Category

CTAC Minutes

21
Apr
2009

April 1, 2009 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven – April 1, 2009

Call to order

Members present:
Tad; Peaches; Joyce; George; Gabriel

Comcast (Sharon)
CTV (Joe)

Comcast Report:
– discussed Comcast Cares Day
– discussed PBS station’s choice of digital carriage (WNET-DTSD)
– George reported a complaint of someone losing channel 13 WNET; this is because of the WNET switch
– Changes that require a “digital converter box” will work either with a Comcast box, which is free for a year, then $1.95 / month after that; may also work with some TVs that have a digital QAM tuner
– Sharon noted that the plan is to eventually drop all analog channels, and have a completely digital basic tier. This could take two years.
– George asked if the digital basic tier would fall under FCC rules, but no one knows what that tier will look like, or the price of it, yet.
– Sharon mentioned the Digital Economy package (digital package w/o sports).
– Sharon will send lineups and prices to CTAC.
– Sharon mentioned DTAs or DTCs (basically small cable boxes so you only need one main cable box).
– Discussed loss of channel 5 (WNYW-FOX); legal rule that cable providers have to block out most of that channel, so Comcast decided to drop it.
– Joyce mentioned that even when there isn’t duplicative programming, sometimes it’s blocked out – in the case of news from CT vs. news from NY. Peaches mentioned that even if it’s only a fraction of the programming, it’s important.
– Sharon is going to send Joe an e-mail detailing how people who are losing 13 WNET can get a digital box from Comcast free for a year, which CTV will broadcast as a public service.
– Sharon discussed the ongoing negotiations with NFL Network (channel 275) that may fall through.

George:
– noted that we’re getting lots of misdirected payment. George thinks it may be because the Comcast bill has the correct address in fairly small font, and the CTAC address is the same size. People have remitted payment in the Comcast envelope, folding the bill so that the CTAC address shows.
– Described a complaint from a customer complaining about lack of voice service (they may be confused about if they have Comcast voice service or not).
– A compliment! Someone who complained before wrote back to note excellent service.
– We still have not received the Comcast $2000 check for the year; it may have gone to Stuart’s house. Sharon is going to have the local office write us one instead.
– Noted contact information changes that need to be made in the Comcast/CTAC announcements that CTV carries.

Gabriel: asked if there were service issues with Internet reported in the East Rock area – Sharon will inquire about it.

End of Comcast Report

Info on Grants

Gabriel reporting on New Haven grant proposal – Larry McDonnell is the contact at NHPS.
– We agree to read the proposal in detail, and vote on it at the next meeting (May 1).

George reporting on Hamden grant proposals:
– George contacted someone who suggested that the Hamden system needed modulators; these would be too expensive for this grant ($3k to 5k; we discussed a limit of $1 to 1.5k). The Hamden system person contacted Joe at CTV, and Joe will help him apply for a grant from DPUC.

Stuart may have been in touch with someone in the West Haven school system; Joe suggested calling Tony in West Haven to discuss the grant.

Joyce asked Joe about progress at the field house connection. Joe is going to try and move the date for wiring up the field house so that Joyce can attend.

Joyce motioned to name the technology grant in memory of Stuart; Peaches seconds. Vote: unanimous in favor.

CTV Report from Joe:

New digital equipment is installed; they are in the process of getting the programs back on the air. Picture quality is better now.

Grants:

Peaches asked about the New Haven proposal’s context.

I gave Larry’s specs:

“The Mac Mini they have chosen includes AppleCare, so it comes to $946 (from the education store), with the following specs:
 
– 2 GHz
– 2 GB RAM
– 320 GB hard drive
– DVD-burner (superdrive)
– Keyboard and mouse
– AppleCare Protection Plan (3 years)
 
Larry told me to update the proposal with this number.”

The $946 plus 2 x $150 for TuffCams comes to a total of $1246.

Peaches proposes that we act on the grant tonight; George wants time to read over the proposal. It was suggested that we review the NHPS proposal, and motion and vote online.

Meeting is adjourned, 7 PM.

11
Feb
2009

February 4, 2009 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven – February 4, 2009   

Stu Arotsky WH
George Alexander H
Gabriel Michael NH
Jennifer Sacco H
Tad Weinstein WH
Sharon Codeanne Comcast

6:08 p.m. meeting called to order.

Old business: Tad is pulling together our annual report for 2008 to the DPUC. 
Mail: Alliance for community media sent us a welcoming packet (again).  Gabriel is considering joining the listserv to monitor their updates.  They have a national conference in Portland Oregon.

New business: motion to donate $300 to the Alliance for Community media passed (in addition to our $100 membership fee).

George made motion to approve new 2009 budget, which has same line items as last year, except for the new allocation to the Alliance for Community media, which is a $300 donation on top of our $100 membership fees. Jen seconded, approved.

Tad has suggested that we make a grant available again to the towns for a school cable-related project again.   Stu has suggested we announce to the towns a new program of this sort so they may apply.  George suggests we email the school superintendants of the towns to solicit applications.  George will email our old grant regulations from the last time this was done for us to look over.  George proposes we temporarily allocate $1500-2000 per town.

Stu is concerned that CTV is in violation of the rules because they are not submitting a budget to us, etc. 

Digital transition is still set for February 17th, though there is the possibility it could still be moved to June.

Jen raised the issue of working to petition to move public access back to regularly accessible channels and viewing quality.  Perhaps we need to convince CTV to join AT&T (even on channel 99) so that we could have standing to file complaints with the DPUC.  As our current area has no representation on AT&T, we don’t appear to have standing.  Unless, those of us who are AT&T customers were to write complaints to AT&T that PEG channels are not available, though AT&T would plausibly put that back on CTV.  We could still complain to AT&T about the low quality presentation of public access originating from other towns. 

Minutes from last month’s meeting approved.  Motion to adjourn 6:57 p.m.

21
Jan
2009

January 14, 2009 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven – January 14, 2009

Tad Weinstein, WH
Jennifer Sacco, H
George Alexander, H
Gabriel Michael, NH
Peaches Quinn, NH
Joe Schofield, CTV

Meeting called to order 6:00 p.m.

Tad presented emailed updates from Comcast, including shifts in channels from December and January.
 
Joe Schofield distributed CTV report for November.
CTV received grant from DPUC for $64,000 to redo cable pass.  Will be able to use DVD  and digital files to broadcast out of CTV, instead of VHS.  DVDs can be made at CTV by producers if they don’t already have one.  

Comcast moved channel 23 to 96.  Comcast sent a check to CTV for $500 to cover incidental costs associated with replacing logos, etc., but this doesn’t cover the cost and CTV will not accept the check. CTV perceives the change as “slamming.”  Some people with only basic cable or old tvs cannot receive this channel.

CTV will have capability of doing Video On Demand because of the upgrade.  CTV still has no plans to broadcast over AT&T, because the quality of the viewer is still too low.

Joe said he and another 2 members of CTV are going to the inauguration and will interview people, so Jen Sacco gave him the name and number of Scott McLean of Quinnipiac University who has a group of students there so they could be interviewed.

Tad asked the group to come up with goals for 2009.  Tad suggested perhaps get Comcast to create another survey; our group could be more proactive with attending CTV meetings.  George suggested we could be more proactive with the DPUC, regarding AT&T (who has been non-responsive to us), etc.  Jen suggested we focus on getting AT&T to show public television with better quality broadcast.  

Tad passed out correspondence.

New business: Jen raised the issue of the attempts to delay the shift to digital broadcasting
Correspondence was reviewed and passed on to Sharon for Comcast response.

Motion to adjourn made by Tad, meeting adjourned 7:25.

22
Nov
2008

November 5, 2008 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven – November 5, 2008

Sharon Codeanne, Comcast
Tad Weinstein, WH
Jennifer Sacco, H
Stuart Arotsky, WH
George Alexander, H
Joyce Listro, WH BOE
Gabriel Michael, NH

Meeting called to order 6:00 p.m.

Sharon presented updates from Comcast, including price increase and shifts in channels.

No member of CTV present.

Brief discussion of viability of CTV and public access being made available on internet.  Council appears to be for making CTV available online, though at last meeting Joe Schofield indicated his opposition to it, because their income is derived through fees Comcast collects.

Correspondence was reviewed and passed on to Sharon for Comcast response.

Selection of location for December meeting; Tad suggested the Playwright in Hamden, 6:00 p.m. Wed. December 3rd.

CTV meeting needs a member of our council to attend next Thurday at 6:00 or 6:30.  Jen will check schedule to see if she can attend.

Motion to adjourn made by Tad, seconded by Joyce, meeting adjourned 6:45.

22
Sep
2008

September 3, 2008 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven – September 3, 2008

Present:
George Alexander (Treasurer H)
Stuart Arotsky (Chair WH)
Jennifer Sacco (H)
Tad Weinstein (Vice chair WH)
Joyce Listro (BOE NH)
Gabriel Michael
Peaches Quinn (NH)
Sharon Codeanne, Comcast

1. Meeting called to order 6:00 p.m.

2. Report from Comcast:  Sharon Codeanne, including:
1.  issue of caps on data users on internet service.  Comcast is slowed down by internet usage by 1% of users who fileshare.  Comcast made an agreement with the Florida (?) attorney general to cap big data users.

2. George wants to know if newsgroups will be censored by Comcast, as they are being by AT&T.  George will call Comcast for an answer.

3. Peaches asked if we will attend CTV board meetings.  We have not had representation from CTV at our meeting for several months.  Joyce volunteered to attend the October board meeting of CTV, which Tad believes is the 2nd Thursday of the month at 6:30.  Peaches will attend the CTV meeting in October, but wondered if they would have it since that is the first evening of Yom Kippur.

4. Joyce asked if the return line is installed in the Field House in New Haven, and if so what has been broadcast from there?  CTV should know and report to us, as should the Field House.  Peaches is contacting Joe Canzanilla to ask if they used the return line.

5. George reported what was in our mail.  Sharon took letter about connecting VCR to get it answered by Comcast.  Senior with basic cable was afraid to lose MSNBC because of the price change (yet TBD) of Basic.  Another customer wants choice for channels, not packages.

6. George repoted we have $9989 in our treasury.

7. Jen raised the issue of digital conflict with pacemakers or other digital health devices.  Sharon is looking into the specs of the digital boxes.

8. Meeting adjourned, 7:08 p.m.

22
Jun
2008

June 4, 2008 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven – June 4, 2008

Present:
George Alexander (Treasurer H)
Stuart Arotsky (Chair WH)
Jennifer Sacco (H)
Tad Weinstein (Vice chair WH)
Joyce Listro (BOE NH)
Sharon Codeanne, Comcast
representative, CTV

1. Meeting called to order 6:05 p.m.

2. Report from CTV: 

  • Comcast fixed the video/audio feed that CTV was having trouble with. 
  • Quinnipiac sent graduation tapes.
  • Hamden Hall H.S. and Notre Dame H.S. will send their graduations to be broadcast as well.
  • CTV reduced their summer hours by 18 hours, and 2 people who left will not be replaced.
  • CTV will be closing early Monday and Wednesday evenings, as well as Sunday to save money.  They are closing early on Friday, but will be open on Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Stu asked why city council of West Haven tapes are not running.

3. PEG PTIA grant funds discussed—there is money available from the state on the DPUC website: grants for PEG programmers.  Seems to be available to a wide range of people.

4. Discussion of difference between cable box and signal converter boxes.  Signal converter boxes only required for t.v. sets that receive their signal through rabbit ear antennas.

