As part of the new California State University (CSU) and California Community College (CCC) data and video network implementation (4CNet), a CSU/CCC committee met in spring 1997 and agreed to an MPEG-2 standard for future digital satellite transmission.
The California State University Satellite Network (CSUSAT) retained a telecommunications consultant firm (Skjei Telecom, Inc.) to assist in selecting appropriate satellite transmission equipment and planning for an uplink facility in Southern California at the CSU Chancellor's Office WestEd facility that was to be operational by June 1998.
In December 1997, the California Community College satellite sub-committee met to discuss future satellite standards for the CCC system. The latest recommendations to CSUSAT from Skjei Telecom, Inc. were evaluated, and the committee decided that in addition to affirming their prior recommendation, colleges should purchase digital satellite equipment compatible with the MPEG-2 standard. The committee also agreed that CCC satellite compatibility with CSUSAT standards was in the CCC system's best interest.
Recently, CSU notified the California Community College Chancellor's Office that they are delaying indefinitely their decision on creating an uplink facility at their WestEd facility. Because of the new CSU policy not to move forward at this time, the CCC system needed to decide what direction to take concerning the future use of satellites in the delivery of distance education.
On May 12-13, 1998, the CCC Chancellors Office convened a meeting in Sacramento of the satellite sub-committee to meet with Carmel Ortiz, the consultant from Skjei Telecom, Inc. Representatives from CSUSAT, CSU Chico, CSU Sacramento, and several technical and academic staff from a number of community colleges also attended the meeting.
Mrs. Ortiz spent all of the first day and most of the second walking the group through the following points: (PowerPoint presentation slides are available at http://www.cccco.edu/ESED/ir&t/tnt/Sat/CARMEL02/index.htm):
LeBaron Woodyard (CCC Instructional Services and Technology dean) pointed out to the group that building the uplink facility was the easiest of the tasks ahead. He further pointed out that the programming and marketing tasks were actually the most difficult.
Mr. Woodyard spent the remainder of the second day leading a group discussion on the marketing tasks for the programs to deliver on the CCC satellite network. These included:
Mr. Woodyard finished by discussing the requirements needed in the RFA to build a CCC satellite uplink facility and marketing the programs that will be broadcast by the facility. Because of the desire to be compatible with the K-12 satellite standards, the CCCCO is looking at the possibility of adopting NextLevels Magnitude hardware (see http://www.tipsnews.org for specifications.).
The Chancellors Office is waiting for a final recommendation from Skjei Telecom, Inc. on the equipment to be used in the uplink facility before making that decision.
Essentially, the district/college awarded the RFA must:
The Chancellors Office anticipates releasing the RFA by mid-August 1998. Once the RFA is released, a series of video workshops with colleges will be scheduled to answer questions regarding the RFA. It is anticipated the RFA will be returned by early January and scored by mid-January.