NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

NEWTOWN BOROUGH FIRE HALL

14 LIBERTY STREET

NEWTOWN, PA

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2005


MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 7, 2005: Steve Erwin moved to approve the minutes of September 7, 2005. The motion was seconded by Walt Iwaskiw and passed unanimously.


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

Also present was Ralph McClellan, Director of Franchise Affairs, Government Affairs –Eastern Division representing Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman James Manahan called the meeting to order at 7:38 p.m.

MINUTES OF MAY 4, 2005:

James Bowe moved to approve the minutes of May 4, 2005. The motion was seconded by Steve Erwin and passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS:

The committee members discussed the proposed Verizon Franchise Agreement. James Manahan advised the committee members on Scott Harp feelings with regards to the Franchise Agreement. The committee members discussed the wiring status within the Township. Don Smith advised the committee members on the Borough’s status with regards to Verizon. Walt Iwaskiw advised he would forward his comments regarding the draft proposal for the Verizon Franchise Agreement to the committee members for their review. The committee members agreed to discuss the comments at the October meeting. James Manahan advised he would ask the BOS if there is a revised draft of the proposed Verizon Franchise Agreement and update the committee members.

The committee members discussed having TelVue Corporation attend a meeting to discuss the service they provide. James Manahan advised he would discuss with Township officials to see if the Township would be interested in the service. If the Township is interested in the service the committee will schedule a meeting to discuss the service.

OLD BUSINESS:

COMCAST UPDATE:

Ralph McClellan updated the committee members with regards to Comcast. He advised that Joseph Czajkowski’s position has been filled and the new representative will start on September 12, 2005. The new Director of Community and Government Relations will be Brian Jeter. Ralph McClellan advised that he would let Brian Jeter know about the committee’s meeting on October 5, 2005.

Steve Erwin questioned if Comcast has any new channels being added. Ralph McClellan advised he did not believe so at this time.

James Bowe questioned Comcast’s phone service. Ralph McClellan updated the committee members with regards to Comcast Digital Voice. He advised that Comcast is launching a soft rollout of the phone service. He also advised that at this time the service is not available in all areas but should be available in all of Bucks County by the end of this year. He explained the system and discussed pricing. He also discussed discount packages for customers with other Comcast services. He provided the committee members with literature advising 10 things you should know about Comcast Digital Voice.

Walt Iwaskiw advised that he has some concerns with regards to Comcast and the Township’s government and educational channels if the Township signs a Franchise Agreement with Verizon. Ralph McClellan advised that he would like to go back to the Comcast attorneys to research, but the studio, signal and camera equipment are owned by the Township. He also advised that Verizon would have to run a return line to the buildings and the signal would go out on Comcast and Verizon at the same time. Ralph McClellan discussed line tapping.

James Bowe questioned products offered for commercial customers with regards to modem service and multiple static IP. Ralph McClellan advised he would research and advise the committee members.

The committee members thanked Ralph McClellan for his attendance at the meeting.

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

James Bowe commented with regards to correspondence received from the Bucks County PEG Channel Resources Center (BCPEG), Ralph Douglass; Executive Director dated July 13, 2005. He discussed the Comcast Community Television Channel, the Township’s Community Channel 66 and the BuxMont Community Cable Network (BCCN). The committee members discussed the correspondence. Ralph McClellan advised the committee members with regards to the Township’s control over their government and community channels. He also commented with regards to having a public access channel. He advised that the Township would not loose CN8 if they have a channel slot reserved. Ralph McClellan advised that the BCPEG is trying to sell their service to the municipalities andthat Comcast is not involved.

Ralph McClellan advised the committee members on Verizon signing Franchise Agreements in other states. He provided the committee members with literature regarding National Franchise Legislation and suggested they get involved. The committee members discussed contacting the Township’s consultant with regards to Verizon and the Franchise Agreements. The committee members discussed the Bills before Congress with regards to Franchise Agreements.

The committee members discussed public access channels.

The committee members discussed the correspondence regarding the BuxMont Community Cable Network endorsement.

The committee members discussed the “Let’s Talk” show staring Dick Weaver and Bob Pellegrino airing on Channel 23.

Walt Iwaskiw advised the committee members on discussions with Ron Weaver.

The committee members discussed the Chairman’s report to the BOS with regards to public access channels and the content on Channel 23.

The committee members discussed advertising on Channel 23.

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting adjourned at 8:28 p.m.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 5, 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