PO Box 87
Newtown, CT 06470
January 30, 2001 Minutes
Cable Advisory Council
P. O. Box 87
Regular Meeting - Tuesday, January 30, 2001
C. DeVoe noted that K. Cornet and J. Mustich had notified him that they were unable to attend, and requested a copy of the tape of the meeting.
P. Hopper questioned the location schedule for meetings. C. DeVoe indicated it was to resume the regular rotation of locations which was varied a bit the last few meetings. He further noted that the inclusion of the schedule in the Minutes, which are distributed to the various town offices, will act as notice of scheduled meetings for the coming year.
W. Stratton arrived at 7:40 p.m.
to accept as submitted was made by J. Lewin, seconded by E. Rosen and
A letter was received from Robert Walleck of Woodbury regarding an installation issue. He indicated that, since December 6, 2000, he has been making three calls a week to Charter trying to get resolution. He is seeking written communication from Charter as to how they will resolve this issue. J. Dee indicated it was a boundary dispute. C. DeVoe asked that the Council be appraised of how this is being handled.
C. DeVoe indicated other correspondence included Charter's report for December 2000 and January 2001, as well as a notice of rate and programming changes, dated December 21, 2000. Several letters were also received regarding the application of New Haven Folk Alliance for declaratory ruling concerning use of community access facilities, along with a response by Sky Cable, Inc., as well as one from Comcast commenting on their position on that ruling.
C. DeVoe indicated he had received a letter at the school regarding Charter's access, appraising school officials of public access, portable equipment, studio use, community calendar and internship program. He commended Greg on the publication. He also recommended it be sent to library/media personnel.
J. Vance indicated that out of 61,000 homes, 10,000 are now on digital. Over the next year they will be working on switching over from analog to digital. The FCC is requiring broadcast channels to be switched over to digital by 2006 and this will lead to some issues regarding must-carry requirements. J. Lewin asked about individuals who have cable but do not have a box. J. Vance indicated she did not know what would be done for those individuals. J. Dee indicated that although there was nothing definite, the potential existed to go entirely digital at some time in the future. J. Dee further indicated that, since the operation of the digital unit is more complicated than the analog unit, a special channel is being set up to explain operation of the remote, as well as having installers educate the customer at time of installation of the unit. J. Vance also indicated they have received many requests to add FX, which is a channel that was dropped in 1999. She indicated, however, that they don't plan to add the channel as it is very high priced and would impact customer rates.
J. Dee indicated that Charter had purchased the 2-acre parcel of land next to their existing building. Plans are to build an 18,000 to 23,000 sq. ft. building to house existing operations, with the second floor being dedicated to customer service and marketing. This will allow for better communications within the customer service environment. He further indicated they are looking at existing customer service calls, which have more than doubled since the end of 1999, in an effort to identify the need for additional personnel. In addition, they will be opening a web site where customers can communicate via e-mail.
G. Van Antwerp reviewed the January report on public access. He indicated he had recently completed a speaking engagement for the Bethlehem PTO. He reminded all council members of the ability to provide this service in their towns if so requested, informing them of what's available. He also indicated that John Dee and Janice Vance would be teaming up for the next Homefront Live show to take calls from the audience. He reported that a new internship session has just started, with about 16 people involved.
G. Van Antwerp also presented two copies of the DPUC report for 2000 to the council. This is full documentation for all work done relating to community television for the year and is required by the DPUC.
C. DeVoe asked about Charter's ability to provide a link with the Education Connection in Litchfield County, via the connection J. Dee previously mentioned will take place between New Milford and Winsted, for the purpose of being able to transmit professional development workshops they conduct. J. Dee indicated he would review with Carl what is required so he could further investigate possibilities. J. Dee also indicated that he had been interviewing people for the Director of Access position, and is close to filling the position. J. Dee also discussed the fiber network through AT&T as a possibility to provide coverage requested by CPAN. C. DeVoe indicated the council should discuss at its next meeting what is technically feasible and decide if they want to pursue this. He requested that J. Dee provide at the next meeting an outline of what they are looking for and what Charter can do, and then, if appropriate, have Mr. Giguere attend the May meeting to discuss the issue.
C. DeVoe indicated he would like to discuss with the council the possibility of establishing some type of annual scholarship or grant, in James Diaz' name, and suggested it be added to the agenda.
J. Dee noted that Charter would like to dedicate the production vehicle in James Diaz' name, as well as rename the studio, and put together an open house and have James' mom there. J. Dee will work on setting a date for the dedication.
J. Lewin motioned to amend the agenda to include, under Old Business, discussion of the James Diaz' scholarship. P. Hooper seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
P. Hooper suggested establishing an annual scholarship or grant in James Diaz' name, for students studying broadcasting and/or community access. J. Lewin made a motion to establish an annual grant in the name of James Diaz, subject to terms and conditions that we develop in future meetings. P. Hooper seconded the motion. J. Eslami suggested a committee be formed for consideration of details relative to such a grant or scholarship. P. Hooper suggested that, once established, it is possible that other local industries may wish to add to the dollar amount. J. Eslami questioned whether Charter already participated in funding any grants and/or scholarships, and J. Dee indicated they did not. P. Hooper indicated she would be happy to meet with anyone interested in working on this for presentation at the next meeting. P. Hooper moved to amend the motion to include "or scholarship". J. Lewin seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously. F. Standt questioned if anyone was opposed to having the grant or scholarship in the name of James Diaz. There was no opposition. E. Rosen stated he felt it was a wonderful idea. As a student of James', he feels it pays tribute to his personality and his vision of public access and dealing with the community. A vote was taken on the motion, as amended, and it carried unanimously.
C. DeVoe asked for volunteers for a committee to study this issue, and J. Eslami, P. Hooper, E. Rosen and J. Vance indicated the would volunteer. J. Lewin indicated he would assist, if possible, although not as a committee member. P. Hooper will chair the committee. Anyone else who would be interested in working on the committee can contact Paula Hooper at (203) 426-6200. C. DeVoe indicated the committee should meet prior to the next meeting.
P. Hooper suggested a new list of members with phone numbers be prepared, and indicated the By-laws also need to be redone.
J. Eslami asked about dates of appointment and whether or not towns need to do something to reappoint.
J. Vance indicated that, in redoing the list of members, e-mail addresses would be helpful as an efficient way of communicating.
Lewin motioned to adjourn the meeting at 9:05 p.m. P. Hooper seconded
the motion and it carried unanimously.
Respectfully submitted by: Lorna J. Szalay, Recording Secretary
NEXT MEETING: Due to a scheduling conflict resulting from Town Meetings in March, the next meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 8, 2001, at Charter Communications, Newtown, 7:30 p.m.
Cable Advisory Council