CTAC Meeting Minutes October 2, 2019
Peaches Quinn – (New Haven) – Acting Chair
George Alexander – (Hamden) – Treasurer
Laurel Coleman – (Hamden) – Advisor
Yvonne Manning-Jones – (New Haven ) – Advisor. (teleconference)
John Jessen — (New Haven Public Library System)
Johnes Ruta – (New Haven) – Acting Secretary
Anthony Cardo – (Hamden) Advisor – new member
Sharon Codeanne – Comcast Representative
Meeting convened at 6:10 pm.
- Introduction of new CTAC member: Anthony Cardo also representing Hamden.
Mr. Carrdo will be added to the CTACForward group list by George Alexander.
2.. Review of September 4, 2019 Minutes
Approval of Minutes with request from Peaches Quinn that previously incorporated CTV
and COMCAST reports be extracted into separate documents. This set of three reports has
already been posted via email on September 29th.
John Jessen – Motion to accept the September Minutes. Laurel Coleman Seconds this Motion.
CTAC members vote – unanimous.
3. COMCAST Report.
Please see attached COMCAST Report.
Topics listed on COMCAST Report:
a. Internet Essentials.
b. Comcast to sponsor ARTE’s Hispanic Heritage Month.
c. Boys & Girls Club monetary grants.
d. STEM group = Science, Technologies, Engineering, & Mathematics.
Peaches Quinn asks Sharon Codeanne: “What are opportunities for scholarships and award
programs for older adults and persons with disabilities ?” Sharon Codeanne describes
Comcast grants that are available.
Johnes Ruta asks Sharon about the Comcast notification that the Turner Classic Movies, channel 72, will be moved to a new “Sports & Entertainment” package tier, effective October 10th, to cost
an additional $9.99 per month. Johnes states that notification of this change in service was given
only in the August Billing Statement, and not in the September Statement; Johnes asks “Why was
this omitted from the September statement?” Sharon defends Comcast saying that “this second notice was not legally required,” and that TCM, while a commercial-free channel, requires a fee from cable companies. Johnes questions Comcast’s claims of hardship of cable supplier costs, in light of Comcast 2018 profit of $11 Billion, and their 2016 bid to purchase Time Warner Cable for $85 Billion.
[Source: Wikipedia: COMCAST 2018 Revenue $94 Billion. 2018 Operating Income $19 Billion;
2018 Net Income $11 Billion. COMCAST TOTAL 2018 ASSETS = $251 BILLION. ]
Sharon further states that the viewership of Turner Classic Movies channel is around 2% of public viewing, and that “most viewing takes place in less than 30 seconds.” Johnes contests this statement, asking for authenticated documentation. Sharon: Please provide as promised…..
Johnes states that his monthly bill is already at $201.00 per month, and that many seniors who like this channel have low fixed incomes, and exist on Social Security Benefits. Sharon expresses
indifference saying that she is NOT a Comcast subscriber, though an administrating employee.
John Jesson states that Turner Classic Movies is available online at WatchTCM.com “for free.”
Johnes asks Sharon whether a Comcast subscription to only internet service will allow internet viewing of TCM. Sharon states that she will research and reply to this question. (Johnes determines
later at home that evening that Subscription to the new Sports Package is required to to view
WatchTCM.com on the internet….)
George Alexander asks if there is a Comcast provision to select and pay for only viewer preferred
channels. Sharon talks about an a la carte option on Comcast called “My Choice” a so-called
“Chromecast Google Product” which offers reduced selected channels, such as Bravo, A&E,
The History Channel on an Entertainment package, and news, information, and movies
and other genres on a News & Information package.
Johnes makes a Motion for CTAC to call a Public Community Forum on Comcast policies,
proposes venue to be Edgewood School in Westville.
This Motion is not supported by other members, but Peaches Quinn proposes to defer and renew discussion on this Comcast service change to the next meeting, in order to determine public reaction
after the TCM service change date of October 10th. Johnes seconds this Motion. Vote unanimous.
Reminder: CTAC Officer elections will be held at the December meeting.
Discussion on selection for December CTAC Annual Dinner. The three-town alternating venue this year
will be New Haven. Decision: Arianna’s Restaurant on Grand Avenue is decided upon; date will be
Wednesday December 4, 6:00 pm. Tad Weinstein, Sharon Codeanne, Joe Schofiled, and Jennifer
will be invited. Johnes is selected to call in Arianna’s for Reservations for 10.
Next meeting Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 6:00PM.
Meeting adjourned: 7:20 PM.
October 4th , 2019 Minutes respectfully submitted by Johnes Ruta (New Haven)
Acting Secretary. October 21st , 2019.
Effective October 10, 2019, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will move to the Sports Entertainment Package and will no longer be included in its current service package(s). Customers will have to purchase the Sports Entertainment Package for approximately $10 per month to wartch TCM. Comcast is notifying impacted customers of these changes through a bill message.
COMCAST ANNOUNCES LARGEST EVER EXPANSION OF ITS INTERNET ESSENTIALS PROGRAM TO REACH ALL LOW-INCOME AMERICANS
Three Million Newly Eligible Households Include Those with Disabilities and Seniors
In Eight Years, the Program Has Now Connected More Than Eight Million People From Two Million Households to the Internet at Home
PHILADELPHIA, PA – August 6, 2019 – Comcast announced today it is significantly expanding eligibility for Internet Essentials, which is the nation’s largest, most comprehensive, and most successful broadband adoption program in America, to include all qualified low-income households in its service area. The expansion is the most significant change in the program’s history. The Company estimates that more than three million additional low-income households, including households with people with disabilities, are now eligible to apply. It estimates a total of nearly seven million households now have access to low-cost Internet service, which literally doubles the total number of previously eligible households. In addition, the company announced that, since August 2011, Internet Essentials has connected more than eight million low-income individuals, from two million households, to the Internet at home, most for the first time in their lives. Today’s announcement follows 11 prior eligibility expansions, including last year’s extension of the program to low-income veterans.
“This expansion is the culmination of an audacious goal we set eight years ago, which was to meaningfully and significantly close the digital divide for low-income Americans,” said David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast NBCUniversal. “The Internet is arguably the most important technological innovation in history, and it is unacceptable that we live in a country where millions of families and individuals are missing out on this life-changing resource. Whether the Internet is used for students to do their homework, adults to look for and apply for new jobs, seniors to keep in touch with friends and family, or veterans to access their well-deserved benefits or medical assistance, it is absolutely essential to be connected in our modern, digital age.”
To be eligible to apply to the program, low-income applicants simply need to show they are participating in one of more than a dozen different government assistance programs. These include: Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). A full list of these programs can be found at www.internetessentials.com. The Company already accepts applications from households that have a student eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, live in public housing or receive HUD Housing Assistance, including Section 8 vouchers, or participate in the Veterans Pension Program, as well as low-income seniors and community college students in select pilot markets.
According to U.S. Census data, households living in cities with the highest poverty rates, are up to 10 times more likely than those in higher earning communities not to have fixed broadband at home. For example, in Palo Alto, California, or Bethesda, Maryland – where poverty rates are very low – only about six percent of households do not have a broadband Internet subscription – 94 percent are connected. But in Trenton, New Jersey, and Flint, Michigan – where poverty rates are way above the national average – 60 percent or more of households do not have fixed broadband at home – that is, less than half are connected. That gap of more than 50 points defines the digital divide in this country.
Internet Essentials has an integrated, wrap-around design that addresses each of the three major barriers to broadband adoption that research has identified. These include: a lack of digital literacy skills, lack of awareness of the relevance of the Internet to every day life needs, and fear of the Internet, the lack of a computer, and cost. As a result, the program includes: multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in person, the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for less than $150; and low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax. The program is structured as a partnership between Comcast and tens of thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials, and nonprofit community partners. For more information, or to apply for the program in seven different languages, please visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers can also call 1-855-765-6995.
The most significant barrier to broadband adoption in low-income communities remains a basket of digital literacy deficits, lack of digital awareness, and fear of the Internet. To help address this barrier, since 2011, Comcast has invested more than $650 million to support digital literacy training and awareness, reaching more than 9.5 million low-income Americans. In addition, the company has either sold or donated more than 100,000 discounted and heavily subsidized computers to families and veterans that need one.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest video, high-speed Internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed Internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.
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