JOINT CABLE TELEVISION ADVISORY BOARD
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 20, 2002
Minutes of February 20, 2002: Walt Iwaskiw moved to approve the minutes of February 20, 2002. The motion was seconded by Ernie Bancroft and passed unanimously.
Members Present: James Bowe, Chairman, Walt Iwaskiw, Vice Chairman, Dr. Joe Ugras, Member, Scott Harp, Liaison, Representing Newtown Township. Not in attendance are Stuart Myles, Treasurer, Ernie Bancroft, Member, and Allen Reed, Liaison, Representing Newtown Borough.
Also present were Steve Rabbitt and Michael Sinback representing Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.
CALL TO ORDER:
Chairman James Bowe called the meeting to order at 7:36 p.m.
MINUTES OF JANUARY 16, 2002:
Dr. Joe Ugras moved to approve the minutes of January 16, 2002. The motion was seconded by Walt Iwaskiw and passed unanimously.
James Bowe introduced Steve Rabbitt, Regional Vice President, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc. Steve Rabbitt gave the committee members an overview of his past work experience.
James Bowe introduced Michael Sinback, Director of Engineering, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc. Michael Sinback gave the committee members an overview of his past work experience. He also explained what he does for Comcast.
James Bowe advised the committee that the township code requires the committee to perform an evaluation of the system every three years. The committee discussed what would be involved with the review. James Bowe will contact Tom Harwood. Walt Iwaskiw suggested contacting Fred Polner. Steve Rabbitt advised Comcast would help if they could.
The committee discussed the status of the cable pedestals in The Ridings. James Bowe advised he would contact the Homeowners Association to set up another meeting. Walt Iwaskiw advised he would also attend the meeting.
James Bowe advised that Newtown Crossing is complete.
James Bowe updated the committee on the status of the problem with a resident in Newtown Crossing. During the rebuild, a missile passed under the sidewalk and hit a pipe coming from an underground home oil-heating tank. The committee and Comcast have been working together to resolve the problem. Steve Rabbitt advised that Comcast is taking care of the problem.
Walt Iwaskiw asked if the cracked sidewalks in Tyler Walk had been fixed. James Bowe advised that they had been taken care of.
James Bowe updated the committee on his meeting with Toby Mochel in regards to Channel 78.
James Bowe updated the committee on the work session with the Board of Supervisors on January 21, 2002. He advised the committee the BOS are pleased with the track the committee is taking on the name change.
The committee discussed the different construction issues that have come up. Scott Harp referenced a report Pennoni Associates has written for the township logging any complaints about pedestals. The committee discussed sharing that information with Comcast. James Bowe asked if Pennoni could email that report to a contact list. Scott Harp advised Comcast to call Tom Harwood for a copy of report.
Walt Iwaskiw asked Steve Rabbitt about the transition of people at Comcast. If they had found someone to fill the position Director of Community & Government Relations. Steve Rabbitt advised that Comcast hopes to have the position filled within the next week.
Steve Rabbitt advised the committee there would be a cable representative at every meeting.
Walt Iwaskiw asked Mike Sinback about the heights of the pedestals. If Comcast has a standard height that the pedestals are above the ground. Mike Sinback advised that it would depend on the type of pedestals. The round green pedestals have a visible mark that should be about 3 to 4 inches from the base. The large rectangular pedestals have a base that is buried underground. Mike Sinback advised the size of the pedestal would depend on how many customers it feeds. Walt Iwaskiw asked if Comcast could get the committee spec sheets on the equipment they are now using. Mike Sinback advised he would get that information to the committee.
Mike Sinback advised the committee that in new construction Comcast and other utilities are trying to co-locate the pedestals. Walt Iwaskiw advised that the committee did recommend that to the Township Board.
Steve Rabbitt updated the committee on the rate increase. It would take effect in March. It is about an 8% rate increase. Comcast would also be adding the following channels – Country Music Television, Outdoor Live and The Game Show Network.
Dr. Joe Ugras asked Steve Rabbitt how Comcast was planning to compete with the satellite dish providers. Steve Rabbitt advised the committee on different strategies.
The committee discussed the possibility of getting a New York station. Steve Rabbitt and Mike Sinback advised the committee that a major part of the programming would have to be blacked out due to the Philadelphia Broadcasters having exclusive rights for this area.
The committee discussed the growth of customers subscribing to cable. Steve Rabbitt advised that they expect to gain about two thousand customers in the year 2002.
The committee discussed the franchise fees calculations for the last quarter of 2001. There was growth in every category.
The committee discussed the Pennsylvania Cable Network. Steve Rabbitt advised the committee that Comcast has been in negotiations with PCN.
Walt Iwaskiw asked Steve Rabbitt why channel CN8 doesn’t play the Council Rock games. Steve Rabbitt advised he would look into it.
Steve Rabbitt advised the committee that Comcast offers a dish buy back program.
Steve Rabbitt updated the committee on the Comcast high-speed conversion. He advised the committee that Comcast is pleased with how the conversion went.
The committee discussed the status of moving the Comcast facility. Mike advised the committee on the status of the move.
The committee discussed the status of the OTM.
The committee discussed taking a tour of the Ivyland facility.
The committee discussed the status of Comcast monitoring home systems. Steve Rabbitt advised that has been taken care of.
The committee discussed Newtown Commons. Steve Rabbitt advised Comcast has been trying to reach Doug Terry. They have been unsuccessful. James Bowe advised he would forward Doug Terry’s email address to Steve Rabbitt.
James Bowe advised Comcast that Newtown has designated a large section of the township as the Office Research Zone. He felt that service would be needed in this area as development begins. Steve Rabbitt wasn’t sure if that would fall under Comcast Residential or Business. He would speak to the person who handles the Business service.
Walt Iwaskiw asked Steve Rabbitt if he could provide the committee with information on what the Business service offers. Steve Rabbitt suggested having a Business Representative attend one of the meetings.
James Bowe thanked Comcast for resolving the problem with Mr. Sterling, 2186 Twining Road.
The committee discussed if there were any other developments that still need to be upgraded. Mike Sinback advised he wasn’t aware of any. Walt Iwaskiw advised the committee about the former recording secretary living on a street that was not cabled. The committee would review past minutes to find addresses.
The committee discussed the possibility of receiving the programming from LaSalle in Philadelphia. Steve Rabbitt will research what is involved.
OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:
The committee discussed updating the cable representative’s information on the member list.
Members discussed RCN.
The committee discussed the PEG channel programming.
The committee discussed the programming of Channel 58.
The committee discussed the programming of Channel 23.
The committee discussed getting more video equipment for the Township.
The committee discussed the possibility of having a volunteer program to videotape local events.
The committee discussed taking a tour of the Newtown Township Facility. James Bowe recommended taking the tour prior to a BOS meeting. James Bowe advised he would contact Ron Weaver to arrange the tour. He will notify members of the date.
The committee discussed cable competition in Newtown.
The committee discussed inviting other municipalities to a meeting.
The committee discussed member attendance.
The committee discussed increasing the size of the committee from five to seven members. Members felt it was a good idea.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.
The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 20, 2002.
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary