Harford County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Harford County Council by Bill No. 75-76;[1] amended in its entirety 8-5-2008 by Ord. No. 08-38. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Discriminatory employment practices — See Ch. 95.
[1]
Editor's Note: This legislation was included as Ch. 6, Art. VII, of the 1978 Code.
The County Council is hereby authorized and empowered to issue a franchise for the construction and operation of a cable system as defined by this chapter and to regulate such system consistent with the terms of this chapter and any other applicable laws or regulations.
To the full extent permitted by federal law, the County Council shall ensure that the same terms, conditions and requirements are included under all franchises issued under this chapter for the construction, maintenance, and operation of a cable system.
Except where, by the context, it is clear that a different meaning is intended, the following words and expressions shall have the following meanings:
ACCESS CHANNEL
Any video channel, which franchisee shall make available to the granting authority without charge for noncommercial public, educational, or governmental use for the transmission of video programming as directed by the granting authority.
ADDITIONAL SERVICE
Any communications service other than the basic service that the company provides or that persons not related to the company provide over its system, including but not limited to data transmissions, facsimile reproduction, meter reading, fire and burglar alarm services and the like.
APPLICANT
The person who files an application for the cable system franchise to serve the County.
A. 
All written materials that are filed by or on behalf of any applicant with the granting authority.
B. 
All oral representations that are made at any public or private hearings that are conducted by the granting authority or its duly authorized personnel.
C. 
Both the letter and intent of all such written and oral presentations from the applicant.
BASIC SERVICE
The simultaneous delivery by the company to the television receivers or any other suitable type of audio-video communications receivers of all residential subscribers and to public or quasi-public facilities or buildings, without charge to the County, of all signals that are received from broadcast stations and carried consistent with the Cable System Rules and Regulations of the FCC, the channels on which the company originates the programming and the channels on which the County, school system or members of the public originate programming.
BUNDLED SERVICES
The combination of voice, data, and video services offered together as one, "bundled."
CABLE ACT
Shall mean the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, 47 U.S.C. §§ 521 et seq., as may be amended from time to time.
CABLE CHANNEL OR CHANNEL
Shall be defined herein as it is defined under Section 602 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C § 522(4), as may be amended from time to time. "Channels" shall be classified as follows:
A. 
Those channels that are reserved or are available for the carriage of programming that is originated by the company in accordance with the FCC's Rules.
B. 
Those channels on the system which are used or are reserved for use by the County as it shall, in its discretion, determine.
C. 
Those channels that are used or are reserved for use by the school system, public or private, in the County, including but not limited to colleges, universities and libraries.
D. 
Those channels that are used or are reserved for use by the public, either at no charge or upon the effectuation of a lease arrangement with the company.
E. 
Those channels not included in the above definitions.
CABLE SERVICE
The one-way video transmission of video or other programming service to subscribers and any subscriber interaction provided in connection with that service.
CABLE SYSTEM
Shall be defined herein as it is defined under Section 602 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 522(7), as may be amended from time to time.
CONTROL OF A FRANCHISEE OR APPLICANT
Means the legal or practical ability to exert actual working, de facto or de jure control over the day-to-day policies, operations, management or corporate affairs of the franchisee or applicant either directly or indirectly, whether by contractual agreement, majority ownership of an interest, any lesser ownership interest, or in any other manner.
EXECUTIVE
The County Executive.
FCC
The Federal Communications Commission as presently constituted by the United States Congress, or any successor agency.
FRANCHISE
The grant of a nonexclusive right to construct, maintain and operate a cable system, in the County.
FRANCHISE AGREEMENT
Shall mean the agreement entered into in accordance with the provisions of the Harford County Code between the granting authority and a franchisee that sets forth the terms and conditions under which the franchise will be exercised.
FRANCHISEE or COMPANY
The person who is awarded a franchise by the Council to construct and operate a cable system in accordance with the provisions of applicable law within the County.
GRANTING AUTHORITY
The County Council.
GROSS SUBSCRIBER REVENUES
Only those revenues derived from the monthly service charge fees paid by subscribers for regular cable television, including the transmission of broadcast signals and access and origination channels, if any, and premium or pay-television channels. As specified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), "gross subscriber revenues" shall not include any revenues derived from the provision of telephone services or telephone-related services (including personal computing and other online services) unless inclusion is expressly allowed or required by federal law; reimbursement of expenses in the operation of any access channels, advertising, leasing of cable channels, programs for which per-channel or per-program charges are made; furnishing other communications and nonbroadcast services, either directly or as a carrier for another party; or any other income derived from the system.
MONITORING
Observing a one-way communication signal or the absence of a signal, where the observer is neither the subscriber nor the programmer, when the signal is observed by visual or electronic means for any purpose.
OVERBUILD
Means a cable system constructed to serve any subscribers served by an existing cable system, including those parts of an existing system scheduled by the incumbent cable operator to be constructed and activated pursuant to a staging map already on file with the County.
PERSON
Means any individual, corporation, partnership, association, joint venture, or organization of any kind and the lawful trustee, successor, assignee, transferee, or personal representative thereof.
PROCEDURES
The methods by which the granting authority will analyze, evaluate, and otherwise premise its ultimate decision to grant or deny any cable franchise application.
PUBLIC RIGHTS-OF-WAY
The surface, the air space above the surface, and the area below the surface of any public street, road, highway, lane, court, way, path, alley, sidewalk, boulevard, drive, bridge, tunnel, park, parkway, public waterway, public utility easement, public land, or similar property used as public rights-of-way, as the same now or may thereafter exist, which are under the jurisdiction, control, or within the County, which, consistent with the purposes for which it was dedicated, may be used for the purpose of installing and maintaining the cable system. No reference herein to a "public right-of-way" shall be deemed to be a representation or guarantee by the granting authority that its interest or other right to control the use of such property is sufficient to permit its use for such purposes and only those rights to use as are properly in Harford County and as the granting authority may have the right and power to give. Public rights-of way do not include the airwaves above a right-of-way with regard to cellular or other non-wire communications or broadcast services.
RESIDENTIAL SUBSCRIBER
A purchaser of any service that the company delivers to an individual dwelling unit, provided that such service is not utilized in connection with a business, trade or profession.
RESPOND
Franchisee's investigation of a service interruption after receiving a subscriber call and opening a trouble ticket, if required.
SERVICE CALL
The action taken by the franchisee to correct a service interruption the effect of which is limited to an individual subscriber.
SERVICE INTERRUPTION
The loss of picture or sound on one or more cable channels or channel equivalents.
SIGNIFICANT OUTAGE
A significant outage of the cable service shall mean any service interruption lasting at least 4 continuous hours that affects at least 10 subscribers in the service area.
STANDARD INSTALLATION
Installations where the subscriber is within 300 feet of trunk or feeder lines.
SUBSCRIBER
A person who lawfully receives cable service of the cable system, including, without limitation, a residential subscriber.
SYSTEM
The specific cable system, as referred to above, that is proposed to be or is ultimately constructed, operated and maintained by the franchisee in the County.
SYSTEM MALFUNCTION
An equipment or facility failure or service interruption that results in the loss of satisfactory service on one or more channels. A malfunction is a major malfunction if it affects 10 or more subscribers.