5. Joyce moved to approve minutes from May meeting, Tad seconded, motion carried.

6. Discussion of P.O. box application for CTAC—should probably have more than one member’s name on it.  Need three people to be listed so there are multiple people who can get our mail. George, Tad, and Stu agreed to be on the application.

7. Discussion of AT&T statewide council—no response yet to our reply from last month.  George suggested that in a few months, if we don’t hear back, we should write to DPUC to complain.  Tad said we should only wait one month, and in meantime, George will email them to remind them we are waiting.

8. No update on docket 08-04-02, on the de-regulation of basic cable price.

9. New Business:

  • CTAC membership drive necessary, now that we are down two members.  Jen will ask school of communications at QU if there might be an interested student who wants to join.

10. Meeting adjourned, 7:05 p.m.

11
May
2008

May 5, 2008 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven – May 5, 2008

Present:
George Alexander (Treasurer H)
Stuart Arotsky (Chair WH)
Al May (H)
Jennifer Sacco (H)
Tad Weinstein (Vice chair WH)
Joyce Listro (BOE NH)
Sharon Codeanne, Comcast
Joe Schofield, CTV

1. Meeting called to order 6:05 p.m.

2. Report from Comcast:  Sharon Codeanne

3. Report from CTV: Joe Schofield

  • Ongoing issue of not having channel 23.  It was a government channel and has been “unusually dark” since February.  Comcast says problem is on CTV’s end.  They called their own engineer, but the problem disappeared before he came.
  • Comcast says they installed an audio line at Hill House School
  • CTV will broadcast Yale graduation.
  • Quinnipiac has not yet broadcast a graduation.  (Update: Jen Sacco contacted John Morgan in public relations at QU; he says they send a tape of the graduation to CTV every year.)
  • AT&T sent $6500 for yearly fees to CTV without an accounting of how many subscribers they have, but this year, sent 3 checks for $8.32 to pay for public access.
  • AT&T wants to withhold public access funds until they have interconnection with public access.
  • Comcast does not necessarily think it is fair that AT&T be interconnected or that  Comcast would be kept out of the conversation between CTV and AT&T.
  • CTV board still insists there not be a connection to AT&T until there is undiminished broadcast.
  • Al asked about broadcasting of CSPAN2 on CTV.  CTV picks it up as a courtesy to subscribers on the first two tiers.

4. Issue of AT&T statewide council  (to meet 2x a year)

  • Should we send a representative or not?
  • Does this give legitimacy to a council we had no say in creating?
  • Joe Schofield suggested we contact other community councils for their perspective.
  • Al May moved we do not respond to AT&T and instead contact other councils.  No second.
  • Stu Arotsky—do we want to appoint a person to the AT&T council?
  • George moves and Al seconds that we write back, ask for bylaws and minutes, and we will consider appointment after.  Motion carried.
  • Al moves, and Joyce seconds that we contact the 22 local councils for information and thoughts about AT&T’s statewide advisory council.  Motion carried.  Al will write the email.

5. Council considered the Sunday night 10:00 p.m. CTV programming Peaches had emailed about previously with concerns about its content.

  • Joe said CTV would look into it and could move the program to 12:00 p.m.

6. Sharon said Comcast has applied for a certificate instead of a franchise agreement, and now basic cable rate will not be regulated except under federal law, and now that there is “competition” in the area with AT&T, Comcast can raise the rate.

  • Jen was concerned that if the basic rate increases, so might the rate for everyone who has “basic plus” levels of service.
  • The deadline to comment on this issue with the DPUC is May 21st, 2008.   George moved and Joyce seconded that Stu write a letter on behalf of our council about docket# 08-04-02.  Motion carried.

7. Meeting adjourned, 7:08 p.m.

11
Mar
2008

March 5, 2008 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven – March 5, 2008

Present:
George Alexander (Treasurer H)
Stuart Arotsky (Chair WH)
Jennifer Sacco (H)
Tad Weinstein (Vice chair WH)
Suzanne Lee (New Haven)
John ________, Comcast
Walter ______, CTV

1. Meeting called to order 6:00 p.m.

2. Problems of deregulation discussed:

  • Discussed at alliance of public access centers around our area
  • No information about return lines
  • Public access “sold out” for sake of competition in the state of CT
  • Public can’t know what is being broadcast on PEG channels ahead of time.
  • Rep. Fontana’s bill will have connection paid for by the telephone corporation.

George Alexander: in Michigan, Comcast is doing the same thing with PEG channels

Rep. from Comcast: said PEG channels were moved to digital, but still on the basic tier.  AT&T is moving PEG to on-demand system.

Stuart recommends a letter to the DPUC about this issue.  Do we want to sign on to Stu’s letter and send out on all of our behalfs?  Agreed that we would vote on that online.

It was noted that we must update our own email books, or, send emails to one another through the website.

3. Report from Comcast:  

  • This Sunday, Comcast is sponsoring New Haven’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.
  • Shalom tv is on-demand, under “entertainment” in on-demand
  • There are more high-def channels, a 2nd call center, and an online payment feature 

4. Report from Walter of CTV:

  • CTV’s board elected not to join up to AT&T.  AT&T wanted CTV to pay for a T1 line.
  • They might be amenable so long as they get a channel home, and not on-demand location

John of Comcast: 
There are broadcast issues of local H.S. basketball games.  They are looking to get women’s and girls’ sports.  They will be getting some women’s sports from Q30 at Quinnipiac University.

There is no video out line from a particular venue where CTV wanted to broadcast a Wilbur Cross game.

The West Haven chambers are being wired for taping city council meetings.

5. George Alexander submitted our budget.

  • Tad asked if we could have this in an interest-bearing account.
  • George said we’d then have to file a tax return.
  • The issue of reimbursement for travel to attend regional meetings was discussed.  If a State council is created, perhaps there is money to reimburse mileage from our area to the statewide meeting.
  • George moved that we reimburse for mileage, and that on an annual basis based on attendance, members should be reimbursed for mileage at the federal rate.
  • Tad was not fully for reimbursement because currently attending our meetings is a tax write-off. 
  • Motion was seconded by Tad, though modified to only reimburse for out of town meetings, not those occurring in Hamden, W.H., or N.H.
  • Motion carried.
  • George moved we approve budget, seconded by Jen.
  • Suzanne asked if we could be more creative about our community outreach?

For 2007, we need to gather all our minutes and summarize them to file a report for the DPUC.  Tad will forward DPUC form to Stu to finish end of year report for 2007.

Meeting adjourned 7:07 p.m.

11
Feb
2008

February 4, 2008 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven – February 4, 2009    

Stu Arotsky WH
George Alexander H
Gabriel Michael NH
Jennifer Sacco H
Tad Weinstein WH 
Sharon Codeanne Comcast

6:08 p.m. meeting called to order.

Old business: Tad is pulling together our annual report for 2008 to the DPUC.  
Mail: Alliance for community media sent us a welcoming packet (again).  Gabriel is considering joining the listserv to monitor their updates.  They have a national conference in Portland Oregon.

New business: motion to donate $300 to the Alliance for Community media passed (in addition to our $100 membership fee).

George made motion to approve new 2009 budget, which has same line items as last year, except for the new allocation to the Alliance for Community media, which is a $300 donation on top of our $100 membership fees. Jen seconded, approved.

Tad has suggested that we make a grant available again to the towns for a school cable-related project again.   Stu has suggested we announce to the towns a new program of this sort so they may apply.  George suggests we email the school superintendants of the towns to solicit applications.  George will email our old grant regulations from the last time this was done for us to look over.  George proposes we temporarily allocate $1500-2000 per town.

Stu is concerned that CTV is in violation of the rules because they are not submitting a budget to us, etc.  

Digital transition is still set for February 17th, though there is the possibility it could still be moved to June.

