CABLE ADVISORY COUNCIL
Minutes of Public Regular Meeting –
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
There was a regular meeting of the Cable Advisory Council called to order at 7:03 p.m., Tuesday, July 9, 2013 by Chairman Gregory Davis at the Charter Communications facility, Newtown, Connecticut.
ATTENDEES: Chairman Gregory Davis (Roxbury), Carmella Amodeo (Newtown), Kevin Burns (Newtown), Kathy Colavito (Brookfield), Ken Cornet (Washington), George Fletcher (New Milford), Jonathan Gibney (Brookfield), Ray Juskiewicz (New Fairfield), Jim Lang (Trumbull), George Linkletter (Sherman), Joe Mustich (Washington), Stephanie O’Rourke (Kent), Gene Rosen (Newtown) and Ken Swain (Bridgewater)
From Charter: Greg Van Antwerp (Public Access), and Heidi Vandenbrouch (Public Relations)
ROLL CALL: Chairman Gregory Davis called the meeting to order at 7:03pm. Council members introduced themselves. The board went over the packets with meeting documents.
PUBLIC INPUT: None
SERVICE PROVIDER REPORTS:
Heidi Vandenbrouck: Public Relations and Communications Manager Heidi Vandenbrouck noted that:
Caller ID on TV will be set up later this year and will be free of charge to customers.
Charter WiFi became available as of July 1st.
Tom Cohan: Chairman Gregory Davis read an email report from Director of Communications Government Relations Tom Cohan in his absence.
Charter participated in the state Emergency Response/Disaster Recovery exercise on June 20th and 22nd.
PURA issued a report last month in the docket related to Super Storm Sandy in October 2012 and praised the performance of Charter and other cable and telecom companies in its communications with local officials and customers with coordination of restoration activities.
PURA has announced that it is discounting PEG PETIA grants and has stopped taking applications.
As the legislative session came to a close in mid-June, none of the key legislation related to cable or telecom issues was approved.
Greg Van Antwerp:
An internship started in June with 18 members
Four truck shoots will be held this month. One is of a Girl Scout Camp and three concerts.
Charter productions are now being posted on YouTube.
Encouraged everyone to friend Charter on Facebook.
Due to changing of the Treasurer, the Treasurer’s report was tabled until the next meeting in September.
May meeting minutes- Jim Lang made a motion to approve the minutes of the May 14, 2013 council meeting as presented. George Linkletter seconded the motion.
Vote: All in favor
COUNCIL CHAIRMAN REPORT
Statewide Video Advisory Council Meeting Report- June 26, 2013
Chairman Davis spoke of the Statewide Video Advisory Council held on June 26th. Motions were made to accept the Treasurer’s report and to adjourn. There were no representatives from Cablevision or Cox but Kinson Perry from AT&T was in attendance.
Gregory Davis spoke of a report from Kinson Perry from AT&T regarding the status of the Interconnection between AT&T and Charter. Mr. Perry has contacted Kathy Colavito and is awaiting a reply. Interconnection has already been done in New Fairfield, New Milford and Trumbull. There is no intention by AT&T to offer services in Washington, CT. There is one Educational channel for Woodbury and AT&T is not in Bethlehem. New Milford, Newtown and Sherman have their own Educational Channels. AT&T is not in Kent, Southbury, Barkhamsted, Colebrook, Harwinton, New Hartford or Winchester. Mr. Davis noted that per his conversation with Mr. Perry from AT&T, negotiations for Interconnection with Charter are on hold until after the AT&T deal with Comcast.
Chairman Davis referred to the motion made by the Cable Advisory Council at their May meeting advising Charter to present a formal letter of request for connection negotiation assistance to PURA. This has not been acted upon by Charter. As a result, the Cable Advisory Council made the following motion:
George Linkletter made a motion that the cable advisory council requests a docket to be opened with the CT PURA which recognizes the protracted Lack of Action between AT&T U-Verse and Charter Communications to interconnect the Designated Community Access Television Programming as a contested case resulting in denial of service for 5+ years to local customers and volunteer representatives serving the Cable Advisory Council has drafted and passed four specific motion to move this interconnect negotiation forward since September 2011, all with no action taken by AT&T or Charter. The CWAC therefore submits this is a contested case of inaction, and as intervener, request PURA negotiation assistance to achieve this interconnection agreement. Kevin Burns seconded the motion.
Vote: All in favor
Time Warner Cable Deal
George Linkletter spoke of an article regarding the scenarios for the merger between Charter Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable and how this would affect Community Access Television and Cable Advisory Councils. This will be discussed further by the committee in the future.
U.S. Senator John McCain: Cable TV, done the right way
Chairman Davis spoke of an article written by Senator John McCain regarding legislation that would propose “A la Carte” programming where consumers could buy only those channels they want to watch. In the article, Senator McCain speaks of the bundle programming and specifically Sports programming and notes that not allowing an “A la Carte” option, the customers are essentially paying a tax.
Jim Lang made a motion that the CAC direct the chairman to write a letter to all the CT Senators and Representatives indicating the council’s support for this legislation. John McCain’s letter will be included in this letter. George Linkletter seconded the motion.
Vote: All in favor
CT Public Act 13-184
Chairman Davis spoke of the fact that there will be no more PEGPETIA Grants given out for the near future and referred to CT Public Act 13-184. Sec. 100 of this act states that $3,400,000 shall be transferred from the public, educational and governmental programming and education technology investment account and credited to the resources of the General Fund for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. Sec. 101 of this act states that $3,500,000 shall be transferred from the public, educational and governmental programming and education technology investment account and credited to the resources of the General Fund for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. Sec. 108 of this act states that no amount shall be deposited into the municipal video competition trust account established in section 16-331bb of the general statutes for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015.
Chairman Davis spoke of a decision made the by the Cable Advisory Council to promote and protect a secure future for Community Access Television and noted that the CAC should consider legislative traction beginning in January 2014 to try to correct some of these inequities. Mr. Davis spoke of documents since 2007 that Council members can refer to regarding rulings.
There was a discussion regarding what constitutes a “state-wide” license and possible solutions to this issue. It was decided that this will be discussed further at the next Strategic Action Committee on August 13th.
What is Basic Cable and what does it cost?
Chairman Davis spoke of his attempt to find out the lowest cost for Basic cable service without expanded Basic Channels. He spoke to several Charter customer service agents and received several different quotes. It was noted that there is a plan for $25.99 that can be offered but customers need to specifically ask for it. There was a discussion among the council members regarding the policy of Charter not offering the lowest cost Basic cable service and whether or not this product should be promoted. Charter’s website does not give any information about Basic cable. This policy was compared to the policy of AT&T.
Jim Lang made a motion that the R19CWAC Cable Advisory Council advises Charter Communication to revive and continue the promotion and availability of the product service category defined as the lowest cost Basic Cable without the cost of expanded basic channel features and to remain competitive with AT&T UVerse Basic TV service offered at $19/month. Kathy Colavito seconded the motion.
Vote: All in favor except- Stephanie O’Rourke and Paul Katzmark were opposed and Carmella Amodeo, Ken Cornet and Ken Swain abstained
Annual Audit committee appointment
Jonathan Gibney and George Linkletter have been appointed to the Audit committee.
Bylaws Revision Committee appointment
Kevin Burns will appoint the bylaws committee that will be discussed at the next SAC meeting on August 13th. Jim Lang and Carmella Amodeo have volunteered to be on the bylaws committee.
Strategic Action- Executive Committee meeting
The next SAC meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 13th at 7:00pm at the Newtown Municipal Center. Anyone interested in attending is welcome.
OPEN FORUM- None
Jim Lang made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:35pm.
Vote: All in favor
Cable Advisory Council Regular Meeting Minutes, Tuesday, July 9, 2013