TAPPING
Observing two-way communication signal exchange, where the observer is neither of the communicating parties, whether the communication signal exchange is observed by visual or electronic means, for any purpose whatsoever.
TRANSFER
Any transaction in which:
A. 
Control of the franchise is transferred, whether by a transfer, or a grant of ownership or other interest in franchisee, directly or indirectly, from one person or group of persons to another person or group of persons; or
B. 
The rights held by franchisee under this franchise agreement are transferred or assigned to another person or group of persons. Notwithstanding the above, a transfer shall not include: transfer of an ownership or other interest in franchisee to the parent of franchisee or to another affiliate of franchisee; transfer of an interest in franchisee or the rights held by franchisee under this agreement to the parent of franchisee or to another affiliate of franchisee; or any action which is the result of a merger of the parent of franchisee or another affiliate of franchisee (unless and to the extent such merger would result in a combination of two wireline cable services competitors in the service area.)
TRANSFER OF INTEREST
The sale or transfer, directly or indirectly, of an existing or newly created equity interest in franchisee that does not result in a transfer of control of the franchisee.
A. 
The granting authority shall grant the company a nonexclusive franchise to construct, erect, operate and maintain a cable system in, upon, along, across, over and under the County-owned streets and all extensions thereof and additions thereto and other places defined and limited by this chapter.
B. 
The franchise shall become effective on the date on which the granting authority notifies the company that the franchise has been awarded pursuant to this chapter and in conformance with this Code. The franchise shall remain in effect for 10 years, unless sooner terminated as hereinafter provided. The franchise shall be subject to renewal for a period of 10 years duration on the same terms or conditions as contained in this chapter or on such different or additional terms and conditions as may be lawfully specified by the granting authority and as are consistent with the requirements of the Federal Communications Commission. No renewal of such franchise shall be granted unless authorized by the Council following an appropriate public proceeding involving public notice and an opportunity for interested parties to participate, during which proceeding the corporation's past performance, the adequacy of the provisions of the expiring franchise and the consistency of such provisions with applicable standards of the Federal Communications Commission have been considered.
[Amended by Bill No. 13-46]
C. 
Nothing in this chapter or a grant of a franchise shall be construed as a waiver of the County's right to require any person, other than the company utilizing the system, to secure the granting authority's consent prior to such utilization.
It shall be unlawful to operate a cable system in the County without a franchise that has been awarded pursuant to the terms and provisions of this chapter.
A. 
Procedures in brief. The procedures for processing all cable franchise applications, in brief, are as follows:
(1) 
All applicants must file and deliver to the County Council formal written applications, consistent with the County's form for the same.
(2) 
All applicants must attend any hearings or meetings noticed by the granting authority and must respond to any questions posed by the granting authority. Failure to attend such meetings can result in the dismissal of any application.
(3) 
The granting authority will render a final decision on such cable franchise applications by legislative act within 90 days from the date the application is properly submitted by those applicants already authorized to occupy rights-of-way within the franchise area, or within 180 days from the date the application is properly submitted by those applicants not authorized to occupy rights-of-way within the franchise area, or under time frames which may be required from time to time by the Federal Communications Commission Rules and Regulations. No franchise agreement shall be considered granted until the bill becomes law pursuant to Section 218 of the Charter.
(a) 
Commencement of the time period. Calculation of the start date for purposes of determining the time limits within which the granting authority must reach a final decision shall be determined from the date the applicant first files the written competitive franchise application and all accompanying filing fees with the granting authority. Should any dispute arise between the parties as to the actual filing date, the burden shall remain with the applicant to produce evidence that the application was properly filed.
At their discretion, applicants may choose to engage in either formal or informal franchise negotiations with the granting authority before filing an application. These negotiations, however, shall not trigger the commencement of the time period from which to calculate the "final decision date" deadline. Only the date when the written application and accompanying fees are filed with and received by the granting authority shall be considered the determined start date for calculating the requisite deadlines.
(b) 
Extension or tolling of the running of the time limit. In the submission or presentation of written or oral materials by the applicants for franchises pursuant to this chapter, time shall be considered to be of the essence. The granting authority and applicant may agree, in writing to extend the time period for purposes of further negotiations or for minor amendments. The time period may also be tolled unilaterally by the granting authority if the granting authority has requested information relevant to the application process from the applicant, either orally or in writing, and not received said information within 15 days from the date the information was sought following adequate notice of the request to the applicant. To prevent applicants from delaying the granting authority's consideration, analysis and action on applications, applicants will not be permitted to make major amendments, that is, amendments to materially alter corporate structure, the technical proposal or the program proposal of the application. Any major amendment made to the original application shall constitute a deficiency and result in the dismissal of the application thereby requiring the applicant to complete and submit for consideration a new application with the granting authority, with all attending filing fees and exhibits.
A. 
Generally. Provision is hereby made for the granting authority to evaluate all applications for grant, renewal, modifications or transfer of a franchise and to accept only qualified applicants for the franchise. All applicants shall be advised that the County expects the highest quality proposals. The application procedure shall permit the applicants freedom and flexibility to propose a system of outstanding quality. Applicants are required to make use of the application form supplied by the County Council and must respond to each of the questions appearing thereon. However, applicants shall be permitted and urged to provide any additional materials not specifically requested in the application form that the applicants deem pertinent to the granting authority's consideration. The requirements of the franchise are governed by the Federal Cable Act, as amended, the Rules of the Federal Communications Commission, (i.e., 47 C.F.R. § 76.41), applicable Maryland law, as well as requirements of the Harford County Code. Subject to applicable federal, state and local laws, the granting authority reserves the right to grant or deny a franchise based upon, but not limited to:
(1) 
Basic qualifications. The basic qualifications required of each applicant are that it be legally, technically and financially qualified to construct and operate a high-quality cable system in the County. If the granting authority determines that any applicant does not possess any or all of the basic qualifications, it reserves the right to dismiss the application without consideration of its programming and other attributes. In such event, the assumption is that if an applicant is not legally, technically and financially qualified, it is incapable of providing the programming and services that it proposes. Definitions of the basic qualifications follow:
(a) 
Legal qualifications. To be legally qualified, an applicant must be a recognized legal entity. Its members, partners, stockholders, officers, directors, associates, subsidiaries and parents may not be felons or possess any business interests that are in violation of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, the FCC Rules and Regulations, the laws of the state, this Code or any other applicable law.
(b) 
Technical qualifications. Each applicant must possess sufficient cable expertise, in the granting authority's judgment, to enable the applicant to successfully fulfill its proposal, and each applicant must set forth a technical proposal that, in the granting authority's judgment, will function effectively.
(c) 
Financial qualifications. All applicants must demonstrate to the granting authority's satisfaction that they have the capability of acquiring sufficient funds to construct and operate the cable system on an economically viable basis. The granting authority requires that each applicant have sufficient funds to effectuate its proposals.
(d) 
Capacity and commitment to meet local needs. Each applicant must demonstrate, in detail, its capacity and commitment to meet the present and future changing cable related community needs and interests of Harford County, including assistance for the public utilization of the cable system's capacity. The cable system is expected to make a major contribution to the communications, educational and entertainment needs of County residents; therefore, the basic value of any cable application is the degree to which it demonstrates an ability to meet those needs for the present and in the future. Each applicant will describe the technical design of the system, including such detail as may permit a proper evaluation of the proposal. The description shall include but not be limited to two-way and switching capability, terminal facilities, converters and present and future channel capacity. Other elements which will be considered are the applicant's proposals for expanding basic services, providing additional services and establishing a two-way and broad-band communication network. The applicant shall also state how many channels, what facilities and what services shall be provided free of charge to the County, the school systems and the public and which facilities and services shall be at cost. Examples of the types of elements to be considered in this criterion are the applicant's plans and proposals for the construction and operation of an adequately equipped station, studio or other suitable place for local program origination, public service programming, staffing, commitments for assistance to educational and community groups and other similar elements.
(e) 
Operational planning. Each applicant must demonstrate its managerial and organizational capacity to implement all of the technical, program and other proposals that are embodied in its application. Examples of elements to be considered are the proposed numbers and classifications of technical, professional, management, office and maintenance personnel, the technical and professional qualifications of the applicant's management staff, the general corporate plan for decisionmaking personnel, lines of authority, the relationship of proposed staffing to the projected evolution of programming and system procedures designed to assure attention and responsiveness to County residents.
(f) 
Configuration of the cable system. Each applicant must demonstrate, in detail, the proposed configuration, design, capacity and planned operation of the cable system. Said detail shall include, but shall not be limited to the nature and physical configuration of the system, services, and equipment; whether the franchisee will provide services exclusively through their own facility or make arrangements with other utilities or carriers; whether the franchisee must overbuild any portion of the franchise area; the construction schedule and area served; channel capacity; performance characteristics; headend and access facilities; the quality of the technology of the system and the technical standards of the system.
(g) 
Rights-of-way. Each applicant must detail whether or not rights-of-way can accommodate the cable system without disruption or interference to public or private use and facilities; the effect on current authorized users of the rights-of-way; and the applicant's recent performance record of using public rights-of-way in providing telecommunications services in other communities.
(h) 
PEG services and institutional networks. Each applicant must provide a statement detailing the method by which the applicant intends to provide public, educational and governmental (PEG) access channel(s) in conjunction with the cable service. The description shall include, but shall not be limited to the number of channels and services to be made available for PEG access and local origination cable broadcasting; the schedule of charges for facilities and staff assistance for PEG access cable broadcasting; the terms and conditions under which particular service is to be provided to governmental and educational entities; a schedule of rates in relation to the services to be provided; and a description of any policy regarding unusual services to be provided or unusual or difficult connection of services.
(i) 
Service standards. Each applicant must provide a description of the services to be provided initially, including all broadcast and non-broadcast signals to be carried and all non-television services; and, if services will be offered by tiers, identification of the signals and services to be included on each tier; and the proposed rate structure, including charges for each service tier, installation, converters and other equipment or services.
(j) 
Construction standards and licensing. Each applicant must provide a description of the construction standards; an estimate of above-ground and below-ground mileage and its location; the proposed construction schedule; a description, where appropriate, of how services will be converted from existing facilities to new facilities; information on the availability of space on poles and conduits, including, where appropriate, an estimate of the cost of rearrangement of facilities to accommodate such use; and sufficient evidence that applicant has either obtained, or is in the process of obtaining, all appropriate permitting, licenses and insurance for operating and maintaining a cable service franchise in Harford County.
On the application due date, each applicant for a franchise under this chapter shall be required to file a fee of $5,000 payable to the County.
A. 
Upon commencement of the operation of the cable system, it shall be capable of transmitting those number of channels required under the Federal Communications Commission Rules and Regulations for delivery to its residential subscribers. Such services are to be rendered to public or quasi-public facilities or buildings without charge.
B. 
The company shall construct and extend the installation of its system throughout the County or in the specified areas of the County for which a franchise is granted, in the manner and in accordance with the timetable set forth in the franchise. It shall commence construction no later than 1 year from the effective date of the franchise or within 1 year after final, legal resolution of any approvals or actions that may be required by the Federal Communications Commission or any other federal, state or local agency, whichever is later, and shall have completed or substantially completed construction within 5 years from the date on which construction is commenced. The franchisee shall accomplish significant construction within 1 year, as aforesaid, and shall equitably and reasonably extend energized trunk cable in accordance with the expansion schedule filed under § 235-16B each year thereafter in order to provide service to potential subscribers throughout the franchise area.
C. 
The County shall have the right to inspect all construction or installation work performed by the company in the streets and make such inspections as the County deems necessary to ensure compliance with the terms of its franchise and other pertinent provisions of law.
D. 
Within 60 days from the date of request by the County, the company shall supply maps delineating the location of all of its then-installed cables.
E. 
No poles, underground conduits or other wire-holding structures shall be erected by the company without prior approval of the County or its duly authorized personnel or abutting property owners where the County does not own the area in which such are to be erected. To the extent possible, the company shall negotiate agreements with the appropriate parties to permit it to utilize the existing poles and underground conduits throughout the County. The company shall be required to provide underground service in new areas where service is not provided by an existing aerial plant and where other utilities are required to provide underground service. Any poles, underground conduits or other fixtures that the company is authorized by the County to install must be placed in a manner to provide minimum interference with the usual travel on the public streets and any existing utility services.
F. 
The company shall, on the request of any person holding an appropriate building permit, temporarily raise or lower its wires to permit such authorized construction. The expense of such temporary removal or raising or lowering of cables shall be borne by the person requesting the same, and the company shall have the authority to require such payment in advance. The company shall be given not less than 72 hours advance notice to arrange for such temporary cable changes.
G. 
In the event that the relocation, construction, reconstruction, maintenance or repair by the County or public utility of its sewers, water mains, storm drains or other public facilities requires the company to remove, lower or raise its cables and related equipment, the company shall do so at its own cost and expense.
H. 
If the company shall fail, refuse or neglect to comply promptly, upon 72 hours notice, the County may make such changes in the company's cables at the company's cost, and the County shall not be liable to the company for damages resulting from such removal, alteration or relocation. All costs in connection therewith shall be paid by the company within 30 days from the date of the invoice therefor.
I. 
All of the company's construction shall be conducted in a manner that will cause minimum interference with the rights and reasonable convenience of the property owners directly affected thereby. The company shall maintain all structures, cables and related cable equipment that are located in, over, under and upon the streets in a safe, suitable, substantial condition and in good order and repair at all times.
J. 
All construction and installation by the company shall be effectuated in a manner that is consistent with the Federal Communications Commission Rules and Regulations, as to technical standards and otherwise.
K. 
The company shall have the right to remove, trim, cut and keep clear of its poles, cables, underground conduits and related equipment the trees in and along the County-owned streets, but in the exercise of such rights, the company shall not cut or otherwise damage such trees to any greater extent than is reasonably necessary for the erection, installation, maintenance and use of such cable equipment. The company shall not trim, cut or remove such trees from any County-owned street without providing written notice of its intention to do so to the County or its authorized personnel.
A. 
The company shall commence operation as provided in § 235-9.
B. 
Within 60 days of receipt of a reasonable request for service by any person who is located within the County areas then serviced by the company, the company shall furnish cable service to such person, provided that such extension of service is economically and technically feasible and compensatory to the company.
C. 
The initial base service of the company shall include the following:
(1) 
All television signals that are required by the Federal Communications Commission.
(2) 
Additional television signals as are authorized by Federal Communications Commission Rules and Regulations and are compatible with the channel capacity of the company's cable plant, as permitted by the Federal Communications Commission upon request of the company made pursuant to requests by the granting authority.
(3) 
No less than 1 channel that is reserved for use by the granting authority.
(4) 
No less than 1 channel, called the "public channel," that is reserved for the use, on a nondiscriminatory and uncensored basis, of any person residing within the County.
(5) 
No less than 1 channel that is reserved for use by the school system (the educational channel).
(6) 
No less than 1 channel that is reserved for local program originations of local, state and regional news, events and public affairs.
(7) 
Such other programming and services that the company believes are in the public interest and in compliance with applicable law.
D. 
Based upon the granting authority's findings of public need, which findings shall be predicated upon usage of the County, public or educational channel for a period of 80% of the weekdays for 80% of any consecutive 3-hour period for 6 consecutive weeks, the company shall, within a period not to exceed 6 months, make an additional channel available for use, for which the public need has been demonstrated. No charge shall be made for any County, public, educational or additional access channel as herein set forth.
E. 
In the course of its operations, the company shall undertake any new and additional construction or installations as may be necessary to keep pace with the latest developments in the state of the cable art.
F. 
On the County and educational channels, the company shall carry or cablecast such programming as is designated by the County or its designated representative and the school system or its designated representative, respectively.
G. 
The company shall, without charge for installation, maintenance or service, make installations of its cable television facilities to all public or quasi-public buildings or facilities, including but not limited to hospitals, public libraries, fire stations, police stations, public or independent school buildings, colleges, universities and similar institutions within the County within 300 feet, except the Harford Community College, which shall be within 1000 feet, of the service lines of its cable system. The company shall make such installations to such institution not within 300 feet, except the Harford Community College, which shall be within 1000 feet, of its service lines upon request of such institution therefor at its certified cost and shall continue service and maintenance thereafter at no charge.
H. 
During those daily time segments in which no signals or programming are transmitted on any channel that is reserved by the Federal Communications Commission Rules, this chapter or other applicable law, the company may utilize such channels for any purpose otherwise consistent with the provisions of this chapter.
I. 
In the event of a public emergency, the company shall comply with the emergency alert system ("EAS") requirements of the FCC in order that emergency messages may be distributed over the system.
J. 
In the operation of its system, the company shall not interfere in any way with the right of any County resident to utilize an individual antenna for the purpose of receiving television and other signals off the air.
K. 
At all times during its operation, the company shall furnish to its subscribers the best possible signals that the state of the art is capable of providing.
This section sets forth customer service standards that a franchise must satisfy. In addition, the franchise shall at all times satisfy any additional or stricter requirements established by the Federal Communications Commission Regulations, or other federal, state, or local law or regulation, as the same may be amended from time to time. Nothing in this section may be construed to prevent or prohibit the County from waiving, for good cause, requirements established in this section.
A. 
Telephone availability. A franchisee must maintain in its franchise area a business office open during normal business hours with a listed local telephone number and a sufficient number of telephone lines to allow reasonable access by subscribers and members of the public. When the business office is closed, the franchisee shall maintain a toll-free number to receive all calls, complaints, and inquiries from subscribers or residents in the franchise area regarding cable service. The franchisee must hire sufficient franchisee representatives trained and qualified to answer questions related to cable service in the service area and who must be available to receive reports of service interruptions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and other inquiries at least 45 hours per week. Franchisee representatives shall identify themselves by name when answering this number.
B. 
Installations and service appointments. All installations will be in accordance with FCC Rules, including but not limited to appropriate grounding, connection of equipment to ensure reception of cable service, and the provision of required consumer information and literature to adequately inform the subscriber in the utilization of franchisee-supplied equipment and cable service. A franchise agreement must include procedures for the proper performance of service installations, service appointments, scheduling of the same, and completion of service.
C. 
Service interruptions and outages.
(1) 
Notice of significant outage or interruption of repairs. The franchisee shall notify the granting authority of any significant outage of the cable service. Whenever it is necessary to shut off or interrupt service for the purpose of making repairs, adjustments or installations, the franchisee shall attempt to do so at such times as shall cause the least amount of inconveniences to its customers, and unless such interruption is unforeseen and immediately necessary, it shall attempt to give reasonable notice thereof to its customers and exercise the most commercially reasonable efforts to limit any significant outage for the purpose of maintaining, repairing, or constructing the cable system. Excepting emergency or other situations necessitating a more expedited or alternative notification procedure, the franchisee may schedule a significant outage for a period of more than 4 hours during any 24 hour period only after the granting authority and each affected subscriber in the service area have been given 15 days prior notice of the proposed significant outage. Notwithstanding the forgoing, the franchisee may perform modifications, repairs and upgrades to the system between 12:01 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. which may interrupt service, and this section's notice obligations respecting such possible interruptions will be satisfied by notice provided to subscribers upon installation and in the annual subscriber notice.
(2) 
Personnel and equipment for system malfunctions. A franchisee must have personnel and equipment available at all times to locate and correct major system malfunctions. Major system malfunctions must be corrected without delay. Corrective action must be completed as promptly as possible.
(3) 
A franchise agreement must include procedures to investigate and resolve all complaints and inquiries regarding cable service, including those regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunction, response times, and credits to be issued subscribers in the event of interruption or outage.
D. 
Customer complaints. Franchisee, franchisee's agents or employees must respond to and investigate subscriber complaints relating to cable services referred from its subscribers or from the granting authority and resolve said complaints in an efficient and timely manner if at all technically or reasonably possible. The granting authority may require reasonable documentation to be provided from the franchisee to substantiate a request for additional time for the franchisee to resolve the problem. Resolve shall mean that the franchisee shall perform those actions, which, in the normal course of business, are necessary to investigate the customer's complaint and advise the customer of the results of that investigation.
(1) 
A franchisee must maintain a complete record of service complaints received and action taken. These records must be open to the granting authority for inspection during the normal business hours. A quarterly summary of such records must be submitted to the granting authority by all franchisees or upon request by the granting authority. Complaint records must be retained for 3 years.
E. 
Rates, fees and charges. Franchisee shall not, except to the extent permitted by law, impose any fee or charge for service calls to a subscriber's premises to perform any repair or maintenance work related to franchisee equipment necessary to receive cable service, except where such problem is caused by a negligent or wrongful act of the subscriber or by the failure of the subscriber to take reasonable precautions to protect franchisee's equipment.
A franchisee must also provide each subscriber, at the time cable service is installed, written instructions for placing a service call, filing a complaint, or requesting an adjustment. These instructions must include the name, address, and telephone numbers of the franchisee office designated to handle subscriber complaints. Each subscriber must also be provided with a schedule of the subscriber's rates and charges, a copy of the service contract, delinquent subscriber disconnect and reconnect procedures, and a description of any other relevant franchisee subscriber policies such as reasonable notice to subscribers of the possible assessment of a late fee on bills. The franchisee must provide to the granting authority a copy of all forms describing customer service policies and procedures when they are distributed to subscribers, and if possible, should provide these forms to the granting authority before they are distributed. All forms must be conspicuously posted in the franchisee's local business office.
F. 
Disconnection and denial of service.
(1) 
Notice prior to termination. Franchisee shall not terminate cable service for nonpayment of a delinquent account unless franchisee mails a notice of the delinquency and impending termination prior to the proposed final termination. The notice shall be mailed to the subscriber to whom the cable service is billed. The notice of delinquency and impending termination may be part of a billing statement.
(2) 
Service terminated in error. Cable service terminated in error must be restored without charge within 24 hours of notice. If a subscriber was billed for the period during which cable service was terminated in error, a credit shall be issued to the subscriber if the service interruption was reported by the subscriber.
(3) 
Nothing in these standards shall limit the right of franchisee to deny cable service for non-payment of previously provided cable services, refusal to pay any required deposit, theft of cable service, damage to franchisee's equipment, abusive or threatening behavior toward franchisee's employees or representatives, or refusal to provide credit history information or refusal to allow franchisee to validate the identity, credit history and credit worthiness via an external credit agency.
G. 
Communications with subscribers. All franchisee personnel, contractors and subcontractors contacting subscribers or potential subscribers outside the office of franchisee shall wear a clearly visible identification card bearing their name. Franchisee representatives shall wear appropriate clothing while working at a subscriber's premises. Every service vehicle of franchisee and its contractors or subcontractors shall be clearly identified as such to the public. Specifically, franchisee vehicles shall have franchisee's logo plainly visible. The vehicles of those contractors and subcontractors working for franchisee shall have the contractor's/subcontractor's name plus markings indicating they are under contract to franchisee. All contact with a subscriber or potential subscriber by a person representing the franchisee shall be conducted in a courteous manner.
H. 
Customer service center. So long as it continues to operate the system, or any portion thereof in Harford County, franchisee shall establish, maintain and hereby designate a conveniently located office or customer service center in Harford County that shall be open during normal business hours for the purpose of, but not limited to receiving complaints, for receiving and responding to all service calls and correct malfunctions as promptly as possible, as the place where all franchisee subscribers in the franchise area are provided convenient alternative means for bill payment, for persons to request new service, and to provide for the pick up or drop off of equipment by any one or more of (i) having a franchisee representative going to the subscriber's premises, (ii) using a mailer, or (iii) establishing a location(s) for the pick up and drop off of equipment.
The County Council shall establish by resolution procedures for regulation of cable rates that are consistent with those promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission for review of basic cable rate and associated equipment rates.
A. 
The company shall pay the County a franchise fee amount as specified in the franchise agreement, or such other franchise fee amount as may be determined from time to time by the Federal Communications Commission. Should a like-kind fee payment be required by any state agency charged with the regulation of cable television, the fee provided for herein and the fee payable to such state agency, when added together, shall not exceed the maximum amount permitted by applicable federal law, rules or regulations. Such annual compensation shall be paid on or before March 15 at the time of filing the annual financial report for the preceding calendar year.
B. 
No payments of the annual fee or other justifiable charges that are made by the company to the County pursuant hereto shall be considered in any manner as in the nature of a tax, but such payment shall be made in addition to any taxes which are required generally of commercial enterprises in the County.
C. 
The annual fee schedules shall become operative upon the effective date hereof and shall remain in effect during the terms thereof, unless superseded by actions of federal, state or other regulatory agencies.
D. 
Late payments. Such payments shall be made no later than 30 days from March 15. Failure to pay a franchise fee payment that is due and payable within 60 days after receipt of notice from the granting authority shall subject the annual payment to interest charges from the due date at the annual interest then charged for unpaid federal income taxes. In addition, the franchisee will pay a late charge of 5% of the amount of the payment. Interest and late charges will not be imposed for any payment necessary as a result of the yearly adjustment provided for in Subsection E below, if the payment to correct the shortfall does not exceed 10% of the total payments made during the year. In the event such payment exceeds 10% of the total payments made during the year, the franchisee will be liable for interest and late charges for the entire amount due. The granting authority has discretion to waive the late payment penalty based on franchisee's good faith payment efforts or circumstances beyond franchisee's control.
E. 
Corrections to payments omitted or submitted. Franchisee shall be allowed to submit or correct any payments that were incorrectly omitted, and shall receive a credit from the granting authority for any payments that were incorrectly submitted, in connection with the annual franchise fee remittances within 90 days following the close of the payments in question.
F. 
Supporting information. Each franchise fee payment shall be accompanied by a verified report prepared by a representative of franchisee showing the basis for the computation, including, but not limited to, the gross revenue received by franchisee during the period in question and the number of subscribers served by franchisee in the franchise service area. Subject to any confidentiality requirements of the franchisee, franchisee shall be responsible for making available to the granting authority for inspection, copying and audit, all records necessary to confirm the accurate payment of franchise fees, whether the records are held by franchisee, an affiliate or any other entity that collects or receives funds related to franchisee's operation in Harford County subject to the payment of franchise fees under the Code. Franchisee shall maintain such records for at least 3 years, provided that, if the granting authority commences an audit within that 3-year period, franchisee shall continue to maintain such records for the duration of any audit in progress at the end of that 3-year period.
G. 
Periodic review and auditing. The granting authority reserves the right to conduct a periodic review and audit during the life of the franchise to ensure the proper calculation of franchise fees and any payments made thereof, particularly when the franchise has been transferred. Said review or audit shall be conducted at the discretion of the granting authority, but never more frequently than once annually. The granting authority shall conduct all audits expeditiously and neither the granting authority nor the franchisee shall unreasonably delay the completion of an audit.
(1) 
Who bears the expense of an audit. The granting authority's audit expenses shall be borne by the granting authority unless the audit determines the payment to the granting authority should be increased by 5% or more in the audited period, in which case the reasonable and customary costs of the audit, together with any additional amounts due the granting authority as a result of such audit, shall be paid by the franchisee to the granting authority with its next franchise fee payment in accordance with Subsection A above, due after written notice to franchisee's by the granting authority of the underpayment, which notice shall include a copy of the audit report. If recomputation results in additional franchise fees to be paid to the granting authority, such amount shall be subject to interest charges computed from the due date, at an annual rate equal to the commercial prime interest rate of the granting authority's primary depository bank during the period such unpaid amount is owed. If the audit determines that there has been an overpayment by the franchisee, franchisee may credit any overpayment against its next payment under Subsection A above. No auditor employed by the granting authority shall be compensated on a success based formula, meaning, payment for services rendered by the auditor or any additional payments for services rendered by the auditor based upon a percentage of the finding by the auditor of an underpayment, if any.
H. 
Limitation on franchise fee action. The period of limitation for recovery of any franchise fee payable hereunder shall be 3 years from the end of the fiscal year during which the franchise fee payment was made.
I. 
Bundled services. If franchisee bundles cable service with non-cable service, the franchisee agrees that it will allocate the discount associated with such bundle consistent with the portion allocated in the franchisee's books and records kept in the regular course of franchisee's business. If franchisee bundles cable services with non-cable services, franchisee must not intentionally or unlawfully allocate such revenue for the purpose of evading franchisee's franchise fee payments under the franchise. Any tariffed telecommunication services that cannot be discounted by state or federal law or regulation are to be excluded from the bundled discounted allocation basis. If cable services subject to the franchise fee required under this section are provided to subscribers in conjunction with non-cable services, to the extent it is practicable to do so, any discount resulting from purchasing the services as a bundle shall be the value attributable to cable services for purposes of franchise fee calculations.
