[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Shrewsbury 6-20-2005 by Ord. No. 850. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Borough of Shrewsbury hereby grants to Comcast of Monmouth County, LLC, 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 communication 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 Communication 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 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 known as "Comcast of Monmouth County, LLC."
- The Federal Communications Commission.
- The Borough of Shrewsbury, County of Monmouth, State of New Jersey.
- OFFICE or OCTV
- The Office of Cable Television of the Board.
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 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.
At the end of the first five years after issuance of a renewal certificate of approval, a review shall be conducted by the municipality to determine whether the company shall have substantially complied with all material obligations under this ordinance, in which event the renewal of municipal consent granted hereunder shall continue for the remaining period.
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 the law, whichever is greater.
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, at tariffed rates for standard and nonstandard installations. 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 as described herein.
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, re-lay 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 cables of the company. Such trimming shall be only to the extent necessary to maintain proper clearance of the company's wire and cables and the company shall comply with the requirements of the BPU and Shrewsbury Shade Tree Commission (see Chapter 246, § 246-3B).
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 statutes and regulations regarding credits 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 effort to meet or exceed voluntary standards for telephone accessibility developed by the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) and shall schedule service appointments within four-hour windows. Those standards shall include, but not be limited to, the goal of answering 80% of incoming telephone calls within 30 seconds.
The company shall provide credits for service disruptions of three hours or more when requested by customers.
The company is permitted, but is not required, to charge a late fee consistent with applicable state and federal statutes and regulations.
The company shall send a second notice if they fail to disconnect a customer's service within 30 days of the first shutoff notice.
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 Borough Administrator is hereby designated as the complaint officer for the municipality pursuant to N.J.S.A. 48:5A-26(a). All complaints shall be in writing, and received and processed by the complaint officer. Upon receipt of such written complaint, the complaint officer shall investigate the complaint without formal hearing and provide a determination to all interested parties within 30 days of receipt of the complaint. The municipality shall have the right to request copies of records and reports pertaining to the complaints by municipality 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. Telephone response for such purposes as mentioned herein will be provided by the company's employees, representatives or agents 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 nontoll call for municipality residents.
During the life of the franchise, the company shall give 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 residents with a system-wide public access channel maintained by the company. Qualified individuals and organizations may utilize public access for the purpose of cablecasting noncommercial access programming in conformance with 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 guideline and applicable state and federal statutes and regulations.
The company shall take any steps that are necessary 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 standard channels that the company transmits.
The company shall continue to provide free basic television service on one outlet in each the Shrewsbury Borough Elementary School and school library, and on one outlet each in the Municipal Building and Police Department, one outlet each in the firehouse, first aid, the historical building and public works building that is located or may be constructed within the municipality, provided the facility is located within 200 feet of active cable distribution plant.
Within 12 months of issuance of a renewal certificate of approval (COA) by the BPU, the company shall provide to the municipality a one-time grant for cable- and technology-related needs in the amount of $12,000.
The company shall provide a one-time grant to the Red Bank Regional High School for television production equipment in the name of the boroughs of Red Bank, Little Silver, and Shrewsbury within 12 months of the issuance of a renewal certificate of approval (COA) by the BPU to the third of the three named municipalities. The amount of the grant shall be determined by the criteria outlined in Schedule A (attached).
Editor's Note: Schedule A is included at the end of this chapter.
Based on information distributed by the Division of the Ratepayer Advocate, cable television late fees are regulated by the BPU. While the Board rules do not regulate the amount a cable operator may charge for a late fee, the Board's rules require that a cable television operator may not impose a late fee until the customer's account balance is 30 or more days overdue and also requires the cable operators to clearly specify the amount of a late fee on their bill.
The company shall provide additional services as outlined in the separate letter of agreement.
In the event that the municipality 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 municipality.
The company shall be required to fully comply with all applicable federal and state statutes and regulations, and 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 damage 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 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 are hereby declared invalid and superseded.
Should the municipality 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 provision 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.
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 by the BPU.