CABLE TELEVISION COMMITTEE MEETING
The meeting was called to order at 6 p.m. Aug. 17 by Al Schreiber, with committee members Joe Stiloski and Marlene Zahn present. Also present were Lynn Reed, Ron Hayes and Dick Rosenfeldt. Absent were commitee members C.P.DeWitt and Pat Baird.
A motion by Jim Stiloski, second by Marlene Zahn to approved the agenda as presented was approved. Al Schreiber motioned to approve the minutes from June 9, seconded by Marlene Zahn and the motion carried.
Discussion then took place with Tim Vowell, director of governmental relations with Charter Communications. He was asked if there were changes pending with the present cable system and services provided to Oconto. Vowell stated his firm is continuing work to upgrading services here, and they now have state of the art equipment in place. The problem with upgrading he said is money, that being up to a million dollars if they wanted to provide a package to include telephone and internet.
He noted fiber optic is required and Charter Communications would need to tap into or place tfiber optic cables.
Al Schreiber noted that Time Werner has fiber optic cable in place "all around the city" however, Vowell noted communications continue with that company for tapping into it, or arranging to lease it, but they have not reached an agreement yet to do so.Their nearest service is in Shawano as they no longer service Gillett, Pound or Lena and the cost to bring it to Oconto would be about $30,000 per mile.
Vowell indicated things are happening, but he is not at liberty to say anything more at this time. Ron Hayes said he hasn't seen a Charter representative advocating for the city of Oconto and if they don't do something, and soon, they will loose more business here. Schreiber agreed, this is the first time in about five years anyone from Charter Communications has been willing to come and speak with us. Vowell answered by saying he can come anytime he is asked.
Al Shreiber inquired if due to the small market in this area, is the matter no longer important to them, which Vowell denied, saying due to economic development they would like to service everyone, including businesses.
Ron Hayes asked when Charter did their last survey of this area, and Vowell said he couldn't answer that. He also said he was unable to state how many subscribers they presently have in the city due to competition.
Lynn Reed stated they do not broadcast in High Defintion, using analog only. Vowell stated they receive digital but download onto analog for those subscribers who do not have digital ready sets or converter boxes. "It will probably be three years yet before we go to all digital."
Al Schriber stated there are alot of dishes in town, and feels cable is loosing more subscribers every day.
Dick Rosenfeldt inquired why the reception is so poor on the city's south side, and Vowell went into detail concerning splitting of signals required on their present cables.
Vowell stressed the fact he will look into concerns expressed at the meeting and will meet again with the committee concerning them.
No date was set for the next meeting and the meeting adjourned after a motion by Jim Stiloski and a second by Marlene Zahn.
Respectfully submitted by