CABLE ADVISORY COUNCIL
Minutes of Public Regular Meeting –
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
There was a regular meeting of the Cable Advisory Council called to order at 7:03 p.m., Tuesday, January 14, 2014 by Chairman Gregory Davis at the Charter Communications facility, Newtown, Connecticut.
ATTENDEES: Chairman Gregory Davis (Roxbury), Douglas Branson (Kent), Kevin Burns (Newtown), Kathy Colavito (Brookfield), George Fletcher (New Milford), Ray Juskiewicz (New Fairfield), Paul Katzmark (Southbury), Jim Lang (Trumbull), George Linkletter (Sherman), Joe Mustich (Washington), Mike Muttitt (Monroe), Gene Rosen (Newtown)
From Charter: Greg Van Antwerp (Public Access) and Heidi Vandenbrouck (Public Relations)
ROLL CALL: The board went over the packets with meeting documents and board members introduced themselves.
PUBLIC INPUT: None
SERVICE PROVIDER REPORTS:
Heidi Vandenbrouck- (Public Relations)
Wished everyone a Happy New Year!
Passed out a Press Release noted that Charter has announced that it has raised internet speeds for all Charter Business “Essentials30” and “Pro50” customers to 60 Mbps and 80Mbps respectively at no extra cost.
Charter Internet Speeds were increased from 30 to 60 Mbps at no additional cost.
Spoke of 2013 Highlights- Launched Charter TV app and Caller I.D. on the TV.
Charter will go all digital by the 4th quarter of 2014. All TV’s will need a box. Customers will receive notification at least 60 days in advance.
Spoke of a letter from an intern praising the Community Access Internship Program at Charter.
Spoke of rate increases effective in 2014
Greg Van Antwerp- (Public Access)
Provided the council with the most recent Newsletter from January/February 2014
Spoke of the Public Access Report for November 13, 2013 to January 14, 2014.
Greg Van Antwerp asked Advisory Council members to promote Community Access Tours and productions and spoke of Community Training Classes. It was noted that in 2013 there were 123 documented training classes and 63 new program proposals were submitted.
The next internship will begin on February 6th which will now be called the Advanced Training Program. In 2013, 43 people applied and participated in the Advanced Training Program.
George Linkletter made a motion to appoint Paul Katzmark as the treasurer for the Cable Advisory Council. Gene Rosen seconded the motion. Vote: All in favor
Mr. Katzmark will remain treasurer until the end of this term which ends in December 2014. The balance in the checking account is $2,255.93. A Balance Sheet and Income Statement will be available next month. Anyone looking to get reimbursed for expenses will need a receipt. Reimbursement for mileage for Cable Advisory meetings will continue.
George Fletcher noted that he received a letter from Charter offering him a new contract for two years but no amount was given. Mr. Fletcher called and received a quote that was almost $100 per month more than he was currently paying. He was given a quote of $240 for a month to month contract which with tax is equal to what he is currently paying. Heidi Vandenbrouch noted that Charter no longer offers contracts.
November meeting minutes- Ray Juskiewicz made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 12, 2013 council meeting as presented. George Fletcher seconded the motion. Vote: All in favor- except Mike Muttitt, George Linkletter and Joe Mustich who abstained)
COUNCIL CHAIRMAN REPORT
Chairman Gregory Davis noted that he has been nominated to be Chairman of the Statewide Video Advisory Council at the December meeting. No votes were taken at that meeting since the chairman was absent.
Chairman Gregory Davis noted that an Annual Report is required to be sent by CAC to PURA and sent to the docket for submission. Per Chairman Davis, this docket has not yet been created by PURA and thus this is still a work in progress and will be discussed at the next meeting.
Chairman Davis noted that Interconnection was required as of January 1, 2008 but was still not completed as of December 31, 2013. However, it was noted that the contract was sent from Charter to AT&T in December 2013. It was noted that Kinson Perry from AT&T has reviewed the contract and sent it back to Charter.
Chairman Davis spoke of a press release noting that AT&T is planning on selling Connecticut wireline operations to Frontier Communications Corp. for $2 billion. As a result, Mr. Davis suggested that a motion be made to advise Charter and AT&T that the interconnect contract be signed prior to the sale of ATT-Uverse to Frontier Communications.
Jim Lang made a motion to ask the Cable Advisory Council Chairman to send a letter to both Tom Cohan at Charter and Kinson Perry at AT&T advising them to complete the interconnect contract for the Area 19 Community Access Provider programming prior to the sale of ATT-Uverse to Frontier Communications. Kathy Colavito seconded the motion- Vote- All in favor
Gregory Davis spoke of Charter’s potential purchase of Time Warner Cable in the amount of approximately $61 billion. There was a discussion of this purchase and the amount of money being sent. Chairman Davis spoke of customer service vs. shareholder profit and suggested that a motion be made that the Cable Advisory Council include customer service and satisfaction in their mission statement goals for spending $61.3 billion. No motion was made to this effect.
CABLE CORD CUTTERS
Chairman Davis spoke of a letters from subscribers regarding the rate increase from Charter. Mr. Davis read a transcript of a website chat with a Charter employee asking for price of Basic cable. It was noted that the lowest cost basic cable service is not available online or the Charter website.
Jim Lang made a motion to authorize the chairman to send a letter to Charter advising Charter to make the lowest cost basic cable services accessible and simply emphasize the value for money in the product and service lineup as a first line of defense in the trend toward cable cord cutting. This letter will emphasize the value of community access and educational channels. Joe Mustich seconded the motion. Vote- All in favor
There was a request from a CAC member asking about the accessibility of Basic Cable now and in the future, quality of signal across all channels, compression policies, must-carry policies, Charter’s commitment to signal quality and availability and Charter’s current data mining operations and privacy policies.
George Linkletter made a motion to authorize the chairman to send a letter to Charter requesting advice for the following topics:
Discussion of Basic Cable accessibility now and in the future.
Discussion of quality of signal across all channels, compression policies, must-carry policies, Charter’s commitment to signal quality and availability.
Discussion of Charter’s current data mining operations and privacy policies.
Paul Katzmark seconded the motion- Vote- All in favor
Gregory Davis spoke of the Cable Advisory Council’s relationships with PURA, SVAC, AT&T U-Verse and spoke of a lawsuit by a Cable Advisory Council in Area 2 suing PURA. Mr. Davis spoke of the statement made by PURA noting that the Area 2 Cable Advisory Council does not have authority due to lack of funding. There was a discussion of the use of subscriber’s fees for legal fees for this lawsuit.
Mr. Davis noted that PURA asked for comments asking for comments specifically on this lawsuit and its legitimacy and he noted that he sent a letter as a private citizen to the Chairman of the Statewide Video Advisory Council and to the Acting Executive Secretary of PURA regarding the following questions that were restated from the PURA Notice:
What is the legal basis to grant or deny this request
If granted, what source of funding would be set aside and in what matter?
If granted, how would the amount of funding be determined?
If denied, how could the Council fund its legal defense?
Any other information in this matter that may be useful to the PURA.
Kevin Burns spoke of the letter and this lawsuit. Gregory Davis read the letter that he wrote to as a private citizen to the request from written comment on PURA Docket 11-07-09, Motion No. 9.
Jim Lang made a motion that the Cable Advisory Council go on record to thank Gregory Davis and Kevin Burns for the tremendous amount of work involved with this matter. George Linkletter seconded the motion Vote: All in favor
Joe Mustich made a motion that the Advisory Council supports the Citizen’s Response from Gregory Davis, Chairman of the R19 Charter Western Advisory Council to the PURA request for comment on PURA Docket 11-07-09. Mike Muttitt seconded the motion Vote: All in favor
Paul Katzmark spoke of a potential community lawsuit by Heritage Village in Southbury for overcharging of fees. He will write up something to discuss this further at the next meeting.
Jim Lang thanked the council for reinstating the PEGPETIA grants and noted that Trumbull recently was approved for a grant. It was noted that New Fairfield and Brookfield were approved for grants as well.
Ray Juskiewicz made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:47pm.
Vote: All in favor
Cable Advisory Council Regular Meeting Minutes, Tuesday, January 14, 2014