NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF March 7, 2007

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

Not present was Brian Jeter representing Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.

No representative from Verizon attended the meeting.

Also present was Township resident Mayur Shah.

Call to Order

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

MINUTES OF February 7, 2007:

The approval of the minutes from February 7, 2007 has been postponed due to the lack of a quorum.

NEW BUSINESS:

Software similar to TelVue’s product

James Bowe updated the Committee members on discussions with Video Gold President Jeff Jim with regards to another company that provides the same service as TelVue. He advised that the service would be run in-house. He questioned if the Committee should look into the service before making any recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.

Harry Stevens questioned who at the Township would handle the service and advised that he likes the idea of the Township having control.

Jerry Schenkman advised the Committee members on his concerns with having the service run in-house at this time.

The Committee members discussed the Township’s IT department.

James Bowe advised the Committee members that he would meet with Jeff Jim to review the product and then he would update the Committee members.

The Committee members discussed the Township’s relationship with Video Gold.

Jerry Schenkman advised that he would like to hear something before the next Board of Supervisors meeting.

James Bowe advised that he would have the meeting with Jeff Jim and forward correspondence updating the Committee members.

Resident interested in becoming a member of the Committee

James Bowe introduced Mayur Shah to the Committee members.

Mayur Shah advised the Committee members that he would like to become a member on the Committee. He advised that currently he has Verizon’s FiOS television service.

James Bowe advised that currently the Committee has no openings for Township residents, but is looking for members from the Borough.

Mayur Shah gave the Committee members a brief history on his background.

Jerry Schenkman requested Mayur Shah to forward his resume to the Township and advised that the Township would put it on file.

James Bowe invited Mayur Shah to attend the Committee’s monthly meetings as a volunteer and advised him that the Committee meets on the first Wednesday of every month at the Newtown Borough Firehouse.

Mayur Shah provided the recording secretary with his email information to be added to the Committee’s contact list.

Change the meeting date of the April meeting

The Committee members discussed changing the date of the April 4 th meeting to April 11 th, the second Wednesday of the month.

The Committee members agreed to check their calendars and advised James Bowe.

OLD BUSINESS:

Candidate Debates

James Bowe advised the Committee members that he has not heard back from the Council Rock North representative with regards to the candidate debates.

Harry Stevens advised the Committee members on discussions he has had with Mr. Calabro, Township Supervisor regarding the matter of candidate debates.

James Bowe advised the Committee members that he has had discussions with some Republican Representatives with regards to candidate debates.

The Committee members discussed the possible cost involved with hosting a candidate debate.

TelVue

James Bowe updated the Committee members on his conversation with John Boyle with regards to TelVue.

The Committee members discussed the FCC standards. A copy was provided in the member’s packet.

The Committee members discussed TelVue’s sponsorship program, a copy was provided for their review.

The Committee members discussed the Township having the final decision with regards to sponsors.

The Committee members discussed the review period for sponsors.

Jerry Schenkman suggested having a ten (10) day review period.

Harry Stevens advised the Committee members on his concerns with regards to sponsors.

James Bowe suggested that the Committee review the sponsors’ commercials and make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.

The Committee members agreed that because the Committee only meets monthly, the review process would take to long.

Jerry Schenkman suggested that the Committee appoint a Sub-Committee to review the sponsors’ commercials and make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.

Barbara Jankowski advised that she would be interested in being on the Sub-Committee.

The Committee members agreed to review the sponsors’ commercials twice a month.

The Committee members discussed additional language for the agreement.

James Bowe suggested that the agreement state that the Township is guided by the FCC guidelines on “PBS” underwriting and ultimately maintain the right to oversee control and VETO all and any sponsors.

The Committee members discussed the length of the contract with TelVue. Jerry Schenkman advised that it is a two (2) year contract.

The Committee members agreed that in the beginning the sponsors’ commercials would be reviewed by the entire Committee.

Jerry Schenkman suggested drafting a formal memorandum to the Board of Supervisors and the Township Manager advising them of the Committee’s intent. He advised that he would draft the memorandum and forward it to the Committee members for their review before sending it to the Board of Supervisors and the Township Manager.

James Bowe updated the Committee members on the request being made by John Boyle with regards to reviewing TelVue’s Letter of Intent.

The Committee members were provided a copy of the Letter of Intent for their review.

The Committee members discussed the Letter of Intent.

Jerry Schenkman advised the Committee members on his concerns with regards to the Letter of Intent. His first concern is regarding the renewal term for three (3) years and his second concern is regarding sponsorship revenues not being sufficient to cover the TVTN fees.

The Committee members discussed Jerry Schenkman’s concerns regarding paragraph four (4) of the Letter of Intent.

James Bowe advised the Committee members that he would contact TelVue and request them to modify paragraph four (4) based on the Committee’s concerns.

Don Smith advised the Committee members on his concerns with regards to sufficient sponsorship revenues.

The Committee members discussed Don Smith’s concerns and suggested having TelVue define sufficient sponsorship revenues.

James Bowe advised the Committee members that he would request TelVue to define sufficient sponsorship revenues when he contacts them.

Jerry Schenkman commented on TelVue’s agreement, he suggested that the word shall under the last paragraph be changed to shall have the option to enter into. He also suggested that the renewal term be annually, not three (3) years.

James Bowe advised the Committee members that he would update John Boyle with regards to the Committee changes to the agreement.

James Bowe advised the Committee members that he would contact TelVue to discuss the changes to the agreement.

The Committee members discussed the status of TelVue and the Borough.

The Committee members discussed the Borough having their own agreement with TelVue.

CGI Communications, Inc.

James Bowe updated the Committee members on the request being made by John Boyle with regards to reviewing the CGI Communications, Inc. agreement.

The Committee members were provided a copy of the agreement for their review.

The Committee members discussed the agreement

James Bowe advised the Committee members on his concerns with regards to sponsors.

The Committee members discussed James Bowe’s concerns.

The Committee members had two (2) changes to the agreement. The first change is with regards to sponsors. The line, which reads – Duration of sponsor participation will be one year and e-LocalLink is solely responsible for annual sponsorship fulfillment including all related aspects of marketing, production, printing, and distribution. The members agree should read as - Duration of sponsor participation will be one year and e-LocalLink is solely responsible for annual sponsorship fulfillment including all related aspects of marketing, production, printing, and distribution; provided Newtown Township maintains the right to oversee, control and VETO any sponsors. The second change is with regards to the renewal of the agreement; members agreed the renewal term should be annually, not for three (3) years.

James Bowe advised the Committee members that he would update John Boyle with regards to the Committee’s changes to the agreement.

James Bowe advised the Committee members that he would contact CGI Communications, Inc. to discuss the changes to the agreement.

The Committee members discussed the status of CGI Communications, Inc. and the Borough.

The Committee members discussed the videos that CGI Communications, Inc. will produce for the Township/Borough.

The Committee members discussed the Borough having their own agreement with CGI Communications, Inc.

Jerry Schenkman commented with regards to the Joint Downtown Newtown Corp. being involved with the videos.

Comcast Franchise Agreement

Jerry Schenkman updated the Committee members with regards to the renewal of the Comcast Franchise Agreement. He advised that the Township has formed a consortium with other local municipalities and has decided to retain Dan Cohen, Esquire to review various agreements. He advised that Dan Cohen was the attorney involved with the Montgomery County Consortium. He advised that representatives from various municipalities are meeting on March 12 th or 13 th, he suggested that if Committee members are interested in attending the meeting to contact Bob Pellegrino to verify the meeting date.

Verizon Franchise Agreement

Jerry Schenkman updated the Committee members with regards to the FCC Order and Appeal time. He discussed correspondence received from Fred Polner, Esquire and the Township’s Appeal decision.

COMCAST UPDATE:

The will be no Comcast report due to the absence of Brian Jeter.

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

Don Smith updated the Committee members with regards to the status of the Borough’s Government Channel. He advised that the Borough has the equipment, but Comcast has not run the wires yet.

The Committee members discussed the mixing of the Township’s and Borough’s Government Channels.

James Bowe advised that he would speak with Brian Jeter regarding Comcast showing both the Borough’s and Township’s Government Channels in each community.

Harry Stevens commented with regards to the absence of Brian Jeter and not having a representative from Verizon attend the Committee’s monthly meetings.

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting adjourned at 8:48 P.M.

The next meeting is scheduled for April 11, 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