CABLE ADVISORY COUNCIL
Minutes of Public Regular Meeting –
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
There was a regular meeting of the Cable Advisory Council called to order at 7:03 p.m., Tuesday, November 12, 2013 by Chairman Gregory Davis at the Charter Communications facility, Newtown, Connecticut.
ATTENDEES: Chairman Gregory Davis (Roxbury), Carmella Amodeo (Newtown), Douglas Branson (Kent), Kevin Burns (Newtown), Kathy Colavito (Brookfield), George Fletcher (New Milford), Ray Juskiewicz (New Fairfield), Paul Katzmark (Southbury), Jim Lang (Trumbull), Bob O’Keefe (Newtown), Stephanie O’Rourke (Kent), Gene Rosen (Newtown) and Ken Swain (Bridgewater)
From Charter: Tom Cohan (Director of Government Relations) and Greg Van Antwerp (Public Access),
ROLL CALL: The board went over the packets with meeting documents and board members introduced themselves.
PUBLIC INPUT: None
SERVICE PROVIDER REPORTS:
Tom Cohan: Director of Government Relations noted that:
Caller ID is now available on TV screen
A soft launch was done of the Charter TV app. This will enable users to view TV programs on various Apple devises. This will eventually expand to Android devises and Kindle Fire. More information can be found at www.chartertvapp.com
Charter received a proposed Interconnection agreement from AT&T and Charter will arrange a meeting with Kinson Perry from AT&T
A wire was needed in front of the Sherman Library and was taken care of on Monday, November 11th.
Charter will be going all digital in 2014
There is a rumor about a possible change in ownership with Charter. Mr. Cohan noted that Shareholder John Malone believes that Charter should be bigger and spoke of the possibility of buying Time Warner Cable.
Charter CEO issued a press release supporting the bill brought forth by Senator John McCain regarding a bill to offer Al-la-Carte programming
Greg Van Antwerp- Provided the council with the most recent Newsletter from November/December 2013
The last Internship went well. Students completed the program with a presentation of Election results on November 5th at Western Connecticut State University.
Charter would be interested in doing a public presentation regarding the Internship to anyone or any group interested in learning more about the program.
A taping of a Studio program will be done tonight. Anyone interested in watching this program after the council meeting is welcome.
There was a truck shoot at the Newtown Arts Festival and at the Stepney Civil War Memorial.
Council members were encouraged to “like” Charter on Facebook.
September meeting minutes- Jim Lang made a motion to approve the minutes of the September 10, 2013 council meeting as presented. Ray Juskiewicz seconded the motion.
Vote: All in favor
COUNCIL CHAIRMAN REPORT
Chairman Gregory Davis spoke of the council’s decision to contact PURA to again ask them to issue an order to interconnect the designated community access provider channel between Charter and AT&T or refund all fees collected for access programming but never delivered to AT&T U-Verse subscribers since January 2008. Chairman Davis sent a letter to PURA asking that they reopen this decision and asking if he could meet with PURA. Mr. Davis noted that he received a phone call from Tom Scholtes at PURA and it was noted that PURA is not allowed to meet with Mr. Davis. Jim Lang suggested that the council contact State Representatives for assistance with this.
Chairman Davis drafted a letter to Charter and to PURA inviting Charter to co-sign a letter with Region 19 CAC to Dr. Andrew House at PURA requesting assistance with the interconnection agreement.
Jim Lang made a motion to formally invite Charter to co-sign a letter from the Region 19 CAC to PURA asking for help with Interconnection with AT&T. Bob O’Keefe seconded the motion. R19CWAC-13-11-12-M2-Interconnect Support
Vote: All in favor
Tom Cohan from Charter noted that an Interconnection Agreement is in the works between Charter and AT&T.
Basic Cable Rates
Chairman Gregory Davis spoke of a decision made at a previous meeting to have the CAC contact Charter to ask them to publish the cost for the most basic service of $25.99/month. Mr. Davis noted that he received a response from Director of Government Relations Tom Cohan explaining the basic service rates and included a rate chart that includes the basic price.
Chairman Davis brought up the Charter website on his computer and the council went through the website to determine the how easy it is to find the basic cable price as per the letter from Mr. Cohan on the Charter website. The Charter.com website was unable to supply the basic cable rate information hidden in an obscure file which required a download function that was prohibited by the firewall installed at the Charter Communications office. Bottom line, the $25.99/month + $5.99/month digital decoder box basic cable rate could not be demonstrated on the Charter website at the Charter Communications office. There was a discussion among the council members about the best way for Charter to publish the lowest price and that Customer Service Representatives need to be instructed to give the lowest price on the phone.
Gene Rosen made a motion that the Cable Advisory Council advise Charter to update their Charter.com website and publish the price and availability of the lowest cost basic cable TV service on the website pages which also offer the options of higher cost packages. Stephanie O’Rourke seconded the motion. R19CWAC13-11-12-M3-Basic Cable Rates Obscured.
Vote: All in favor except: Ken Swain opposed and Carmella Amodeo abstained
SVAC & SOUNDVIEW vs. PURA
Chairman Davis spoke of a lawsuit by Soundview vs. PURA arguing the constitutionality of Public Act 08-159. A trial was set for June 27th but didn’t go through. A new judge has been assigned to this case. The issues include the legitimacy of Advisory Councils. Chairman Davis spoke of information available on the website and explained the need for Cable Advisory Councils.
Chairman Davis read a draft letter that he proposed explaining Advisory Council Legitimacy.
Jim Lang made a motion to endorse a letter written by Chairman Davis to the Statewide Video Advisory Council as amended. Kevin Burns seconded the motion.
Vote: All in favor except: Ray Juskiewicz abstained R19CWAC-13-11-12-M4-Council Legitimacy
Chairman Davis spoke of a PEGPETIA Grant awarded to Region 12 School District in August 2012 in the amount of $127,270.00. However, Public Act 13-184, An Act Concerning Expenditures and Revenue for the Biennium ending June 30, 2015 diverted funds collected under the PEGPETIA Grant Program entirely into the general fund for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. There was a discussion of the intent of the PEGPETIA Grants.
Chairman Davis read a letter from Michael Maturo from the Cable Advisory Council of South Central Connecticut asking the Cable Advisory Council to support the statewide initiative to put the money back into the PEGPETIA Grants.
Jim Lang made a motion that the R19CWAC Cable Advisory Council supports a state-wide initiative to restore the PEGPETIA Grant Funding Program per Chapter 289 of the CT General Statutes Section 16-331. The R19CWAC further believes that Public Act 13-184, An Act Concerning Expenditures and Revenue for the Biennium ending June 30, 2015, which diverts funds collected under the PEGPETIA Grant Program entirely into the general fund for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, directly undermines community access programming and must not continue. Gene Rosen seconded the motion. R19CWAC-13-11-12-M5-PEGPETIA RESORE
Vote: All in favor
The Cable Advisory Council will meet every other month in 2014 on the 2nd Tuesday of the month. The meetings dates are January 14, 2014, March 11, 2014, May 13, 2014, July 8, 2014, September 9, 2014 and November 11, 2014. This information will be provided to the PURA.
Ray Juskiewicz made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:55pm.
Vote: All in favor
Cable Advisory Council Regular Meeting Minutes, Tuesday, November 12, 2013