[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Hanover 6-28-2001 by Ord. No. 16-2001. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. A343, Cable Television Franchise, adopted 8-12-1993 by Ord. No. 29-93.
As used in this ordinance, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ACT or CABLE TELEVISION ACT
- That statute of the State of New Jersey relating to cable television, known as the "Cable Television Act," N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq.
- Cablevision's application for renewal of municipal consent, which application is on file in the office of the Business Administrator/Township Clerk, and is incorporated herein by reference and made a part hereof, except as modified, changed, limited or altered by this ordinance.
- The Board of Public Utilities of the State of New Jersey or its successor agency.
- CSC TKR, Inc., d/b/a Cablevision of Morris (Cablevision), the grantee of rights under this ordinance.
- The Federal Communications Commission.
- FEDERAL ACT
- That federal statute relating to cable communications commonly known as the "Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984," 47 U.S.C. § 521 et seq., and the Telecommunications Act of 1996, or as those statutes may be amended.
- FEDERAL REGULATIONS
- Those federal regulations relating to cable television services, 47 CFR Section 76.1 et seq. (and, to the extent applicable, any other federal rules and regulations relating to cable television, including but not limited to, those described in 47 CFR Section 76.3), or as such regulations may be amended.
- The State of New Jersey.
- STATE REGULATIONS
- Those regulations of the State of New Jersey, Board of Public Utilities, relating to cable television, N.J.A.C. 14:17-1.1 et seq. and/or N.J.A.C. 14:18-1 et seq.
- The Township Committee, the governing body of the Township of Hanover in the County of Morris, and State of New Jersey and may be used interchangeably with the term "municipality."
A public hearing concerning the consent herein granted to Cablevision was held after proper public notice pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act. Said hearing having been held and fully open to the public, and the municipality having received all comments regarding the qualifications of Cablevision to receive this consent, the Township hereby finds that Cablevision possesses the necessary legal, technical, character, financial and other qualifications to support municipal consent, and that Cablevision's operating and construction arrangements are adequate and feasible.
The Township hereby grants to Cablevision its nonexclusive consent to place in, upon, along, across, above, over, and under its highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, public ways, and public places in the municipality poles, wires, cables, and fixtures necessary for the maintenance and operation in the Township of a cable television system, and for the provision of any communication service over such system as may be authorized by federal or state regulatory agencies. Operation and construction, pursuant to said consent, is conditioned upon prior approval of the Board of Public Utilities.
The consent herein granted shall be nonexclusive and shall expire on October 17, 2007, 7 1/2 years from the date of the expiration of the current certificate of approval, that is, April 17, 2000, as issued by the Board of Public Utilities.
If Cablevision seeks successive consent, it shall, prior to the expiration of this consent, apply for a municipal consent and certificate of approval in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-16 and applicable state and federal rules and regulations. The company shall also petition the Board for approval authorizing continued operation during the period following expiration of the consent granted herein and until such a time that a decision is made by the Township and the Board relative to the renewal of said consent.
The consent granted under this ordinance to Cablevision shall apply to the entire Township and any property hereafter annexed.
Cablevision shall be required to proffer video programming service along any public right-of-way to any person's residence located in the service area as designated in the application at tariffed rates for standard and nonstandard installation.
Cablevision shall extend service along any public right-of-way outside its service area to those residences within the franchise territory which are located in areas that have a residential density of 25 homes per mile or greater, or areas with less than 25 homes per mile where residents agree to share the costs of such extension in accordance with the line extension formula as provided by the company in its application for municipal consent.
Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Cable Television Act, Cablevision shall pay to the Township, as an annual franchise fee, a sum equal to 2% of the actual gross revenues received from all recurring charges in the nature of subscription fees paid by subscribers for its cable television reception services in the Township. In the event applicable law hereinafter permits a larger franchise fee to be collected, but does not fix the amount thereof, the Township and Cablevision shall negotiate in good faith with respect to the amount thereof.
Cablevision shall provide, free of charge, one standard installation and monthly cable television reception service to all state accredited public schools and all public libraries, as well as municipal buildings located within the Township as set forth in Exhibit A to this ordinance (or as set forth in the municipal application).
Cablevision shall perform construction and installation of its plant and facilities in accordance with applicable state and federal law. The company shall be subject to the following additional construction requirements with respect to the installation of its plant and facilities in the Township:
In the event that the company or its agents shall disturb any pavement, street surfaces, sidewalks, driveways or other surfaces, the company shall, at its sole expense, restore and replace such disturbances in as good a condition as existed prior to the commencement of said work.
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 Township, shall remove or relocate its equipment at its own expense.
Upon request of a person holding a building or moving permit issued by the Township, the company shall temporarily move or remove appropriate parts of its facilities so as to permit the moving or erection of buildings or for the performance of other work. The expense of any such temporary removal or relocation shall be paid in advance to the company by the person requesting the same. In such cases, the company shall be given not less than 14 days' prior written notice in order to arrange for the changes required.
During the exercise of its rights and privileges under this consent, the company shall have the authority to trim trees upon and overhanging streets, alleys, sidewalks and public places of the Township so as to prevent the branches of such trees from coming in contact with the wires, cables, conduits and fixtures of the company. Such trimming shall only be necessary to maintain proper clearance for the company's facilities.
Cablevision shall comply with the technical and customer service standards established for the cable industry under applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations.
In order to maintain its level of telephone accessibility for calls relating to maintenance and repairs and to improve service for calls relating to installation, the addition or deletion of programming services and other customer inquiries, the company shall do the following:
Comply with any and all property adopted rules and regulations of the Office of Cable Television or other regulatory bodies insofar as they apply to telephone accessibility.
Meet with the Township's Business Administrator/Township Clerk and/or his designee on an as-needed basis to discuss the adequacy or inadequacy of the company's customer service, including telephone accessibility to Township subscribers. Such meetings shall be held at the request of the Township and only upon reasonable written notice to the company. If it is mutually agreed at such meeting or meetings by the parties that improvement of telephone accessibility is necessary, then the company shall make its best efforts in improving such accessibility within a reasonable amount of time.
Nothing herein shall impair the right of any subscriber of the Township to express any comment or complaint with respect to telephone accessibility to the Township's complaint officer (as designated in § A343-13 hereof) or impair the right of the complaint officer to take any action which is appropriate under law.
The company shall maintain a telephone number by which subscribers wishing to communicate with Cablevision representatives by day or evening for any reason can reach it, by toll-free telephone number, if possible. Such telephone number shall be published in every monthly bill to the extent required by applicable law.
Cablevision shall establish and maintain during the entire term of this consent a local area business office or agent for the purpose of receiving, investigating and resolving complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunctions and similar matters. Said office shall be open daily during normal business hours, and in no event less than 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the exception of holidays.
In the event of major technical changeovers, the company shall exchange such equipment for the subscriber at the local area business office at no additional cost to the subscriber; provided however, the company may charge for truck rolls, home installations or trouble calls in accordance with its tariff rates, and the subscriber may be subject to an increase in charges for such equipment as may be permissible under applicable state and federal law.
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 48:5A-26a, the Township's Business Administrator/Township Clerk (hereinafter referred to as the "complaint officer") is hereby designated as the Municipal complaint officer to receive and act on complaints by subscribers to cable television reception service provided to the Township's customer subscribers. All complaints shall be received and processed in accordance with the policy established by the Township Committee as set forth below.
When a verbal or written complaint is received by the complaint officer from a subscriber resident concerning any cable television reception problem or related cable television issue, the complaint officer and/or his/her designee shall immediately contact Cablevision by the quickest means possible in order to resolve the problem. Such notification may be transmitted in writing by regular mail or by telephone, depending upon the severity of the problem.
It shall be the responsibility of the complaint officer or his/her designee to explain the problem or issue in full to a representative of Cablevision and to request a response as to the nature or cause of the problem and when it shall be resolved. Whenever possible, and depending on the nature and extent of a problem, the company shall make every good faith attempt to restore service or resolve a related cable television service issue in accordance with N.J.A.C.14:18-3.13. The complaint officer will provide the company with the name(s) and address(es) of the subscriber complainant(s) as well as the essential facts upon which the complaint(s) is based, including the dates and times associated with cable reception failure and/or other related cable television issues which initiated the filing of a complaint. The complaint officer and the company will make every reasonable effort to find a solution in a timely fashion.
At the request of the Township, the company and the Township's complaint officer shall meet at least semiannually to review all matters relating to cable television in the Township, including customer complaints.
Cablevision agrees to maintain and keep in force and effect, at its sole cost at all times during the term of this consent, sufficient liability insurance naming the Township as an additional insured, and insuring against loss by any such claim, suit, judgment, execution or demand in the minimum amounts of $500,000 for bodily injury or death to one person and $1,000,000 for bodily injury or death resulting from any one accident or occurrence stemming from or arising out of the company's exercise of its rights hereunder.
Upon the effective date of this franchise, Cablevision shall obtain and maintain, at its sole cost and expense, during the entire term of this agreement, a bond to the Township in the amount of $25,000. Such bond shall be to ensure the faithful performance of its obligations as provided in this franchise.
The rates of the company shall be subject to regulation as permitted by federal and state law.
The company shall credit the accounts of Cablevision subscribers affected by service outages pursuant to any and all properly adopted rules, regulations of the Office of Cable Television or applicable state or federal statutes.
Cablevision shall implement a senior citizen discount in the amount of 10% percent off the rate for the monthly basic level of cable television reception service to any person 62 years of age or older who subscribes to cable television reception services provided by the company, subject to the following:
Such discount shall only be available to eligible senior citizens who do not share the subscription with more than one person in the same household who is less than 62 years of age;
Subscribers seeking eligibility for the discount must meet the income and residence requirements of the Pharmaceutical Assistance to Aged and Disabled (PAAD) Program in the state, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4D-21; and
The senior citizen discount herein relates only to the entry level basic rate of cable television reception service and shall not apply to any additional service, feature or equipment offered by the company, including premium channel services and pay-per-view services.
Cablevision shall be required to have the capability to override the audio portion of the system in order to permit the broadcasting of emergency messages by the Township pursuant to state and federal requirements. 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 municipality is unable to make full use of the cable television system as contemplated herein. The Township shall utilize the state approved procedures for such emergency uses.
In the event that another multichannel video program provider's service within the Township creates a significant competitive disadvantage to Cablevision, the company shall have the right to request from the Township lawful amendments to its franchise that relieve it of burdens which create the unfair competitive situation. Should the company seek such amendments to its franchise, the parties agree to negotiate in good faith appropriate changes to the franchise in order to relieve the company of such competitive disadvantages. If the parties can reach an agreement on such terms, the Township agrees to support the company's petition to the Board for modification of the consent in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-47 and N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.7.
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on appropriate amendments to the franchise, the Township acknowledges that the company shall have the right to petition the Board directly for such amendments in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-47 and N.J.A.C. 14:176.7; provided, however, the Township shall be under no obligation to support Cablevision's request for such relief from the Board.
Cablevision represents and acknowledges that, as of the date of its acceptance of this municipal consent, competition within the Township has not yet risen to the level of creating a significant competitive disadvantage sufficient to enable the company to seek relief under this section.
The company agrees that the capabilities of the system serving the Township shall be maintained as technologically current throughout the duration of the Franchise, as compared with other systems operated by Cablevision in Morris County of comparable size, measured by the number of subscribers in the system and to the extent economically reasonable and commercially practicable.
Upon expiration, termination or revocation of this ordinance, Cablevision, at its sole cost and expense, and upon direction of the Board of Public Utilities, shall remove the cables and appurtenant devices constructed or maintained in connection with the services authorized herein, unless Cablevision, its affiliated entities or assignees should, within six months after such expiration, termination or revocation, obtain certification from the FCC to operate an open video system or any other federal or state certification to provide telecommunications.
Cablevision shall continue to make available noncommercial public, educational and governmental (PEG) access as described in the application for municipal consent.
During the franchise period set forth herein, the Township of Hanover (in accordance with the Cable Act of 1984, Section 626, 47 U.S.C.A. § 546) reserves the right to request that Cablevision provide the Township with an educational/governmental access channel (EG) for noncommercial local programming. Said channel shall be provided and maintained without charge for its use as a composite EG access channel for the exclusive use by the Township, and state accredited public educational institutions located within the Township which are authorized by the Township to utilize such channel. Cablevision shall also be responsible for developing, implementing, interpreting and enforcing reasonable rules for access channel use, in accordance with applicable law.
The company will produce, at its expense and upon request of the Township, two programs on an annual basis for the Township, provided the company is given at least 30 calendar days' notice to reasonably approve such requests. Such programs will be aired on the company's system. The Business Administrator/Township Clerk shall act as the contact person between the Township and the company with respect to such matters. Township residents who want the company to produce a program must present their ideas to the Business Administrator/Township Clerk who will then, with the approval of the Township Committee, clear it with the company. If, however, the company has already produced programs similar to those requested by the Township, those programs already produced shall count towards the two-program requirement. Similarly, if the company has already promoted the Township by way of two programs previously produced by the company during the year, they shall also be counted towards the company's requirement under this subsection. The Business Administrator/Township Clerk must approve, in writing, any program the company wants to count toward its obligation under this paragraph.
All of the commitments contained in the application and any amendment thereto submitted in writing to the Township by the company, except as modified herein, are binding upon Cablevision as terms and conditions of this consent. The application. and any other writings submitted by Cablevision in connection with this consent, are incorporated in this ordinance by reference and made a part hereof, except as specifically modified, changed, limited, or altered by this ordinance, or to the extent that they conflict with state or federal law.
This consent shall be construed in a manner consistent with all applicable federal, state and local laws.
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion of this ordinance is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision, and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portion thereof.
This ordinance shall take effect upon issuance of a certificate of approval as issued by the Board of Public Utilities.