NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF September 5, 2007

 

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

Also present was Brian Jeter representing Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.

No representative from Verizon attended the meeting.

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman Harry Stevens called the meeting to order at 7:33 P.M.

MINUTES OF JUNE 6, 2007:

James Bowe moved to approve the minutes of June 6, 2007. The motion was seconded by James Manahan and passed unanimously (4-0).

MINUTES OF AUGUST 1, 2007:

James Manahan moved to approve the minutes of August 1, 2007. The motion was seconded by Barbara Jankowski and passed unanimously with one member abstaining (3-0-1).

COMCAST UPDATE:

Brian Jeter updated the Committee members with regards to the Big Ten Network; he provided the members with various documentation regarding the matter. He advised on Comcast’s position and the Putting Fans First Coalition. He advised that if Comcast is required to put the Big Ten Network on the basic tier there would be an increased cost to the customer. He requested the members to join the Coalition.

The Committee members discussed Brian Jeter’s request to join the Coalition.

James Bowe commented on the Committee’s obligation on making the residents aware with regards to the Big Ten Network and the Putting Fans First Coalition.

The Committee members discussed reporting the issue to the Board of Supervisors and the Borough Council with regard to the Big Ten Network and the Putting Fans First Coalition and allow them to make a decision with regards to joining the Coalition.

Brian Jeter advised on the web sites for both parties involved – puttingfansfirst.org, bigtennetwork.com or btn.com.

Brian Jeter advised that effective October 30, 2007 the Educational Access Channel will be moving from Channel 27 to Channel 28. He explained why the repositioning of the channel is being done.

Brian Jeter advised the Committee members that Comcast would be launching six (6) new High Definition Channel including National Geographic, The Food Network, CNN and Home & Garden.

Brian Jeter advised the Committee members with regards to bandwidth and explained how it works.

James Bowe advised that Northampton Township is upset that the Bucks County Community College is not transmitting any content on the Educational Access Channel.

Brian Jeter advised the Committee members on Comcast’s position with regards to allowing Verizon to interconnect with the PEG Channels. He advised on discussions that Comcast has had with Verizon representatives regarding the interconnection of the PEG Channels and that Comcast would not permit Verizon to interconnect due to issues of interdependent reliability.

Don Smith advised that Verizon is running fiber for the Borough’s PEG Channels.

The Committee members discussed the Township’s status with regards to Verizon running fiber for their PEG Channels. James Bowe recommended that the Committee discuss the matter with John Boyle.

The Committee members discussed the Borough broadcasting live on Channel 22. Brian Jeter advised that Borough residents can watch the Township’s Government Channel on Channel 99.

The Committee members discussed the possibility of the Township/Borough obtaining another PEG Channel. Brian Jeter advised on the requirements to obtain another PEG Channel.

The Committee members discussed the status of the Comcast Franchise negotiations.

Brian Jeter questioned the members with regards to the Township/Borough receiving franchise fees from Verizon. The Committee members advised that both the Township and the Borough are receiving franchise fees from Verizon.

The Committee members discussed the FCC with regards to digital and analog broadcasting. Brian Jeter advised that in February 2009 all television stations will be switching to digital broadcasting.

The Committee members thanked Brian Jeter for his time.

VERIZON DISCUSSION:

The Committee members discussed the correspondence received from Stephanie Beavers.

NEW BUSINESS:

OLD BUSINESS:

Candidate Debates

Harry Stevens updated the Committee members with regards to the status of the political debates. He advised that they are scheduled to take place in October.

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

The Committee members discussed the Government Channel with regards to programming content.

The Committee members discussed the Township’s Scala System. Harry Stevens advised on the presentation to the Board of Supervisors.

Don Smith advised the members that he would be unable to attend the October meeting.

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting adjourned at 8:44 P.M.

The next meeting is scheduled for October 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