NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
NEWTOWN BOROUGH FIRE HALL
14 LIBERTY STREET
WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 2006
DRAFT - SUBJECT TO AMENDMENT BY THE NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE UNTIL APPROVED.
Members Present: James Manahan, Chairman; Barbara Jankowski, Member; Robert Hafner, Member and Jerry Schenkman, Liaison Representing Newtown Township; Patrick Foster, Vice-Chairman and Don Smith, Liaison Representing Newtown Borough. Not present were James Bowe, Member and Harry Stevens, Member Representing Newtown Township.
Also present was Robert F. Smith, Vice President Government Affairs Eastern Division representing Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.
CALL TO ORDER:
Chairman James Manahan called the meeting to order at 7:36 P.M.
MINUTES OF APRIL 5, 2006:
The Approval of the April 5, 2006 minutes has been postponed until the June meeting.
Franchise Agreement Appendix for Township and Borough
The Committee members discussed the email received from Harry Stevens regarding the Township/Borough PEG Channels.
The Committee members discussed the email drafted by John Boyle with regards to Townshipís Appendix A and PEG Channels.
Don Smith advised the Committee members that the Borough forwarded their requirements to John Boyle.
The Committee members discussed the email received from Brian Jeter regarding the Township/Borough PEG Channels.
Verizon Franchise Agreement
Mr. Schenkman updated the Committee members with regards to the meeting that took place in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He advised on the newest draft of Verizonís proposed Franchise Agreement. He commented with regards to Verizon focusing on a Federal level with regards to Franchise Agreements and the need for a voice in Washington, D.C. He suggested that the Committee recommend to the Board of Supervisors that Township have a voice in Washington. He advised that he has concerns with regards to folks being uninformed on the issues.
Bob Smith offered the Committee members his thoughts with regards to Verizon and Franchise Agreements. He discussed the national organizations that are opposed to Statewide and Federal Franchising, the Bills submitted by the Senate and the House. He also commented with regards to Verizonís current Statewide and local government Franchise Agreements and Verizonís proposed legislation in the State of New Jersey.
The Committee members discussed Verizon with regards to discrimination issues.
Barbara Jankowski commented with regards to an email received from Township resident Mike Piazza regarding MLB Extra Innings. She advised that she sent an email to Brian Jeter regarding the complaint and has not heard anything and that she feels that Comcast should do something more for the customer, due to their lack of customer service. Bob Smith requested that the Committee forward him a copy of the email received from Mike Piazza.
The Committee members discussed the upcoming renegotiations of the Comcast Franchise Agreement.
Bob Smith updated the Committee members with regards to the channel change in March of 2006; the Government Channel moved to from Channel 23 to Channel 22, he advised that Comcast has received no complaints.
Bob Smith advised the Committee members that in April of 2006 HBO moved from analog to digital; the process was completed by April 28, 2006.
Don Smith questioned the level of service being provided to the public service accounts. He advised that he had contacted Brian Jeter with regards to the question, but has had no response as of yet. Bob Smith advised that he would research the matter and advised the Committee.
Bob Smith updated the Committee members with regards to the trap removal that will take place in May and June of 2006.
Bob Smith updated the Committee members with regards to the upcoming channel realignment that is scheduled to take effect in August of 2006. He advised that Brian Jeter would update the Committee members further at a future meeting and the residents will receive at least thirty (30) daysí notice.
Bob Smith advised that per Brian Jeter Comcast has received one (1) complaint from the Township since January of 2006. He had no details with regards to the complaint.
Bob Smith advised the Committee members on the resolution passed by the Bucks County Association of Township Supervisors to oppose Federal and Statewide Franchising. He also advised that the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors has adopted the resolution.
James Manahan questioned the probability of Ala Cart programming. Bob Smith advised that he did not believe it would happen and advised why.
Bob Smith advised the Committee members on the free On Demand service provided to digital customers. He invited the members of the Committee to one of the Comcast facilities to have a lesson.
The Committee members discussed the 2009 digital television transition.
The Committee members thanked Bob Smith for his time.
OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:
James Manahan advised the Committee members on the progress made with regards to the matter of the Township/Borough hosting campaign debates.
The Committee members discussed the local Colleges/Universities providing content on the Township/Borough PEG Channels.
Barbara Jankowski commented with regards to Verizon not having a representative at the meeting. James Manahan advised that he believes that the current agreement is to have a Verizon representative at the meeting quarterly.
The meeting adjourned at 8:32 P.M.
The next meeting is scheduled for June 7, 2006. The meeting will begin at 7:30 P.M., in the Newtown Borough Fire Station located at 14 Liberty Street, Newtown.
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary