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 Cable Television Advisory Council

Established in 1990, we are the Cable Television Advisory Council for Hamden, New Haven and West Haven. While we are appointed by our local governments, we are not political. We represent the interests of all members of our three communities.Our authority is derived from the State of Connecticut, through the Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA), previously the Department of Public Utilities Control (DPUC). Our function is to report to and advise PURA on the policies, actions, and activities of Cable Television systems, and the cable access channels, available to the public in our local jurisdiction.   If you have a Complaint, please use our Comment entry link for the Council to review it.
The Council is a member of the Alliance for Community Media. Read our By-Laws to understand our function.
Our next meeting is on Wednesday, July 6, 2016 at 6 pm. The meeting location is CTV studios,  843 State Street, New Haven, CT, and is open to the public.
Currently we have the following vacancies in the Council. If you are interested in serving, please
Contact Us or your Mayor’s Office.
Hamden:   Representative at Large (2), Board of Education (1)
New Haven:  Representative at Large (2), Board of Education (1)
West Haven: Representative at Large (3), Board of Education (1)
 

June 1, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven
Meeting Date: June 1, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:04.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH), George Alexander, Treasurer (H), Don Levy, Secretary (H), Johnes Ruta (NH), Peaches Quinn (NH) (6:45 pm8)

Ashley Sklar

No representatives of Comcast, Frontier, or CTV were present.

Minutes from the two previous meetings were adopted.

CTV was not being cablecast over the Frontier system. A CTV worker indicated that progress had been made to add CTV to the Frontier system.

The CTAC website is not yet capable of accepting preliminary applications for the CTAC Grant program. Babz Rawls-Ivy was absent so she could not update the Council regarding whether or not she was able to move this project forward. Johnes said he was too busy to upgrade the website.

Tad renewed his call for current council members to be more active in recruiting for the many open positions on the council.

The Council decided to convene the July meeting as scheduled but did not decide regarding whether or not to hold a regular monthly meeting in August.

Meeting was adjourned at 6:59 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Don Levy, CTAC Secretary.

May 4, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven
Meeting Date: May 4, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:08.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH), George Alexander, Treasurer (H), Don Levy, Secretary (H),
Ashley Sklar

Joe Schofield, CTV, Steve Gimmell, Frontier

A quorum was absent therefor no official business was transacted.

Joe Schofield said that a Frontier engineer have made a site visit to CTV in preparation for laying fiber optic cable to provide Frontier subscribers with CTV programs for the first time. Steve Gimmell from Frontier said CTV programs ought to be available to Frontier customers prior to the June CTAC meeting. On behalf of CTAC, Don Levy expressed the Council’s gratitude that CTV programs will soon be available on the Frontier cable system. Joe said that CTV programs are now being produced in High Definition. He said, however, that viewers are only able to access these programs in Standard Definition. Joe asked Steve to look into the possibility that the Frontier system would be capable of cablecasting CTV programs in HD. Joe also said that PEGPETIA equipment grants for the state of Connecticut would no longer be available due to the state’s budget shortfall. Joe indicated that he was spearheading a move in concert with other community cable operators to change the ongoing funding mechanism for the cable operators to provide equitable funding and to provide additional funding for equipment as well as to establish consistent and predictable financial support in light of the shrinking customer base of cable subscribers in general.

Steve Gimmell spoke about Frontier’s new download of the Vantage software. No advance notice of this download had been given to Frontier customers. Because the Vantage software changed many of the at-home cable functions this caused a great deal of confusion and concern among the customer base. Don pointed out that if CTAC had been alerted to this download and had the CTAC website been up and running the CTAC website could have alerted Frontier customers of the change. Don said this missed opportunity to provide service was the most glaring failure of CTAC during the time he has served on the Council. Steve said that once customers learned how to navigate using the Vantage download they would experience enhanced programming opportunities including being able to watch as many as four programs at the same time.

Ashley Sklar said that the mayor of New Haven had told the library director that the Mayor would be informing the Council of her new appointment to fill the CTAC seat vacated by Martha
Brogan.

Meeting ended at 6:58 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Don Levy, CTAC Secretary.

April 6, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven
Meeting Date: April 6, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:05.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH), George Alexander, Treasurer (H), Don Levy, Secretary (H), Babz Rawls Ivy (NH), Peaches Quinn (Vice-Chair, NH)

Ashley Sklar

Sharon Codeanne, Comcast

The minutes for the March meeting were approved as corrected.

Sharon Codeanne of Comcast said the 15th Annual Comcast Cares Day will be held on Saturday, April 30 at New Haven’s Lincoln-Bassett School. Peaches Quinn inquired as to the status of Comcast resolving its dispute with the YES Network. Sharon said that the matter revolved around the fact that the cost of the YES Network was too high relative to the number of Comcast subscribers using the service.

The Council voted to pay Johnes the second half of the payment for work he did to migrate the CTAC website to the WordPress platform. CTAC will be exploring other options to add an online application for the CTAC Video Grants program. Babz and Peaches said they would reach out to their contacts to determine the cost and time required to perform this task. Don will forward the draft online application form to all to facilitate this addition to the website. George will provide Babz with administrative status on the website to allow her to analyze the steps required to make sure the website is functional and searchable for community members wishing to use it.

Tad indicated that he had hoped Joe from CTV and Steve from Frontier has been present to update the Council on the much discussed and long delayed attempt to have Frontier add CTV programs to its network.

Don indicated that the Council still required a communication from the New Haven Mayor in order to add Ashley Sklar to membership on the Council

The March regular meeting of CTAC was adjourned at 6:59 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by D. Levy, CTAC secretary

March 2, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven
Meeting Date: March 2, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:00.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH),
George Alexander, Treasurer (H),
Don Levy, Secretary (H),
Johnes Ruta (NH).

Ashley Sklar

Joe Schofield, CTV, Sharon Codeanne, Comcast, Steve Gimmell, Frontier

The minutes for the February meeting were approved as submitted.

Sharon Codeanne of Comcast said the 15th Annual Comcast Cares Day will be held on Saturday, April 30 at New Haven’s Lincoln-Bassett School. Other Comcast outreach activities included sponsoring the Urban League Youth Forum in New Haven as well as the United Way New Haven “Read Across America” event on March 2. “Al Jezeera America” will be shut down on April 12. Steve Gimmell from Frontier said no progress has been made in cablecasting CTV programming over the Frontier system. Joe Schofield said he would reach out to the local Frontier office to express hjs and the Council’s disappointment in this regard and to seek a strong commitment to get CTV programs on the Frontier system as quickly as possible. Steve highlighted the fact that Frontier was sponsoring the New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade as well as the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk on May 7. Joe Schofield indicated that parking in the CTV lot has become difficult and that CTV will be installing a mechanized gate in order to maintain open spots for CTV personnel and visitor. Joe also indicated that the state budget shortfall was once again pirating funds paid by cable subscribers which had been earmarked for equipment grants via the PEGPETIA mechanism. Joe was also working with his colleagues statewide to establish (via new state legislation) a better formula to provide more consistent funding for the efforts of community cable program producers.

Johnes Ruta said he was about 90 percent finished getting the CTAC website migrated to the WordPress system. He was unable to indicate his charge to add functionality to the CTAC website so that community members could use the site to apply for the CTAC Video Excellence Grants to be awarded during 2016.

The March regular meeting of CTAC was adjourned at 7:09 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by D. Levy, CTAC secretary

February 3, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven
Meeting Date: February 3, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, February 3, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:11.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH), Peaches Quinn, Vice-Chair (NH), George Alexander, Treasurer (H)
Babz Rawls Ivy (NH), Don Levy, Secretary (H), Johnes Ruta (NH)

Ashley Sklar

Steve Gimmell, Frontier

The minutes for the January meeting were approved as submitted.

Steve Gimmell from Frontier said that although CTV programming is not yet available to Frontier cable customers Frontier has acquired the equipment necessary to add CTV programming to its channel line-up. Frontier needs to test the new equipment before it can be put in place. Steve anticipates this will have been accomplished by our March meeting.

Johnes indicated he was pleased with his progress on migrating the CTAC website to the WordPress platform. He acknowledges there were a few kinks remaining to be worked out. The Council decided that each member would examine the new website and submit feedback to Johnes by Wednesday, February 10. Once these final issues are resolved the Council expects to vote on providing the remaining funds to Johnes for his work on the project, perhaps as soon as the March meeting. Johnes also said that he would provide a new estimate of the cost for him to add functionality to the CTAC website so that community members could use the site to apply for the CTAC Video Excellence Grants to be awarded during 2016.

Chair Weinstein presented the 2015 Advisory Council Annual Report to be submitted to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. The council accepted the report as submitted. Chair Weinstein also submitted the 2016 Proposed CTAC Budget. The Council approved the 2016 Proposed Budget.

Don indicated that he would forward the draft press release to Babs Rawls Ivy as soon as the website was capable of processing grant applications.

The February regular meeting of CTAC was adjourned at 6:59 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by D. Levy, CTAC secretary

January 6, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven

Meeting Date: January 6, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, January 6, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:03.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH)

George Alexander, Treasurer (H)

Babz Rawls Ivy (NH)

Don Levy, Secretary (H)

Johnes Ruta (NH)

Sharon Codeanne, Comcast

Steve Gimmell, Frontier

Joe Schofield, CTV

Ashely Sklar, NH Free Public Library

The minutes for the December meeting were approved as submitted.

Sharon Codeanne submitted the COMCAST report. Six channels changed their names. George asked about a COMCAST salesperson who was unable to tell him the cost of standard COMCAST service after the proffered promotional rate expires. Sharon countered that promotional rates are always in flux and that COMCAST cannot provide the anticipated standard rate two years in advance.

Steve Gimmell presented the Frontier report. The report highlighted two community events including the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day Parade in March sponsored by Frontier. The report also reiterated that Frontier is hiring locally and that it is providing some additional customers with higher transfer rates. Steve said that installing a new piece of equipment is the last major hurdle preventing CTV programming from being cablecast on the Frontier system. He indicated that he hopes to announce at the February meeting that adding CTV has been accomplished.

Joe Schofield reported that two years into the move to 843 State Street many new volunteer have been added primarily due to the frequent bus service to the location. He also reported that the City of New Haven recently refunded property taxes paid. He also indicated that the State of Connecticut seems unlikely to renew PEGPETIA funding and that as a consequence he is spearheading a move by many local cable programmers to revisit and to increase funding rates from money received from subscribers.

Johnes reported limited progress in moving the CTAC website from the Jumbla platform to the WordPress platform. He promised a much better report at the February meeting because he will have fewer competing work assignments. Don said that his work promoting the CTAC Video Grants program should wait until the new website had been established and pre-applications are available to be completed on the new site.

A discussion ensued regarding whether Ashley Sklar should be considered a voting member. Don indicated that CTAC would require a direct communication from New Haven Mayor Toni Harp appointing Ms. Sklar prior to her becoming a CTAC member. Don said he would write Mayor Harp to determine whom the Mayor will be appointing to the seat vacated by Martha Brogan.

The January regular meeting of CTAC was adjourned at 7:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by D. Levy, CTAC secretary

December 8, 2015 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven

Meeting Date: December 8, 2015

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at App’s Ristorante, 283 Captain Thomas Blvd., West Haven, Connecticut, on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy, Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:04 p.m.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH)

Peaches Quinn, Vice-Chair (NH)

George Alexander, Treasurer (H)

Babz Rawls Ivy (NH)

Don Levy, Secretary (H)

Johnes Ruta (NH)

The minutes for the November meeting were approved as submitted. No representatives of CTV, COMCAST or Frontier were present. No reports were submitted.

Tad indicated that he wouldcontact Steve Gimmell at Frontier to update the Council on the status of the long-delayed plans to have CTV programming available for viewing by Frontier cable customers.

With regard to an email from a member requesting that a substitute act in her stead, the Council reiterated its policy that only members appointed by the Mayors of member municipalities were eligible to cast votes. Furthermore, Chair Weinstein pointed out that CTAC bylaws state that any member missing three consecutive meetings would no longer be eligible to serve on the Council.

Johnes indicated that he had run into a snag and was unable to complete his work to migrate the CTAC website onto the new platform. He indicated that the migration would be completed by the January meeting.

Don indicated that he would wait to complete his draft of the news release regarding the CTAC Video Grant program until the website migration was complete and the Video Grant Application was up and running.

The December regular meeting of CTAC was adjourned at 6:43 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by D. Levy, CTAC secretary

November 4, 2015 Minutes

 

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven

Meeting Date: November 4, 2015

 

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, November 4, 2015.  President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:05.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH)

George Alexander, Treasurer (H)

Babz Rawls Ivy (NH)

Don Levy, Secretary (H)

Johnes Ruta (NH)

Sharon Codeanne, Comcast

The minutes for the October meeting were approved as submitted.

Sharon Codeanne submitted the COMCAST report, which included the company’s support of initiatives of the Urban League of Southern Connecfticut and Gateway Community College. Sharon also said that new apartments at College and Crown Streets in New Haven were the first in the area to be capable of subscribing to XFINITY using fiber optics which enables much faster upload and download speeds than the COMCAST technology now available to the remainder of COMCAST customers.

In reply to a question by Johnes Ruta, Ms. Codeanne said that there are no plans to begin imposing so-called data caps on local COMCAST internet subscribers despite the fact that such caps were being imposed in other COMCAST service areas across the country.

Board members noted the continued absence of any representation from CTV despite the letter the CTAC sent to CTV’s board of Directors in September. Board members were concerned about the status of the long delayed plan whereby Frontier subscribers would be able to access the CTV programs for which they pay a monthly cable surcharge. The Board passed a motion directing Tad to contact Steve Gemmell at Frontier for an update on the progress toward a resolution.

The board passed two motions submitted by George Alexander regarding the decision to migrate the CTAC website onto the WordPress platform. These motions authorized payment to GoDaddy.com for hosting and $225.00 to Johnes Ruta for programming services.

Don Levy said that he will draft a press release for broad community dissemination by conventional media and by social media seeking applications for the CTAC Public Service Video Grants. He noted that he will send the draft press release to Babz Rawls Ivy for her input. Upon approval of the press release by CTAC, Babs said she would use her media expertise to get the word out to the community. Of course this outreach cannot be initiated until the new website is able to post the grant application itself.

The November regular meeting of CTAC was adjourned at 7:01 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by D. Levy, CTAC secretary

October 7, 2015 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven

Meeting Date: October 7, 2015

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, October 7, 2015. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:08 p.m.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH)

Peaches Quinn, Vice Chair (NH)

George Alexander, Treasurer (H)

Don Levy, Secretary (H)

Johnes Ruta, (NH)

Martha Brogan, (NH)

Steve Gemmell, Local Manager, Field Operations, Frontier Communications

Tad reported that Sharon Codeanne will be returning to COMCAST and will once again represent COMCAST at CTAC meetings. COMCAST provided a written monthly report although no COMCAST representative was present.

Johnes noted a news report indicating that COMCAST was planning to establish data caps on its internet subscribers. Johnes took exception to having his data usage restricted by a data cap. Tad reminded the board that CTAC business was limited by law to issues relating to cable television.

After a long discussion regarding the propriety and fairness of allowing internet providers to establish data caps it was decided to ask Sharon Codeanne to report on any COMCAST plans to enforce data caps in the CTAC service area. Steve Gemmell of Frontier indicated that Frontier had no plans to curtail unlimited data usage by its local subscribers.

Steve also reported that as promised he had reached out to CTV in order to begin the process that would allow local Frontier cable subscribers to view programs produced at CTV. It appears that CTV has provided Frontier with the information it needed to proceed to propose a contract to overcome financial and engineering impediments to allow its customers access to CTV. The board officially thanked Mr. Gemmell and hopes the CTV programs will soon be available.

George reported that the links on the CTAC website are no longer operative. George will work with Johnes to establish a newer and more user-friendly platform for the CTAC website. They will report on progress to restore the CTAC website functionality at the November meeting.

The CTAC annual dinner meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 8 in West Haven at App’s Ristorante (283 Captain Thomas Blvd.) at 6:00 pm. Don will make reservations for 10 people.

A discussion concerning initiating the CTAC Grant for Local Video Production was tabled until the November meeting.

The minutes for the September regular meeting of CTAC were approved as submitted.

The October regular meeting of CTAC was adjourned at 7:18 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by D. Levy, CTAC secretary

September 2, 2015 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven

Meeting Date: September 2, 2015

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, September 2, 2015.  President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:03.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH)

George Alexander, Treasurer (H)

Babz Rawls Ivy (NH)

Don Levy, Secretary (H)

Johnes Ruta (NH)

Steve Gemmell, Local Manager, Field Operations, Frontier Communications

 

The newest board member, Babz Rawls Ivy, attended the meeting and introductions were exchanged.

The minutes for the August meeting as corrected were approved.

The board discussed the delay in overcoming the legal, financial and technical hurdles which have made it impossible for Frontier cable subscribers to access programs produced by CTV. Steve Gemmell of Frontier indicated that he had anticipated being able to discuss how to overcome these problems with Joe Schofield prior to or immediately after the CTAC meetings which Steve attends. Board members noted that Mr. Schofield had not attended a CTAC monthly meeting in a number of months. Members were given a letter from Mr. Schofield explaining that his absence at the CTAC meetings was caused by a scheduling conflict. Members asked Mr. Gemmell to reach out to Mr. Schofield and Mr. Gemmell promised to call Mr. Schofield to get the ball rolling on Thursday, September 3.

The board passed a motion asking the Secretary to send a letter to the CTV board requesting that a representative of CTV be present at each of our meetings.

Mr. Gemmell presented the Frontier report highlighting the company’s service projects in the each of the municipalities represented by the CTAC board. The report also noted that Frontier is boosting the internet speeds for its customers at no additional charge. Frontier is still looking to hire new employees for several positions. Job applicants are advised to research current Frontier openings and to apply online at the Frontier web site

Comcast was not represented at the meeting but its representative submitted a report outlining COMCAST’s service to the local communities including a $25-thousand grant which will be awarded to the Urban League of Southern Connecticut.

Secretary Levy provided a first draft of an announcement for the CTAC’s upcoming Pubic Service Video Grant program. He sought a volunteer to produce the actual online grant application form but no volunteers came forward. Levy indicated he would contact the Arts Council of New Haven to seek its input on promoting the grant program. Chairman Weinstein reiterated his call to ask members to seek candidates in their municipalities to fill empty board seats.

The May regular meeting of CTAC was adjourned at 7:08 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by D. Levy, CTAC secretary