J. 
Termination of the franchise. When a franchise terminates for any reason, the franchisee must file with the granting authority within 90 days of the date of the franchise operations stop, an audited financial statement showing the gross revenues received by the franchisee since the end of the previous fiscal year. Adjustments made at that time for franchise fees due to the date that the franchisee's operations ceased.
A. 
Any cable system constructed in Harford County must meet or exceed the technical standards under applicable law. All television signals transmitted on a cable system must include any closed captioning information for the hearing impaired. Antennas, supporting structures, and outside plant used in the cable system must comply with the recommendations of the Electronics Industries Association and applicable federal and local regulations on tower structures and outside plant.
B. 
All construction, installation and maintenance must comply with the National Electrical Safety Code, the National Electric Code, the generally accepted pole line construction standards, all state and local regulations, and accepted industry practices.
C. 
The franchisee must perform at its expense proof of performance tests designed to demonstrate compliance with the requirements or applicable law at the stages of construction specified in the franchise agreement. The franchisee must provide proof of performance test results promptly to the granting authority.
D. 
The granting authority may require proof of performance tests to be performed at the expense of the franchisee after the completion of construction. The franchisee must provide the test results promptly to the granting authority.
E. 
The franchisee must advise the granting authority when a proof of performance test is scheduled so that the granting authority may have an observer present.
A. 
The company shall construct, operate and maintain the system subject to the inspection of all of the authorities of the County who may have or obtain jurisdiction in such matters and in strict compliance with all laws, ordinances, departmental rules and regulations affecting the system.
B. 
The system and all parts thereof shall be subject to the right of periodic inspection by the County's duly authorized personnel.
C. 
No construction, reconstruction or major change of the system within the streets will be commenced until the company has presented its written plans to the proper County officials and the latter have approved the same. The County officials may impose such conditions and regulations as are reasonably necessary for the protection of the public and for the continuity of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The County shall promptly review the company's plans, and, unless disapproved or altered for valid cause shown, within 90 days from the date of submission to the County, it shall be deemed that approval has been granted.
D. 
The granting authority may require that any portion or all of the system should be reasonably improved or upgraded, including but not limited to increasing channel capacity, providing improved equipment and offering new services, and may order such improvement or upgrading to be effected by the company within a reasonable time thereafter, provided that the method of improving or upgrading is readily available within the cable industry and can be financed under the existing rate schedule.
A. 
If the grades or lines of the streets which the County has authority to use and occupy are changed at any time during the terms hereof, the company shall, if necessary, relocate or change the system to conform to such new grades or lines and will do so at its own cost and expense.
B. 
If the modification of water mains, sewerage or drainage systems or other public utilities in the streets is required to permit the company to construct, modify, maintain or operate its cable system, such modifications shall be at the sole cost and expense of the company and in conformance with County law, and all work performed by the company pursuant hereto shall be done in the manner prescribed by the County's duly authorized personnel.
A. 
Annual financial reports shall be submitted to the granting authority on the financial data forms required to be filed with the Federal Communications Commission and are due on the same date as required by the Federal Communications Commission.
B. 
The company shall submit, at the same time as its financial reports, an expansion schedule for the next 12 months, showing its plans for extending service in its franchise area.
C. 
The company shall also submit at this time a projection of possible areas of expansion for the 12-month period subsequent to the period covered by the expansion schedule.
D. 
Within 10 days after the company and its affiliates and subsidiaries have filed a report, petition or communication with any governmental body pertaining directly and materially to any aspect of the company's operations in the County, it shall file copy of such document with the County.
E. 
The company shall keep on file with the granting authority a current list of all officers, directors and stockholders owning 5% or more of the company and its parents, subsidiaries or affiliates.
F. 
With reasonable expedition, upon request of the granting authority, the company shall submit any further information with regard to the business of the company as the granting authority may reasonably request.
A. 
So long as it continues to operate the system or any portion thereof in the County, the company shall maintain its principal office in the County and hereby designates such office as the place where all legal notices, directions, orders and requests may be served or delivered on it pursuant to the terms of this chapter. The granting authority shall be immediately notified of the location of such office or any change thereof.
B. 
The company shall keep complete and accurate books of accounts and records of its business and operations in the County and shall maintain those records at the company's office in the County.
C. 
The granting authority and the County or its duly authorized representatives shall have access to all of the records described above. The company shall provide such access between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., upon receipt of 48 hours prior notice.
D. 
Any false entry in the aforesaid records of the company pertaining to a material and substantial fact that has been knowingly made by the company shall constitute a violation of a material provision of this chapter.
A. 
The company shall at all times indemnify, protect and save harmless the County and granting authority from all penalties, damages or charges arising out of claims, suits or causes of action or award of damages, whether compensatory or punitive, or expenses arising therefrom, either at law or in equity, which might be claimed, including any payments required by the Workmen's Compensation Law, which may arise out of or be caused by the erection, location, maintenance, repair, installation, replacement or removal of such cable television system within the County or by any act of the company or its agents or employees.
B. 
Insurance.
(1) 
The company shall, at its sole cost and expense, carry insurance with an insurance company having an A.M. best financial strength rating of A- or better and a financial size category of VII or better, and in such form as approved by the County Attorney, of not less than:
(a) 
Five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) for property damages in any 1 accident.
(b) 
One million dollars ($1,000,000) per person.
(c) 
Two million dollars ($2,000,000) per occurrence for liability due to personal injury or death.
(2) 
Such insurance shall protect the County or granting authority from and against all claims, demands, actions, judgments and liabilities which may arise or result, directly or indirectly, from or by reason of such loss, injury or damages. All insurance required hereby shall include the County or granting authority as an insured party and remain in full force and effect for the entire period covered by the franchise. A copy of such policy shall be delivered to the granting authority at such time as the franchise takes effect and each year thereafter during the continuance of the franchise. The company shall also carry insurance to protect it from all claims that may be applicable to it under the Workmen's Compensation Law in effect.
C. 
Except for any liability which may accrue to the County, granting authority or school system with regard to their programming on any channel, the company shall indemnify and hold the County, granting authority and school system harmless from all liability, damages, cost or expenses, including reasonable attorney's fees, arising from claims for injury to persons, including but not limited to slander or libel action or damage to property caused by the negligent or willful act of the company or its agents, servants or employees.
D. 
At least 30 days prior to commencement of construction, the company shall file with the granting authority and maintain on file throughout the term of the franchise insurance policies providing coverages specified above, issued by a company duly authorized to do business in the state.
A. 
Within 90 days after the granting of the franchise, the franchisee shall deposit with the granting authority and maintain on deposit throughout the term of its franchise the sum of $10,000 in cash as security for the faithful performance by it of all the provisions of the law, the franchise agreement, and compliance with all orders, permits and directions of the County, and the payment by the company of any claims, liens and taxes due the County which arise by reason of the construction, operation or maintenance of the system. This sum shall be deposited by the granting authority in an interest-bearing account. All such amounts of interest shall be paid or credited to this account and shall be credited to and become the property of the franchisee, but all accounts shall remain and become a part of the total security fund for the term of the franchise.
B. 
If a franchisee fails to pay the County any fees or taxes due, liquidated damages, damages, or costs or expenses incurred by the County be reason of any act or default of the franchisee, or if the franchisee fails to comply with any provision of the franchise agreement that the County reasonably determines can be remedied by an expenditure of the security fund, the County may, after 10 calendar days' notice to the franchisee, withdraw that amount with any interest or penalties from the security fund. Upon such withdrawal, the Cable Administrator shall notify the franchisee of the amount and date of the withdrawal. Within 30 days after notice to it that any amount has been withdrawn from the security fund deposited pursuant to Subsection A or B of this section, the franchisee shall pay to or deposit with the granting authority a sum of money sufficient to restore such security fund to the original amount of $10,000.
C. 
If the franchisee fails to restore the security fund to the original amount within 30 calendar days, the entire security fund remaining may be forfeited; and such failure may be considered a material breach of this chapter and may be used as grounds for revocation of the franchise.
D. 
The cash deposit posted pursuant to Subsection A of this section shall become the property of the County in the event that the franchise is cancelled, terminated or revoked by the County. The cash deposit shall be retained by the County and returned to the franchisee at the expiration of the franchise or any renewal thereof, provided that there is then no outstanding default or unpaid amounts owed to the County by the franchisee.
E. 
The rights reserved to the County with respect to the security fund are in addition to all other rights of the County, whether reserved by this chapter or authorized by any other law; and no action, proceeding or exercise of a right with respect to such security shall affect any other right the County may have.
A. 
If a franchisee violates any provision of the law or its franchise agreement, the granting authority may take one or more of the following actions:
(1) 
Impose liquidated damages in the amount, whether per day, incident, or other measure of violation, as provided in the franchise agreement. Payment of liquidated damages by the franchisee will not relieve the franchisee of its obligation to meet the franchise requirements;
(2) 
Require the franchisee to pay its subscribers or classes of subscribers in an amount and on a basis the granting authority determines is necessary to cure the breach or default, or equitable compensate for the violation; or revoke the franchise under this chapter.
B. 
In determining which remedy or remedies are appropriate under Subsection A, the granting authority must consider the nature of the violation, the person or persons bearing the impact of the violation, the nature of the remedy required in order to prevent further violations, and any other matters the granting authority determines are appropriate.
C. 
In addition to or instead of these remedies, the granting authority may seek legal or equitable relief from any court of competent jurisdiction.
D. 
Before initiating a remedy under this section other than revocation of the franchise, the granting authority must give the franchisee written notice of the violations claimed and at least 30 working days to correct the violations.
A. 
The company shall recognize the right of its employees to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing and at all times shall recognize and deal with the representatives duly designated or selected by the majority of its employees for the purpose of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment or other conditions of employment and shall not dominate, interfere with or participate in the management or control of or give financial support to any union or association of its employees.
B. 
The company shall not refuse to hire or employ nor bar or discharge from employment nor discriminate against any person in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of age, race, creed, color, national origin or sex.
A. 
The company shall not deny service or access or otherwise discriminate against subscribers, programmers or citizens of the County on the basis of race, color, religion, nationality or sex. The company shall comply at all times with all applicable federal, state and County laws and all executive and administrative orders relating to nondiscrimination. Nothing in this provision shall be construed to prohibit a reduction or waiving of charges in conjunction with promotional campaigning for the purpose of attracting subscribers, nor shall this provision be interpreted to prohibit the establishing of a graduated scale of charges and classified rate schedules to which any subscriber or programmer included herein as particularly classified shall be entitled.
B. 
Neither the company nor any other person shall tap or arrange for the tapping of any cable, signal input device or subscriber outlet or receiver for any purpose whatsoever.
C. 
Neither the company nor any other person shall monitor or arrange for the tapping of any cable, line, signal input device or subscriber outlet or receiver for any purpose whatsoever without the specific authorization of the granting authority expressed by a resolution at a public hearing affording due process.
D. 
The company and the County shall maintain constant vigilance with regard to possible observances of the right of privacy or other human rights of any subscriber, programmer or citizen of the County, resulting from any device associated with the cable television system. The possibility of such observances shall be discussed at regular intervals, to be determined by the County, and at all rate-increase hearings. Devices, such as electronic locks, scramblers, warning lights and others, shall be provided by the company if such problems arise, the technology becomes generally available and reasonable financial arrangements can be negotiated by the company.
A. 
As used in this section, "cable system," in addition to its definition as provided in this chapter, shall include the provisions of any other impulse or signal by a cable television company or other service lawfully provided utilizing the facilities of the system as well as the company and any other person or entity lawfully providing any services whatsoever utilizing the facilities of the system.
B. 
Any person who willfully or maliciously damages or causes to be damaged any wire, cable, conduit, apparatus or equipment of a cable television company operating a community antenna television cable system or commits any act with intent to cause such damage or who taps, tampers with or connects any wire or device to any wire, cable, conduit, apparatus or equipment of a cable television company with intent to obtain cable service without authorization or compensation or to otherwise defraud shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
C. 
The existence of any of the conditions with preference to wires, cables, conduits, apparatus or equipment described in Subsection B is presumptive evidence that the person to whom a cable service is at the time being furnished has, with intent to obtain cable service without authorization or compensation or to otherwise defraud, created or caused to be created the condition so existing.
D. 
The penalty for any person convicted under this section shall be a fine of up to $500 or a jail term of up to 90 days, or both.
Upon the threat of foreclosure or judicial sale of all or a substantial part of the system or upon notification of the termination of any lease covering all or a substantial part of the system, the company shall immediately notify the granting authority of such fact, and such notification shall be treated as a notification that a change in control of the company may take place, and the provision of this chapter governing the consent of the County to such change in control of the company shall apply upon the happening of such event.
The granting authority shall have the right to cancel the franchise 120 days after the appointment of a receiver or trustee to take over and conduct the business of the company, whether in receivership, reorganization, bankruptcy or other action or proceeding, unless such receivership or trusteeship shall have been vacated prior to the expiration of such 120 days or unless:
A. 
Within 120 days after his election or appointment, such receiver or trustee shall have fully complied with all the provisions of this chapter and remedied all defaults thereunder; or
B. 
Such receiver or trustee, within such 120 days, shall have executed an agreement, duly approved by the court having jurisdiction in the premises, whereby such receiver or trustee assumes and agrees to be bound by each provision of this chapter.
A. 
The franchise granted by the granting authority shall be a privilege to be held for the benefit of the public. Franchisee's right, title and interest in the franchise shall not be sold, assigned, transferred, or otherwise encumbered, other than to an entity controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the franchisee, either by act of the franchisee or by operation of law, without the consent of the granting authority, such consent to be determined by the County Council to be in the best interest of the public. The granting, giving or waiving of any 1 or more of such consents shall not render unnecessary any subsequent consent.
B. 
The company shall promptly notify the granting authority of any actual or proposed change in, transfer of or acquisition by any other party of control of the company. The word "control," as used herein, includes actual working control in whatever manner exercised. Every change, transfer or acquisition of control of the company shall make the franchise subject to cancellation, unless and until the granting authority shall have consented thereto. For the purpose of determining whether it shall consent to such change, transfer or acquisition of control, the granting authority may inquire into the qualifications of the prospective controlling party, and the company shall assist the granting authority in any such inquiry. If the granting authority does not schedule a hearing on the matter within 60 days after notice of the change or proposed change and the filing of a petition requesting its consent, it shall be deemed to have consented. If the transferee or assignee meets the basic qualifications described herein and agrees to be bound by all the provisions hereof, such consent shall not be unreasonably withheld. In the event that the granting authority adopts a resolution denying its consent and such change, transfer or acquisition of control has been effected, the granting authority may cancel the franchise unless control of the company is restored to its status prior to the change or to a status acceptable to the granting authority.
C. 
Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prohibit a mortgage or pledge of the franchise, system or any part thereof for financing purposes, nor does it prohibit the same of the company's stock publicly in compliance with applicable laws.
A. 
Contracts with and payments by and between the company and affiliates will be subject to complete disclosure to the granting authority. For purposes of regulation, the granting authority reserves the right to inquire into the actual cost of performing services which may be purchased or contracted for from any affiliate.
B. 
The company's ownership structure shall conform, at all times, to the FCC's Rules and Regulations.
C. 
The company's shall pay dividends only according to state law.
A. 
The granting authority shall have the right to cancel, terminate or revoke the franchise if the company fails to comply with any material and substantial provision of this chapter or any reasonable order, direction or permit issued by any County agency pursuant to such material and substantial provision or if the company fails to comply reasonably with any provision of any order, direction or permit issued by any County agency pursuant to any provision.
B. 
A cancellation, termination or revocation of the franchise shall be by legislation of the granting authority duly approved in accordance with the following procedures:
(1) 
Notice of violations and cure: Violations by the franchisee shall be governed by this chapter. The granting authority shall notify franchisee as soon as practicable of the alleged failure of compliance and give the franchisee a reasonable opportunity to correct such failure or to present facts and arguments in refutation of the alleged failure. The granting authority may, by way of example, informally discuss the matter with the franchisee. If these discussions do not lead to resolution of the problem in a reasonable time, the granting authority must notify franchisee in writing of the exact nature of the alleged noncompliance (for the purpose of this section, the "non-compliance notice"). The franchisee will have 30 days from receipt of the non-compliance notice to: (i) respond to the granting authority, if franchisee contests (in whole or in part) the assertion of noncompliance; (ii) cure such non-compliance; or (iii) in the event that, by the nature of such non-compliance, it cannot be cured within the 30-day period, initiate reasonable steps to remedy such non-compliance and notify the granting authority of the steps being taken and the projected date that they will be completed, provided, however, that if such alleged noncompliance creates a safety hazard placing members of the public in imminent danger, the franchisee shall commence cure promptly after notice. In the event that the franchisee fails to respond to the written notice, or in the event that the alleged default is not remedied within 30 days or the date projected pursuant to Clause (iii) above, and if the granting authority then concludes that there is a basis for cancellation, termination, or revocation, it shall notify granting authority thereof and may pursue any remedies available under applicable law.
(2) 
Notice of revocation hearing: Should the granting authority seek to revoke the franchise for violation of any material term of the franchise agreement, it shall provide the franchisee with notice in which the franchisee is given 90 days from the issuance of the granting authority's notice to respond in writing and to state its reasons for such objection. The granting authority shall cause to be served upon the franchisee, at least 30 days prior to a public hearing, a written notice specifying the time and place of such hearing and stating its intent to revoke the franchise.
(3) 
Rights of the parties during revocation hearing: At the designated hearing the franchisee shall be provided a fair opportunity for full participation, including the right to be represented by legal counsel and to submit information for inclusion in the record. If the granting authority determines that the franchise shall be revoked, the granting authority shall promptly provide the franchisee with written evidence of its decision. To the extent permitted by applicable law, the franchisee may challenge such determination of the granting authority to an appropriate court. Franchisee shall be entitled to such relief as the court finds appropriate. The granting authority may, at its sole discretion, take any lawful action which it deems appropriate to enforce the granting authority's rights under the franchise in lieu of revocation of the franchise, and, except as otherwise provided in the franchise agreement or the Code, any action, proceeding or exercise of a right by the granting authority shall not constitute an election of remedies or a waiver of any other right the granting authority may have, including the right to seek specific performance of any provision which reasonably lends itself to such remedy as an alternative to damages.
A. 
All subscribers have the right to receive all available cable services from the franchisee if their financial and other obligations to the franchisee are satisfied.
B. 
If the franchise is terminated or transferred, the franchisee must do everything in its power to ensure that all subscribers receive continuous, uninterrupted cable service. The franchisee must cooperate with the granting authority to operate the system for a transition period after termination or transfer as necessary to maintain continuity of cable service for all subscribers. The transition period must not exceed 12 months without the franchisee's written consent. During the transition period, the cable system must be operated under terms and conditions to which the granting authority and the franchisee agree, or on such other terms and conditions that will continue, to the extent possible, the same level of cable service to subscribers and that will provide reasonable compensation to the cable operator.
C. 
If the franchisee discontinues service to its subscribers without granting authority approval, the franchisee may be terminated immediately, and if the franchisee does not have other authority to maintain and operate its facilities in the granting authority's public rights-of-way, the granting authority may take possession of all facilities and property, real and personal, related to the cable system for the purpose of operating the system. The granting authority may undertake such operation itself or authorize operation by a contractor.
A. 
Matters which are in dispute hereunder, such as cancellation, may be appealed by the injured party to an arbitration panel, which shall consist of 3 members.
B. 
The membership shall be 1 person named by the granting authority and 1 person named by the company, with the third member to be named by the company representative and the granting authority representative acting jointly. If they fail to agree as to the third member, either or both members shall apply to the American Arbitration Association, and the latter shall name the third member. Absent majority agreement to the contrary, the third appointee shall be the presiding officer.
C. 
Each party shall bear the expenses of its own representatives. The expenses of the arbitration shall be borne as determined by the arbitration panel in its award or finding, but in no event shall the granting authority be obligated for more than one-half (1/2) of the expenses.
D. 
The determination of the majority of the 3-member panel shall be binding on the parties.
The right is hereby reserved to the granting authority to adopt, in addition to the provisions contained in this chapter and in existing applicable ordinances, such additional regulations as it shall find necessary in the exercise of the police power, provided that such regulations, by ordinances or otherwise, shall be reasonable.
The granting authority may create 1 or more citizens' advisory groups to assist the granting authority in carrying out fully and effectually the responsibilities retained by the granting authority to ensure performance, to regulate rates to the public, to the maximum extent permitted by law and such other and further duties and responsibilities as the granting authority may see fit to grant.
Consistent with the requirements of the Federal Communications Commission, any modification or amendment to the Rules and Regulations thereof by the Federal Communications Commission shall, to the extent applicable, be incorporated herein by specific amendments within 1 year from the effective date of the Federal Communications Commission's amendment or at the time of renewal of the franchise, whichever occurs first.
Every direction, notice or order to be served upon the company shall be sent to its office located in the County. Every notice to be served upon the County or granting authority shall be delivered or sent by certified mail. The delivery or mailing of any such notice, direction or order shall be equivalent to direct personal notice, direction or order and shall be deemed to have been given at the time of delivery.
All the provisions of this chapter shall apply to the company and its successors and assigns as such may be approved by the granting authority in accordance with this chapter.