NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF August 1, 2007

 

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

Also present was Stephanie Beavers representing Verizon.

No representative from Comcast Cable Communications, Inc. attended the meeting.

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman Harry Stevens called the meeting to order at 7:41 P.M.

The Committee could not meet officially due to the lack of a quorum.

MINUTES OF JUNE 6, 2007:

The approval of the minutes from June 6, 2007 has been postponed due to the lack of a quorum.

VERIZON DISCUSSION:

The Committee members discussed Stephanie Beavers attendance at the monthly meetings. Barbara Jankowski requested that if Stephanie Beavers could not attend a meeting that she at least updated the Committee members via email. Stephanie Beavers advised the Committee members on her position with regards to attendance at the monthly meeting, she commented with regards to another municipality also meeting on the first Monday of the month, but that she would attend the meetings every other month and that she would update the Committee via email if should could not attend a meeting.

The Committee members discussed addressing complaints and concerns with regards to Verizon and the official representative from the Township/Borough who should be contacting Verizon with regards to complaints or concerns. Jerry Schenkman advised that John Boyle is the person at the Township who would be the one to contact Verizon to address complaints and concerns. Don Smith advised that the Borough’s contact person is Marjorie Torongo.

Barbara Jankowski commented with regards to Verizon not carrying the Government Access Channel. Stephanie Beavers advised with regards to the Franchise Agreement stating that Verizon is obligated to carry the PEG channels within a twelve (12) month period. She advised that both the Borough and the Township signed their Franchise Agreements in December 2006. She advised on discussions that Verizon has had with Comcast regarding the PEG channels. She advised that Verizon is working on providing customers with the PEG channels and that the expected deployment date is December 2007.

Jerry Schenkman advised that per Brian Jeter Comcast would not be allowing Verizon to piggyback off of their equipment.

Stephanie Beavers updated the Committee members with regards to the FiOS TV enhancements.

The Committee members discussed Verizon’s marketing strategies.

The Committee members discussed Verizon changing from copper lines to fiber lines. Stephanie Beavers advised with regards to status of the copper lines.

Stephanie Beavers advised the Committee with regards to Verizon’s offer for phone, broadband and television. The cost is $99.00 per month plus taxes and other charges.

Don Smith questioned if existing Verizon customer’s can get the $99.00 offer. Stephanie Beavers advised him to call Verizon’s customer service department.

Stephanie Beavers provided the members with information regarding Verizon’s $99.00 offer, the FiOS TV rates and packages and the FiOS TV SE Pennsylvania Channel Lineup.

The Committee members discussed the Verizon web site.

The Committee members discussed last year’s construction issues.

The Committee members discussed the possibility of having a Verizon store in the Borough or Township.

The Committee members thanked Stephanie Beavers for her attendance at the meeting.

Stephanie Beavers advised the members that she would not be at the September meeting, but she would update the Committee via email.

COMCAST UPDATE:

The Committee members discussed the noise on the Government Channel during broadcasts. Harry Stevens advised that the problem has been resolved.

The Committee members discussed the emails received from Brian Jeter.

The Committee members were provided a copy of The Comcast Connection, dated July 2007. Members agreed to review and discuss any matters at the next meeting.

NEW BUSINESS:

OLD BUSINESS:

Comcast Franchise Negotiations

The Committee members discussed the status of the Comcast Franchise negotiations. Jerry Schenkman updated the Committee members and advised them on the issues that have not been resolved. He also discussed the Township’s and Borough’s feelings with regards to having their telephone numbers appear on the Comcast Bill. He advised that the Borough has chosen not to have their telephone number on the Comcast bill and that the Township has chosen to have their telephone number appear on the Comcast bill.

Candidate Debates

Harry Stevens updated the Committee members with regards to the status of the political debates.

Video Gold Proposal Postponement

Harry Stevens and Jerry Schenkman updated the Committee members with regards to the postponement of the Video Gold proposal and advised that at this time the Board of Supervisors did not approve the proposal.

Government Channel’s Statement of Direction

Harry Stevens updated the Committee members with regards to the Government Channel and a Statement of Direction. The Committee members discussed the matter. Jerry Schenkman suggested that the Committee get opinions from the Borough Council and the Board of Supervisors. The Committee members discussed a Mission Statement for the Government Channel. The Committee members discussed past meetings were the matter of what should be shown on the Government Channel was discussed. The Committee members agreed to discuss the matter further at the next meeting. Barbara Jankowski advised that she would gather some sample Mission Statements for the Committee’s review. Jerry Schenkman discussed the need for a vision.

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

The Committee members discussed the check received from American Tower.

Don Smith advised the Committee members that the Borough’s Government Channel is now up and running.

The Committee members discussed the need for both Borough and Township residents to be able to view each other’s Government Channel.

The Committee members discussed the September meeting date and the possibility of canceling the meeting. Harry Stevens questioned who would be able to attend the meeting. Jerry Schenkman advised that he would not be at the September meeting. James Manahan suggested that Harry Stevens contact the other Committee member’s to see if they can attend the September 5, 2007 meeting.

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting adjourned at 9:16 P.M.

The next meeting is scheduled for September 5, 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