[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Franklin as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I RCN of New Jersey, Inc.
Article II Comcast of New Jersey II, LLC
[Adopted 8-8-2000 by Ord. No. 3147, effective until 12-31-2016. ]
Editor's Note: Ordinance No. 996 granted a nonexclusive franchise to Franklin Cablevision, Inc. which became C-Tec Cable Systems. That franchise expired in 1992 and was replaced by Ord. No. 1731, adopted 9-15-1992 which was effective until 12-31-1999. That ordinance was replaced by Ord. No. 3147 which appears in this article.
A public hearing regarding the company's consent application was held on September 26, 1999, after proper public notice, according to the terms and conditions of the state Act. The hearing was fully open to the public and the Township received at the hearing all comments regarding the qualifications of the company to receive Municipal Consent and the community's present and future cable related needs and interests. Pursuant to the terms and conditions set forth herein, the company possesses the necessary legal, technical, character, financial and other qualifications to support municipal consent, and the company's operating and construction arrangements are adequate and feasible.
For the purposes of this Ordinance, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meaning given herein. Such meaning or definition of terms is supplemental to those definitions given by the Federal Communications Commission, FCC rules and regulations, 47 CFR Section 76.1 et seq. and the Cable Communications Policy Act, 47 USC, § 521 et seq., as amended, and the Cable Television Act, N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq., and shall in no way be construed to broaden, alter or conflict with federal or state definitions:
- ACT or CABLE TELEVISION ACT
- Chapter 186 of the General Laws of New Jersey and subsequent amendments thereto, N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq.
- The Board of Public Utilities, Office of Cable Television.
- RCN or THE COMPANY
- The grantee of rights under this ordinance which is RCN of New Jersey, Incorporated, formerly known as C-TEC Cable Systems.
- The Township of Franklin, County of Somerset, State of New Jersey.
Editor's Note: The current cable provider for the Township is Comcast.
The Township hereby grants a nonexclusive consent of renewal, franchise, right and privilege for RCN to construct, erect, operate, modify and maintain in, upon, along, across, above, over and under the highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, public ways and public places now laid out or dedicated and all extensions thereof and additions thereto in the Township, such poles, wires, cables, underground conduits, manholes and other conductors and fixtures necessary for the maintenance and operation in the Township of a cable television and cable communications system for the purpose of distributing television and radio signals and other impulses in order to furnish television and radio programs and data as well as video communication services to the public. The rights of grant includes the right to use and occupy said highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, public ways and public places and all manner of easements for the purposes herein set forth and as provided by the federal and state acts.
The consent herein granted shall be nonexclusive and shall expire 15 years from the date of expiration of the previous certificate of approval as issued by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. The Township's consent is subject to and expressly contingent upon the company commitments, which shall be expressed by means of an amendment to the application and the company's acceptance of this ordinance pursuant to N.J.S.A. 49:5A-24.
The company shall, during each year of operation under the consent granted herein, pay to the Township as a franchise fee the greater of 2% of the gross revenues from all recurring charges in the nature of subscription fees paid by subscribers to its cable television reception service in the Township or the maximum amount permitted under applicable federal or New Jersey law.
The consent granted under this ordinance to the company shall apply to the entirety of the Township and any property hereafter annexed.
The primary service area shall consist of all public residential streets within the Township existing as of the date of this ordinance as set forth in a map supplied by RCN to the Township with its Application. RCN's line extension policy shall apply to new residential public streets and to unserved commercial areas along public streets and rights-of-way.
RCN shall be required to provide service to any persons' residence or business located in the Township, in accordance with RCN's stated installation charges and line extension policy as set forth in its application and tariff or as the same may hereafter be amended. As new streets and roads are constructed within the Township, RCN will extend its system onto such roads in a timely fashion in accordance with its line extension policy.
In transmitting its television signals to subscribers in the Township, RCN shall provide, at a minimum, a good quality signal, in accordance with federal and state technical standards and prevailing industry standards. RCN shall adhere to technical specifications recommended by the National Cable Television Association rating to technical standards for the transmission of television signals, signal quality, and facilities and equipment, to the extent such standards remain consistent with RCN's technical operations during the course of this franchise. The Township reserves all rights and authority, regarding technical standards provided it by federal and state law and regulations at any time during the franchise.