Jen raised the issue of working to petition to move public access back to regularly accessible channels and viewing quality.  Perhaps we need to convince CTV to join AT&T (even on channel 99) so that we could have standing to file complaints with the DPUC.  As our current area has no representation on AT&T, we don’t appear to have standing.  Unless, those of us who are AT&T customers were to write complaints to AT&T that PEG channels are not available, though AT&T would plausibly put that back on CTV.  We could still complain to AT&T about the low quality presentation of public access originating from other towns.  

Minutes from last month’s meeting approved.  Motion to adjourn 6:57 p.m.

21
Jan
2008

January 2, 2008 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven – January 2, 2008

Present:
George Alexander (Treasurer H)
Mark Anderson (NH)
Stuart Arotsky (Chair WH)
Jennifer Sacco (H)
Tad Weinstein (Vice chair WH)
Peaches Quinn (NH)

Sharon Codeanne, Comcast
Joseph Schofield, CTV

1. Meeting called to order.

2. Report from Comcast, Sharon Codeanne

  • Digital converter coupons
  • Converter can be rented from Comcast
  • New state law passed in June, effective Oct. 1, 2007
    • In order to level playing field between cable operators and AT&T, cable operator can apply for certificates to supplant their current franchise agreements.  This was granted for New Haven December 18, 2007. 
    • The advisory council will still be funded, and a statewide advisory council will be created.  
    • Certificates still mandate access and programming.  AT&T will have to report to statewide advisory commission.
    • This means for our customers that there will no longer be a needs assessment process, through which the needs of the community have been ascertained in the past.
    • The support for CTV stays the same.
    • AT&T has to fund PEG at same level as incumbent cable provider, on a per customer basis.
    • Satellite companies still will not pay a fee.
    • Setup costs for CTV not addressed by new legislation.
    • AT&T will have statewide advisory council, but not local.  We will represent AT&T customers on a local basis, but will not have an AT&T representative.
  • Mark Anderson proposed we contact State reps. and senators asking them to address these issues.  One bulleted group letter was suggested, which could be supported by individual letters from each of us as individual citizens.
  • Motion was made by Mark, seconded by Peaches, no further discussion, carried unanimously.

Stu suggested we craft a letter of discussion points, including our view that there still should be a needs assessment, and the issue of the lack of return lines should be included.

George moved we correspond and vote by email; Mark seconded, no further discussion, motion carried unanimously.

AT&T not required to provide a basic service, but they do.  What about must carries?

George asked that our website be added to the Comcast bills.

Peaches would like to include an FAQ page on our website explaining Comcast’s billing and pricing.

Sharon will ask for an electronic version of the “Service, installation, and equipment prices” flyer so that we can include it on our website easily.  Otherwise, Jen or Tad can scan the paper version for inclusion on the site (though this may require including a link to Adobe).

Report from CTV: Joe Schofield

  • Does not believe loss of franchise agreement will affect CTV negatively.
  • Concerned AT&T provision of CTV will be very hard to find if not accessed strictly by flipping through the channels, and may be a reduced picture if it has to be viewed using Windows Media Player.
  • CTV stands to lose surfing capability on AT&T, if all PEG channels are lumped onto one channel.
  • Organization of access centers may ask us to register complaint with AT&T.

With lack of franchise, CTV would have had to wait until 2011 to apply for increased funding.  Joe would like CTV to be able to raise the rates slightly.

Stuart will work up a letter from our council about CTV.

Group members signed up for months to attend CTV board meetings on our behalf.

George has been publicizing our website; contacted Hamden government for a link from the town’s site; also wrote to Hamden newspapers to announce our openings.  Stu volunteered to do same in West Haven for link from the town’s site, and Tad volunteered to announce the openings in the newspaper in West Haven.  Peaches said she would bring it to New Haven.

Joe Schofield will link our site from CTV’s.

We will ask Ed to write another bulletin announcement about our site for CTV.

The minutes section on our site and the news section on our site will be updated by George.

Meeting adjourned.

WP-Backgrounds by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann