NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

NEWTOWN BOROUGH FIRE HALL

14 LIBERTY STREET

NEWTOWN, PA

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2006


DRAFT - SUBJECT TO AMENDMENT BY THE NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE UNTIL APPROVED.


Members Present: James Manahan, Chairman; James Bowe, Member; Harry Stevens, Member and Robert Hafner, Member Representing Newtown Township; Patrick Foster, Vice-Chairman and Don Smith, Liaison Representing Newtown Borough. Not present were Barbara Jankowski, Member and Jerry Schenkman, Liaison Representing Newtown Township.

Also present was former member Scott Harp.

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 7:36 P.M.

MINUTES OF MARCH 1, 2006:

James Bowe moved to approve the minutes of March 1, 2006. The motion was seconded by Patrick Foster and passed unanimously.

Member Robert Hafner did not arrive until after the minutes were approved.

NEW BUSINESS:

Franchise Agreement Appendix for Township and Borough

The Committee members discussed the possible Franchise Agreement with Verizon.

The Committee members discussed setting up a subcommittee to begin drafting a Franchise Agreement Appendix, similar to the Herndon, Virginia agreement.

James Manahan advised that the subcommittee should consist of at least one member from the Borough and the Township. He suggested that Harry Stevens represents the Township and that Patrick Foster represents the Borough.

Don Smith discussed the upcoming April 10, 2006 meeting with Verizon.

Don Smith advised that the Borough has begun drafting a Franchise Agreement Appendix.

The Committee members discussed drafting a list of the buildings in the Township/Borough that will need to be wired.

The Committee members discussed prior Franchise Agreements that the Township/Borough have had.

The Committee members discussed Community Access Channels. Members agreed that several should be requested on the Franchise Agreement to be reserved for future use. Members discussed the number of Community Access Channels that the Township has with Comcast.

OLD BUSINESS:

Hosting Campaign Debates

The Committee members discussed the Township/Borough hosting campaign debates.

James Bowe advised the Committee members on his progress with regards to the matter.

Verizon Franchise Agreements

The Committee members discussed the upcoming meeting with Verizon on Monday, April 10, 2006.

Scott Harp advised that he has not heard anything with regards to the agreement as of now.

The Committee members discussed the timeframe it will take Verizon to deliver service.

Harry Stevens commented with regards to Verizon’s FiOS service and Verizon providing content.

The Committee members discussed Verizon’s agreements with the networks.

The Committee members discussed what could happen if a State or Federal Franchise Agreement is passed.

The Committee members discussed Franchise Fees with regards to video content.

COMCAST UPDATE:

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

Don Smith updated the Committee members with regards to the Borough having discussions regarding a Government Channel.

The Committee members discussed the Upper Makefield and Wrightstown Government Channels.

Scott Harp discussed the Township’s agreement with Upper Makefield and Wrightstown Townships with regards to content on Channel 58.

The Committee members discussed the possibility of viewing the government meetings from Middletown and Lower Makefield Townships.

The Committee members discussed how Lower Makefield runs their Township Channels.

Scott Harp advised the Committee members on discussions he has had with representatives from LaSalle University with regards to programming content. He also discussed receiving content from Holy Family and Bucks County Community College.

The Committee members discussed the correspondence received from Newtown resident Michael Piazza with regards to Comcast.

The Committee members discussed video content being delivered over the Internet.

The Committee members discussed the Congressional Meetings with regards to Franchise Agreements.

The Committee members discussed the possible loss of franchise fees.

The Committee members discussed the changes to television technology.

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting adjourned at 8:14 P.M.

After the meeting adjourned the Committee met in Executive Session.

The next meeting is scheduled for May 3, 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