NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

NEWTOWN BOROUGH FIRE HALL

14 LIBERTY STREET

NEWTOWN, PA

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2005


MINUTES OF NOVEMBER 2, 2005: James Bowe moved to approve the minutes of November 2, 2005. The motion was seconded by Walt Iwaskiw and passed unanimously.


Members Present: James Manahan, Chairman; Barbara Jankowski, Member; Steve Erwin, Member; Walt Iwaskiw, Member; James Bowe, Member and Scott Harp, Liaison Representing Newtown Township; Patrick Foster, Vice-Chairman and Don Smith, Liaison Representing Newtown Borough.

Not present was Brian Jeter, Director of Government & Community Relations representing Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman James Manahan called the meeting to order at 7:33 p.m.

MINUTES OF OCTOBER 5, 2005:

James Bowe moved to approve the minutes of October 5, 2005. The motion was seconded by Steve Erwin and passed unanimously with Patrick Foster abstaining.

NEW BUSINESS:

OLD BUSINESS:

The committee members discussed the Township's draft Franchise Agreement with Verizon and the memorandum dated September 27, 2005 received from Fred Polner. James Bowe and Scott Harp advised the committee members with regards to Fred Polner's background with the Township. The committee discussed Verizon having a Franchise Agreement at a federal level. The committee members discussed contacting the State Representatives to advise that Newtown Township and Newtown Borough are against State or National Franchising. Mr. Harp advised that Mr. Pellegrino has contacted Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick. The committee members discussed the number of municipalities involved in the Consortium. The committee members discussed negotiation meetings with Verizon. Mr. Harp advised that discussions with Verizon would be taking place on November 10, 2005. The members discussed waiting for Verizon to contact the Township/Borough with regards to the Franchise Agreement. The committee members discussed State and National Franchising and the effects on local municipalities. Steve Erwin questioned who makes the final decision with regards to the Consortium and the Franchise Agreements. The members discussed the decision making process. James Bowe commented with regards to the memorandum received from Fred Polner and Fred Polner's views regarding technology. He also discussed the future changes in technology. Scott Harp commented with regards to cable competition. Don Smith commented with regards to the Borough's and Township's Right of Way Ordinance. James Manahan requested the committee members to forward their responses to the correspondence received from Fred Polner to him by the December meeting. The committee members discussed the draft Franchise Agreement dated August 8, 2005 and whether there is an updated version. The Recording Secretary advised she would contact the Township to request the most current draft. The committee members discussed state of the art technology as of today. Walt Iwaskiw suggested questioning Verizon with regards to the services they are going to be providing. The committee members agreed that was a good idea. The committee members discussed the time length of the proposed Franchise Agreement with Verizon. Walt Iwaskiw advised the committee members with regards to Verizon's work within his development. Patrick Foster advised the members on the one-call markings being done by the Newtown Artesian Water Company and his feelings with regards to the work being done by Verizon. James Manahan advised that he has not received any complaints with regards to Verizon.

James Manahan advised the members with regards to having Tel Vue make a presentation. Scott Harp commented with regards to the Township having problems with the teleprompter. The committee members agreed not to pursue the matter.

COMCAST UPDATE:

The committee members discussed the email received from Brian Jeter. Copies of the attachments were provided to the members.

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

The committee members discussed the current Franchise Agreement with Comcast. Some members advised that they did not have a copy. The Recording Secretary advised that she would contact the Township to request a copy and forward to any members who need a copy.

The committee members discussed the work being done by PECO within Newtown Crossing.

The committee members discussed the number of utilities being run underground.

The committee members discussed the number of safes (utility boxes) within the Township.

The committee members discussed the co-location of utilities.

The committee members discussed having representatives from Comcast and Verizon attend the monthly meetings. Walt Iwaskiw suggested having Comcast and Verizon alternate their attendance every month. Some members advised that they would prefer both representatives attend every meeting.

The committee members discussed the improvements to the character generator.

The members discussed having the local Colleges and Universities attend a meeting to discuss possible content. James Bowe advised on administrative changes at the Bucks County Community College.

Scott Harp advised the members with regards to several articles discussing cable. He provided members with copies of the articles.

Scott Harp advised that he may not be able to attend the December meeting and thanked all the committee members for their work on the committee.

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting adjourned at 8:26 p.m.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 7, 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