[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Borough of Collingswood 6-3-2002 by Ord. No. 1289. This ordinance also superseded former Ch. A312, Cable Television Franchise, adopted 9-3-1991 by Ord. No. 998. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Borough hereby grants to Comcast Cablevision of Garden State, L.P., its nonexclusive municipal consent to place in, upon, across, above, over and under highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, easements, public ways and public places in the Borough 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 Borough of a cable television and communications system.
For the purpose 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 of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations, 47 C.F.R. Subsection 76.1 et seq., and the Cable Communications Policy Act, 47 U.S.C. Section 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 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.
- BASIC CABLE SERVICE
- Any service tier, which includes the retransmission of local television broadcast signals as defined by the FCC.
- BOARD or BPU
- The Board of Public Utilities, State of New Jersey.
- The grantee of rights under this ordinance and is known as "Comcast Cablevision of Garden State, L.P."
- The Federal Communications Commission.
- MUNICIPALITY or BOROUGH
- The Borough of Collingswood, County of Camden, State of New Jersey.
- OFFICE or OCTV
- The Office of Cable Television of the Board.
Public hearings conducted by the Borough concerning the renewal of municipal consent herein granted to the company were held after proper public notice pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act and the regulations of the Board adopted pursuant thereto. Said hearings, having been fully open to the public, and the Borough, having received at said public hearings all comments regarding the qualifications of the company to receive this renewal of municipal consent, the Borough 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 an automatic renewal of 10 years as provided by N.J.S.A. 48:5A-19 and 48:5A-25, and N.J.A.C. 14:18-13.6.
The municipality may review the company's compliance under this ordinance. Said reviews shall commence on the 10th anniversary of the granting of the renewal certificate of approval and shall be completed no later than six months from commencement. The municipality shall notify the company and the OCTV of the commencement of said review in writing and shall also notify the company and OCTV in writing within 30 days after completion of said review. Said notification shall present the municipality's complete findings in this matter. The company shall have the right to fully participate and present evidence in these proceedings.
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 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.
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 Borough 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 Borough or any higher amount permitted by the Act or otherwise allowable by law, whichever is greater.
The consent granted under this ordinance to the renewal of the franchise shall apply to the entirety of the Borough and any property subsequently annexed hereto.
The company shall be required to proffer service along any public right-of-way to any person's residence or business located in the franchise territory and designated primary service area (PSA) at the tariffed rates for standard and nonstandard installations.
The company shall utilize the Office of Cable Television's line extension policy (LEP) for extensions of service below a minimum homes per mile figure (HPM) of 35.
The company has completed an upgrade of the cable television distribution system serving the Borough. The upgraded system is a hybrid fiber optic/coaxial cable system following a fiber to the node architecture. The upgraded system provides improved picture quality, enhanced signal reliability and increased channel capacity.
The upgrade has been completed following the company's engineering guidelines for hybrid fiber/coaxial (HFC) plant design which meets or exceeds all applicable state and federal regulations as well as voluntary cable television industry standards and follows commonly accepted industry practices.
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 municipality shall alter or change the grade of any street, alley or other way or place, the company, upon reasonable notice by the municipality, shall remove, relay or relocate its equipment at the expense of the company.
Temporary removal of cables. The company shall, upon request of the municipality, at the company's expense, temporarily raise, lower or remove its lines in order to facilitate the moving of buildings or machinery or in other like circumstances. Whenever the request is made by, for or on behalf of private parties, the cost will be borne by those same parties.
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 municipality 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. The company shall notify the Borough prior to any tree work.
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 community upon written request of the Borough Administrator or Clerk.
The company shall continue to comply fully with all applicable state and federal statues and regulations regarding credits for outages, the reporting of it to regulatory agencies and notification of it 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 it to customers.
The company shall use every effort to meet or exceed voluntary standards for telephone accessibility developed by the National Cable Television Association (NCTA). Those standards shall include, but not be limited to, the goal of answering 90% of incoming telephone calls within 30 seconds.
Nothing herein shall impair the right of any subscriber or the municipality 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 appropriate under law.
The company is permitted, but is not required, to charge a late fee consistent with applicable state and federal statutes and regulations.
The Office of Cable Television is hereby designed as the complaint officer for the municipality pursuant to N.J.S.A. 48:5A-26b. All complaints shall be received and processed in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.5. The municipality shall have the right to request copies of records and reports pertaining to complaints by Borough customers from the OCTV.
During the term of this franchise, and any renewal thereof, the company shall maintain a local business office or agent for the purpose of receiving, investigating and resolving all complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunctions and similar matters. Such local business office shall be open during normal business hours and in no event less than 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The company's employees, representatives or agents will provide telephone response for such purposes as mentioned herein 24 hours per day.
The telephone number and address of the local office shall be listed in applicable telephone directories and in correspondence from the company to the customer. The telephone number for the local office shall utilize an exchange that is a non-toll call for Borough residents.
Additionally, the company shall make reasonable efforts to provide additional payment options to Borough customers that are economically practicable and technically feasible, including, but not limited to, on-line bill payment, electronic fund transfers (EFT's), automatic credit card debiting, third-party payment locations and/or establishment of drop box locations for the purpose of added customer convenience.
During the life of the franchise, the company shall give to the municipality a bond 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 for municipal consent incorporated herein.
The rates of the company shall be subject to regulation as permitted by federal and state law.
The company shall continue to provide system-wide leased or commercial access channel opportunities on a channel maintained by the company for the purpose of cablecasting commercial access programming in conformance with the company's guideline and applicable state and federal statutes and regulations.
The company shall take appropriate steps to ensure that the signals originated on the access channels are carried without material degradation and with a signal whose quality is equal to that of the other channels that the company transmits.
Within 18 months of receipt of a renewal certificate of approval (COA) by the OCTV, the company shall provide a dedicated education-government access (EG) channel to be viewed by residents of the Borough. Qualified individuals and organizations may utilize the access channel for the purpose of cablecasting noncommercial access programming in conformance with the Borough's published access rules.
Within 18 months of receipt of a renewal certificate of approval (COA) by the OCTV, the company shall construct a dedicated fiber optic return line to a location designated by the Borough for the purpose of cablecasting live and/or recorded programming on the education-government access channel. Upon reasonable written request, the Borough shall notify the company regarding the location for the dedicated fiber return line.
The company will provide and maintain the cable, modulators and equipment necessary for the Borough education-government access channel to send a signal to the company and to receive the return feed of signal. The company will not be responsible for the maintenance of any studio equipment used for the access channel, including but not limited to cameras, editing decks, monitors and character generators, etc.
Within 18 months of receipt of a renewal certificate of approval, the company shall provide the Borough with a one-time technology grant in the amount of $5,000 for purchase of video production equipment in association with the education-government access channel.
The company shall provide preferred cable television service on one outlet to each qualified existing and future municipal building, including police, fire, first aid, emergency management, public library and community centers in the Borough at no cost or charge, provided the facility is located within 200 feet of active cable distribution plant. Installation of additional outlets shall be paid for on a materials plus labor basis by the municipality. Monthly service charges shall be waived on all additional outlets.
The company shall continue to provide preferred cable television service on one outlet at no cost to each qualified existing and future public and private elementary, intermediate and secondary school in the Borough, provided the school is within 200 feet of active cable distribution plant. The school may distribute the signal to all classrooms within the school on the school's internal network as long as that network meets or exceeds FCC standards for cumulative leakage index (CLI). Should the schools request additional outlets to be installed, such installation shall be paid for on a materials plus labor basis by the school requesting service. Monthly service charges shall be waived on all additional outlets.
The company shall provide free basic Internet service, via high-speed cable modem, to one nonnetworked personal computer in each qualified existing and future school in the Borough, public and private, elementary, intermediate and secondary, at no charge, provided the facility is located within 200 feet of active cable distribution plant. The Internet service shall be installed on a personal computer that is accessible to the students and not for administrative use only.
The company shall provide free basic Internet access via high-speed cable modem on one nonnetworked personal computer in each qualified existing and future public library at no charge, provided the facility is located within 200 feet of active cable distribution plant. The Internet service shall be installed on a personal computer that is accessible to library patrons and not for administrative use only.
In the event that the Borough determines that it is necessary and feasible for it to contract with the company for the purpose of providing two-way or interconnection services, the company shall be required to apply to the BPU for approval to enter into and establish the terms and conditions of such contract. All costs for such application to the BPU shall be borne by the Borough.
The company shall be required to fully comply with all applicable federal and state statutes and regulations, rules and regulations governing the implementation, operation and testing of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).
The company shall in no way be held liable for any injury suffered by the municipality or any other person during an emergency if, for any reason, the municipality 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 $3,000,000.
All of the commitments and statements contained in the application and any amendment thereto submitted in writing to the municipality by the company, except as modified herein, are binding upon the company as terms and conditions of this municipal consent. The application and any other relevant writings submitted by the company shall be considered a part of this ordinance and made a part hereof by reference as long as it does not conflict with state or federal law. All ordinances or parts of ordinances or other agreements between the Borough and the company that are in conflict with the provisions of this agreement are hereby declared invalid and superseded.
Should the Borough 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, subject to the provisions of 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.
This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon issuance of a renewal certificate of approval from the BPU.