[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of White 8-14-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-10. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The municipality hereby grants to Comcast renewal of 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 municipality, 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 municipality 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 CFR Subsection 76.1 et seq., and the Cable Communications Policy Act, 47 USC 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.
- The company's application for renewal of municipal consent.
- 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 of Northwest New Jersey, LLC."
- The Federal Communications Commission.
- OFFICE or OCTV
- The Office of Cable Television of the Board.
- PRIMARY SERVICE AREA or PSA
- Consists of the area of the municipality currently served with existing plant as set forth in the map annexed to the company's application for municipal consent.
- TOWN or MUNICIPALITY or TOWNSHIP
- Township of White, County of Warren, State of New Jersey.
Public hearings conducted by the municipality, 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 municipality, having received at said public hearings all comments regarding the qualifications of the company to receive this renewal of municipal consent, the municipality hereby finds that the company possesses the requisite qualifications for renewal of municipal consent.
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.
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.
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 municipality 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 municipality or any higher amount permitted by the Act or otherwise allowable by law, whichever is greater. The fee shall be paid on or before January 31 of each year.
The consent granted under this ordinance to the renewal of the franchise shall apply to the entirety of the municipality and any property subsequently annexed hereto.
The company shall be required to proffer service to any residence or business along any public right-of-way in the primary service area, as set forth in the company's application. The company's line extension policy, as set forth in the company's application, shall govern any extension of plant beyond the primary service area, provided that the company's line extension policy shall be modified to reflect a minimum homes-per-mile figure of 20 and as further modified herein by Subsections A through D of this section.
Comcast will comply with all lawful rules and regulations governing the operation of its cable television system and cable communications system within the Township of White. If any referenced regulations are deemed unlawful by a court of competent jurisdiction or superseded by a duly enacted state or federal statute or regulation, Comcast will not be bound by such regulation, nor will the company be bound by any provision of the Municipal Consent Ordinance or renewal certificate of approval with regard to same. Comcast reserves the right to seek administrative or judicial review of the validity of any statute, regulation or ordinance.
The company shall be required to extend cable plant throughout the following public streets within the municipality in accordance with the following schedule:
Within one year after issuance of the certificate of approval from the Board the company shall extend plant along Route 519 north from Sarepta Road to the Township line; and shall extend plant to the municipality's Department of Public Works facility on S. Bridgeville Road.
Plant extension on Upper Sarepta Road to Mutton Hill Road; extension to South West end of Pequest Drive from Brass Castle Road shall be completed by the end of 2010.
Route 46 extension to Pequest Furnace Road to the Township line shall be completed by end of 2012.
The company agrees to review plant extension commitments outlined in this ordinance with the Township on the first, second, third and fifth year anniversaries of the effective date of the certificate of approval issued by the Board, within 30 days of written request from the Township for such reviews. The purpose of the reviews are to update and document the completion status of plant extension commitments.
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. The Township will make all reasonable efforts to insure the prompt issuance of municipal permits when required to install, repair or replace company cable plant.
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.
Removal or trimming of trees. During the exercise of its rights and privileges under this franchise, the company shall have the authority, upon written notice to the Township, 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.
In transmitting its television signals to subscribers in the Township, the company shall provide a quality of signal that is at least as good as that provided under prevailing industry standards, and the company shall comply with any requirements imposed by federal regulations, and federal pronouncements, and (to the extent not preempted by federal law) any state pronouncements relating to technical standards for the transmission of televisions signals, transmission quality, or facilities and equipment.
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 meet or exceed all voluntary company and industry standards in the delivery of customer service and shall meet with the Township within 30 days of written request from the Township, Administrator or Clerk. If the Township determines that quality of service to Township residents and response to their requests for correction are inadequate the company shall meet with the Township governing body at its request to address such concerns.
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 statues and regulations regarding the availability of devices for the hearing impaired and the notification of same to customers.
The company shall 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 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 permitted under law.
The company will maintain a procedure and protocol for the handling of billing disputes, service-related complaints, and such other complaints as are brought by subscribers directly to the company. The company shall promptly resolve service and billing complaints.
The company shall investigate all billing complaints. Any billing complaints brought to the attention of the company by the Compliant Officer, whether orally or in writing, must be responded to, in writing, within 15 calendar days of the receipt of the complaint. In the case of an oral customer complaint, the company shall respond orally to complaint promptly. In the case of a written customer complaint, the company must respond to written complaint, in writing, within 30 calendar days from the receipt of the complaint. The company shall, in all written responses to billing complaints from subscribers, advise the subscriber that he/she may request review of the complaint by the Complaint Officer and shall provide the subscriber with the name, address and phone number of the Complaint Officer. The company agrees to comply with applicable state regulations pertaining to discontinuance of service where charges or services are in dispute.
With respect to service-related and other complaints, the company shall keep, for a period of one year from the date of the complaint, a record of complaints received at the company's office(s), which shall include the name and address of the subscriber, the date of the complaint, the nature of the complaint, the test conducted, the corrective action take, if required, and the final disposition of the complaint.
The Office of Cable Television is hereby designed as the Complaint Officer for the municipality 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 municipality shall have the right to request copies of records and reports pertaining to complaints by municipality customers from the OCTV.
During the term of this franchise, and any renewal thereof, the company shall maintain a business office or agent in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:18-5.1 for the purpose of receiving, investigating and resolving all local complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunctions, and similar matters. Such a business office shall have a publicly listed toll-free telephone number and be open during standard business hours, and in no event (excepting emergent circumstances) less than 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The toll free number shall be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week and listed on monthly customer bills.
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 and in accordance with the conditions and agreements of this ordinance.
The rates of the company shall be subject to regulation as permitted by federal and state law.
The company shall continue to provide a system-wide public access channel maintained by the company for the purpose of providing access time to public, educational and governmental entities of the Township. Qualified individuals and organizations may utilize the public access channel for the purpose of cablecasting noncommercial access programming in conformance with the company's published public access rules.
The company shall continue to provide a system-wide leased access channel maintained by the company for the purpose of cablecasting commercial access programming in conformance with the company's guidelines and applicable state and federal statutes and regulations.
The company shall take any steps that are necessary to ensure that the signal originated on the access channel are carried without material degradation and with a signal whose quality is equal to that of other standard channels that the company transmits
The company shall provide or continue to provide standard installation and basic cable television service on one outlet at no cost to each school in the municipality, public and private, elementary, intermediate and secondary, and public library, provided that each school, library or other facility is within 200 feet of active cable distribution plant. Each additional outlet installed, if any, shall be paid for on a materials plus labor and equipment basis by the school requesting service. Monthly service charges shall be waived on all additional outlets.
The company shall provide or continue to provide standard installation and basic cable television service at no cost on one outlet to each police, fire, first-aide squad, and emergency management facility, in the municipality; provided the facility is located within 200 feet of active cable distribution plant. Each additional outlet installed, if any, shall be paid for on a materials plus labor and equipment basis by the municipality. Monthly service charges shall be waived on all additional outlets.
The company shall provide standard installation and one free nonnetworked Internet connection and service via high-speed cable modem in each public library building, and all public and private schools. Connections are to be located in areas accessible to student and community use and cannot be restricted to administrative use. All facilities must be located within 200 feet of active cable plant.
Within 180 days of the issuance of a renewal certificate of approval by the BPU, the company shall provide to the municipality a one-time grant for access-related needs in the amount of $10,000.
The company will comply with the emergency alert system ("EAS") rules in accordance with applicable state and federal statues and regulations.
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 $5,000,000. The Township shall be named as an additional insured under said policies and shall be held harmless from any liability related to Comcast activities. A certificate of insurance shall be provided to the Township upon request by the Township.
All of the statements and commitments contained in the application or annexed thereto and incorporated therein, and any amendment thereto, except as modified herein, is 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 applicable state or federal law.
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 agreements or franchise.
This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon issuance of a renewal certificate of approval from the BPU.