NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

NEWTOWN BOROUGH FIRE HALL

14 LIBERTY STREET

NEWTOWN, PA

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4, 2006


MINUTES OF JANUARY 4, 2006: James Bowe moved to approve the minutes of January 4, 2006.  The motion was seconded by Patrick Foster and passed unanimously with two members abstaining.


Members Present: James Manahan, Chairman; James Bowe, Member and Jerry Schenkman, Liaison Representing Newtown Township; Patrick Foster, Vice-Chairman and Don Smith, Liaison Representing Newtown Borough. Not in attendance was Barbara Jankowski, Member Representing Newtown Township

Also 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 7:36 P.M.

MINUTES OF DECEMBER 7, 2005:

The approval of the minutes from the December 7, 2005 meeting has been postponed until the February 1, 2006 meeting.

NEW BUSINESS:

OLD BUSINESS:

The Committee members discussed the progress being made with regards to Verizon and the property located at 192 Commonwealth Drive.

The Committee members discussed the December meeting with regards to Joe Ugras and content for the education channel. James Bowe advised the members with regards to prior discussions with Bucks County Community College and that there have been some administrative changes at the college. He advised that he would initiate new discussions with regards to providing content. James Bowe commented with regards to Comcast and the channel lineup. Brian Jeter advised that he has spoken with a representative from LaSalle University. Brian Jeter commented with regards to Holy Family College. James Bowe advised that the content should be shown on Channel 78. James Bowe commented with regards to the agreement between the Township/Borough and Council Rock School District with regards to Channel 78. James Bowe advised that he would contact Council Rock School District to discuss sharing Channel 78 with the local colleges and universities. James Bowe advised that he would provide Brian Jeter with the contact information for Council Rock School District. Brian Jeter advised on the possible ways to include programming from several locations – the exchange of tapes to a central location, a feed and switch at each of the locations or with regards to LaSalle University/Philadelphia Campus feeding from a fiber line and delivering directly to the Council Rock location. The members discussed the equipment that would be needed. James Bowe suggested that the Committee contact Northampton Township’s Cable Committee to discuss their educational channel. The Committee members discussed the program Council Rock School District offers with regards to video production. James Bowe suggested that the Committee also contact Wrightstown and Upper Makefield’s Cable Committees. Brian Jeter advised the members on his past experiences with regards to programming content. James Bowe commented with regards to the residents having the ability to view the Upper Makefield Supervisors Meetings. Brian Jeter suggested that the Committee contact Council Rock School District with regards to producing content for the Township/Borough’s community channels.

COMCAST UPDATE:

Brian Jeter advised the Committee members that Comcast has had no changes since the December 2005 meeting.

Brian Jeter advised the members that he is meeting with a representative from Bucks County Community College to discuss a matter and would also try to discuss the college providing content for the Township/Borough’s education channel.

Brian Jeter advised the members on Comcast’s Goals for 2006:

Brian Jeter advised that he would continue to keep the Committee members updated.

James Manahan commented with regards to the networks offering reruns for $ .99. Brian Jeter advised the members.

Don Smith commented with regards to the Ala Cart programming. Brian Jeter advised that Comcast is now offering a family tier. He also advised the Committee members with regards to an upcoming FCC report.

The Committee members discussed National and State Franchising. Brian Jeter encouraged the members to take a stand with regards to National and State Franchising.

The members discussed Comcast’s position with regards to National and State Franchising. Brian Jeter advised the members with regards to Comcast.

Don Smith questioned Comcast’s customer complaint statistics. Brian Jeter advised the Committee members with regards to customer complaint statistics and Comcast’s call center.

The Committee members discussed the new Franchise Agreement between Comcast and Lower Makefield Township.

James Bowe commented with regards to the number of customers Comcast has in the Newtown Commons. Brian Jeter advised that he would research further and update the Committee.

James Bowe commented with regards to the ability to contact a representative from Comcast’s business group.

Patrick Foster advised Brian Jeter that with regards to watching programming from Northampton Township, he could not hear the audio. Brian Jeter advised he would forward that information.

James Manahan questioned if Comcast could broadcast the Board of Supervisor meetings On-Demand. Brian Jeter advised he would research and advised the Committee.

Brian Jeter updated the Committee members with regards to Ralph Douglas and the countywide channel. He discussed the concerns that Comcast has.

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

The Committee members discussed the new members appointed to the Committee. Jerry Schenkman advised the members with regards to new member Harry Stevens’ background.

The Committee members discussed Barbara Jankowski’s report to the Board of Supervisors.

Don Smith advised the Committee members that Patrick Foster has agreed to renew his term on the Committee.

The Committee members discussed Verizon’s status within Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

The Committee members discussed the number of residents in the Township/Borough that know about the Newtown Area Telecommunications Advisory Committee.

James Bowe commented with regards to the Committee’s goals for 2006. He suggested that the Committee research what would be involved to televise debates during campaign times. He also commented with regards to Northampton’s channel.

Jerry Schenkman commented with regards to having more content on the Township/Borough’s community channels (examples: Zoning Hearing Board, Planning Commission). The Committee members discussed the agreement between the Township and Video Gold with regards to the control booth at the Municipal Building. The members discussed the length of the agreement between the Township and Video Gold and the equipment that Video Gold uses to produce content for the Township. Jerry Schenkman suggested having someone other than Video Gold to produce content for the Township. James Bowe commented with regards to the studios at BCCC. Jerry Schenkman discussed the availability of grants.

The Committee members discussed the possibility of the Township offering streaming video off of the web site.

The Committee members discussed Verizon with regards to permit fees. Patrick Foster provided the Committee members with information regarding road-opening permits.

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting adjourned at 8:43 P.M.

The next meeting is scheduled for February 1, 2006. 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