Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New Committee Representatives

The following citizens have been nominated by the County Executive to serve on the Cable and Communications Advisory Committee. The terms are three years and unpaid.

LeRoy Oettinger
Benjamin Wu
David Friedman
Mark Berman
Kelly Cameron

I know of David Friedman, as he has provided testimony at communications-related hearings before the county. I don't recall having seen any others at any CCAC-related meetings, so my hopes are not high that they have a serious interest and will make useful contributions. Some past members have served simply for resumé padding or, from all that I can tell, want of something else to do with their evenings.

If you know of any reason why any of them would be inappropriate to represent your interests, contact the County Executive and County Council.

The following two CCAC members have been nominated for another term.

Suzanne Weiss
Kernan Chaisson

Suzanne is presently the CCAC chair. Kernan has been the Rockville representative to the CCAC for over 7 years already. Doesn't anyone else in Rockville have an interest in telecommunications?

The new appointments and the re-appointments are scheduled to be confirmed by the County Council on May 8, 2007.


Anonymous said...


If you check the comments, I am one of the new nominees and would be interested in talking to you about the committee in advance of starting. I can't speak for the others, but I haven't been to any of the meetings in the past, but I hope I can make a useful contribution. I've been a telecom lawyer for almost 25 years, and while I haven't practiced in the cable area, I know a lot about the industry, but I know less about the committee itself. You can contact me by e-mail at

Kelly Cameron

JTRockville said...

Don, does the TAC still take summers off, or do they meet throughout the summer?

Don Libes said...

According to the online schedule, there hasn't been a TAC meeting since February! Now that has to be wrong but I don't know the next meeting date. However, given the history - they took summers off even in the middle of the most controversy-filled years - and given that there hasn't been anything of significance going on this year, it's a good bet that they're not meeting again until September.

Unknown said...

Don, interesting you are taking up the fight - or, at least documenting the goings on - about fiber-optic in Rockville. It would be nice for MCRRC if we could install that in our new HQ on Southlawn Drive. Sounds like years will pass before fiber is available here.

Verizon installed FIOS in my condo building in Germantown a few months ago. After receiving a mail solicitation a couple of weeks ago from Verizon that the service was ready at my address, and after enduring numerous outages of Comcast's "Digital Voice" service over the last several months, I went on line to order it. The Verizon web site returned a message that Fios was not available at my address. I thought there might be a problem with Verizon's internal references since my phone number was not previously a Verizon phone number. Since I was ordering the "Triple Play", I thought I would approach the problem by first ordering Verizon local dial tone. Good luck. The Verizon site returned the message "Verizon does not offer local phone service in your area".

Since I was in disbelief, I carefully re-entered all the info required to order phone service. Same message.

So, next, I called the TF number in the Fios advertisement. Instead of being a dedicated Fios ordering line, it was a number to order anything and everything Verizon offers to residential customers. Only problem with that was, the IVR system they set up to process the calls provided no key-in option, and it did not properly recognize the word "Fios". When the IVR asks you to state your interest, it lists all the possibilities, including Fios. So I said "Fios" as clearly as I could. The system said "please hold" and gave me elevator music to listen to. No confirmation such as "we are now transferring you to the Fios ordering department - please hold". After several minutes of waiting a human answers: "welcome to Verizon WIRELESS". And, no, they do not know how to transfer me to Fios.

So, I call again. Same procedure, only a 10-minute wait this time. Back to Verizon Wireless. The next time, I ask for "technical support". After a 5-minute wait, the technician I get on the line tells me they are fielding calls all day for Fios because the IVR isn't set up to recognize "Fios",and thinks you are asking for "wireless". He says they are complaining like crazy, but no one does anything. This guy does know where to transfer me, so I wait on hold and finally get to Fios after several minutes of waiting. The nice rep on the line commiserates with me and promises to relay my comments. Right.

The installer was outstanding, and after a 6-hour installation, I had two TV connections, phone service (so it IS available in Germantown - surprise!) and a 15/2 internet connection. Everything is working. After testing the internet connection numerous times, I find I am getting only 6/2, which is fast, but not 15/2. When I ordered the service, I asked if there was an SLA available for the speed selection I ordered. Of course, the Verizon employee had no idea what I was talking about, and referred me to a technical support person. I asked this person what 15/2 means. He said it means "UP TO". "UP TO" is the most despicable term in American business lingo, I explained to him. I asked him "what is it "down to?". No response. He only said, "oh, you will get 15/2 or real close to, it, no concerns there".

Well, MySpeed says otherwise. 6 Mbps is good except when I am downloading photos from the Web or watching video - when it is just OK. Seems if I am paying for 15, I should get better than half that speed. So,here I go back to "technical support" again...wish me luck.