All channels shall enjoy the same level of quality of audio and video signals.
The company shall maintain its system in good and reasonable operating condition at all times during the term of the franchise.
As soon as reasonable within RCN's sound business and technical judgment after any source of television programming or signals carried by RCN commences regular transmission of an on channel BTS stereo signal, an HDTV signal, or any other high-resolution signal, RCN will consider any reasonably necessary action to effect retransmission of such programming source with a stereo HDTV or other high resolution signal, taking into account RCN's business and technical parameters.
RCN will be committed to keeping pace with the technology of the cable industry in New Jersey and will maintain a high degree of product availability, signal integrity and system reliability as compared with New Jersey Cable Systems of comparable size, measured by the number of subscribers on the system and the total number of system plant mileage.
In meeting the standard of product availability referenced in Subsection B of this section, RCN will use its reasonable business judgment to fully program the alphanumeric and video channel capacity of the Franklin system and make programming selections based on those services available on other systems within New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area with sensitivity to the needs of the community based on market surveys and popular demand.
The company agrees that it will evaluate technology to determine whether to maintain its system state-of-the-art using its reasonable business and technical judgment, and to maintain a high degree of product availability, it will, to the extent that it will not unduly interfere with the company's need to protect its signals from theft of service or other factors within RCN'S reasonable business judgment, consider making available to its subscribers, as soon as they become commercially available, any devices or equipment implementing a TV/VCR interface technology that would work with the scrambling/descrambling technology used by the company and enable subscribers to take advantage of some of the advanced TV/VCR features and combinations on subscriber's equipment, including but not limited to:
In fulfillment of its obligation to evaluate state-of-the-art technology, and to maintain a high degree of product availability, RCN agrees that when movies-on-demand and/or video-on-demand become commercially available in New Jersey and there is sufficient demand in the Township to make provision of movies-on-demand and/or video-on-demand economically feasible in Franklin Township, RCN shall consider making the necessary modifications and enhancements to its system, including installation of the necessary electronics and hardware, to enable the company to make movies-on-demand and/or video-on-demand available to its subscribers. Such modifications and enhancements may include, but not be limited to, relocation of optic receivers and other electronic equipment, and increasing the number of node sites in the system, within RCN's sound business and technical judgment.
The company shall rebuild the cable system as specified in the application. The distribution system shall be rebuilt with both fiber optic and coaxial cable using and is anticipated to employ what is customarily known in the cable industry as "fiber to the service area" architecture. The fiber to the service area architecture consists of fiber optic cable from the system head end to a node in the service area. Upon completion of the rebuild, the planned capacity shall be no less than 750 MHZ of band width. Each strand of active fiber in the forward direction shall be designed to carry the entire 750 MHZ of band width.
The rebuilt system shall be capable of providing two-way interactive services to residential and commercial subscribers. Such services may include video-on-demand and high-speed data transfer. Upon completion of the upgrade, the system may include all necessary distribution electronic equipment required to make two-way operations available to the home. At the time that interactive services are offered by RCN, converters will be made available to subscribers at a reasonable cost to enable them to use such two-way technology.
The company shall specify the list of equipment that will be utilized for the system rebuild as indicated in its application. The company agrees to design the cable television system in Franklin Township so that it will meet the design specifications contained in the application.
The rebuilt system shall have status monitoring on the fiber trunk from the head end up to the various nodes. Status monitoring will be activated in phases.
The company shall complete and fully activate the system rebuild as described in the application in this ordinance within 36 months of the effective date of the certificate of approval issued by the Board of Public Utilities.
Upon its application to the Board for a renewal certificate of approval, the company shall provide a construction plan and construction timetable, target dates for completion of each phase of construction.
The company shall provide the Township with written reports on the progress of the rebuild construction on at least a quarterly basis.
