Friday, May 29, 2020
Board members had questions, and so do I. I presented many of my questions in a letter to each of the Board members prior to their May 19th Board meeting. Kewaunee County is poised to execute a nearly two million dollar tax spend with Bug Tussel. Bug Tussel claims the County will be reimbursed for their investment ($960,000) over a 10-year period. If indeed Schneider doesn't want the money, why then a 10 =-year payback? Why not a 1-year payback? What about a payback for the $960,000 from the PSC?
The entire Board meeting was recorded and can be viewed here. May 19th Kewaunee County Board Meeting.
The dialogue concerning Broadband begins at 16 Minutes and 50 seconds. At this time, a letter I submitted was read during the citizen input. Following are some of the highlights of Mr. Schneider's presentation:
20 Minutes and 39 Seconds - Schneider begins his presentation. Says nothing of importance for five minutes, talks about childhood, life in Kellnersville, Wi.
26 Minutes and 00 Seconds - Schneider explains to the Board that if they don't spend the $960,000 of PSC money, that money will go someplace else, so they had better get onboard, or the train is leaving the station. What a great reason to spend taxpayer money!
26 Minutes and 45 Seconds - Schneider claims the other companies that submitted proposals all asked for money and he did not. Well, that is not true as, for example, Mercury.net didn't ask for any money. Schneider wasn't a damned bit interested in Kewaunee County until he was able to get the commitment for $960,000 from the PSC with another $960,000 from Kewaunee Co. A gift indeed! Remember, Bug Tussel is getting paid by AT&T to array these towers with AT&T systems for cell phone switching.
32 Minutes and 35 Seconds - Schneider justifies his taking the $960,000 of PSC money because he alleges other internet providers that have been providing service in the County have taken $8.7 million of federal taxpayer dollars over the years.
34 Minutes and 05 Seconds - First Schneider alleges that throughout the time with the Broadband Committee that he was interested in providing service to rural customers (that is what this is supposed to be about), then he indicates he will be providing services to the folks in the cities of Algoma, Luxemburg, Kewaunee, and the town of Casco.
35 Minutes and 30 Seconds - Schneider says they won't service all customers, but will do his best to reach whomever he can. Wow, that is a very impressive commitment for two million of our tax dollars. He then goes on to talk about putting in poles on peoples properties to reach them (remember line of sight is the issue), then charge the customer an amortized rate for the pole. He then goes on to say, if that customer cancels their service, they will come, take the pole back and re-deploy it? Seems to me that if that is his plan, he'd have some problems getting the pole back if it is on private property.
40 Minutes and 00 Seconds - Schneider admits they will be getting about 200 people per site (per tower). Let me see now, 7 sites (towers) times 200 people equals 1,400 people he would reach in the County. That would be about 6.8% of the people in the County, a far cry from "ALL"! He then goes on to say that after 5 years, they will have 8% of the market. Why in God's name would that dismal performance be acceptable to anyone on the Board? Schneider doesn't say this, but I would venture to guess that a majority of the 1,400 people are already serviced by one of the 10 or so internet providers already here.
53 Minutes and 20 Seconds - Supervisor Romdenne asked for clarification as to what service Bug Tussel will provide because the RFP specified "service to all residents." Schneider responds with some amorphous statement about people in a valley in upper Michigan who have snow in July. Then goes on to say that Bug Tussel is entering the market to supplement the service that is already here. I want to call a B.S. on that statement as the Broadband Committee didn't want a supplemental service for $2,000,000 of taxpayer funds. Schneider also says here that if anyone wants to hold his company to any specific levels of how many customers will be serviced, he basically won't do business here.
56 Minutes and 00 Seconds - Mr. Feldt, our Administrator jumps in and explains to the board that when developing a RFP that you propose any and all items you may have dreamed of in hopes the vendor provides them. I would argue, the opposite, an RFP is a document that succinctly lays out in exacting language what the requester is requesting.
57 Minutes and 30 Seconds - Supervisor Vollenweider asks "What determines success of this project?" This was a great question that promoted a long silence. Supervisor Romdenne provided the answer in saying the Broadband Committee hadn't gotten to that, it was never considered. Now, this is where I really become a little agitated and unglued as a taxpayer. In fact, I can't think of one person I know that wouldn't be upset that certain performance standards would be set and if those standards were not met there would be some penalty. There has to be some accountability in this project, and if Bug Tussel doesn't want accountability, then we have selected the wrong vendor.
