NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF October 3, 2007

 

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

Also present was Brian Jeter representing Comcast Cable Communications, Inc. and Stephanie Beavers representing Verizon.

CALL TO ORDER:

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

MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 5, 2007:

James Bowe moved to approve the minutes of September 5, 2007. The motion was seconded by Robert Hafner and passed unanimously with one member abstaining (4-0-1).

VERIZON UPDATE:

The Committee members discussed Verizon’s Fios remote control and the possibility of having a seminar/presentation for the elderly or less tech savvy residents.

Stephanie Beavers advised with regards to Verizon’s current remote control and the prior remote control. She also advised that Verizon is still working on the design of the remote control. She also discussed the possibility of having a seminar and advised that she is still researching the possibility; she will update the committee once she knows something.

Harry Stevens advised on discussions he has had with several older residents regarding the difficulty involved with the remote control.

Stephanie Beavers discussed the possibility of holding a seminar/presentation at the Norristown Training Center.

The Committee members discussed the FiOS help channel with regards to the remote control.

Stephanie Beavers advised that FiOS would be getting a new channel menu guide.

Patrick Foster commented with regards to the possibility of Verizon having a local office.

The Committee members discussed the kiosk located in some of the area malls.

The Committee members discussed when the technician comes out to install the FiOS television service with regards to the remote control.

The Committee members discussed creating a remote control that is user friendly for people with physical handicaps.

Stephanie Beavers suggested that the Committee put together a list of the most frequently asked questions with regards to the remote control to help the Verizon representatives who would be giving the proposed seminar/presentation.

The Committee members discussed the PEG Channels. Stephanie Beavers advised on Verizon’s progress and that they expect to launch the PEG Channels by the end of November 2007.

Harry Stevens questioned the Committee members if they have received any complaints with regards to Verizon service.

Stephanie Beavers advised that she has not heard any complaints with regards to the service, but she has heard complaints with regards to construction.

Harry Stevens suggested that Verizon offer some type of presentation at the kiosk in the malls.

Harry Stevens requested Stephanie Beavers to advised the Committee if she hears any more information with regards to the launch date of the PEG Channels. She advised that she would contact the Committee once she has a firm date, but it currently looks like the fourth week in November.

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

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

COMCAST UPDATE:

Brian Jeter advised that last week Comcast launched six (6) new HD Channels; TBS HD, National Geographic HD, Food HD, HGTV HD, NFL HD and A&E HD. He advised that Comcast now has twenty-seven (27) HD Channels within the County and that the HD On-Demand programming has increased to approximately one hundred-fifty (150) hours. He also advised that customers can expect to see approximately five (5) more HD channels added by the second quarter of 2008.

Brian Jeter advised that Comcast is now offering the NHL Network on the digital preferred tier (Channel 276).

Brian Jeter advised the members with regards to Channel Tube (WPHL) being off the air as of October 1, 2007.

Jerry Schenkman questioned if Comcast offers Channel ATN. Brian Jeter advised the members with regards to channels offered on the foreign tier.

Brian Jeter advised the members with regards Comcast presenting Keeping Families Safe on the Web. He invited the members to attend the program. He advised that the program would be held at the Montgomery County Community College on October 18, 2007, at 7P.M.

The members discussed the Keeping Families Safe on the Web program and how to alert the public.

Suggestions were made for Harry Stevens to advise the Board of Supervisors in his report and to suggest the information be posted to the web site.

The members discussed the short time period before the program will be held and agreed to pass the information on to John Boyle for sooner consideration to have it posted to the web site.

The Committee members discussed the status of the Comcast Franchise negotiations and the upcoming meeting.

The Committee members discussed the Comcast Golf Tournament and thanked Brian Jeter for the invite.

Brian Jeter advised that he would not be at the November meeting, but that he would try to have another representative attend the meeting.

The Committee members thanked Brian Jeter for his attendance at the meeting.

NEW BUSINESS:

Comcast 2007 FCC Filing Forms 1240 & 1205

The Committee members discussed the Comcast 2007 FCC Filing Forms 1240 & 1205.

Brian Jeter advised that form 1240 is related to equipment charges and the form 1205 is related to Comcast’s rates; he explained the forms.

The Committee members discussed what to do with the information.

James Bowe suggested that Harry Stevens summarize the information for his report before the Board of Supervisors.

Comcast Strand Maps

The Committee members reviewed the Comcast Strand Maps for areas not covered.

James Bowe suggested contacting Doug Terry to discuss the Newtown Business Commons to be sure they are covered.

The members discussed having the maps reviewed by the Township’s Engineer.

Jerry Schenkman suggested that when Harry Stevens gives his report to the Board of Supervisors he request residents to contact the Committee if they are unable to get cable.

Leck Advertisement

James Bowe updated the Committee members with regards to a recycling program offered by Leck. He advised that the program is called Recycle Bank; he explained how the program works. He advised that Leck is requesting the Township to play the commercial on the Township’s Channel. He provided a commercial for the members to view.

The members discussed getting information regarding the program to the local Home Owner Associations.

The members discussed ways for Leck to advertise the Recycle Bank program.

Jerry Schenkman suggested that Harry Stevens mention the program in his report to the Board of Supervisors.

The members discussed Leck dropping off pamphlets at a televised Board of Supervisors meeting.

The members agreed to recommend that the Board of Supervisors refer the matter to the Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) for their review.

Washington Post Article – The Night The TVs Go Out

Harry Stevens updated the members with regards to the article “The Night The TVs Go Out”.

The Committee members discussed ways to inform the residents; the suggestions were to post the information on the web sites, the Government Channels and the Township newsletter.

The Committee members discussed the Government voucher to help with the purchase of a converter box.

The Committee members discussed ways to research residents who do not have cable/FiOS service.

Harry Stevens advised that he would discuss the matter in his report to the Board of Supervisors.

OLD BUSINESS:

Candidate Debates

The Committee members discussed the Candidate Debates.

Jerry Schenkman advised the members on the forum that took place at the Newtown Athletic Club.

Harry Stevens advised the members that two (2) more debates are scheduled to take place. The debates will be held at the Chancellor Center and are scheduled to begin at 7:30 P.M. The Borough Council candidates will meet on October 15, 2007 and the Supervisor candidates will meet on October 22, 2007. The League of Women Voters is handling both debates and no audio or videotaping will be permitted.

The Committee members discussed future Candidate Debates.

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

The Committee members discussed the audio problems on the Township’s Government Channel .

The Committee members discussed the Township’s email system with regards to getting information to the residents.

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting adjourned at 9:12 P.M.

The next meeting is scheduled for November 7, 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