[Amended 7-13-2004 by Ord. No. 3476]
The company shall make available two access channels for use by the municipality, as set forth hereinafter.
The first access channel will continue to be the existing educational access channel and will have two-way capability. Channel allocation may change but it will be on the lowest tier.
The second access channel will be a new channel for the municipality known as the governmental access channel, which will also have two-way capability. Channel allocation may change but it will also be on the lowest tier.
Patriot will make available capacity on its access channels to provide for the airing of 10 hours per week of original access programming.
The company will fund the provision of equipment to be utilized by the Township for remote and studio productions, editing and transmission.
In providing such equipment, Patriot is obligated to expend no more than $53,000.
Patriot shall provide such equipment within 60 days of receipt of the Township's written request for same. Said written request may be issued no sooner than date on which the certificate of approval is issued by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
RCN will encourage access channel usage by providing and publicizing reasonable production training courses free of charge to access users in Franklin Township including:
Upon reasonable request, RCN shall conduct a training course once per quarter for access channel users at times scheduled and advertised in advance. The access training programs will be geared to a variety of skill levels. RCN will provide the instructors for these courses. Equipment for public access courses will be provided by RCN.
As a means of improving its public outreach and training endeavors, RCN will utilize various media to conduct an ongoing public awareness campaign to promote the public access training, equipment and programming available in Franklin Township.
RCN shall provide sufficient personnel whose responsibilities will include the provision of adequate assistance and services to public access users, including but not limited to the following:
If requested by Franklin's Superintendent of Schools, RCN will semiannually conduct special production training programs for high school students and teachers at RCN's expense. The program will be in the nature of an internship program. Students will be trained to produce community-based programs.
RCN, at its own expense, will provide reasonable coverage of important Franklin events and produce programs on same, to be aired on RCN's local origination programming channel. RCN agrees to produce a maximum of 12 programs per year. The Township agrees to use its best efforts to assist RCN in selecting appropriate events for coverage. Such events will be scheduled upon reasonable advance notice to RCN and considering program availability. Such programs will be aired in morning, afternoon and evening time slots. RCN agrees to use its reasonable efforts to replay its coverage of all such events within one week of the event's original air date.
To the extent RCN offers advanced information or interactive services, including Internet access, such services shall be available to all Franklin customers. In the event RCN offers new services in the future that are appropriate for offers new services in the future that are appropriate for educational use, RCN will offer a "basic" or base level of such services to each school and the municipal complex at no charge.
A fiber backboned broad-band fiber optic connection capable of supporting a wide area network (WAN) to support video, data and multimedia applications for education and municipal administration shall be provided which may be connected to equipment provided and maintained by the Township, or its designee. This WAN shall be completed upon completion of the system rebuild discussed in § A402-12 above. This requirement is intended to include locations designated in advance by the Township and may be for the Franklin school system, the municipal complex, public works, police, fire companies and rescue squad.
The company shall comply with all federal and state regulations pertaining to customer service, including but not limited to those pertaining to office hours and telephone availability, installations, outages, service interruptions, service calls, billing, billing disputes, service related complaints, notices of changes in rates, programming and channel positions.
RCN agrees to adhere to standards that are consistent in all material respects with voluntary customer service standards promulgated by the New Jersey Cable Television Association and published by the Association on or about August 26, 1993. RCN's commitment to these standards shall include the following:
Answer any customer telephone calls promptly and courteously 24 hours a day.
Provide four-hour time periods for scheduling service and installation appointments.
Rebate $20 for any service or installation appointment that was missed.
Track subscribers service experiences and make that information publicly available.
As a supplement to and clarification of and not a limitation of Subsections A and B above, RCN agrees to the following:
During the term of its franchise and any renewal thereof, RCN shall maintain a local business office, which will allow its residents to drop off or pick up boxes, switches and like items of equipment, along with payment and questioning of their bills. Such office shall be open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Saturday. If warranted by reasonable customer demand, RCN shall consider expanding its office hours to include one evening per week. Additionally, its customer service center shall be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. The business office shall be able to provide, if needed by a Township resident, a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or shall be compatible with the state-wide telecommunications relay service. The local business office shall maintain a local or toll-free telephone number and will also be equipped to receive all complaints regarding the quality of service, billing, equipment malfunctions, installations and similar matters. RCN shall maintain adequate staff and telephone equipment to keep telephone call response time (time customer is on hold) to an absolute minimum.
During the course of the franchise, RCN agrees to periodically mail to Township subscribers a cable television related survey matters of mutual concern to the Township and RCN. The survey shall be reasonably developed so it may be mailed by RCN to subscribers with RCN's monthly bills and to accommodate RCN's billing system and other reasonable requirements. At RCN's request, the Township agrees to provide RCN with copies of all responses. RCN agrees to mail the survey as reasonably required by the Township, but in no event shall RCN be required to mail the survey more than once every three years. The survey may only be used for purposes reasonably related to matters within the Township's jurisdiction over RCN and shall not be used for political purposes or for the private gain of any person, party or organization.
The OCTV is hereby designated as the complaint officer for the municipality, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 48:5A-26. All complaints shall be received and processed in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.5.
RCN shall make every effort to repair service outages within 24 hours of their being reported and, if such repair is not made, RCN shall credit subscribers for service outages in accordance with the requirements of the New Jersey OCTV as established in the New Jersey Administrative Code N.J.A.C. 14:18-3.5.
RCN shall provide notice to subscribers and Township officials of change in rates as provided by 47 CFR, Section 76.964 and N.J.A.C. 14:18-3.6 and as those regulations may be amended.
RCN shall make every effort to exceed the minimum service agreement requirements provided by state law and fee regulations and nothing herein contained shall be construed as condoning any services which fall below such minimum standards.
RCN shall give due consideration to programming preferences expressed by customers.
RCN will endeavor at all times to keep rates reasonably comparable to other area systems on a cost per channel basis.
RCN shall provide within its cable guide each month in which it causes any such guide to be published, by means of its television bulletin boards (or on another channel that uses them for announcement) any commercials at reasonable intervals, press releases at reasonable intervals for delivery to local newspapers distributed in the Township, or by other means which are reasonable in quantity and quality, information informing subscribers and potential subscribers of the procedures and telephone numbers for deletion of services, addressing billing problems and for reporting comments or complaints and for also advising subscribers of their legal rights with respect to service outages.
With respect to service related complaints, when such complaints are made in writing, RCN shall maintain such records concerning its plant and operations as required by N.J.A.C. 14:18-6.2, or as said rules may be amended.
The company shall provide written notice to its subscribers on a quarterly basis of the procedure by which a subscriber may obtain credits for outages and interruptions of service, as required by N.J.A.C. 14:18-3.18(b), or as said rules may be amended.
RCN will perform repair service, installations, disconnections and relocations not only on weekdays, but as well on evenings and weekends as may be reasonably provided as well with a 24 hours response time. The company will use its reasonable efforts to provide customers with "appointment window alternatives" for all service calls, including repair, installation, disconnection and relocation activities, which appointment windows will be, at maximum, a four-hour time block. If RCN fails to keep a scheduled appointment, the company will offer the customer priority in rescheduling the appointment.
The company shall be available to work on outages and service interruptions 24 hours a day.
RCN has agreed to implement a senior citizen discount on the monthly basic service rate to any person 62 years of age. Such discounts shall be subject to the eligibility requirements set forth in N.J.S.A. 48:5A-11.2. The company has agreed to apply the same discount rate to the disabled who meet the eligibility requirements of the pharmaceutical assistance to aged and disabled (PAAD) pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4D-21.
The company agrees to provide standard installation, a converter box and its entry level cable service, standard cable service and an a-la-carte package free of charge for the following number of outlets at each of the following institutions:
Each public and private elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools within the Township: one outlet, which may be capable of supporting data and Internet access if such services are offered by the company, at all points of installation.
The main branch and any other branches which may develop to the Franklin Township Library: one outlet which may be capable of supporting data and Internet access if such services are offered by the company.
The Township municipal complex and any other municipal building or governmental building designated by the Township: one outlet which may be capable of supporting data and Internet access if such services are offered by the company.
Each fire station, police station and substation within the Township: one outlet which may be capable of supporting data if such services are offered by the company.
Each rescue squad location within the Township: one outlet which may be capable of supporting data if such services are offered by the company.
The company agrees to install additional outlets and provide addressable converter boxes at each of these building upon request for a fee based only upon the actual cost of materials plus labor and the company agrees to provide its entry level service, standard cable service and a-la-carte service free of charge to these additional outlets.
RCN's nonstandard installation, or drop-line, policy shall be as set forth in RCN's tariff and in accordance with the requirements of the OCTV.
RCN shall set out the cost per linear foot to the consumer depending upon whether the drop-line will be installed below ground or aboveground. The policy will also set forth each and every type of equipment that is necessary for the drop-line and what the cost is for same, as well as the cost for labor.
With respect to Subsection B, RCN shall develop, in its drop-line policy, a menu of methods by which cable service can be provided and a breakdown of the cost thereof so that the consumer shall have the option to choose which of such methods best suit his needs and economies. However, in accordance with the requirements of N.J.S.A. 40A:5A-39(a), such rates shall be uniform (one rate for overhead and one rate for underground) so that the rates are not preferential, arbitrary or discriminatory.
The Township acknowledges that New Jersey municipalities do not have the authority to regulate the rates the company charges subscribers for its service. However, in the event the federal Act and other applicable law hereafter is amended to permit the exercise of regulatory power over rates by municipalities, the Township reserves the right to exercise the maximum power permitted by law.
In the event RCN or its agents shall disturb any pavement, street, surfaces, sidewalks, driveways or other surfaces in the natural topography, RCN shall, at its sole expense, restore and replace such places or things so disturbed in as good condition as existed prior to commencement of said work.
In the event that, at any time during the term of this ordinance, the Township shall lawfully elect to alter or change the grade of any street, alley or other public way, RCN, upon reasonable notice by the Township, shall remove, relay and relocate its poles, wires, cables, underground conduits, manholes and other fixtures at RCN's own expense.
RCN shall have the authority to trim trees and overhanging branches upon streets, highways, alleys, sidewalks and public places within the Township so as to prevent the branches of such trees from coming into contact with the wires and cables of the company.
Although nothing herein shall require the company to carry or transmit any particular programming source, the company shall provide subscribers in the Township with the same mix and, at a minimum, the same level of video programming as is now provided to Franklin subscribers and which appears in the company's application. The company shall provide Franklin subscribers with at least the same broad categories of programming, in approximately the same quantity as are now provided and appear in the company's application.
The company will comply with federal and state law before deleting entirely any broad category of video programming or making any change in the broad categories of programming or mix, level, or quality of programming services required by the franchise.
The company will advise the Township as required by the rules of the OCTV before deleting entirely any broad category of video programming. It will make a reasonable attempt to satisfy the Township's preferences with regard to such issue.
RCN shall be required to have the capability to override at the head end the audio portion of the system in order to permit the broadcasting of emergency messages by municipal officials, the Police Department or the designee of the governing body, as required by the FCC and consistent with the system established by the State of New Jersey.
During the period of the system rebuild as outlined in this Municipal Consent Ordinance, the company shall give a surety bond to the Township which shall be in the amount of $100,000. Such bond shall be to insure completion of the system rebuild as delineated in this ordinance. The performance bond shall be reduced to $25,000 upon completion of the rebuild, subject to certification by the Township and with the final approval of the OCTV.
The bond required herein shall require 30 days' written notice to the Township prior to any cancellation, nonrenewal or alteration of the bond.
RCN shall at all times maintain a comprehensive general liability insurance policy with a single-limit amount of $1,000,000 covering liability for any death, personal injury, property damage or other liability arising out of its construction and operation of the cable television system and an excess liability (umbrella) policy in the amount of $3,000,000. The Township shall be named an additional insured under said policy.
All of the statements and commitments contained in the application and any amendment thereto, except as modified herein, are binding upon the company as terms and conditions of this consent. The application and other relevant writings submitted by the company shall be annexed hereto and made a part hereof by reference provided same do not conflict with state or federal law.
Notwithstanding any specific mention of applicable federal or state statutes or regulations above, the company shall with all of the requirements of the federal act, the federal regulations, the state act and state regulations (to the extent not preempted) and any other valid statute, regulations, rule or promulgation, specifically including, but without limitation, those relating to equal employment opportunity.
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this ordinance is for any reason held invalid, preempted, or unconstitutional by any court of federal or state agency of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed as separate, distinct and independent provision and such holding shall not effect the validity of the remaining portions hereof.
This ordinance shall take effect as of the date upon final passage in accordance with law.
[Adopted 9-29-2015 by Ord. No. 4118-15]
The Township hereby grants to Comcast of Central New Jersey II, LLC renewal of its nonexclusive municipal consent to place in, construct, erect, operate, modify and maintain in, upon, along, across, above, over and under the highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, easements, public ways and public places of the Township, poles, wires, cables, underground conduits, manholes and other television conductors, fixtures, apparatus, and equipment as may be necessary for the construction, operation and maintenance in the Township of a cable television and cable communications system for the purposes authorized by the Act.
For the purpose of this Ordinance, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein. Such meaning or definition of terms is supplemental to those definitions of the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") rules and regulations, 47 CFR 76.1 et seq., and the Cable Communications Policy Act, 47 U.S.C. § 521 et seq., as amended, and the Cable Television Act, N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq., and the rules and regulations of the Board, N.J.A.C. 14-18-1.1 et seq., shall in no way be construed to broaden, alter or conflict with the federal and state definitions:
- ACT or CABLE TELEVISION ACT
- Chapter 186 of the General Laws of New Jersey, and subsequent amendments thereto, N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq.
- The Company's March 11, 2014, Application for Renewal of municipal consent which is incorporated within this Ordinance by reference.
- BOARD or BPU
- The Board of Public Utilities, State of New Jersey.
- The grantee of rights under this Ordinance and is Comcast of Central New Jersey II, LLC.
- The Federal Communications Commission.
- The Office of Cable Television of the Board.
- PRIMARY SERVICE AREA or PSA
- Consists of the area of the Township currently served with existing plant as set forth in the map annexed to the Company's Application for municipal consent.
- The Township of Franklin, County of Somerset, State of New Jersey.
A public hearing was conducted by the Township Council on June 24, 2014, concerning the renewal of municipal consent herein granted to the Company. The public hearing was held after proper public notice pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act and the regulations of the Board adopted pursuant thereto. The public hearing, having been fully open to the public, and the Township, having received at said public hearings all comments regarding the qualifications of the Company to receive this renewal of municipal consent, the Township hereby finds that the Company possesses the necessary legal, technical, character, financial and other qualifications and that the Company's operating and construction arrangements are adequate and feasible.
The nonexclusive municipal consent granted herein shall expire 15 years from the date of expiration of the previous certificate of approval issued by the Board with a ten-year automatic renewal as provided by N.J.S.A. 48:5A-19 and 48:5A-25, and N.J.A.C. 14:18-13.6.
In the event that the municipality shall find that the Company has not substantially complied with the material terms and conditions of this Ordinance, the municipality shall have the right to petition the OCTV, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 48:5A-47, for appropriate action, including modification and/or termination of the certificate of approval; provided, however, that the municipality shall first have given the Company written notice of all alleged instances of noncompliance and an opportunity to cure same within 90 days of that notification. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that an occurrence of noncompliance presents an immediate danger to public health, safety or welfare of the municipality or its inhabitants, the Company shall take immediate steps to abate the danger upon notice, while taking steps to cure an event of noncompliance within 90 days of written notification by the municipality.
Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act, the Company shall, during each year of operation under the consent granted herein, pay to the Township 2% of the gross revenues from all recurring charges in the nature of subscription fees paid by subscribers for cable television reception service in the Township or any higher amount permitted by the Act or otherwise allowable by law, whichever is greater.
The consent granted under this Ordinance for the renewal of the franchise shall apply to the entirety of the Township and any property subsequently annexed by the Township.
The Company shall be required to provide service to any residence along any public right-of-way in the Primary Service Area, as set forth in the Company's Application. Any extension of plant beyond the Primary Service Area shall be governed by the Company's Line Extension Policy, as set forth in the Company's Application, with the following exception: The minimum homes per mile (HPM) figure shall be 25 homes per linear mile from the operator's existing plant.
Restoration: In the event that the Company or its agents shall disturb any pavement, street surfaces, sidewalks, driveways, or other surface in the natural topography, the Company shall, at its sole expense, restore and replace such places or things so disturbed in as good a condition as existed prior to the commencement of said work.
Relocation: If at any time during the period of this consent, the Township shall alter or change the grade of any street, alley or other way or place, the Company, upon reasonable notice by the Township, shall remove, re-lay or relocate its equipment, at the expense of the Company.
Temporary removal of cables: The Company shall temporarily move or remove appropriate parts of its facilities to allow for the moving of buildings and machinery, or in other similar circumstances. The expense shall be borne by the party requesting such action, except when requested by the Township, in which case the Company shall bear the cost of the temporary removal.
Removal or trimming of trees: During the exercise of its rights and privileges under this franchise, the Company shall have the authority to trim trees upon and overhanging streets, alleys, sidewalks or other public places of the Township so as to prevent the branches of such trees from coming in contact with the wires and cable of the Company. Such trimming shall be only to the extent necessary to maintain proper clearance of the Company's wire and cables.
In providing services to its customers, the Company shall comply with N.J.A.C. 14:18-1 et seq. and all applicable state and federal statutes and regulations. The Company shall strive to meet or exceed all voluntary company and industry standards in the delivery of customer service and shall be prepared to report on it to the Township upon written request of the Township Administrator or Clerk.
The Company shall continue to comply fully with all applicable state and federal statutes and regulations regarding credit for outages, the reporting of same to regulatory agencies and notification of same to customers.
The Company shall continue to fully comply with all applicable state and federal statutes and regulations regarding the availability of devices for the hearing impaired and the notification of same to customers.
The Company shall use every reasonable effort to meet or exceed voluntary standards for telephone accessibility developed by the National Cable Television Association ("NCTA").
Nothing herein shall impair the right of any subscriber or the Township to express any comment with respect to telephone accessibility to the complaint officer, or impair the right of the complaint officer to take any action that is permitted under law.
The Office of Cable Television is hereby designated as the complaint officer for the Township pursuant to N.J.S.A. 48:5A-26(b). All complaints shall be received and processed in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.5. The Township shall have the right to request copies of records and reports pertaining to complaints by Township customers from the OCTV.
During the term of this franchise, and any renewal thereof, the Company shall maintain a local business office within reasonable proximity of its service area in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:18-5.1 where applications for service, complaints, service inquiries, bill payments, and so forth will be received. Such a business office shall have a publicly listed toll-free telephone number and be open during normal business hours and such other times as the Company deems advisable to meet with customers and prospective customers.
During the life of the franchise the Company shall give a bond to the Township in the amount of $25,000. Such bond shall be to insure the faithful performance of all undertakings of the Company as represented in its Application which is incorporated herein.
The rates of the Company shall be subject to regulation as permitted by federal and state law. Nothing within this franchise renewal shall prevent the Company from offering reduced or discounted rates for senior citizens, disabled citizens, or other economically disadvantaged citizens in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-11.1 and 48:5A-11.2, or any other applicable federal or state law. Any reduced or discounted rates offered by the Company shall be in compliance with the regulations of the Board.
The Company shall provide Expanded Basic or a similar tier of cable television service to one outlet at no cost to each qualified existing and future school in the Township, including public and private, elementary, intermediate and secondary schools, provided the school building is within 200 feet aerially or 125 feet underground of active cable distribution plant. Each additional outlet installed, if any, shall be paid for on a materials-plus-labor basis by the school requesting service.
The Company shall provide Expanded Basic or a similar tier of cable television service at no cost to one outlet to each qualified existing and future public building including the municipal building, police, fire, rescue squad, emergency management facility, public library and library branch, and any other municipal or governmental building designated by the Township, provided the facility is located within 200 feet aerially or 125 feet underground of active cable distribution plant. Each additional outlet installed, if any, shall be paid for on a materials-plus-labor basis by the Township.
Within six months of the issuance of a renewal certificate of approval by the BPU, the Company shall provide to the Township a one-time technology grant in the amount of $125,000 to meet the technology and/or cable-related needs of the community.
The Communications Act of 1934, as amended [47 U.S.C. § 543 (b)], allows the Company to itemize and/or identify: 1) the amount on the subscriber bill assessed as a franchise fee and the identity of the governmental authority to which the fee is paid; 2) the amount on the bill assessed to satisfy any requirements imposed on the Company by the cable franchise to support public, education, and/or governmental access channels or the use of such channels; and 3) any grants or other fees on the bill or any tax, assessment, or charge of any kind imposed by any governmental authority on the transaction between the operator and the subscriber. The Company reserves its external cost, pass-through rights to the full extent permitted by law.
Company representative shall appear at least once annually, upon written request of the Township Council.
The Company will continue to provide two channels, one for educational and one for governmental ("EG") access for the use by Township on the most basic tier of service offered by the Company in accordance with the Cable Act, Section 611 (47 U.S.C. 531) and as further set forth within this § A402-15.
The Company does not relinquish its ownership of or ultimate right of control over a channel by designating it for EG use. An EG access user - whether an educational or government user - acquires no property or other interest by virtue of the use of a channel so designated, and may not rely on the continued use of a particular channel number, no matter how long the same channel may have been designated for such use.
The Company shall not exercise editorial control over the use of any educational or governmental channel capacity, except Company may refuse to transmit any educational or governmental access program or portion of an educational or governmental access program that contains obscenity, indecency, or nudity.
Educational access. "Educational access" shall mean noncommercial use by educational institutions such as public or private schools, but not "home schools," community colleges and/or universities.
Government access. "Government access" shall mean noncommercial use by the Township for the purpose of showing the public local government at work.
Fallow time. Because blank or underutilized EG channels are not in the public interest, in the event the Township or other EG access users elect not to fully program the EG access channel, Company may program unused time on those channels subject to reclamation by the Township upon no less than 60 days' written notice.
The Company will comply with the Emergency Alert System ("EAS") rules in accordance with applicable state and federal statutes and regulations.
The Company shall in no way be held liable for any injury suffered by the Township or any other person, during an emergency, if for any reason the Township is unable to make full use of the cable television system as contemplated herein.
The Company shall at all times maintain a comprehensive general liability insurance policy with a single limit amount of $1,000,000 covering liability for any death, personal injury, property damages or other liability arising out of its construction and operation of the cable television system, and an excess liability (or "umbrella") policy in the amount of $5,000,000.
All of the statements and commitments contained in the Application or annexed thereto and incorporated therein, and any amendment thereto, except as modified herein, are binding upon the Company as terms and conditions of this consent. The Application and other relevant writings submitted by the Company shall be annexed hereto and made a part hereof by reference provided that same do not conflict with applicable state or federal law.
Should the Township grant a franchise to construct, operate and maintain a cable television system to any other person, corporation or entity on terms materially less burdensome or more favorable than the terms contained herein, the Company may substitute such language that is more favorable or less burdensome for the comparable provision of this Ordinance upon approval by the Board of the Company's petition to modify this Ordinance pursuant to N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.7.
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this Ordinance is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court or federal or state agency of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision, and its validity or unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of the Ordinance.
Nothing in this franchise or in any prior agreement is or was intended to confer third-party beneficiary status on any member of the public to enforce the terms of such prior agreements or this franchise.
This Ordinance shall take effect immediately upon issuance of a renewal certificate of approval by the BPU.