NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

NEWTOWN BOROUGH FIRE HALL

14 LIBERTY STREET

NEWTOWN, PA

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2004


MINUTES OF DECEMBER 1, 2004: James Manahan moved to approve the minutes of December 1, 2004. The motion was seconded by Patrick Foster and passed unanimously with one member abstaining.


Members Present: Walt Iwaskiw, Chairman; James Manahan, Member; Steve Erwin, Member; and Barbara Jankowski, Member Representing Newtown Township; Patrick Foster, Vice-Chairman Representing Newtown Borough. Not in attendance were James Bowe, Member; and Scott Harp, Liaison Representing Newtown Township and Don Smith, Liaison Representing Newtown Borough.

Also present were Joseph Czajkowski representing Comcast Cable Communications, Inc. and Newtown resident Phyllis Ferro.

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman Walt Iwaskiw called the meeting to order at 7:36 p.m.

MINUTES OF NOVEMBER 3, 2004:

James Manahan moved to approve the minutes of November 3, 2004. The motion was seconded by Patrick Foster and passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS:

Phyllis Ferro introduced herself to the committee members. She advised that she was attending the meeting as a township resident and that she is the local manager for Verizon. She explained how Verizon was responsible for damaging James Bowe’s mailbox and after meeting him and discussing the Newtown Area Telecommunications Advisory Committee he invited her to attend a meeting to see what’s happening in the area.

Walt Iwaskiw asked Phyllis Ferro to look into the hanging wire across from Tyler Park on the corner of Rt. 413 and Swamp Road. Phyllis Ferro advised she would have someone from Verizon look into the matter.

James Manahan asked Phyllis Ferro to look into when Verizon would be out to repair the low hanging wires at 77 Newtown-Richboro Road. Phyllis Ferro advised she would research the matter.

Phyllis Ferro advised the committee members that Verizon is running fiber only to the curb, if the resident would choose to purchase the service, then the fiber would be continued to run from the curb to the residents. She advised the committee members on positive results from using fiber. The committee members discussed the DSL speed when using fiber vs. cable. Committee members discussed the equipment used for DSL.

Phyllis Ferro advised the committee members that she could not discuss the possible new services being offered by Verizon, but she would contact someone at Verizon who could, and have them attend an upcoming meeting to update the committee members on the new service. She advised if everything works out the new service would be available the first quarter of 2005.

The committee members discussed franchise agreements. Patrick Foster advised that at this time the Borough does not have a franchise agreement with Verizon.

The committee members discussed the work Verizon is doing within the Township/Borough. Patrick Foster advised the members and Phyllis Ferro on a problem with one of Verizon’s sub contractors. Phyllis Ferro offered to help Patrick Foster if she could.

Walt Iwaskiw asked why Verizon is changing pedestals. Phyllis Ferro advised that Verizon is putting in underground tubs. She advised the members if they were interested in seeing the finished product; the underground tubs have been installed in Tyler Walk.

OLD BUSINESS:

The committee members discussed the character generator software. Walt Iwaskiw advised the committee members that per Bob Pellegrino, Township Manager, the Township does plan on upgrading the current software. Walt Iwaskiw advised that he has offered to the Township, to come over and take a look at the equipment the Township is currently using for the character generator. Walt Iwaskiw updated the committee members on a discussion with Jeff Jim (Video Gold). Walt Iwaskiw advised he would recommend Bob Pellegrino to look into Power Point.

The committee members discussed improving the character generator. The committee members discussed Horsham Township’s regulations for content on their character generator. Committee members discussed videotaping events within the community, the committee members discussed having local companies sponsor such events.

The members agreed possible content should include:

The members agreed to email Walt Iwaskiw their recommendations for the character generator.

COMCAST UPDATE:

Joseph Czajkowski updated the committee members on the following:

Steve Erwin asked Joseph Czajkowski if he has a schedule for when analogue channels would move over to the digital format. Joseph Czajkowski advised the committee he lets them know as soon as he knows.

Walt Iwaskiw questioned when Comcast would go all digital. Joseph Czajkowski advised that Comcast would not go all digital until the law forces them to.

The committee members discussed the On Demand service with regards to programming content. Joseph Czajkowski advised that Comcast controls the programming content at two locations – Bensalem, Pennsylvania or New Castle, Delaware. He explained how the service works.

The committee members discussed Comcast’s digital phone service.

The committee members discussed the 1996 Cable Act.

The committee members discussed the Comcast office located in Newtown Borough. Joseph Czajkowski advised the office hours are Monday through Friday 8 AM to 5 PM, no weekend hours. He advised the members that the Ivyland, Bensalem and Levittown Comcast offices have Saturday hours.

Patrick Foster advised Joseph Czajkowski that he is receiving bad cable reception on channels 2 through 6. Joseph Czajkowski advised he would look into the matter.

Steve Erwin also advised Joseph Czajkowski that he was having problems with his reception when he had the HD service, any channel below 100 and all analogue channels. Joseph Czajkowski advised he would look into the matter.

Barbara Jankowski advised she too had reception problems with the HD service. Joseph Czajkowski advised he would look into the matter.

Walt Iwaskiw advised the committee members on his prior reception problems.

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

ADJOURNMENT:

James Manahan made a motion to adjourn the meeting, which was seconded by Steve Erwin. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 9:23 p.m.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 05, 2004. The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m., in the Newtown Borough Fire Station located at 14 Liberty Street, Newtown.


Respectfully submitted:


____________________________
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary