CABLE ADVISORY COUNCIL
Minutes of Public Regular Meeting –
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
There was a regular meeting of the Cable Advisory Council called to order at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 13, 2012 by Chairman Gregory Davis at the Charter Communications facility, Newtown, Connecticut.
ATTENDEES: Chairman Gregory Davis (Roxbury), Kevin Burns (Newtown), Donna Cassidy (Trumbull), George Fletcher (New Milford), Ray Juskiewicz (New Fairfield), Jim Lang (Trumbull),George Linkletter (Sherman), Gene Rosen (Newtown), Ken Swain (Bridgewater) and Rob Zapor (substitute for Kathy Colavito-Brookfield).
Guests: Wes Dupree and Kinson Perry (AT&T Area Manager)
From Charter: Tom Cohan (Director of Government Relations), Greg Van Antwerp (Public Access), and Heidi Vandenbrouch (Public Relations)
ROLL CALL: Chairman Gregory Davis called the meeting to order at 7:02pm. Council members introduced themselves.
PUBLIC INPUT: Wes Dupree from the Town of Brookfield introduced himself and spoke of his involvement of Habitat for Humanity and the possibility of putting information regarding Habitat for Humanity on the Public Access Channel. Mr. Dupree also spoke of his disappointment with CSPAN no longer being available on the basic tier. Director of Government Relations Tom Cohan explained that this channel is available on the basic tier but a convertor box is necessary.
Chairman Davis introduced AT&T Area Manager for External and Legislative Affairs Kinson Perry.
SERVICE PROVIDER REPORTS:
Tom Cohan: Mr. Cohan spoke of Charter’s preparation and response to Superstorm Sandy on October 29, 2012. Mr. Cohan noted that there was much better response than with the October 2011 storm. Charter met with the governor on the Friday before the storm for preparation. A Storm Center page is now available on the website with tips on how to prepare for storms. This also includes a link to all the area power companies. Subscribers that lost cable services during or after the storm should call Charter to get a credit.
Heidi Vandenbrouck: Ms. Vandenbrouck noted that there are currently over 100 HD channels. There was a lot of positive feedback from first selectmen from area towns about Charter’s response to Hurricane Sandy.
Greg Van Antwerp: Handed out the newsletter of Community Vision 21 that is also available on the website.
Election Connection was a big success. This is a collaboration with Western Connecticut State University that provided coverage of this year’s Connecticut and presidential elections. They were live on the air from 8pm to midnight on Election Night.
An internship was held and participants volunteered for mobile truck productions and studio shoots. On Wednesday, November 14th CTV-21 will be covering the String Fling Concert at Hill Crest Middle School in Trumbull, CT.
Council member Ray Juskiewicz noted that he brought the New Fairfield Broadcasting club for a tour of the facility. The club was also able to produce a show and learn about future projects. Mr. Juskiewicz thanked Mr. Van Antwerp for this opportunity.
The next Internship will start at the end of January.
Mr. Van Antwerp encouraged everyone to “like” them on their facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CTV21.
Mr. Van Antwerp spoke of a proposed Video Production Class for Senior Citizens that will be held at area Senior Centers. It was suggested that information regarding this Outreach opportunity be shared with area Senior Center directors.
September meeting minutes- Jim Lang made a motion to approve the minutes of the September 11, 2012 council meeting as presented. George Fletcher seconded the motion.
Vote: All in favor
Cable Bill Notification Insert- Chairman Gregory Davis spoke of noted that while he does not have a problem with having his name appear on the Charter bills, it doesn’t seem to be common practice to have the chairman’s name appear and thought it would be best to just refer to the “Chairman” and give various ways to get in touch with the Advisory Council. There was a discussion as to whether or not the chairman’s name is required to be on the bills by law. Jim Lang noted that the law requires a name to be on the bill and that it would be more responsive and clearer if a name is associated with it.
