CABLE ADVISORY COUNCIL

P. O. Box 87

Newtown, Connecticut

~ Minutes ~

Minutes of Public Regular Meeting –

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Newtown, CT

 

There was a regular meeting of the Cable Advisory Council called to order at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 8, 2012 by Vice Chairman Carmella Amodeo at the Charter Communications facility, Newtown, Connecticut.

 

ATTENDEES:  Vice Chairman Carmella Amodeo (Newtown) Carl Braun (Woodbury), Ray Juskiewicz (New Fairfield), Gregory Davis (Roxbury), Eugene Rosen (Newtown), George Fletcher (New Milford), Tom Joyner (Sherman), Stephanie O’Rourke (Kent)   From Charter: Tom Cohan (Director of Government Relations), Greg Van Antwerp (Public Access), and Heidi Vandenbrouch (Public Relations)

 

PUBLIC INPUT:   None

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Ray Juskiewicz made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 13, 2012 meeting as presented.  Gene Rosen seconded the motion. 

 

Gregory Davis made a motion to amend the minutes of the March 13th meeting to include a reference that the letter sent to PURA by the Advisory Council dated March 14, 2012 was attached to the minutes.  Gene Rosen seconded the motion.

Vote: 7-0-0 (Motion approved)

 

Stephanie O’Rourke made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 23, 2012 special meeting as presented.  Gene Rosen seconded the motion.

Vote: 6-0-1 (Motion approved- Tom Joyner abstained)

 

TREASURER’S REPORT:

Treasurer Carl Braun reported that Checking account current balance is $4,710.67. The Money Market balance is $6,157.31.  The 12-month CD balance is $13,457.08 with total assets equaling $24,325.47.

 

Gregory Davis made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.  George Fletcher seconded the motion.  Vote: 7-0-0 (Motion approved)

(Treasurer’s report attached to the minutes of this meeting)

 

COMMUNICATIONS:

Gene Rosen spoke of a customer who is having difficulty getting Charter installed.  Tom Cohan asked that Gene Rosen send him an e-mail with this customer’s information and he will take care of this.

George Fletcher thanked Charter for getting NESN.

 

CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS REPORT:

Tom Cohan spoke of PURA activities.  PURA has had two months of hearings with CL&P and will be issuing a report to show what they have done to prepare for future storms.  It is expected that this report will be done by July 1st.

 

PURA will begin to conduct a review of the Community Access operations.  Two reviews with be conducted every year with each Community Access Provider (CAP) being done every five years.

 

The Board has approved an increase in customer fees to support community access from $7.52 up from $7.30 in 2011.

 

PURA will be holding a technical meeting later this week and will discuss putting community access programming either on Video on Demand or an Internet Cloud.

 

 The Connecticut Legislature is discussing Governor Malloy’s Storm Bill that will instruct PURA to provide an annual report on disaster recovery/service restoration plans. 

There also may be an additional bill passed specific to cable companies.

 

PURA acknowledged receipt of letter from Jim Lang’s letter complaining about the AT&T interconnection.  It was noted that this letter was sent from Jim Lang personally and not as his capacity as Chairman.

 

Heidi Vandenbrouch:  NESN has been added and the HD lineup will be increased to 100 HD channels by the end of July.

 

Greg Van Antwerp: Director of Communications Access spoke of the Internship program offered by Charter.  The current internship began on January 27th and will be finish soon.  The next session will begin in May and Charter has been doing advertising in order to attract more people. 

 

Charter has been doing quite a few truck shoots. 

 

CTV21 is now on Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/CTV21

 

OLD BUSINESS: 

Carmella Amodeo spoke of the motion concerning Docket No. 11-08-06.  It was noted that PURA received and acknowledged the letter sent but made no changes as a result of the recommendation.  Gregory Davis noted that the Charter Communications Cable Advisory Council was the only advisory council in the state to send an opinion.

 

Recommendation of Technical enhancements- Tom Joyner noted that he will be putting together a packet regarding this for a future meeting.  Some of the issues addressed were the pricing of the cable specifically bundling vs. al la carte and the signaling and quality of the picture getting via television.  There was a discussion of basic cable channels have fewer channels than before.  There was a discussion of the Charter being at the bottom of several categories in Consumer Reports.

 

Gregory Davis made a motion to advise Charter to offer a sports-free tier.  Carl Braun seconded the motion. 

 

Gregory Davis made a motion to amend the previous motion to advise Charter to offer an expanded sports-free tier.  Carl Braun seconded the motion. 

Vote: 6-0-1- Motion approved- George Fletcher abstained)

 

School Grants

There was a discussion of the possibility of having the council awarding grants to schools and it was discussed whether or not this should be opened to private and parochial schools.  It was suggested that it may be possible to offer grants to public and municipal communities or possibly Senior Citizen Centers.

 

It was decided that more information be obtained on ways to distribute funds and to find out what requirements they have.  Suzanne Kloos will download the Pegpetia grant and send it to the council members.

 

Local government channels

Carl Braun asked about the possibility of putting both local and educational programming on the same channel.  Ray Juskiewicz noted that New Fairfield is already doing this.  There was a discussion of whether or not this was appropriate. 

 

Recommendation of service offer changes

Gregory Davis made a motion to advise Charter to compare their offering rates with U-Verse specifically with the per box charge.  Carl Braun seconded the motion.

Vote: 5-0-2 (Motion approved- Ray Juskiewicz and Gene Rosen abstained)

 

Gregory Davis noted that U-Verse charges on a per box per month basis and for activating the digital HD output are different and lower than Charter's.

 

Recommendation to submit language on bills that notifies subscribers of Advisory Council purpose and contact information

It was noted that there was some confusion about billing and where to send bills. 

 

NEW BUSINESS:  

Determine how Charter is complying with regulations (PEGPETIA)

The council reviewed Section 33 of the Pegpetia regulations and it was determined that Charter complied with the states statutes and gives 1/2% of gross revenue from the State of Connecticut into the fund.

 

Determine if our Council should encourage Charter to enter into agreements with local community program suppliers to help fund community/educational programming providers

Tom Joyner made a motion to table this item until a further meeting.  Ray Juskiewicz seconded the motion.

Vote: 7-0-0 (Motion approved

 

NOMINATION OF OFFICERS

It was noted that new officers will be elected at the July 10th meeting and their term will start immediately after the election.  This will be an agenda item on the July 10th agenda.

 

Gregory Davis nominated Stephanie O’Rourke as Secretary of the Council.

 

Gregory Davis nominated Carl Braun as Treasurer of the Council

 

Gregory Davis nominated Carmella Amodeo as Vice Chairman of the Council

 

Stephanie O’Rourke nominated Gregory Davis as Chairman of the Council

 

ADJOURNMENT:

Ray Juskiewicz made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:10pm.  George Fletcher seconded the motion- Vote 7-0-0 (Motion approved)