PO Box 87
Newtown, CT 06470
March 15, 2005 Minutes
CABLE ADVISORY COUNCIL
~ Minutes ~
Minutes of Public Regular Meeting – Tuesday, March 15, 2005 (rescheduled from March 8th due to inclement weather)
There was a regular meeting of the Cable Advisory Council called to order at 7:05 p.m., Tuesday, March 15, 2005 by Chairperson, Carmella Amodeo at the Charter Communications facility, Newtown, Connecticut.
Jill Zaloski (Monroe), Eugene Rosen (Newtown), Carmella Amodeo (Newtown), William Fredrickson (Southbury), Steve Donahue (New Milford), Kate Donahue (Trumbull), Carl DeVoe (New Milford), Jim Lang (Trumbull), Stephanie O’Rourke (Kent)
From Charter: Greg Antwerp, Len Romano, John Palinkas.
No public present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Minutes approved (Motion by Fredrickson, second by Donahue).
The Treasurer’s Report will not be duplicated in the minutes in the future, it will be electronically transferred to members along with the minutes and agenda for each meeting. We need to remind Amy to do that.
We have received our $2000 franchise fee check from Charter for 2005. Also, our Office Wizard expenses have dropped from ~$350/month to about $120.
Motion to accept the report made by Lang, seconded by Fredrickson. Passed unanimously.
CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS REPORT:
Greg presented the latest CommuniTyVision newsletter.
Greg then reported that they have implemented changing the hours of the bill pay office in Winsted beginning March 31, 2005. They proposed to close the office at 5:00 PM instead of 6:00 PM due to low traffic.
Greg reported that the mobile truck is being deployed to tape the Trumbull High School Fashion Show, the color guard competition at Masuk and local cub scout tours of the Charter facility. Charter is up for another Cable Television Public Affairs Beacon Awards for their internship program. They are doing outreach into the local high schools
Len Romano reviewed the recent channel changes: Fox Movies is being added to the digital tier (channel 199); MTV2 is moving from channel 115 to channel 74 (expanded basic); VHUno (Spanish language VH1) is taking over channel 115 and being added to the Family and Information tier and CNNfn is going off the air (Time Warner is shutting down the channel). In addition College Sports TV is being added to channel 318; Fox61 will air in high definition on channel 786; G4/Tech TV has a new name: G4 Video Game Television; and several Starz/Encore channels are changing their name slightly. Charter is continuing to add HDTV channels including TNT, Starz and Cinemax.
Len also reported a number of new promotions we should see soon. Charter High Speed Internet service is being promoted for $29.99 for the first 3 months. The service is for 3MB service and the cost will rise to $39.99 after the first three months. Charter is now offering E-Pay (bill payment online) participating customers will receive $5 off each of the first two e-payments. Len also mentioned a promotion with Phillips Electronics for HDTV equipment buyers.
Charter is still losing basic subscribers but they are building up customers for their other product lines.
We again discussed the advantages of cable over satellite dish including public access (Channel 21), VOD and Channel 17. Lang reiterated the importance of Channel 17 and Trumbull’s need for a dedicated government access channel.
Len also reported that VOIP service is on its way – they are testing it but no rollout schedule has been adopted yet. The wireless home networking product is in full launch mode.
Donahue, K asked if there was any way to measure viewership of Channel 17 – Greg and Len will ask around at Charter and see what they can come up with.
COMMUNICATIONS & CORRESPONDENCE:
Lang discussed the issue of CSR response times. Charter has been fined $100k by the DPUC; Charter wants to pay each customer a $1 rebate. The matter is still being resolved. Lang believes that the statistics are even worse than they appear because some people hang up before the phone is ever even answered. They need a real abandonment rate measurement. Romano said Charter is doing pretty well at the DPUC except with regard to phone answering statistics. DeVoe mentioned that this was a big issue when Charter had their franchise renewed and it was something that the DPUC expected Charter to resolve.
Carmella commented that we are not receiving as many complaints as we were a few months ago.
Lang then mentioned that the monthly reports submitted to the DPUC by Charter continue to show loss of subscribers – locally and at the national level. We briefly discussed what Charter is hearing when subscribers drop their service. According to Romano, the top two reasons subscribers give fore dropping service are moving out of their service area and competition from satellite dishes. O’Rourke and Rosen suggested that they might want to gather more detailed information about the competition issue (price, signal quality, etc.).
Going forward, Chairman Amodeo would like the Secretary to keep track of complaints and she asked that we add a “Complaint Resolution” item to our agenda. This would allow Charter to tell us how complaints we forwarded to them have been resolved. Lang reiterated that most of the verbal complaints he receives are regarding price and that Charter should take advantage of the Council as representatives of public input.
Web page: Donahue, S would like to make some recommendations regarding the website including some thoughts on tracking Channel 21 and 17 viewership, email contact info, member bios and perhaps a blog. He will work on publicizing the site more and making it more “google” friendly.
Video Festival – Judging is complete. The awards date will be Saturday, April 9 at 1:00 PM. It will last about 1 hour. Rosen will contact James Diaz’ parents. Amy should send out a reminder email to everyone.
We need to get the next competition going. We need a committee and a theme so we can get the info out to the schools. Chris McArdle offered to help with publicity.
Frank Catalano (Newtown) has resigned. We need another member solicitation mailing to go out. Secretary will mail to all franchise area First Selectman and BOE. We need to make sure the letters are clear about where the meetings are and that we can teleconference in members from the Winsted franchise area.
Next Meeting: CHANGE: Tuesday, May 3, 2005 at 7:00 PM (note new time) at the Charter offices at 11 Commerce Drive (note new location).
The meeting was unanimously adjourned at 9:05 PM.
Respectfully submitted by: Kate Donahue, Secretary
Cable Advisory Council