Donna Cassidy made a motion to approve the following language “Charter customers in CT are represented by two regional Cable Advisory Councils, established by the state legislature as an advisory group to the state Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA). Each town in the Charter service areas can appoint representatives to the Advisory Council. The Advisory Councils’ primary functions are to support and advise the designated Community Access Programming provider and advise the company on consumer issues related to Charter’s cable television services, products and policies. George Linkletter seconded the motion. Vote: All in favor except Jim Lang
Government Channel Requirement Draft motion- Gregory Davis noted that this was discussed at the Strategic Action Committee meeting on Oct. 9th and it is still a work in progress. It is hopeful that after the next Strategic Action Committee meeting schedule for December 11th that they will be ready to produce language on this.
COUNCIL CHAIRMAN REPORT:
Chairman Gregory Davis reported on the following:
· The 1st Strategic Action Committee meeting was held on Tuesday, Oct. 9th. Mr. Davis noted that a lot was accomplished and read the minutes from this meeting. The next SAC meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 11th at 7:00pm at the Newtown Municipal Center- anyone interested is welcome to participate.
· A Statewide Video Advisory Council meeting was held on October 24, 2012. Mr. Davis gave a report on this meeting. Mr. Davis thanked Kinson Perry for his efforts in getting the SVAC going. The following was discussed at the SVAC meeting:
§ PURA final decision concluded that digital transmission of Community Access Programming is permissible under the law. Cable companies are not required to provide converter boxes free of charge.
§ Stephen Simonin who represents Cable Advisory Council from Litchfield presented a motion to request that the CT Legislative Energy & Technology Committee consider enacting a law to create an Open Video System. A reporter attended this meeting and wrote a front page article in the Waterbury Republican Newspaper on Sunday, Nov. 11th. Mr. Simonin is hoping to restructure the cable service business to model the deregulated CT Electric Power. As a result, the SVAC voted to send a formal request to the state legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee to investigate the feasibility to establish open video systems. Chairman Davis gave an analysis of this request and spoke of the difficulty in implementing this.
· Gregory Davis noted that he contacted the new Superintendent of Schools for Region 12 School District Dr. Patricia Cosentino and spoke with her about an opportunity for Region 12 to receive a PEGPETIA grant for Educational Access Initative. Dr. Cosentino had Karen Fildes follow up on this. Ms. Fildes spoke with Gregory Davis and Greg Van Antwerp. Mr. Davis advised Mr. Fildes as to what the PRGPRTIA grant is about and how to structure the grant application. Jim Lang noted that the Town of Trumbull received the PEGPETIA grant in 2011 and would be willing to help anyone with the grant application. Mr. Lang noted that this grant does not have to be only for educational groups.
Community & Educational Access Television Interconnection Survey- Gregory Davis spoke of a survey with an AT&T subscriber asking what is on the Community Access channel. Mr. Davis created a chart with the information he received. There are 24 designated Community Access Provider areas and 24 licenses for these providers. A map with regions was provided to the council. A full color version is available on the PURA website. The Community Access Support fees collected by Cable and Video Program service providers are paid to the Designated Community Access Providers established in each of the 24 Cable Systems franchise areas. Mr. Davis spoke of the process of distributing the fees and the designated areas.
Mr. Davis introduced AT&T Area Manger of External & Legislative Affairs Kinson Perry who answered questions about AT&T U-Verse Access interconnection. AT&T currently has 83 community access channels in 64 towns. Mr. Perry noted that AT&T charges a subscriber fee that goes directly to community access. This fee is turned over on a quarterly basis to Charter since they are the Certified Access Provider (CAP). AT&T will be able to interconnect with any town that they are connected to. Jim Lang asked about the process of making an Interconnection with Charter. Members of the council encouraged Mr. Perry to contact Tom Cohan to discuss Interconnection. Mr. Perry spoke of the process of Interconnection.
Gregory Davis made a motion that the Cable Advisory Council will serve to promote Community Access interconnection between cable and video program providers serving CT PURA Map area 19, for Public, Education, and Government groups of community based television program produces. Donna Cassidy seconded the motion.
Vote: All in favor
Council member George Fletcher noted that a friend that switched to AT&T received an offer to come back to Charter at a discounted rate. Mr. Fletcher asked about incentives for loyal customers. Tom Cohan noted that this is a marketing tool to get new customers and is done by most Cable companies.
Donna Cassidy made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:46pm. Gregory Davis seconded the motion.
Vote: All in favor