Monday, June 28, 2010

December 2003 Telecom Board minutes include discussion of many of the same subjects discussed in recent Telecom meetings

Telecommunications Board Meeting Minutes
December 17, 2003
Room 219 City Administration Building

Call to Order and Roll Call. The meeting was called to order at approximately 5:35 p.m. Board members present were Susan Cromwell, Craig Brown, Steve Smith, John Lofton and Gary Cochran.  Cox Communications Director Of Public And Government Affairs James Anderson, City of Fayetteville Chief Administrative Officer Hugh Earnest, Cable Administrator Marvin Hilton and CAT Manager Sky Blaylock were also present.

Approval of the minutes from November 19, 2003.  Brown noted a word correction in the minutes and they were approved.

Adoption Of Agenda.  Approved as submitted.

Cox Update
Telephone Survey.
Anderson reported that criteria have not been determined for the questions on the Customer Satisfaction Telephone Survey but expected they would be during the first quarter in 2004.  He added that Cox is still looking at whether a survey is needed. 

Cromwell said it is.

Smith volunteered to work on TCB questions and asked Anderson for Cox’ questions to avoid  duplication.

Cochran asked the purpose of the survey and Cromwell said it is to determine if Cox is serving the community’s interest and if the City’s relationship with Cox is one we want to be ongoing.

Cochran asked if Cox has copies of past surveys and Anderson said he does not.

Rate Changes.
Anderson explained “MPR’” as “maximum permitted rate” and “OSR” as “operator selected rate” for Limited Basic Service.  He said the current MPR is $18.18 and OSR is $15.85.  In February  2004 the MPR will be $15.73 and the OSR will be $15.25 but ESPN 2 will be moved to Expanded Basic Service.  The reduced cost to Cox will be passed down to the customer.  When asked, Anderson said the cost of Expanded Basic will be released at a later date and customers will be notified by direct mail.

Cromwell then asked Anderson to explain the business issues and concerns of Cox.

Anderson spoke of Cox being like a local store that buys product at a wholesale rate and sells it at a retail rate, adding that they have limited shelf space and as wholesale prices increase the price of their product must also.

Smith asked if the upgrade is complete in Fayetteville to which Anderson said it was but now Cox is removing the old system.

When asked by Smith about complaints of poor reception, Anderson said Cox should be notified.

 Smith noted a weak signal for FGC and CAT to which Hilton said the line from City Hall to the PEG Center is still coaxial cable, not fiber and that may be permitting the interference.

 Anderson said coaxial cable is  broadband cable, is still used and if not a bad piece of cable can still perform.  He added that it was possibly the production equipment at the PEG Center and that Cox would look into the problem.

Smith then asked about a customer’s complaint of having to subscribe to all the audio channels in order to get a certain level of service and Anderson said he would find out.

Smith next asked Anderson if someone can subscribe to Cox internet service without subscribing to their cable service to which Anderson said it was a business decision that internet subscribers must also subscribe to at least limited basic cable service.

CAT Contract
Cromwell said Marvin Hilton, Sky Blaylock and George Weiss had cleaned up the existing contract.  Along with the fact that CAT has performed and delivered the reports they agreed to, she entertained a motion that the TCB recommend to the City Administration to renew the contract with CAT.

Brown made said motion and with a second by Lofton it passed.

Update On Cox Audit By City.

Hugh Earnest addressed the board apologizing for a miscommunication between Cox and the City Auditor which has now been resolved.  He added that the audit will be completed in January and submitted to the TCB for review and comment.

Cromwell asked the purpose of the audit given the confusion at November’s meeting and Earnest said it was to test the billing process to discover if the City is receiving the revenues it is due.

Smith said that with the increase in franchise fees to the City he thought the PEG channels should
receive more funds.

Earnest responded that a budget request to the City Council may be in order based on plans for a regional television system.

Cromwell mentioned that the TCB had “missed the boat” on the budgeting process this year and doesn’t want that to happen again.

Earnest suggested a workshop to explain the budgeting process.

Technology And Telecommunications Infrastructure Task Force
Cromwell said Councilman Don Marr has agreed to sponsor a resolution at the January 20, 2004 City Council to charge the task force.

Smith asked how task force members will be selected.

Earnest said that had not yet been decided and asked for suggestions.

Subcommittee Reports. 
                Education Channel Contract.  Consisting of Cromwell and Young.  There was no report   as David Young was not present.

                Website Policy.  Consisting of Brown, Smith and Cromwell.
                Not yet ready for discussion.

                Government Channel Policy.  Consisting of Lofton working with Hilton.
                Lofton read the nine policy changes previously distributed to the TCB.
                “1. Add a reference to the enabling legislation.
                 2. Add to the mission statement.
                 3. Add appeal to TCB to remove a program or meeting from a standing agreement to have                         it televised on a regular basis.  This applies to meetings that were requested by an                                  authorized requester who has since left the position that gave the authority to                                           request.
                 4. Add any three citizens and committee chair to the categories of authorized requesters                                            for televising meetings.
                 5. Clarify the term ‘other government units.’
                 6. Add any five citizens to the categories of authorized requesters for issue forums.
                 7. Add note about how citizens can access videos at the PEG Center.
                 8. Add a note about web casting.
                 9. Add a note about performance reporting.”

Smith moved to adopt the new government channel policy and with a second from Brown it passed.

Citizen Jim Bemis phoned in at this point with concerns regarding two issues he said he would address in depth when he attends the next meeting. The issues were;
                A problem he sees with differing cable casting policies
                How the TCB deals with complaints brought to its attention

Report from the Cable Administrator, Marvin Hilton.
Hilton said the TCB Roundtable discussion, set for January 30 at noon, has room for one more participant as eight seats have been filled.  He added that NBC anchorman Don Elkins has agreed to be moderator.  He also asked that the TCB vote to have this roundtable as Jim Bemis pointed out that if the TCB does not request it then it is the Cable Administrator’s roundtable.

Smith so moved and the second was not identified.  It passed.

Hilton then inquired about the need for “a central point of reception” as he is not sure where all the documents regarding the TCB reside.

Cromwell said she thought they could all be found on the list-serve and Smith suggested they all be downloaded to a CD-ROM.

Lastly, Hilton reported problems cable casting live from the Fayetteville School Board and Washington County Courthouse.  He added that he’d talked with James Anderson and was told it would be looked into.

Additional Board Members Comments.  Smith announced that between now and the next budgeting process he plans to speak out for a dedicated percentage of the franchise fee for the access channels and that he is only speaking for himself and not the TCB.

The next meeting will be Thursday, January 8, 2004 in City Hall room 326 at 5:30 p.m. and will  focus on the Infrastructure Task Force.

Adjournment.  The meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:05 p.m.

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