June 2, 2010 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven – June 2, 2010

Johnes Ruta, NH

Joyce Listro, NH BOE

George Alexander, H treasurer

Tad Weinstein, WH chair

Jen Sacco, H secretary

Carl Lambert, Sr., H

Sharon Codeanne, Comcast

Shalita Sanford, Hamden, visiting possible member

Richard Gay, West Haven, new member

Meeting called to order 6:00 p.m. by Tad Weinstein.    CTV representative not present.

May minutes approved online.

Comcast report from Sharon; Tad and Johnes inquired about the speed of the internet packages.  Sharon will email the packages as well as the channel lineup around.  Johnes asked about Xfinity service name; Sharon says they wanted to brand internet service distinctly from Comcast, to emphasize that they are not just a cable company anymore. 

George told Sharon that we still have not received the check; the original one is missing, so a new one is being issued. 

George forwarded one stray subscriber check to Comcast via Sharon.  Johnes inquired about the customer complaint regarding her bill that we received via email; Sharon has already forwarded the email to Comcast representatives to respond.

George asked about correspondence we received from Robinson and Cole, attorneys for Comcast.  George asked for explanation from Sharon.  Comcast collects fees from subscribers that goes to paying for public access, and the DPUC asked cable companies to sign an affidavit that they are in compliance, so they responded.

Tad brought forward the petition being circulated from one person (Stephen Simonin) in Torrington (Cablevision area), who is also a member of a local cable council (Litchfield) and also the statewide AT&T council, who argues that people should pay according to the compression ratio of service, not a flat fee, because he claims the compression decreases the quality of the picture.  It is a highly technical issue, and from what we know of him, he is very knowledgeable in the field of cable provision.  In late June, Cablevision is eliminating all analog channels, which means if you have an analog tv, you will receive nothing.  Based on his testing performed in his own home, the quality of the signal is much below the capacity of the cable, even on HD.  Same cable is used to provide voice, cable, and internet, and so cable television is being compressed.  Idea in petition is that whoever installed cable throughout the state, that cable should be used only for cable.  If this were to pass, internet providers would have to allow outside competitors to install something in central offices and lease time or space to provide competing services to homes.  They also ask for a bill of rights for customers, including indication of the compression rate so consumers can shop around.  Also wants cable boxes to indicate level of service.  Also says that cable companies should pay customers for the space that cable boxes take in their homes.   Pixellations, freeze-ups, and sound in-synchronicity would require credits to customers.  Also indicates that customers should be able to choose different providers using the same cable lines. 

George said that this gentleman had provided his complaint to the FCC via Senator Lieberman’s office, and the FCC responded saying “yes, and please tell us how you measured all this and what equipment you used.” 

Johnes moved that we vote on whether or not to sign on to the petition as the CTAC.  Jen seconded.

Before vote, Richard Gay, new member of West Haven, introduced himself. 

Mr. Sydney Evans interrupted from the gallery to ask if he’d be allowed to speak.  He was told no, as he is not on the agenda. 

Vote on petition was delayed for several minutes for Richard to read over the petition itself.

Johnes asked if anyone was aware of any updates to the issue of net neutrality.  George said that supposedly the FCC was going to install measuring equipment in 3000 households around the US to gauge the issue of signal speed being provided to homes.   DSLreports.com is a site that can measure your signal speed.

Vote was taken on petition, all votes in favor, so the motion to sign as the CTAC carries.  George asked if he could sign for our group, then scan and send back in to him.  We also signed as individuals. 

Question of CTV representative no longer attending our meeting was raised.  George looked at the DPUC site, and there is no requirement that a representative of CTV attend.  On the other hand, we ARE required to monitor the service of CTV as part of our duties.   George suggested that Jen write a letter on behalf of CTAC asking CTV’s board of directors for explanation of Joe’s email to our group. 

Discussion of CTV and CTAC is tabled until July meeting.   

Meeting adjourned 7:00 p.m.