NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

NEWTOWN BOROUGH FIRE HALL

14 LIBERTY STREET

NEWTOWN, PA

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2005


MINUTES OF JANUARY 5, 2005: James Bowe moved to approve the minutes of January 5, 2005. The motion was seconded by Barbara Jankowski and passed unanimously.


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

Also present were Joseph Czajkowski representing Comcast Cable Communications, Inc. and Pete Guidotti, Yardley Borough Cable Board.

CALL TO ORDER:

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

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.

NEW BUSINESS:

The committee members discussed the presentation Verizon made earlier that morning, regarding the new services Verizon will be offering in the Township and Borough. Walt Iwaskiw advised the members whom were unable to attend that the presentation was made to multiple municipalities. Verizon advised that they would be running fiber through neighborhoods and small business areas. Verizon will only run the fiber to the curb, unless the resident chooses to purchase the service, then the fiber would be continued to run from the curb to the residents. They expect to offer a voice/data service this year and television service at a later date. Verizon did discuss franchise agreements. Don Smith advised that Verizon is pushing Congress to reduce franchise fee or eliminate altogether. Walt Iwaskiw advised that per the FCC web site he believes Verizon would need a franchise agreement with the municipalities unless the government does not require. Walt Iwaskiw advised that Verizon only needs a franchise agreement for the television services not the voice/data service. The members discussed Verizon being very competitive with regards to pricing. Walt Iwaskiw commented with regards to Verizon and the Township/Borough community channels. The members discussed the speeds that the Verizon services would transmit at.

OLD BUSINESS:

The committee members discussed the improvements to the character generator. Walt Iwaskiw advised he has not completed the list of recommendations; he has still waiting for some members to email him their recommendations.

The committee members discussed the character generator software. Walt Iwaskiw advised that the Township has upgraded the character generator software with a newer version of the same software. The committee members discussed their concerns regarding the ability of remote access and less typing (ability to import data).

Walt Iwaskiw advised that TelVue has contacted him again with regards to the character generator. Walt Iwaskiw advised he would discuss the character generator further with Bob Pellegrino.

The committee members discussed wireless internet service within the community. Walt Iwaskiw advised that the Newtown wireless business that contacted him in the past has been communicating with the JDNC. The members discussed areas within the Borough and Township that they felt would do well with the wireless internet service. The members discussed the benefits of wireless services. Don Smith asked the committee members if they had an idea of who would be interested in the wireless services. The committee members discussed articles regarding areas that are using wireless internet service. James Bowe advised he felt having the wireless internet service in the community would be an asset. Scott Harp advised the committee members to develop a request for proposal (RFP) and try to set up a meeting with the vendor. The committee discussed the rules of the RFP. Scott Harp advised on some of the regulations of the RFP.

The committee members discussed the work Verizon is doing in the Township and Borough. The members discussed the underground vaults Verizon is using. The members discussed the placement of the vaults into the ground and ground settlement problems. Barbara Jankowski advised that Verizon in now working in her neighborhood. She advised the committee members that equipment has been placed all over her neighborhood playground and that there was no notice at her past two (2) Homeowner Association meetings. Scott Harp advised he would research the matter. James Bowe advised that before Verizon began working in Tyler Walk they did have a meeting with the Homeowner Association. Don Smith advised the committee members that Verizon has a budget to pay for parking their vehicles.

COMCAST UPDATE:

Joseph Czajkowski updated the committee members on the following:

Don Smith asked when Comcast is expecting to complete the countywide channel line-up. Joseph Czajkowski advised the countywide channel line-up is still being delayed. Comcast is still working with NJN.

Walt Iwaskiw advised the members on an article today regarding TiVo having a box that will broadcast through a computer.

Patrick Foster advised that Comcast has taken care of his problem with bad cable reception on channels 2 through 6.

James Bowe asked if Comcast has heard anything from the Ridings at Newtown. Joseph Czajkowski advised that Comcast has not heard anything from the Homeowners Association. The committee members discussed the flush mounted boxes being used by Verizon and the possibility of Comcast feeling pressed to use flush mounted boxes. Joseph Czajkowski advised on the standards for Comcast equipment.

Pete Guidotti asked if Comcast would use flush mounted boxes in new developments. Joseph Czajkowski advised that he was unsure if Comcast would ever use flush mounted boxes. He advised the committee members on past problems Comcast has had with underground boxes.

Pete Guidotti asked if Comcast would go wireless. Joseph Czajkowski advised that Comcast is currently offering wireless service in Philadelphia.

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

Pete Guidotti, Yardley Borough Cable Board requested a copy of the Township’s franchise agreement with Comcast. Scott Harp advised Pete Guidotti to contact John Boyle at 215-968-2800 ext. 265, to request a copy of the Township’s franchise agreement with Comcast.

James Bowe advised that Bob Pellegrino has advised him that the Township is going to scan the franchise agreement into a PDF.

Scott Harp discussed when the time comes for the committee to begin reviewing the current franchise agreement with Comcast.

Pete Guidotti advised the committee members that Yardley Borough is only interested in a three (3) or four (4) year agreement with Comcast due to the way technology is changing and competition is building. Yardley Borough anticipates PECO offering service in the future. Mr. Harp offered his advice. Joseph Czajkowski advised that Comcast would offer a standard agreement for three (3) years.

The committee members discussed PECO offering service in the future. Walt Iwaskiw advised the committee members on problems he has heard of regarding PECO.

Scott Harp advised that approximately five (5) years ago Exelon ran a fiber optic line through the Township and Borough. Patrick Foster advised on the pathway of the fiber optic line running through the area.

The committee members discussed the fiber RCN ran on Sycamore Street.

The committee members discussed the benefits of high speed internet.

Scott Harp thanked the committee members for all their hard work in the year 2004. He gave a special thanks to Patrick Foster for all his work involving the Newtown Artesian Water Company and Verizon. He also discussed the possibility of changing the meeting night to another evening of the month.

REORGANIZATION:

James Bowe made a motion at appoint James Manahan as Chairman for the year 2005. The motion was seconded by Walt Iwaskiw and passed unanimously.

James Manahan mad a motion to appoint Patrick Foster as the Vice-Chairman for the year 2005. The motion was seconded by James Bowe and passed unanimously.

ADJOURNMENT:

James Bowe made a motion to adjourn the meeting, which was seconded by Patrick Foster. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 8:31 p.m.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 2, 2005. 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