NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF APRIL 7, 2009

 

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

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

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman James Manahan called the meeting to order at 7:35 P.M.

MINUTES OF MARCH 3, 2009:

John Leonard made a motion to approve the minutes of March 3, 2009. The motion was seconded by Barbara Jankowski and passed unanimously (3-0).

VERIZON REPORT:

Stephanie Beavers advised that Verizon has no updates to report at this time. She commented with regards to John Leonard’s question regarding the power used by set top boxes and reported that Verizon is an energy friendly company. John Leonard thanked Stephanie Beavers for the information that she emailed to the Committee.

Stephanie Beavers reported on new municipalities that will be signing a franchise agreement with Verizon.

The members discussed the Township’s Technology Committee with regards to the two committees possibility becoming one. The Technology Committee meets the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7:30 P.M. in the meeting room at the Township Municipal Complex. Jerry Schenkman reported on the work being done by the Technology Committee. The members requested Stephanie Beavers to check her availability for attending that meeting if the two committees should become one. Stephanie Beavers requested the Committee to keep her updated.

The members thanked Stephanie Beavers for her time.

COMCAST REPORT:

Brian Jeter reported that Comcast would be adding new PBS content, launching more On Demand and HD channels by the end of 2009. He advised on HBO offering a free preview in May.

The members discussed the current situation between Comcast and the NFL Network. Brian Jeter reported on Comcast’s position regarding the matter.

Brian Jeter reported that he received a telephone call from the Marketing Director at Bucks County Community College with regards to the Council Rock School District channel. He commented on the carriage agreement between the BCCC, CRSD and the Borough. He suggested that she contact the Borough to discuss the matter. The members discussed the College’s past use of the channel and the possibility of other local universities being interested in having content on the channel.

Gerard O’Malley requested Brian Jeter to contact the Borough Secretary, Marcia Scull to discuss the Borough Police Station’s internet connection.

Brian Jeter reported that Comcast is providing commercial telephone service. James Manahan advised that his business has the service and is very happy. Brain Jeter advised that the service could provide up to fourteen (14) lines.

Jerry Schenkman suggested that Comcast contact the Township regarding the commercial phone service being offered. Brian Jeter reported that the Township Manager has contacted him with regards to the Municipal Complex expansion and the Stoopville Road Project.

The Committee discussed how Comcast is being effected by the economy.

Brian Jeter reported with regards to Comcast’s Day of Service project.

Brian Jeter advised that locations in the Borough and Township that have courtesy services would be receiving digital boxes.

John Leonard questioned when Comcast would be all digital. Brian Jeter reported that Comcast customers with digital boxes and service currently receive their channels digitally. If an analog customer wants digital content it is simple they can receive a digital converter at no additional charge and/or upgrade to one of our price friendly digital packages. Analog customers (expanded basic customers only) can receive up to three digital converters (one digital converter and two digital adapters) at no additional charge and receive their current line-up of channels digitally. Analog customers who currently subscribe to basic cable only can receive a digital converter free for one year then pay $1.40 per month after the promotion in order to receive their line-up of channels digitally.

The members thanked Brian Jeter for his time.

Brian Jeter advised that he would not be attending the meeting scheduled for June 2, 2009.

OLD BUSINESS:

Update with regards to converting this Committee from a standing committee to an ad hoc committee

The members discussed the Committee’s status and the Township’s Technology Committee.

Jerry Schenkman reported on the work being done by the Technology Committee and this Committee’s involvement with the franchise negotiations.

The members discussed the pros and cons of merging the two committees.

Barbara Jankowski commented with regards to the Committee not having a Township representative. Jerry Schenkman advised that due to the change in meeting night, it is difficult for him to attend.

The members discussed the Committee meeting on a quarterly basis and residents’ willingness to volunteer on committees.

Jerry Schenkman advised that he feels that merging the two committees is a bad idea and explained why.

Gerard O’Malley advised that he agreed with Jerry Schenkman, merging the two committees is a bad idea.

The members discussed the Committee becoming an ad hoc committee.

A suggestion was made to change the meeting time to 7:00 P.M.

Jerry Schenkman recommended that the Committee continues to meet quarterly and that he would try to attend.

The members agreed to continue meeting on the first Tuesday of the month on a quarterly basis at 7:00 P.M.

Jerry Schenkman suggested that a representative from the Committee make a presentation to the Supervisors.

NEW BUSINESS:

Discuss next meeting date

The members agreed to meet on June 2, 2009 at 7:00 P.M. at the Newtown Borough Fire Hall located at 14 Liberty Street.

OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:

The members discussed the remaining meeting dates for the year being June 2, 2009 and October 6, 2009. Jerry Schenkman suggested that the Committee have a December meeting.

Jerry Schenkman reported on the possibility of a third cable provider.

The members discussed when the current Franchise Agreements expire.

Jerry Schenkman suggested for members to attend a Technology Committee meeting.

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting adjourned at 8:37 P.M.

The next meeting is scheduled for June 2, 2009. The meeting will begin at 7:00 P.M., in the Newtown Borough Fire Hall located at 14 Liberty Street.

 

Respectfully Submitted:

 

Christy Holley, Recording Secretary