September 2008 TVSA Minutes
Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

September 15, 2008

 

MEMBERS PRESENT

Dean Farmer, Chairman
Jerry Cosby, Member

MEMBERS ABSENT

Richard Curry Jr., Member
Loren Heger , Member

 

OTHERS PRESENT

 

Logan Harrison, Corporation Counsel

Ken Montgomery, Channel 16

Rick Maultra, Cable Communications

Chuck Fearnow, ETC

Cristy Tirotta, Cable Communications

 

 

 Chairman Farmer calls the September meeting of the Marion County Telecom & Video Services Board to order. 

 Item number one on the agenda is the Approval of the August 18th, 2008 Minutes.  There is not a quorum for a vote so they will hold until the next meeting.

 Item number two on the agenda is the Telecom & Video Services Agency Report submitted by Mr. Rick Maultra.

 Mr. Maultra thanks the Board for the opportunity to highlight some of the things that the Telecom & Video Services Agency has been involved with during the past month.

 The Telecom & Video Services Agency attended the Finance & Administration Committee of the City-County Council last Tuesday with respect to the 2009 budget review. There were no new changes to the Agency’s budget and its 10% reduction from the 2008 adopted budget stands pat.

 Since the last Board meeting, the City has been involved in some productive discussions with respect to the Bright House audit review period of 2004-2006. Bright House noted that they had in fact given the auditor some wrong financial data. A meeting that was held last week with Bright House ’s financial software and systems folks was able to answer many questions that the auditor had. From there, Mr. Maultra believes another meeting with Bright House ’s in-house financial folks will be required. Some revisions to the auditors’ findings for this audit should be forthcoming.

 As per their report for the month of June and July, Bright House noted that they were non-compliant with respect to the FCC Customer Service Standards on telephone answer time.

The City had notified them in late July of the non-compliance and they have since responded in writing as to the proposed action they plan to take in addressing this matter. A copy of their correspondence to the Agency is included in your Board packets.

  Bright House Networks filed application for a State Certificate of Franchise on August 19 and in correspondence with the City that will be in effect on September 12. The IURC has already approved their application. At that point, Bright House will no longer be required to file reports to the City. Any complaints or enforcement of the FCC Customer Service Standards would be done at the State level with the IURC (Indiana Regulatory Utility Commission) going forward, although Mr. Maultra would anticipate some transition of handling those complaints over time and until such point the IURC contact number is reflected on subscriber billing.

 The Agency has been working with Comcast officials regarding two public service drops requested by the Parks Department for Comcast to provide. The locations are Sahm Park and the Windsor Village Family Center . The Sahm request is one that they have had for some time to turn around. Comcast has advised the City since the last meeting that they will not connect Sahm Park but will connect Windsor Village , although they believe they are not required to provide the connections in both instances. The Agency has drafted a document with respect to the public service drop requirements under the State Law for counsel to review and consider taking action upon. A copy of the draft is enclosed in your Board packets.

 The Telecom & Video Services Agency will be attending the conference for the National Association of Telecommunication Officers & Advisors (NATOA) next week. As the Board is probably aware, the Agency has been very involved with NATOA for over 20 years. Mr. Maultra will be serving as a moderator for a session on cities that have seen competition enter its marketplace. Additionally, Mr. Maultra serves on the legal and policy committee that has business to conduct at the conference.

 The Telecom & Video Services Agency has been serving as a consumer advocate to Indianapolis and Marion County video subscribers in assisting them in mediating complaints on their behalf.   

 For the month of August, the Telecom & Video Services Agency received 9 complaints from 7 callers for Bright House .  The complaints were derived from Billing Procedures, Customer Service, and Telephone Service.

 That concludes Mr. Maultra’s Agency Report and remarks and he will answer any questions that the Board may have.

 Mr. Farmer asked Mr. Maultra if he has had any response from Bright House regarding their August report.

 Mr. Maultra replied that he sent an email last week to Al Aldridge and Michael Higginbotham taking note that the State Certificate for them had been approved and asked if they were going to attend this meeting as they still owe the City a report for the month of August.  He received no response.

 Mr. Cosby asked if the changes that were discovered regarding the Bright House Franchise Fee Review were changes in the City’s favor and Mr. Maultra said that remains to be seen but it is his opinion that the changes will be incrementally in Bright House ’s favor.

 Mr. Cosby stated that it seems the City is not any closer than before in reaching a settlement on these back audits and Mr. Maultra responded that he thinks the City is closer in terms of getting a more objective number based on raw data that Bright House gave to the City.  It’s hard to do a meaningful audit on a franchise fee report when given bad data.

 Mr. Cosby asked Mr. Harrison what his opinion was on the service drops and if Comcast is required by statute to provide the service at Sahm Park and the Windsor Village .

 Mr. Harrison responded that he sent a letter to the Government Relations Department for Comcast in March and there are strong arguments.  Comcast is under the impression that they have to service those drops that have already been implemented in each facility but they don’t owe any additional drops whenever they’re to be requested.  He stated that the City’s opinion is that whenever there is a facility in need of a cable drop, Mr. Maultra can request that.

 Mr. Maultra stated that the local franchise language under State Law carries forward to the State.  Section 503 of the Comcast and Bright House Franchise Agreements states that if a public service drop is requested by the City, entity, or department for connection that the language that is captured locally from the local franchise agreement which carries forward to the State for enforcement.

 Mr. Maultra added that Mr. Harrison stated in his letter to Comcast that the City had not asked them to connect all local government and township government entities all at once.  It has been done on a case by case or on an as needed basis which is not as burdensome upon the providers.  Comcast responded that they would do one but not the other although they are required by law to do both.

 The next item on the agenda is the Government Access TV Programming Report submitted by Mr. Ken Montgomery, Station Manager for Channel 16.

Channel 16 covered 42 different meetings for a total of 78 hours and 54 minutes of live and tape delayed meeting coverage for the month of August.

There were 12 hours and 14 minutes of specials and events production for the month of August.  Channel 16 did 6 hours and 31 minutes of In-Kind Production for City-County/Government Agencies and 1 hour and 30 minutes of Series Programs.

The total for new production in all categories was 99 hours, 9 minutes.

 For In-Kind Services, Channel 16 did about $6,900 worth of production had they billed for the services.

The Online Archives Usage Report for August was included in the Board packets. 

Mr. Montgomery offers to answer questions from the Board regarding this report.

 Mr. Cosby asked Mr. Montgomery when he computes for his In-Kind Services if it is adjusted for inflation and Mr. Montgomery responded that it is adjusted for the going local market rate but does not include a profit margin.

 The next item on the agenda is the Cable Operators Management Report.

There were no reports by the cable operators.

The next item on the agenda is the ETC Monthly Report by Chuck Fearnow.

 Under New Programming, Allan Zukerman will be dropping off the Miracle Mile Parade Video for airing.  The parade will be edited to take out the commercials and convert to underwriting language at end with sponsors.     

 Mr. Fearnow offers to answer questions from the Board.

 There are no items under New Business or Old Business.

 There is no Public Comment.

 There are no comments from Board members.

 Chairman Farmer comments that television is changing at the first part of 2009.  He added that the coupons for the digital converter boxes are still available.

 Chairman Farmer announces the next Board meeting for October 20th, 2008 at 2:30 in room 260 and adjourns this meeting.

 

 

___________________________

Mr. Dean Farmer Chairman

 

___________________________

Mr. Jerry Cosby, Member

 

___________________________

Mr. Richard Curry Jr., Member

 

___________________________

Mr. Loren Heger, Member

 

___________________________

Ms. Cristy Tirotta, Recording Secretary