listed herein will be required to reimburse to the PEGPETIA account the total amount expended and to return any unused amount. Failure to reimburse may result in issuance of a fine or other action by the Authority.

V.FINDINGS OF FACT 1. South Windsor has experience in education technology and grant administration.

2. The Application includes proposed capital costs and equipment that are approvable under the PEGPETIA program guidelines in that they are related to producing and procuring community access programming.

3. As proposed, the Applicant's installation costs are approximately 16% of the cost of the requested equipment.

VI.CONCLUSION AND ORDERS A.CONCLUSION The Authority finds that South Windsor qualifies for a PEGPETIA Grant. The Authority approves $32,213 to purchase the equipment listed in the Application, plus $3,221 for installation costs.

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

1. No later than February 1, 2013, South Windsor shall file and sign the affidavit attached herein.

2. No later than February 1, 2013, South Windsor must complete, sign and return the Vendor Form application attached herein.

3. No later than August 1, 2013, the Applicant shall file copies of all receipts for all equipment purchased with the grant in addition to receipts for installation services paid for by PEGPETIA funds.

4.No later than September 20, 2013, South Windsor shall file a report listing the titles and duration (in minutes) of community access programs facilitated in whole or in part by the equipment purchased with the PEGPETIA funds awarded by this Decision from the time the equipment became operational until September 6, 2013.

5.No later than March 21, 2014, South Windsor shall file a final report listing the titles and duration (in minutes) of community access programs facilitated in whole or in part with the equipment purchased with the PEGPETIA funds awarded by this Decision from September 7, 2013, through March 7, 2014.

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/15ade972abd2c4e985257aef004b467b OpenDocument DOCKET NO. 12-11-16 APPLICATION OF THE TOWN OF SOUTH WINDSOR FOR A PUBLIC, EDUCATIONAL AND GOVERNMENTAL PROGRAMMING AND EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT ACCOUNT (PEGPETIA) GRANT This Decision is adopted by the following Directors: John W. Betkoski, III Arthur H. House 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.

January 10, 2013 Date Kimberley J. Santopietro Executive Secretary Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Public Utilities Regulatory Authority TNS mv45 130111-4164374 (c) 2013 Targeted News Service

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