NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF December 6, 2006

 

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

Also present were Brian Jeter representing Comcast Cable Communications, Inc. and Scott Harp, former member and Township resident.

No representative from Verizon attended the meeting.

Call to Order

Chairman James Manahan called the meeting to order at 7:34 P.M.

MINUTES OF November 1, 2006:

James Bowe moved to approve the minutes of November 1, 2006. The motion was seconded by Barbara Jankowski and passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS:

OLD BUSINESS:

Verizon

The Committee members discussed when the Verizon cable service would begin.

James Manahan advised he believes that the service would be offered in the first quarter of 2007.

Scott Harp updated the Committee members on the information he has with regards to Verizon.

Patrick Foster advised on the number on one calls that the Newtown Artesian Water Company has received.

Scott Harp requested Patrick Foster to keep him informed with regards to the number of one calls being received so that the Newtown Artesian Water Company is not effected like they where when Verizon first started work within the community.

Patrick Foster advised the Committee members with regards to telephone complaints the Newtown Artesian Water Company has received from residents with regards to Verizon digging on their property. He advised that he has told the residents to contact the Township or the Borough.

James Bowe suggested posting information on the Township’s web site with regards to the color codes residents may noticed marked out on their property .

James Manahan advised the Committee members that he would make James Bowe’s suggestion with regards to posting the color code information on the Township’s web site at his next report before the Board of Supervisors.

Scott Harp advised that he would contact Dan Reavey to discuss Verizon’s turn on date for cable service.

James Manahan questioned Brian Jeter with regards to a Comcast customer switching to Verizon, would Comcast remove the wiring. Brian Jeter advised that Comcast would not remove the wiring.

Brian Jeter commented with regards to Verizon and the possible removal of the copper telephone lines.

James Bowe advised that Verizon did not remove his copper telephone lines.

Barbara Jankowski commented with regards to having a Verizon representative attend the Committee’s meetings.

Scott Harp commented with regards to hearing that Verizon has access to the Phillies, the Sixers and the Flyers. Brian Jeter advised that is true, Verizon does have a deal with Comcast.

Newtown Chamber Orchestra

James Manahan advised the Committee members on discussions with Bob Pellegrino with regards to the Newtown Chamber Orchestra .

James Bowe advised on discussion with the Newtown Chamber Orchestra regarding the audio performance.

Local Content

James Manahan advised the Committee members on discussions with Bob Pellegrino with regards to local content .

Candidate Debates

James Bowe updated the Committee members with regards to Candidate Debates. He also provided them with a video produced by the Northampton Business and Professional Association for their review.

The Committee members discussed what would be involved with hosting the Candidate Debates.

Township Audit of Existing Internet Access, Equipment, Needs

James Manahan advised the Committee members on discussions with Bob Pellegrino with regards to a Township audit of existing Internet access, equipment and needs.

Video Regarding Municipal Facilities

James Manahan advised the Committee members on discussions with Bob Pellegrino with regards to the Municipal Facilities video .

James Bowe advised that the Township is trying to get someone thru Council Rock High School.

Comcast Franchise Agreement Review

James Manahan discussed establishing a subcommittee to begin reviewing the Comcast Franchise Agreement for renewal.

Brian Jeter advised with regards to Comcast’s interest in beginning negotiations.

COMCAST UPDATE:

Brian Jeter discussed the current bills before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He discussed the timing of the Borough and the Township with regards to signing a Franchise Agreement with Verizon. He discussed Verizon pushing aggressively for a Statewide Franchise Agreement in early 2007. He advised the Committee members on the steps that the Borough and the Township can take to oppose Statewide Franchising. He suggested for the Committee members to review the web site keepitlocalpa.com.

Brian Jeter advised the Committee members with regards to Federal Franchise Agreements.

Brian Jeter advised the Committee members on the effects of Statewide Franchise Agreements to Comcast.

The Committee members discussed taking a proactive stand with regards to Statewide Franchising.

Scott Harp advised the Committee members on his feelings with regards to taking a stand at this point in time.

The Committee members discussed Verizon cherry picking areas.

James Bowe advised on his concerns with regards to Statewide Franchising and that he would like to keep control of the municipal rights at a local level.

Brian Jeter advised the Committee members that in some states the State has begun tapping into the municipalities franchise fees.

Don Smith advised that he is against Statewide Franchising and advised that the Borough will pass a Resolution opposing Statewide Franchising in Pennsylvania.

The Committee members discussed the franchise fee revenue received from Comcast.

Don Smith questioned Comcast with regards to PEG grants. Brian Jeter advised the Committee members with regards to PEG grants.

Brian Jeter advised the Committee members on the price increases and decreases that will take effect in January 2007.

Brian Jeter advised the Committee members on the new HD launches in the first quarter of 2007.

Brian Jeter advised the Committee members on the deal Comcast has made with Disney.

The Committee members discussed local verses Statewide Franchise Agreements.

Patrick Foster advised he would like to keep the Franchise Agreement under the control of the local municipalities.

James Bowe suggested that the Committee make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors with regards to keeping the Franchise Agreements under the control of the local municipalities.

James Bowe made a motion to make a recommendation to the Borough Council and the Board of Supervisors to draft a Resolution opposing Statewide Franchising. The motion was seconded by Barbara Jankowski and passed unanimously.

James Bowe requested Brian Jeter to send the Committee members links for information with regards to Statewide Franchising. Brian Jeter advised that would not be a problem.

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting adjourned at 8:32 P.M.

The next meeting is scheduled for January 3, 2007. 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