June 1, 2011 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven – June 1, 2011

Tad Weinstein, WH chair

George Alexander, H treasurer

Sharon Codeanne,  Comcast Representative

Richard Gay, WH

Carl Lambert, Sr., H

Joyce Listro, NH School System Representative

Johnes Ruta, NH

Joe Schofield,  CTV Representative

Paul Scanlon, WH

(members listed alphabetically)

Meeting called to order at 6:02 p.m. by Tad Weinstein, Chairman.

Minutes approve by vote for May meeting.

COMCAST REPORT – Sharon Codeanne
George gave customer’s check received to Sharon.

Sharon tells us that Comcast has added new functions to their viewing system :  (1)  May 26, WUVN_LATA was added to Basic Tier Service.  (2)  Effective July 4, 2011, VeneMovies  will change its name to “Viendo Movies”  and “SiTV” will change its name to “Nuvo TV.”  (3)  Effective August 1, 2011, Comcast will change the name of “Basic Service” level to “Limited Basic.”  (4) “DVR Record & Watch from Any Room”  is now available.

Johnes Ruta raised the question about Comcast hiring Meredith Atwell Baker immediately after resigning from the FCC, raising a question of a “revolving-door” conflict of interest and reward of a former FCC Commissioner for favoritism to Comcast.  Johnes also noted that Comcast had cut off funding for a Seattle, Washington, local TV access project called “Seattle’s Reel Girls” which had criticized Comcast for hiring Meredith Atwell Baker immediately after resigning the FCC.

Joyce Listro asked Sharon what constitutes the difference between Comcast and “XFinity”?  Sharon said that this is just a renaming for marketing purposes.

Johnes asked whether Comcast’s “Price Changes” of “Bundled Services” would ever show a lowering of rates, considering that technological advances meant a lowering of Comcast’s costs ?   Sharon stated her doubts that prices would go lower, and argued that Comcast’s costs were rather rising. 

George Alexander commented about Comcast’s introductory Bundled Prices were only good for 6 months, and only to new customers.

Paul Scanlon commented about Comcast Rebates were effective as attractive marketing.  Sharon explained that the availability of Bundled Package prices cannot be specified 12 months in advance. She also commented about the complexity of Bundled Package  prices.

George commented about Comcast Customer Service, saying that a question to a representative he called about had been passed from Rep to Rep.  He criticized the tiers of Customer representatives, that many did not have the knowledge of how to resolve problems encountered with the Internet and are not willing to escalate problems that are beyond their knowledge,

George said each Comcast rep had opened a new trouble ticket, requiring him to explain each time his internet problem, giving him the impression that there were different Comcast tech support groups that do not access the same open-ticket data base.

George told how eventually a Comcast Technician had come to his house, had talked to his Earthlink  tech to resolve the email client problem.

George also asked about Comcast threshold to add another CTV channel to accommodate the need for more local access production programming, i.e. more than one hour per week per producer. Joe said that they neither have the volume of programming to require another channel nor the funds for the equipment.

Joyce Listro commented about a school field-trip which took place to Comcast to see the technical operations.

CTV —  Joe Schofield
Joe Schofield commented about Comcast Production helping to train CTV.

The CTV Server is going back to the Tightrope system.

The CTV production studio is quieter during the summer months.

CTV is still seeking a new space for its offices and studios.

An Open Letter from N’Zinga Shani to DPUC Commission Chairman Kevin DelGabbo was distributed regarding One World Progressive Institute’s program “21st Century Conversations” current scheduling on CTV.

Old Business —  George Alexander
George asked Joe Schofield if he could provide the number of regular CTV producers using CTV studio facilities.  Joe said the number is around 280, but would confirm the actual number and email to George. 

Joe said this number also changes from month to month.  Producers fall into two categories:

(1)  “Producers” are those who use the CTV Facility to record their programs, and (2) “Sponsors” are all other program producers, i.e. those who submit their externally produced programs on DVD for CTV broadcast.

Someone asked about the transmission codes that CTV follows regarding categories of programming.

The CTV codes are incompatible with the system that Comcast uses for on-screen Info display of  TV program data. Acquisition of these codes requires an expensive subscription that CTV does not have funds to afford.

Joe was asked about what are the “laws” by which CTV determines which program is qualified or restricted on which “Program Educational Governmental” (PEG) channel. He replied that they could be found under Federal Code specifications and if CTAC was interested, CTAC members should find them by themselves.

Discussion took place about the Qualifications of scheduling for locally produced shows: Joe specified that all programs are limited to 1 hour per week.  Producers who produce multiple shows are allowed one hour per week per show.

Joe said that there is currently no one on the Waiting List for schedule time slots, and that CTV is having trouble filling all available time slots of the week.  Joe said that it is “an administrative nightmare to schedule all producers and all programs per week.”   Joe said further , “It was one person who had contacted the DPUC and contested this issue who caused this CTV Regulation to be strictly enforced now.  He discussed possible planning measures to accommodate this problem.

Joe said the President’s Weekly Address is now not on the Government Channel and sponsored by a local producer in order to enable it to be viewed by all customers.

Comcast moved the CTV Government Channel to channel 96. Joe mentioned that some Comcast customers have old wiring in their homes that disable channel 96, and that each of these wiring deficiencies must be serviced; Comcast rewires customer wiring on CTV request. 

Docket # 10-10-06
Paul Scanlon asked whether CTV is available yet on ATT ?  Joe stated that this is still a license issue that is unresolved, and that “ATT should be invited to a CTAC meeting to discuss their Policy and technical issues.

CTAC  May Minutes
Tad told the CTAG meeting that the May Minutes had not yet been approved.  All members indicated that they had read the May Minutes distributed by email.   Paul made a motion to approve the May Minutes, and Richard Gay seconded this motion. Vote take to approve was carried in affirmative.

New Business
Regarding Sydney Evans’ request to be added to the CTAC Agenda to make statements.  Johnes made a motion to add Sydney Evans to the July agenda to be allowed to speak for 5 minutes. Paul Scanlon seconded, and vote approved.  Mr. Evans in attendance as member of the public  agreed to this time allocation.

Tad adjourned the meeting at  7:04 PM.