107 Minutes and 40 seconds - Schneider is asked by the Chairman how big of an area each of these towers would cover. Schneider responds about 3.5 to 4 mile radius. That means each tower would cover about 38 square miles; with seven towers, they would cover a total of 266 square miles. Kewaunee County is 1,084 square miles meaning Bug Tussel would reach a whopping 24% of the County. That my friends, is not ALL, IN FACT IT IS WOEFULLY LACKING. Lacking because even with 24% reach, there will be the homes in the woods and the homes in the valleys that those towers won't reach either.
In summation, the presentation by Mr. Schneider was disappointing and if the Board Members were listening carefully, they would come to the conclusion that spending $2 million of our tax dollars with Bug Tussel is a waste of our money. There were a few good questions asked of Schneider, and the answers were disappointing at best.
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Further On page 14, (table 2), the total population of Kewaunee County is 20,434, yet you say they will service 29,960 people. Even taking out the 4,011 from the Tisch Mills (table 1, page 13), site assuming they are Manitowoc County and you still are representing a number served of 5,200 people more than are in the County. Keep in mind, also, there are somewhere between 15% and 20% of the total population who don’t even want internet service.
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Lies last only a moment, but the truth lasts forever
Monday, May 11, 2020
The memo below starting with the date May 11, 2020 was sent to each Kewaunee County Board Member yesterday.
Tonight at 6:30 PM the Executive Committee will be discussing contracting with Bug Tussel for Kewaunee County Broadband Expansion. What I am trying to point out to every member of the board are inconsistencies of the entire process of this venture. Bug Tussel has misrepresented information to the PSC in this application that spends $1,960,000 of our taxpayer money, and they will never deliver the service that was clearly stated in the Request for Proposal that the County had put out for bid.
This is a complicated subject, and if you have not read my initial blog on this subject, I would highly recommend you do that. It will help to clarify the entire issue. Heuer, April 18th Blog on this Subject
May 11, 2020
Supervisor --------, District --, Kewaunee
County Board of Supervisors
Lies last only a moment, but the truth
Administrator Scott Feldt continues to push the Broadband expansion plan for
the County by placing this item on the Executive Committee Meeting for May 11th,
2020: “Item 7. Discussion: PSC Broadband Expansion Grant – Contract”
If the County
is to go forward with this, certain to be, ill-fated plan and proceed to
contracting with Bug Tussel, the contract must specifically state the
requirements and goals to be met for compliance. It must contain definitions of
what constitutes contract completion. There must be provisions in the contract
to ensure that Bug Tussel indeed delivers all requirements of the Contract.
There must be criterion established to determine if the contract has been
fulfilled by Bug Tussel.
This is key
to the entire project. Kewaunee County Broadband Committee’s Request
for Proposal, under the Proposal Scope section has this sentence; Provide
broadband (high speed internet) of at least 25 down and 10 up for all rural
residents within Kewaunee County, preferably higher than 100mbps down and
is the essence of the entire RFP, and Bug Tussel must guarantee they will
produce that result for this project to be a success.
Taking that into consideration a thorough review of the Broadband Expansion Grant Application (Click Here to see the Actual Grant Application) submitted to the PSC by Bug Tussel Wireless, Inc. at no time, in the document, refers to that type of service delivery. In fact, throughout the document there appears to be mistruths and inconsistencies. These following items and issues need to be clearly addressed by Bug Tussel and must be incorporated into any contract between Bug Tussel and Kewaunee County.
and mistruths directly from the Grant Application in relation to the Kewaunee
County Broadband Committee Request for Proposal.
In their presentation to the Broadband Committee
they represent “Rapid Bug” service as 2mbps down and 1mbps upload at $49.99.
Yet, in the grant request they represent “Rapid
Bug” as 25mbps down and 5mbps upload at $49.99.
Which is correct?
Neither one of these meets the RFP requirements
of 25mbps and 10mbps!
What is there proposed charge for the RFP
· Provide broadband (high speed internet)
of at least 25 down and 10 up for all rural residents within Kewaunee County,
preferably higher than 100mbps down and 25mbps up.
means all, not some.
the Grant Application, they list the Townnships covered as; Red River,
Carlton, West Kewaunee, Franklin, Casco and Mischicot.
What about the the townships of Montpelier, Pierce, Lincoln, Ahnapee, and Luxemburg
Township? In as much as they are not mentioned,
do they get service?
in the Grant Application they are to list existing broadband providers, they
list two, TDS and Centurylink.
What about Bertram, Mercury.net, Door County
Broadband, Hughes Net, AT&T, Spectrum, Verizon, ViaSat, Cellcom, all of
whom are providing service in the County at this time?
Why the obfuscation, the omission and
· In the
Grant Application, page 1, they claim they will serve 199 Businesses and 12,115
Residential Locations, that is interesting when on page 5 they represent
there are a total of 9,462 Housing Units in Kewaunee County according to the
Once again, a misrepresentation of facts. When people or organizations misrepresent
facts, it should send a warning to whomever is dealing with them.
of 7 towers with 4 of the seven in the bottom 1/3rd of the County is
suspect at best. It appears by the tower
placement that Bug Tussel is choosing to place these AT&T equipped towers
to more facilitate their Cell tower building business for AT&T. Rather than benefiting the broadband effort.
on page 7 of the Grant Application under c.
There is mention of two types of broadband service 25mbps/5mbps and
100mbps/20mbps within the range of the proposed towers. They go on to list the names of the tower
locations to be; Bay View, Bolt, East Krok, Gregorville, Norman, Ryans Corner,
and Tisch Mills. This further confirms
no commitment to the balance or the County.
· On page 2 of the application Bug Tussel
claims 12,115 residential locations will have access to the
service. Then on page 13 of the
application (table 1) Bug Tussel represents 7,886 people will have service. When that number is divided by 2.45, the
average number per household, the actual households reached would be
3,218. That is 26.5% of the total
households represented on page 1 of the application. This is total misrepresentation of the facts
by Bug Tussel.
· On page 14, (table 2), the total
population of Kewaunee County is 20,434, yet they say they will service 29,960
people. Take out the total of 4,011 from
the Tisch Mills (table 1, page 13), site assuming they are Manitowoc County and
you still are representing a number served of 5,200 people more than in the
County. Keep in mind, also, there are
somewhere between 15% and 20% of the total population who don’t even want
15, Business map claims they will reach and provide service to 199
businesses. Most, if not all, of the
larger businesses have already solved their internet needs by cutting deals
with various vendors.
16, they talk about “last mile service,” and they introduce AT&T
Mobility. That service is already
available in the service area and is also offered by Verizon, Cellcom and
17, fourth paragraph, very important, this is where they admit
they will not be servicing “all” customers in Kewaunee County. It is carefully worded and says, “We will
provide broadband internet services of 25mbps download and 5mbps upload for
$49.99 per month rate in the proposed coverage areas illustrated in Figures 4 –
11. If you carefully scrutinize those
maps, you see various colored bans around the proposed towers. Typically, a tower is engineered to cover an
area 3 – 5 miles around that specific tower. Beyond that, typically there is no
line of sight, if a home is in a valley or covered in its surrounds by trees,
there will be no service.
19, a. Matching funds indicates the Kewaunee County Board approved a resolution
on 12/17/2019 which memorialized the county’s financial support for the project
and the possibilities the broadband expansion will provide for the county’s
constituents. Note it doesn’t say “part
of the constituents or a few of the constituents, it simply says constituents. Which again means all!
20, c. Existing Broadband Service, once again here, Bug Tussel misrepresents
the number of broadband operators in Kewaunee County indicating there are two,
when in fact, there are about 10 providers.
Why the dishonesty?
issues, and more need to be addressed.
But in addition, these items should be considered and added to any
contract Kewaunee County would enter with any broadband supplier.
and most important, service for all is All, not some.
So, the contract must clearly spell out how Bug Tussel will reach all
the residents in the County. As part of
that description, there has to be plans to reach those underserved pockets
(people surrounded by trees or in a valley) and those plans must include
pricing for any special circumstances. A
special circumstance would be if a customer does not have line of sight to a
tower, and a secondary pole or tower would be required. Who pays for that, what is the timeline for
Bug Tussel to respond to that type of request and what is the penalty to Bug
Tussel if they fail to provide that service?.
is the reporting requirement to the County as to the progress of Bug Tussel
actually providing service to customers?
How many customers, when signed, what type of service are they
is success in this project determined?
What factors are considered?
Number of customers? Speed
has the responsibility in the County to ensure the project is being completed
on schedule and that ALL residents are being served? How is that even determined.
is the incentive to Bug Tussel, if any, to sign up customers? What incentive, if any, is Bug Tussel
providing to the end user to move them to Bug Tussel?
Technology is changing rapidly, in fact, about every 3 to 4 years all the
equipment needs to be changed out and upgraded.
Is that covered in the contract?
if Bug Tussel fails to meet timelines or customer signups? What is the penalty, how does the County get
its money back?
E3530 Townline Road
Kewaunee, WI 54216
920-255-4260 / email@example.com