NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

NEWTOWN BOROUGH FIRE HALL

14 LIBERTY STREET

NEWTOWN, PA

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2, 2005


MINUTES OF MARCH 2, 2005: James Bowe moved to approve the minutes of March 2, 2005. The motion was seconded by Steve Erwin and passed unanimously 

Walt Iwaskiw advised he had one change to the minutes from the February 2, 2005 meeting. Under the Comcast Update the statement regarding the Comcast High Speed Internet upgrades should read as follows – Comcast has increased the speeds of its internet service. Customers who currently use the residential service which provides 3mpbs download/256kbps upload will increase 4mbps download/384kbps upload. Those customers with the 4mbps/384kbps service will see their speeds increase to 6mbps download/768kbps upload. Walt Iwaskiw made a motion to amend the minutes. The motion was seconded by James Bowe and passed unanimously.


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

Also present were Ronald Weaver, Newtown Township Technology Manager and Joseph Czajkowski representing Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman James Manahan called the meeting to order at 7:31 p.m.

MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 2, 2005:

The recording secretary advised the members that there is one change to the February 2, 2005 minutes, under the Comcast update with regards to the Comcast High Speed Internet upgrades. The residential service speed should have been 3mbps download not 2mbps. James Manahan moved to approve the minutes of February 2, 2005. The motion was seconded by James Bowe and passed unanimously

NEW BUSINESS:

James Bowe congratulated James Manahan on his first report before the BOS. James Manahan thanked the committee members for their help.

James Bowe advised the committee members on a complaint received from a Township resident with regards to Comcast. The resident advised James Bowe that the Comcast technician borrowed his television systems manuals and has not returned them. Joseph Czajkowski advised he would research the matter and have the manuals returned to the customer.

OLD BUSINESS:

The committee members discussed the complaint received from a Township resident with regards Comcast. Joe Czajkowski updated the members with regards to Comcast resolving the problem. Scott Harp complemented the way the committee members and Comcast resolved the matter.

The committee members discussed the status of the Channel 23 with regards to the background noise. James Bowe advised that the problem had been taken care of. Ron Weaver advised the committee members that with the help of Comcast technicians the “hum” was isolated back to the Township and was a microphone problem. Ron Weaver then contacted Video Gold who advised him that at least two cables are bad. The Township is in the process of replacing the bad cables. Ron Weaver advised he is not sure if the background noise will go away 100%. The committee members discussed the expansion of the municipal complex with regards to the proper construction of the area were the Township meetings will be broadcast live.

The committee members discussed the character generator. The members discussed the new software being used for the character generator. Members agreed they like the recent changes the Technology department has done with the character generator. Ron Weaver advised the committee members on his feelings with regards to their past discussions regarding the character generator. Ron Weaver asked for feedback from the committee members with regards to the changes on the character generator. Scott Harp advised that the changes to the character generator have only been in effect for a few weeks and once the residents have more time to view the changes, he believes there will be positive feedback. James Bowe invited Ron Weaver to attend more of the meetings to offer his views on items the committee is discussing and advised him that the committee was only looking to help offer ideas on ways to improve the content of the character generator. Ron Weaver had questions with regards to TelVue the company who handles the character generator for Ocean City, New Jersey. Joseph Czajkowski advised Ron Weaver that he has had prior contact with TelVue and their prices are approximately $12,000 for the initial setup depending on your level of service and they run your channel, there is also a monthly fee. James Manahan advised he would discuss the current changes to the character generator at his next report to the BOS. The committee members discussed the types of information that could be displayed on the character generator. Ron Weaver advised the members on his past experiences of what has been displayed on the character generator. Barbara Jankowski questioned if the character generator allows for remote access. Ron Weaver advised that is not possible at this time, but he will investigate for future use, he also advised the committee members on the Township’s past experiences with remote access. Ron Weaver advised the committee members that in the future he would like to see the ability to go live if there were an emergency in the community. Walt Iwaskiw advised that he felt that Don Harris would be very interested in that ability. The members discussed having a Character Generator Subcommittee to discuss the recommendations for the character generator. Members agreed to have Barbara Jankowski, Walt Iwaskiw, Patrick Foster and Ron Weaver on the Character Generator Subcommittee. The members agreed that once the CGS had drafted their recommendations the Newtown Area Telecommunications Advisory Committee would present their recommendations to the BOS. Joseph Czajkowski suggested the committee draft a temp plate for incoming request to be shown on the character generator. Walt Iwaskiw provided the committee members with a draft of all the committee member’s ideas for improving the character generator.

The committee members discussed the work Verizon is doing in the Township and Borough. Members discussed the delays due to the snow. James Bowe and Barbara Jankowski advised they have seen Verizon working in their neighborhoods. Scott Harp advised that due to the weather the Township asked Verizon to stop working for the moment. He also advised that Verizon have completed 70 to 80 percent of the work. The committee members discussed the fact that the Newtown Artesian Water Company is now consulting with other local water companies with regards to dealing with Verizon. Don Smith updated the committee members on the Borough’s status with Verizon. He also advised the committee members on an outstanding invoice that Verizon has with the Newtown Artesian Water Company for employee overtime. James Manahan asked Don Smith to keep the committee advised on the status of the outstanding invoice.

COMCAST UPDATE:

Joseph Czajkowski advised the committee members that at this time Comcast has no programming changes. He also advised the committee members that customers should see a price increase on their current billing.

Steve Erwin questioned Joseph Czajkowski with regards to telephone service. Joseph Czajkowski advised that Comcast would be offering telephone service this summer.

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

Don Smith thanked the recording secretary for providing him a draft of the minutes for his Borough Council meetings.

Scott Harp updated the committee members with regards to possible programming content from LaSalle University. He advised he would update members once he has more information.

The committee members discussed the Bucks County Community College. James Bowe advised the committee members on his discussion with Dave Snellman regarding the signal not going through. James Bowe advised he would follow up and advised the committee.

The committee discussed Holy Family University.

James Manahan discussed the Township’s existing franchise agreement with Comcast. He advised any members who need a copy of the franchise agreement to let him know. James Bowe suggested that any new or renewed franchise agreements should have a requirement that the Township receives an electronic copy of the file that can be scanned and is word searchable. Ron Weaver advised the committee members he would check with the Township to see if the current franchise agreement is available in an electronic file.

Ron Weaver asked the committee who should be receiving the email sent to the email address tac@twp.newtown.pa.us. James Manahan advised he should receive those emails.

ADJOURNMENT:

James Bowe made a motion to adjourn the meeting, which was seconded by Steve Erwin. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 8:17 p.m.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 6, 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