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.


September 3, 2008 Minutes

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

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.


Who Slew C-SPAN 2?

Don’t fret, cable news junkies. Just get digital. 
By Freda Moon

Earlier this month, Comcast cable subscribers across Connecticut who tuned in to C-SPAN 2 found a distressing color-block test pattern in place of old white men pounding gavels. The cable channel that once carried coverage of the Senate and BookTV’s conversations with authors was gone.

The space C-SPAN 2 took up has since been replaced with a slew of high-definition channels, including Discovery Channel HD, USA Network HD, The History Channel HD, A&E HD and the Food Network HD. The decision was made, according to Comcast spokeswoman Laura A. Brubaker, because of the “tremendous interest for more HD viewing choices.”

Like a lousy swimmer caught by the tides, C-SPAN 2 has been displaced—at least temporarily—by technological change. In recent years, cable TV has been in competition not only with broadcast television but satellite services and the internet. The response has been a widespread shift in the cable industry, which is rapidly moving from analog to digital transmission. Because analog channels consume such a large amount of space (or bandwidth), cable companies can offer far more “features” when channels are transmitted digitally—eight to 12 digital or up to three high-def channels for every analog channel. More channels make for happier customers.

Comcast will still offer C-SPAN 2 to customers who subscribe to digital cable, where there’s room for far more channels and better image quality. Comcast’s marketing emphasizes that digital cable costs the same amount as the company’s standard cable package (though digital comes with a $3.99 a month charge for the box and remote) and offers more buzz words to a feature-happy American public: Interactive programming! On-demand content! Digital music channels!

C-SPAN, which was created in 1979 as a private, non-profit, cable television industry-funded, public service station, has had ups and downs in its almost 30-year history. But because it’s a non-profit, the company is better able to weather changes that might threaten advertising-based media. While Comcast’s move means that C-SPAN no longer reaches as many homes as it once did—a blow to Connecticut’s Robert Byrd fans—C-SPAN itself will not suffer.

“Though we’re disappointed to be available at this point in fewer homes,” said C-SPAN Vice President Peter Kiley by phone from Washington, D.C., “we recognize that Comcast is entering the transition to digital and we’re pleased that they’re making it relatively easy for C-SPAN fans to get digital boxes and access to C-SPAN networks.”

For analog devotees or those too broke to dish out an additional $47.88 a year for digital cable, all three C-SPAN channels stream live on C-SPAN’s website ( ¡Viva la media libre!

[email protected]


AT&T Hoped Magistrate Would Vacate Decision Defining It As A Cable Service

Telco Hoped Magistrate Would Vacate Decision Defining It As A Cable Service

By Linda Haugsted — Multichannel News, 7/10/2008 6:01:00 PM

AT&T failed to convince a federal judge in Connecticut to vacate a legal precedent declaring that U-verse TV is a cable service. 

The telecommunications company petitioned the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to declare as moot that court’s July 26, 2007, ruling striking down a finding by the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control from 2006.

Those regulators, in an action unique among state utility boards, proactively examined the Internet-delivered U-verse TV service. They came to the controversial conclusion that U-verse, because it delivers video in bits and bytes via the Internet and not in a continuous stream, does not meet the definition of a cable service.

AT&T has consistently argued that U-verse is not a cable service and should not be regulated as such. But Judge Janet Bond Arterton ruled that U-verse does meet the legal definition of a cable service.

The most recent AT&T motion asked the judge to amend her final judgment, arguing that the whole dispute became moot in October of last year when the Connecticut legislature approved its state franchising bill. The new legislation created video franchise regulation. That regulation did not rely on a legally defining U-verse in order to for AT&T to qualify to deliver video in the state.

AT&T has asked that the Federal Communications Commission or a court rule that U-verse is not a cable service, per the federal Cable Act, requiring franchises. It has yet to get that ruling.

But the court, in a ruling issued July 10, decided that while the state franchising law resolved the issue of franchising, there are “live issues” that will remain until the FCC or a court decides that elements of the Cable Act do or don’t apply to AT&T’s video service.

Therefore, Judge Arterton refused to amend her previous rulings.

Commenting on the court’s latest ruling, Paul Cianelli, president of the New England Cable Television Association, said: “In light of the United States District Court’s recent ruling against it, AT&T’s claim that its U-verse service is not cable television is taking on an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ quality. For the sake of consumers and communities who are missing out on the protections and benefits normally required of cable companies, we hope AT&T will accept reality, compete on a level playing field and contribute its fair share to Connecticut’s citizens.”


June 4, 2008 Minutes

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

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.


AT&T VRADs in CT Need Landowner Approval

Blumenthal praises decision against AT&T
By CT Attorney General’s Office
May 27, 2008 – 8:30:45 PM

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal praised a Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) decision requiring that AT&T – prior to installing its massive U-Verse service boxes – obtain the consent of all abutting property owners and municipalities.

The decision also requires that AT&T promptly notify and obtain approval from citizens whose properties abut the hundreds of U-Verse service boxes that have already been installed in Connecticut.

State law requires consent of abutting property owners before making modifications to public rights of way. In formal comments filed with the DPUC, Blumenthal urged that the DPUC require AT&T to follow the law and obtain legally required consent from affected property owners and municipalities. 

Blumenthal acted after his office received several complaints from citizens about the installation of refrigerator-sized V-RAD boxes in several neighborhoods. 

“Today’s decision is a vital victory for public safety and property owner rights – protecting citizens from insensitive and illegal disregard for their homes,” Blumenthal said. “My office has received countless complaints from citizens throughout Connecticut about AT&T’s refrigerator-sized utility boxes. These boxes have been installed without consent or caution, as legally required. 

“The DPUC has rightfully recognized AT&T’s failure to obtain lawful approval from all abutting property owners and municipalities before installing hundreds of V-RAD boxes – and now must obtain such consent for future, as well as past, installations. Today’s decision requires that AT&T act promptly and affirmatively to obtain approval – and seek reasonable resolutions where property owners protest. Municipalities also have a rightful role to protect public safety and other public interests.” 

© Copyright by


May 5, 2008 Minutes

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

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.


March 5, 2008 Minutes

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

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.