[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Lock Haven 3-21-1994 by Ord. No. 462B (Ch. 13, Part 4, of the 2003 Code of Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Short title. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "City of Lock Haven Cable Television Ordinance Amendments of 1993."
Repealer. All other ordinances of the City of Lock Haven are repealed to the extent inconsistent herewith. All franchise agreements between the City of Lock Haven and cable operators are abrogated to the extent, and only to the extent, inconsistent herewith, except to the extent abrogation is not required by the Federal Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 or the regulations promulgated thereunder.
Editor's Note: See See 47 U.S.C. § 521 et seq.
Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to regulate cable television in the exercise of the power of City Council to:
Federal law. This chapter is enacted under the Federal Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, which permits local franchising authorities to regulate cable television, subject to certain substantive and procedural limitations.
Interpretation. In interpreting and applying the provisions of this chapter, these provisions shall be construed broadly as required for the maintenance of peace, good government, safety and welfare of the City and its trade, commerce and manufactures.
Conflict with federal law. It is the intent of City Council that this chapter conform to the federal law. If a court of competent jurisdiction declares any provision of this chapter to be in conflict with the federal law, the federal law will control and this chapter, to the extent that any provision is declared to be in conflict with the federal law, shall not apply.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
- ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT
- All equipment in a cable subscriber's home that is used to receive the basic service, regardless of whether such equipment is additionally used to receive other tiers of regulated programming service and/or unregulated service. Equipment shall include, but not be limited to:
- BASIC SERVICE
- At a minimum, all signals of domestic television broadcast stations provided to any subscriber (except a signal secondarily transmitted by satellite carrier beyond the local service area of such station, regardless of how such signal is ultimately received by the cable system), any public, educational and governmental programming required by the franchise to be carried on the basic tier and any additional video programming signals a service added to the basic tier by the cable operator.
- BASIC SERVICE RATE
- The rate charged by a cable operator for basic service and associated equipment costs.
- CABLE OPERATOR
- Any person or group of persons:
- CABLE SYSTEM
- A facility, consisting of a set of closed transmission paths and associated signal generation, reception and control equipment that is designed to provide cable service which includes video programming and which is provided to multiple subscribers within a community, but does not include:
- A. A facility that serves only to retransmit the television signals of one or more television broadcast stations.
- B. A facility that serves only subscribers in one or more multiple-unit dwellings under common ownership, control or management, unless such facility uses any public right-of-way.
- C. A facility of a common carrier, except to the extent that such facility is used in the transmission of video programming directly to subscribers.
- D. Any facilities of any electric utility used solely for operating its electric utility systems.
- CITY COUNCIL
- The Lock Haven City Council.
- FEDERAL LAW
- The Federal Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, as amended by the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, and all regulations promulgated by the FCC thereunder, as any of the foregoing may be amended from time to time.
- The Federal Communications Commission.
- The City of Lock Haven, a City of the third class; a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Editor's Note: See 47 U.S.C. § 521 et seq.
[Amended 2-24-2003 by Ord. No. 670]
Appointment and powers of compliance officer.
For the administration of this chapter, a compliance officer, who shall not hold any elective office in the City, shall be appointed by the City Council.
The compliance officer shall meet the qualifications established by City Council and shall be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of City Council a working knowledge of cable regulation under the federal law and this chapter.
The compliance officer shall administer this chapter in accordance with its literal terms.
Duties of compliance officer. This compliance officer shall be responsible for:
Taking such action on behalf of the City as may from time to time be required to obtain or maintain the City's certification to regulate basic service rates.
Notifying all cable operators serving the City when the City has been certified by the FCC to regulate basic service rates.
Notifying all cable operators serving the City that the City intends to enforce the minimum customer service standards established by the federal law.
Making all filings required or permitted to be made to the FCC by the City pursuant to the federal law, subject to oversight and control of City Council.
Receiving, filing in the public records of the City, reviewing for completeness and placing on the City Council's agenda for consideration, all submissions, petitions and other filings required or permitted to be made to the City pursuant to the federal law. All submissions, petitions and other filings made to the City pursuant to the federal law shall be made via first class mail, postage prepaid, to the following address:
Receiving and transmitting to the proper officer of the City any filing fees paid pursuant to this chapter. The filing of fees, as applicable to this chapter, shall be in amounts established from time to time by resolution of City Council.
Enforcing the provisions of this chapter and all decisions of City Council made hereunder to the fullest extent permitted by the federal law, subject to the oversight and control of City Council.
Taking such other action as may be necessary from time to time, subject to the oversight and control of City Council, to protect the right of the City to regulate cable television to the fullest extent permitted by the federal law.
[Amended 2-24-2003 by Ord. No. 670]
The City Council shall regulate basic service rates in accordance with the substantive and procedural provisions of the federal law and any applicable state law or regulations or local ordinances.
Duties of cable operators.
Within 30 days of receiving written notification from the City that the City has been certified by the FCC to regulate rates for the basic service, a cable operator shall file its schedule of rates for the basic service and associated equipment with the City.
At least 30 days prior to increasing its rates for the basic service, a cable operator shall notify each subscriber of the proposed rate increase in billing envelopes and shall file a notice of its proposed rate increase with the City, together with the fee in an amount as established from time to time by resolution of City Council.
At the time of filing a schedule of rates or a proposed rate increase with the City, a cable operator shall:
Publish a summary of the rates or rate increase in a local newspaper of daily general circulation for at least three consecutive days in a block advertisement no smaller than three inches by four inches; and
Cablecast a summary of the rates or rate increase on its public information channel, at least twice daily at such times as are reasonably expected to reach the largest audience, over a seven-day period, in each case notifying interested parties that they must submit written comments by a certain date (within 15 days of the cable operator's filing with the City), at the municipal address.
A cable operator shall comply with all orders of the City, except that a cable operator shall not be required to comply with an order if the cable operator demonstrates that complying with the order would require the cable operator to disclose proprietary information.
Duties of the City.
Upon receipt of a cable operator's schedule of rates or a proposed rate increase, the City shall cablecast a summary of the rates or rate increase on the channel(s) allocated to the City at least twice daily at such times as are reasonably expected to reach the largest audience, over a three-day period, along with a notice that interested parties shall submit written comments to the City by a date certain (within 15 days of the cable operator's filing with the City), at the City address.
The City shall make any decision on the reasonableness of current basic service rates and proposed rate increases pursuant to the procedural and substantive provisions of the federal law.
In making a decision on the reasonableness of current basic service rates or proposed rate increases, the City shall have the authority to compel the production of proprietary information from cable operators and, in such circumstances, the City shall be subject to the confidentiality provisions set forth elsewhere in this chapter.
Enforcement. In rendering its decisions, the City Council shall have the full authority granted to it pursuant to the federal law to order a cable operator to take any and all actions as the federal law permits including, without limitation:
Ordering a cable operator to implement a reduction in basic service tier or associated equipment rates where necessary to bring rates into compliance with the standards set forth in the federal law.
Prescribing a reasonable rate for the basic service tier or associated equipment after it determines that a proposed rate is unreasonable.
Ordering a cable operator to refund to subscribers that portion of previously paid rates determined to be in excess of the permitted tier charge or above the actual cost of equipment, unless the operator has submitted a cost-of-service showing which justified the rate charged as reasonable. Before ordering such a refund, however, the City shall give the operator notice and shall give the operator 15 days from the date such notice is given to submit written comments to the City. Any such refund order shall be further subject to the limitations contained in the federal law.
Penalties. In the event that a cable operator does not comply with a decision made pursuant to this chapter and directed specifically toward the cable operator, the City may assess a fine against the cable operator as set by resolution of the City of Lock Haven.
Federal minimum customer service standards adopted. It is the intent of the City to enforce the following minimum customer service standards as established by the federal law:
Cable system office hours and telephone availability.
The cable operator will maintain a local, toll-free or collect call telephone access line which will be available to its subscribers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Trained company representatives will be available to respond to customer telephone inquiries during normal business hours.
After normal business hours, the access line may be answered by a service or an automated response system, including an answering machine. Inquiries received after normal business hours must be responded to by a trained company representative on the next business day.
Under normal operating conditions, telephone answer time by a customer representative, including wait time, shall not exceed 30 seconds. These standards shall be met no less than 90% of the time under normal operating conditions, measured on a quarterly basis.
The operator will not be required to acquire equipment or perform surveys to measure compliance with the telephone answering standards above unless an historical record of complaints indicates a clear failure to comply.
Under normal operating conditions, the customer will receive a busy signal less than 3% of the time.
Customer service center and bill payment locations will be open at least during normal business hours and will be conveniently located.
Installation, outages and service calls. Under normal operating conditions, each of the following four standards will be met no less than 95% of the time measured on a quarterly basis:
Standard installations will be performed within seven business days after an order has been placed. "Standard" installations are those that are located up to 125 feet from the existing distribution system.
Excluding conditions beyond the control of the operator, the cable operator will begin working on "service interruptions" promptly and in no event later than 24 hours after the interruption becomes known. The cable operator must begin actions to correct other service problems the next business day after notification of the service problem.
The "appointment window" alternatives for installations, service calls and other installation activities will be either a specific time or, at maximum, a four-hour time block during normal business hours. (The operator may schedule service calls and other installation activities outside of normal business hours for the express convenience of the customer.)
An operator may not cancel an appointment with a customer after the close of business on the business day prior to the scheduled appointment.
If a cable operator representative is running late for an appointment with a customer and will not be able to keep the appointment as scheduled, the customer will be contacted. The appointment will be rescheduled, as necessary, at a time which is convenient for the customer.
Communications between cable operators and cable subscribers.
Notification to subscribers.
The cable operator shall provide written information on each of the following areas at the time of installation of service, at least annually to all subscribers, and at any time upon request.
Products and services offered.
Prices and options for programming services and conditions of subscription to programming and other services.
Installation and service maintenance policies.
Instructions on how to use the cable service.
Channel positions of programming carried on the system.
Billing and complaint procedures, including the address and telephone number of the local franchise authority's cable office.
Bills will be clear, concise and understandable. Bills must be fully itemized with itemizations including, but not limited to, basic and premium service charges and equipment charges. Bills will also clearly delineate all activity during the billing period, including optional charges, rebates and credits.
In case of a billing dispute, the cable operator must respond to a written complaint from a subscriber within 30 days.
Credits. Credits for service will be issued no later than the customer's next billing cycle following the determination that a credit is warranted.
Definitions. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS
- Those hours during which most similar businesses in the community are open to serve customers. In all cases, "normal business hours" must include some evening hours at least one night per week and/or some weekend hours.
- NORMAL OPERATING CONDITIONS
- Those service conditions which are within the control of the cable operator. Those conditions which are not within the control of the cable operator include, but are not limited to, natural disasters, civil disturbances, power outages, telephone network outages and severe or unusual weather conditions. Those conditions which are ordinarily within the control of the cable operator include, but are not limited to, special promotions, pay-per-view events, rate increases, regular peak or seasonal demand periods and maintenance or upgrade of the cable system.
- SERVICE INTERRUPTION
- The loss of picture or sound on one or more cable channels.
Enforcement. In furtherance thereof, the compliance officer, 90 days after giving notice to the cable operators of the City's intent to enforce these standards, shall have the authority and responsibility to enforce these standards to the fullest extent permitted by the federal law and in accordance with all substantive and procedural requirements of the federal law. In furtherance thereof, the compliance officer may make any and all such orders and assess any and all such penalties for violations of these standards as are permitted by the federal law, subject to the oversight and control of the City Council, including, without limitation:
Other customer service standards not affected. All other customer service standards, whether established by franchise agreement, state law or regulation or local ordinance, and whether now or hereafter enacted, shall remain in full force and effect to the extent that such other customer service standards are not preempted by the federal law.