NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF MAY 7, 2008

 

Members Present: Harry Stevens, Chairman; Barbara Jankowski, Member; and James Manahan, Member Representing Newtown Township; Patrick Foster, Vice Chairman/Treasurer; John Leonard, Member; and Gerard O’Malley, Liaison Representing Newtown Borough. Not present were Robert Hafner, Member and Jerry Schenkman, Liaison Representing Newtown Township.

Also present were Stephanie Beavers and John Strasser representing Verizon and Borough resident Michael Molloy.

No representative from Comcast attended the meeting.

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman Stevens called the meeting to order at 7:31 P.M.

MINUTES OF APRIL 2, 2008:

Patrick Foster made a motion to approve the minutes of April 2, 2008.

Stephanie Beavers advised that she had two changes to the minutes. On page 2, the second paragraph, the second sentence should read – Stephanie Beavers advised that Verizon would work with customers who may require more than one set top box. The second to the last sentence on page 2 should read – The members discussed interruptions to their Verizon FiOS television service due to storms.

Patrick Foster withdrew his motion to approve the minutes of April 2, 2008.

Patrick Foster made a motion to approve the minutes of April 2, 2008 as amended. The motion was seconded by Harry Stevens and passed unanimously (5-0).

VERIZON REPORT:

Discussion of Verizon’s Secondary Audio Programming and Descriptive Video Service

The members discussed Verizon’s Secondary Audio Programming and Descriptive Video Service. Michael Molloy updated the members with regards to his situation regarding Verizon’s SAP and DVS. He advised that he previously had the services when he was a Comcast customer, but has looked into going back to Comcast and has been advised that they do not support the services.

Harry Stevens advised on discussion he has had with Comcast regarding programming from service providers.

Michael Molloy reported that he did receive a message today from John Strasser advising that Verizon does offer SAP and DVS. He tried his equipment again and could not get the services; he welcomed any help from Verizon.

Stephanie Beavers advised that Verizon wants to get to the bottom of this issue and that any programming services being provided are passed through to the customers. She explained how Verizon receives the programming from the provider with regards to SAP.

Michael Molloy advised on his SAP & DVS when he was a Comcast customer and that he was not using a set top box. Stephanie Beavers requested what shows had the programming. Michael Molloy advised on the types of programming that provided the services.

The members discussed the channels available without using a set top box and the problem possibility being in the set top box.

The members discussed ways to test Michael Molloy’s equipment. A suggestion was made to run the cable wire directly to the television bypassing the set top box.

Stephanie Beavers provided Michael Molloy with her business card and requested him to contact her after testing his equipment.

The members discussed how SAP works. Harry Stevens advised that there could be more than one SAP signal.

Stephanie Beavers advised that one of her co-workers from Maryland has been able to access the DVS.

Patrick Foster suggested that Verizon send a technician to the Molloy residence.

James Manahan suggested that Verizon contact providers to discuss SAP and DVS.

Stephanie Beavers advised that Verizon wants to get to the end of Michael Molloy’s problem. She suggested having Michael Molloy talk with one of Verizon’s Technical Product Managers.

The members discussed the situation with Warminster resident, George Brechmann.

The members discussed the importance of Verizon resolving the issues being discussed with regards to DVS and SAP.

Harry Stevens advised that he would test his equipment at home and update the members and Verizon.

The members discussed the information needed from the test to help Verizon determine the problem.

Harry Stevens questioned the location of Verizon’s programming center that deals with set top boxes. Stephanie Beavers advised that the programming center that deals with set top boxes is located in Virginia.

Gerard O’Malley arrived.

Patrick Foster advised that he feels that Verizon should be having a technician handle the testing, it should not be the responsibility of the customer.

Stephanie Beavers advised on the research she has done since becoming aware of Michael Molloy’s problem.

The members discussed Verizon’s need to educate their employees.

The Committee thanked Michael Molloy for his time.

The members discussed the email received from Stephanie Beavers with regards to reporting problems.

Stephanie Beavers advised the members on the process for the Borough and Township with regards to reporting problems to Verizon and that the Verizon contact for the Borough is Marcia Scull and John Boyle for the Township.

Harry Stevens advised that the Committee represents both the Borough and Township and that the members agreed that Michael Molloy’s problem was a Newtown community issue.

Barbara Jankowski advised on her feeling with regards to Michael Molloy’s situation. She commented on how this problem is being resolved and reporting a problem whether it’s in the Borough or Township.

Gerard O’Malley advised with regards to the Borough contacting Verizon to make them aware of the problem.

Stephanie Beavers advised that any complaints should come directly from the Verizon contact person in that municipality and how to address additional inquiries.

The members discussed having background on problems prior to discussions at the meetings.

Stephanie Beavers advised that she has made this her project to educate her peers with regards to SAP and DVS.

Harry Stevens reported on his equipment not receiving a signal for resetting the time when running the cable through the set top box, he discussed the time signal service offered through the local PBS. He advised that he had the same problem when he was a Comcast customer.

James Manahan questioned if Verizon would be getting CN8. Stephanie Beavers advised that Verizon is trying to get the programming shown on CN8.

Barbara Jankowski commented with regards to her home computer losing its signal. Harry Stevens advised that he has also had that problem. James Manahan advised that he was having the same problem due to the location of his ONT (Optical Network Terminal), which has been relocated by Verizon. Stephanie Beavers suggested calling Verizon to report the problem.

The members discussed identifying the local programming channels on the menu. Stephanie Beavers suggested going to the Verizon website to get that information.

Harry Stevens discussed his online review of his Verizon bill and suggested allowing customers to access their billing account through their FiOS television account.

The members thanked Stephanie Beavers and John Strasser for their time.

Stephanie Beavers advised that there would be no Verizon representative at the June meeting.

COMCAST REPORT:

OLD BUSINESS:

Update on the open position for a representative from the Township

The members discussed the Committee having an opening. James Manahan advised that the Township is advertising the opening on the website.

Public Access Channel

The members discussed the emails received from Harry Stevens with regards to Public Access Channels and agreed to have further discussions at the June meeting.

NEW BUSINESS:

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

Harry Stevens reported on the coupons he received from the FCC to help purchase a television conversion box that will work after February 2009 if you do not have a cable provider.

The members discussed the summer meeting schedule and agreed not to have the August meeting. The members will discuss the status of the July meeting in June.

The members discussed the audio problems on some of the Township/Borough’s PEG channels. Gerard O’Malley advised on discussions with Jeff Jim, Video Gold.

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting adjourned at 9:08 P.M.

The next meeting is scheduled for June 4, 2008. The meeting will begin at 7:30 P.M., in the Newtown Fire Station located at Newtown Municipal Complex.

 

Respectfully Submitted:

 

Christy Holley, Recording Secretary