JOINT CABLE TELEVISION ADVISORY BOARD

WEDNESDAY JUNE 20, 2001


APPROVAL OF MINUTES at the regular meeting of August 15, 2001: Minutes of June 20, 2001: James Bowe moved to approve the minutes of June 20, 2001.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Bancroft and passed unanimously.


Members Present: Dr. Joe Ugras, Chairman; James Bowe, Vice Chairman; Walt Iwaskiw, Member, Representing Newtown Township; Stuart Myles, Member, Representing the Newtown Borough.  Not in attendance: Ernie Bancroft, Treasurer and Mark Craig, Liaison, Representing the Newtown Borough and Scott Harp, Liaison, Representing Newtown Township.

Others Present: Ted Christian, Director of Community & Government Relations at Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.

CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Dr. Joe Ugras called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m. 

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES: Dr. Joe Ugras made a motion to approve the May 16, 2001, minutes, which was seconded by James Bowe.  The motion carried unanimously.

COMCAST UPDATE:                       

a.      Educational Channels - Ted Christian advised that the LaSalle University Channel will be up and running by September 1, 2001.                

The channel setup will be as follows: 

            Channel 78 - Council Rock and Bucks County Community College

            Channel 58 - University Channel

            Channel 23 - Government Channel 

Bucks County Community College will be given the choice to stay on Channel 78 or change to Channel 58, the University Channel.  James Bowe will find out by September 1, 2001, if BCCC wants to keep Channel 78 or change to Channel 58. 

Ted Christian will look into what it will take to get an extra channel and where it would go on the dial.  Hopefully that will coincide will the September 1, 2001, date.  

LaSalle, BCCC and Holy Family can share the University Channel.  James Bowe inquired how the channel would be shared.  Dr. Joe Ugras responded that the time would be split equally.  A weekly schedule would be set.

Ted Christian asked about the origination of Channel 78 from Council Rock High School.  Dr. Joe Ugras said that he has meet with Toby Mogul from Council Rock School District to discuss the opportunity for Council Rock to have a head switch.  The School District seems very interested.  Ted Christian advised that by September 1, 2001, the switch would be in place.  Ted Christian advised that once the head switch is at the High School it would make it easier for them to implement their tapes.  

b.      Construction Progress – Ted Christian advised that the 1st phase of the Tyler Walk construction is about 75% complete.

James Bowe said that the residents seemed relatively pleased, based on what was observed during the Homeowners Association Meeting.  It is understood that progress is slow due to the geology.  There are two complaints from residents, both with respect to cracked sidewalks or cracked driveways.  The 1st complaint is a cracked sidewalk, which may have been there pre construction.  The 2nd complaint is a driveway apron that had been shifted, which also may have been pre-construction.  However, a representative from Cable Line offered to take care if it.  The offer was made to the homeowner and the homeowner will hold them to that.  James Bowe said he would follow up on the problem.  Now Cable Line is videotaping everything before they do any kind of construction in the area, which had not occurred earlier.  

Ted Christian advised that the Newtown Crossing construction is scheduled to start in early July.

Ted Christian advised that Comcast has sent tentative plans to the Ridings and are waiting for a response.  James Bowe asked if Gary Roberts has actually given them a new plan.  Ted Christian advised that, per Joe DiJulio, the tentative plans are being sent.  James Bowe indicated that Comcast has a design division responsible for laying out the cable.  However, Gary Roberts, construction manager, feels a personal touch  is needed to look at the project first hand to make some accurate decision where equipment will be placed.  Gary Roberts has personally taken on the responsibility of drafting this plan, which accounts for the time delay and why the Ridings have been a little slow responding to this plan.  Hopefully when the plan gets out the Ridings will then sign off. 

c.       Other Business – Ted Christian advised that there would be a price change effective July 1, 2001.  For new customers after July 1st, the cost will be $39.95, for cable services if you do not have a modem.  For new customers with a modem the cost will be $44.95.

Ted Christian said he has sent out a correspondence in reference to an additional channel on the channel lineup.  The additional channel is part of the agreement Re: ABC, Disney and Comcast.  Part of the agreement is also for digital viewers, regardless of the package they have, will now be able to see ESPN News.  Soap Net has been added to the digital plus package.  Toons Disney has also been added.  VH1 Classic and Nick Games & Sports have been moved from the digital plus package to the classic package. 

Ted Christian advised that all of Waterford Place should be up and running by July 1, 2001.                 

Walt Iwaskiw asked if Comcast has looked into the problem at Lakeview Estates, located off of Eagle Road.  Ted Christian advised that the problem is being researched.      

Name/Bylaws Change for the Committee: Dr. Joe Ugras advised that he has spoken with both Scott Harp and Mark Craig and they both support the proposed change.  Mark Craig suggested that the committee come up with the specifics of what the scope should be and Walt Iwaskiw said that he would follow up.  

SATELLITE DISHES: Dr. Joe Ugras advised that he received an e-mail from Scott Harp requesting the committee contact Tom Harwood  for information on current legal questions and the role of the various homeowner association bylaws.  Members request clarification on the role of  the Homeowner Associations and the Municipality.  James Bowe advised that most of the Homeowner Associations do have bylaws.  The committee agreed to contact Tom Harwood regarding the role of  the committee where satellite dishes are concerned.  Members discussed the impact of the proposed change to the committee’s scope would have in respect to the treatment of satellite dishes. 

OTHER BUSINESS: Stuart Myles cautioned  the committee to move slowly if they are going to broaden their scope to entail all forms of telecommunications. 

The committee agreed once they have ideas about the bylaws that a draft  be sent to Fred Polner, Esquire, for review. 

James Bowe suggested the committee appoint someone to be responsible for maintaining documents and he agreed to be that person. 

Members discussed updating the township web site with the current list of members and suggested the addition of their e-mail addresses.  The committee agreed this was a good idea. 

Walt Iwaskiw spoke about a cable news article in The Philadelphia Inquire with several senators backing cable competition.  The senators are upset about the increasing cost of cable.                                   

ADJOURNMENT: The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 15, 2001.

Dr. Joe Ugras made a motion to adjourn the meeting, which was seconded by James Bowe.  The motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted:

 

___________________________
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary