www.CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

For Charter Communications NW CT Area 19

PO BOX 87, Newtown CT 06470

Email Chairman@CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

CABLE ADVISORY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN REPORT

Gregory G. Davis

 

July 2014 Council Meeting

 

Cable Industry News

 

1. The Aereo Gambit Crashes, despite the Court’s total miss on the technical hocus-pocus underpinning the Aereo claim for legitimacy.

 

2.  The details of the implied COMCAST Takeover of the Charter Communications Operations in CT and New England are mysteriously being kept very secret.   Everything is Hush - Hush, and nobody is talking….!

 

3.  The FCC Ruling on “NET NEUTRALITY” has been pushed past 15 September.

 

4.  The FCC is being pummeled by simultaneous special interests including:

            a.  The FCC desire to feed the insatiable cash appetite of the US Congress by creating strong incentive for the over the air broadcast industry to sell their Free License back to the FCC for the purpose of spectru re-sale to the wireless telecoms industry – raising more BILLIONS of BUCKS to pay for Congressional largess already spent.

            b.  The Rapid consolidation of competing Industries with financial interests in the ATT takeover of Direct TV, and the Verizon takeover of Dish TV.

            c.  The Whole Confusion about Net Neutrality in the evolution of the Internet Service Provider and Content Provider Industries.

            d.  Comcast’s employ of 39 Avenue K Lobbyist Organizations to influence all areas of the government.

            e.  The COMCAST – TWC – Charter – Spinco mega deal

            f.   and Not to forget, The license of Public Radio Frequency Spectrum in the Public Interest, and  Regulation to provide fair and essential communications available to all regions and income levels in throughout the country.

 

SVAC Meeting Report: 

Meeting Held 11 June 2014 in Cromwell CT.

The Insecure Future of Community Access Report by GGDavis was presented.

Re:  Future Vision for Community Access

Re:  Legislative Initiative to Save the Institution

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

For Charter Communications NW CT Area 19

PO BOX 87, Newtown CT 06470

Email Chairman@CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

CABLE ADVISORY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN REPORT

Gregory G. Davis

 

July 2014 Council Meeting

 

ESSENTIAL BASIC SERVICE TIER DISCONNECTIONS WARNING LETTERS

 

BASIC SERVICE TIER EXISTENCE DENIED BY CHARTER.com Website.

 

Is Charter is Required by Federal, or State law, or both, to Offer a Basic Service Tier. The Answer is YES,  

The Federal Statutes are the underlying documents which power the Public & Citizens' interface to the law, as interpreted and regulated by the Federal Executive Department of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC),

The e-CFR (electronic code of federal regulations) carries the weight of law, and is the primary resource and reference for the Federal Judicial Department, legislative committees, and the general public.

The FCC Regulation based in US Law prevails where a local franchise authority does not have jurisdiction.

A Local Franchise Authority, ie...the State of CT has enacted a law creating the Certificate of Cable Franchise Authority (CCFA). (CGS Chapter 289 Section 16-331(p)

Charter Communications has been granted a CCFA license to do business as per the State of CT Regulations defined by the license. (CGS Chapter 289 Section 16-331 thru 16-333)

The State of CT is the Certified Franchising Authority under Federal law as per the code of federal regulation:

The BASIC SERVICE TIER (BST) as defined in the e-CFR Title 47 Part 76, is LINKED to CT State law, whether the CT State Law officially spells it out or not, and thereby defaults to the Federal Standard.

The Basic Service Tier (BST) may NOT be regulated by any franchising authority, and must default to the Federal Standard in any area subject to effective market competition standards set by the Federal Code of Regulation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

For Charter Communications NW CT Area 19

PO BOX 87, Newtown CT 06470

Email Chairman@CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

 

30 June  2014                                                   

 

Tom Cohen, Director of Public Relations

Barbara Henry, Roxbury CT First Selectman

 

Re:  12 June 2014 Letter from Charter Communications

 

Greetings Barbara & Tom


A brief 12 June 2014 letter from Charter Communications addressed "To Whom it May Concern", was received at Roxbury CT Town Hall, explaining that a service currently being provided free of charge, has been determined to be ineligible for "Free Service status".  The free service would be discontinued unless action was taken to change the account billing status by 12 July 2014. 

 

Roxbury First Selectman Barbara Henry requested an investigation by the Cable Advisory Council about this letter.

 

The brevity of the letter does not provide sufficient explanation to support the positive public relations intention it was surely meant to be.

 

As Cable Advisory Council Members, we participate with Charter Communications in a dialog between local citizens, their elected representatives, Charter Communications, and the PURA. "The Cable Advisory Council charge is to carry forth the work set in CT law as an extension of the PURA; to be an active partner supporting the designated Community Access Provider programming and operations; and be the Advisory agent for Community Interests in communications with the Cable company about policies, products, & services."  (Reference:  http://cableadvisorycouncil.com/charge.htm).

 

I offer my opinion and studied understanding about the meanings and good intentions behind this letter, as follows:

 

1.  In mid 2012, Charter Communications announced to the Cable Advisory Council that an "All Digital" service upgrade was planned for its CT PURA Franchise territories sometime in the near future.

 

2.  This Conversion to "All Digital" service by Charter Communications will be implemented very soon, and will probably be complete before January 2015.

 

3.  The Hybrid Analog/Digital service currently supported by Charter Communications carries the "Basic Service Tier" in the Analog signal format.  These analog signals can be directly connected to legacy Analog Television Tuners without need for a cable decoder box.

 

4.  "All Digital" service will eliminate the legacy Analog TV channel distribution on the cable system and require the use of a proprietary Charter Communications supplied cable decoder box.

 

5.  Charter Communications has subscribers for "Internet Only" service.

 

6.  "Internet Only" subscribers have benefited from the limitations of the hybrid Analog & Digital distribution technology, because the all analog Basic Service Tier programming is carried along with the "Internet Only" service by default.  There was no cost effective way to turn off the Basic Service Tier and provide "Internet Only" service at the same time.

 

7.  The transition to an "All Digital" distribution format provides Charter Communications the technology to cost effectively switch each and every program channel or service ON or OFF via a mandatory Charter Decoder Box.



8.  The transition to  "All Digital" is about to go into effect.  The very day of the switch-over to "All Digital", all customers receiving "Internet Only" services, will be disconnected from the Basic Service Tier Programming.  The letter from Charter Communications intends to inform the "Internet Only" customers about this upcoming event, and provide them the time to decide whether or not to subscribe to any Charter Communications services beyond, and in addition to "Internet Only" service.

 

9. The Roxbury First Selectman expressed a serious concern about the intended disconnection from the Basic Service Tier television program channels.

The Basic Service Tier carries the Community Access Channel, the Educational Channel, The CT State Government Channel, and the Federal Government Channels, in addition to the local over the air broadcast channels licensed to operate in the public interest.  The intent to disconnect these vital communication services by Charter Communications does not seem right, in light of the fact that CT requires the CCFA License Holder, Charter Communications, to provide these channels on the Basic Service Tier free of charge to the Library and School System in each town of the franchise territory.

 

10. CT law does not specifically identify "Free of Charge" Basic Service Tier connection to the locations of the Town's designated Emergency Operations Center, or Senior Centers.  Charter Communications Legal Department have determined that the literal specificity of the CT law allows Charter to charge for the Basic Service tier to any and all customers not uniquely identified in CT law.  The new "All Digital" distribution format will give Charter Communications to new technical capability to bill for these services, which they intend to do.

 

11. The Charter Communication announcement letter of this impending "unofficial policy" change is brief and to the point.  The distribution is wide across all the towns in the CT PURA Franchise territories # 10  and  #19, and was probably sent to all the client towns with the same “Internet Only” service arrangement across all of New England.  It is good that Charter Communications decided to inform this wide group of clients in advance of the date of the "big Switch-over' to "All Digital" services.

 

This topic will be on the agenda for the 8 July 2014 Cable Advisory Council meeting.  I invite your presence, comments and participation at this meeting.

 

With best regards,

Gregory G. Davis KB1YHW

Chairman, Cable Advisory Council, Charter Western

 

 

 

 

 

www.CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

For Charter Communications NW CT Area 19

PO BOX 87, Newtown CT 06470

Email Chairman@CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

 

A Secure Future for Community Access Television – The July 2014 View

Legislative Initiatives to Preserve the Institution of Community Access

 

A.  The CT geographical regions associated with the 24 CT cable franchise territories upon adoption of PA07-253, become fixed as Designated Community Access Provider regions, independent of CCFA license holder territory changes or consolidations.

 

B.  The PURA will conduct a full investigation of programming and operations of each designated community access provider and their associated advisory council, at least once every five years.

 

C.  The PURA may reorganize the CAP regions to better serve Community Access producers upon completion of regular PURA investigations.

 

D.  During the annual support review of the of the designated community access providers, the PURA will include advisory council funding.  If no CCFA license holder exists with a CAP region, the CVFA license holders my be designated by PURA to provide the annual support for the advisory council.

 

E.  The PURA will guide the conversions of a Designated CAP into an independent Not-for-profit Corporation.  Legal costs will be funded by the license holders party to CCFA/CVFA franchise territory reconfiguration.  The PURA will review and facilitate this process in the public interest.

 

F.  CVFA license perpetuity is conditional upon a minimum qualification for the Certified Statewide Video Provider license to be set by the PURA and to include not less than 51% of the population, towns or residential homes in the State of Connecticut, or automatically convert to the CCFA license after a probationary period not to exceed 7 years.

 

G. The Designated CAP has primary responsibility for community access studio programming and operations funded by access subscriber fees collected within the region.  Independent studio operations supported and operated by Educational or Governmental entities within the CAP region shall have formal PURA approved agreements with the designated CAP.

 

H.  Any Entity reselling Internet service connectivity which bills on a regular and recurrent schedule to any private citizen or address within the Designated Community Access Provider Territory, will collect an access fee of ½ of 1 % on the recurrent retail ISP billing for minimum access speeds, and will be adjusted annually by the PURA in the annual community access support review.  The community access subscriber fees will be electronically transmitted to the Designated Community Access Provider prior to the 16th day of each month.  An Annual report of information relevant to the PURA is required prior to the 16th day of January every year by the ISP for the annual community access support review.