[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Rahway 8-11-2014 by Ord. No. O-16-14; amended in its entirety 5-11-2015 by Ord. No. O-8-15. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. A427, Cable Television Franchise, adopted 11-8-1999 by Ord. No. O-48-99.
The City hereby grants to Comcast of New Jersey II, LLC ("Comcast"), renewal of its nonexclusive municipal consent to place in, upon, along, across, above, over and under highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, public ways and public places in the City, 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 City of a cable television and communications system.
For the purpose of this ordinance, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meaning given herein. Such meaning or definition of terms is supplemental to those definitions of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations, 47 CFR 76.1 et seq., and the Communications Act of 1934 at 47 U.S.C. § 521 et seq., as amended, and the Cable Television Act at N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq., and shall in no way be construed to broaden, alter or conflict with the federal or state definitions:
- ACT or CABLE TELEVISION ACT
- P.L. 1972, c. 186, of the General Laws of New Jersey, and subsequent amendments thereto, N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq.
- The company's application for renewal of municipal consent dated September 23, 2013.
- BOARD or BPU
- The Board of Public Utilities, State of New Jersey.
- CITY OR MUNICIPALITY
- The City of Rahway, County of Union, State of New Jersey.
- The grantee of rights under this ordinance and is known as Comcast of New Jersey II, LLC.
- The Federal Communications Commission.
- OFFICE or OCTV
- The Office of Cable Television of the Board.
A public hearing conducted by the City concerning the renewal of municipal consent herein granted to the company was held on February 4, 2014, after proper public notice pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act and the regulations of the Board adopted pursuant thereto. Said hearing, having been fully open to the public, and the City having received at said public hearing all comments regarding the qualifications of the company to receive this renewal of municipal consent, the City 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, with a ten-year automatic renewal as provided by N.J.S.A. 48:5A-19 and 48:5A-25 and N.J.A.C. 14:18-13.6.
In the event that the City shall find that the company has not substantially complied with the material terms and conditions of this ordinance, the City 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 City 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 City 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 City or any higher amount required by the Act or otherwise allowable by law, whichever is greater.
The consent granted under this ordinance to the renewal of the franchise shall apply to the entirety of the City 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 franchise territory at tariffed rates for standard and nonstandard installation. The Company's Line Extension Policy, as set forth in the company's application, shall govern any extension of the plant beyond the primary service area.
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 cost and 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 City shall alter or change the grade of any street, alley or other way or place, the company, upon reasonable notice by the City, shall remove, re-lay or relocate its equipment, at the expense of the company.
Temporary removal of cables. The company shall temporarily move or remove appropriate parts of its facilities to allow for the moving of buildings, and machinery, or in other similar circumstances. The expense shall be borne by the party requesting such action, except when the request is made by the City, in which case the company shall bear the cost of such temporary removal.
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 City so as to prevent the branches of such trees from coming in contact with the wires and cable of the company. Such trimming shall be only to the extent necessary to maintain proper clearance of the company's wire and cables.
In 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 City upon written request of the Business Administrator or City Clerk.
The company shall continue to comply fully with all applicable state and federal statutes and regulations regarding credit for outages, the reporting of same to regulatory agencies and notification of same to customers.
The company shall continue to fully comply with all applicable state and federal statutes and regulations regarding the availability of devices for the hearing impaired and the notification of same to customers.
The company shall use every reasonable effort to meet or exceed voluntary standards for telephone accessibility developed by the National Cable Television Association (NCTA).
Nothing herein shall impair the right of any subscriber or the City to express any comment with respect to telephone accessibility to the complaint officer or impair the right of the complaint officer to take any action that is permitted under law.
The Office of Cable Television is hereby designed as the complaint officer for the City of Rahway pursuant to N.J.S.A. 48:5A-26b. All complaints shall be received and processed in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.5. The City shall have the right to request copies of records and reports pertaining to complaints by the City's customers from the OCTV.
The company shall maintain a local business office or agent in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:18-5.1 for the purpose of receiving, investigating and resolving all local complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunctions, and similar matters. The local business office shall have a publicly listed toll-free telephone number and be open during standard business hours, and in no event (excepting emergency circumstances) less than 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
During the life of the franchise the company shall give to the City a bond in the amount of $25,000. This bond shall insure the faithful performance of all undertakings of the company as represented in its application, which representations are incorporated herein by reference.
The rates of the company shall be subject to regulation as permitted by federal and state law.
The company shall continue to provide the City with one system-wide public access channel maintained by the company. Qualified individuals and organizations may utilize the public access channel for the purpose of cablecasting noncommercial access programming in conformance with the company's published public access rules.
The company shall continue to provide the City with one system-wide leased access or commercial 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 continue to provide the City with one dedicated local access channel maintained by the company for the purpose of cablecasting noncommercial governmental access programming for use by the City and its designees. The company shall also maintain the dedicated fiber optic return line originating in the Rahway Municipal Building.
The company shall continue to provide the City with one dedicated local access channel maintained by the company for the purpose of cablecasting noncommercial educational access programming for use by the City and its designees. The company shall also maintain the dedicated fiber optic return line originating in the Rahway high school building.
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.
Within six months of the issuance of a renewal certificate of approval (COA) from the Board, the company shall provide the City a one-time access related technology grant in the amount of $150,000.
The company shall continue to make available to the City, the company's mobile production vehicle for the purpose of producing noncommercial community, governmental or educational access programming, consistent with the company's written rules and regulations concerning the use of the mobile production vehicle.
The company shall continue to periodically provide training for individuals and organizations that assist in the production of programming for the access channels provided herein to the extent that such training is offered by the company.
The company shall continue to provide standard installation and basic cable television service for one outlet at no cost to each school in the City, public and private, elementary, intermediate and secondary, provided the school is within 200 feet of active cable distribution plant. Each additional outlet installed, if any, shall be paid for on a materials-plus-labor basis by the school requesting service. Monthly service charges shall be waived on all additional outlets, except for equipment charges.
The company shall continue to provide standard installation and basic cable television service for one outlet at no cost to each police, fire, first aid, emergency management facility, public library, recreation/community center and senior citizens center, provided the facility is within 200 feet of active cable distribution plant. Each additional outlet installed, if any, shall be paid for on a materials-plus-labor basis shall pay for by any facility requesting service. Monthly service charges shall be waived on all additional outlets, except equipment charges.
The company shall continue to provide free basic Internet service, via high-speed cable modem, to one nonnetworked personal computer in each school in the City, public and private, elementary, intermediate and secondary, at no charge.
The company shall continue to provide free basic Internet access via high-speed cable modem on one nonnetworked personal computer in the City's public library, at no charge.
The company will comply with the Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules in accordance with applicable state and federal statutes and regulations.
The company shall in no way be held liable for any injury suffered by the City or any other person, during an emergency, if for any reason the City is unable to make full use of the cable television system as contemplated herein.
The City shall use state-approved procedures for such emergency use.
The company shall at all times maintain a comprehensive general liability insurance policy with a single limit amount of $1,000,000 covering liability for any death, personal injury, property damages or other liability arising out of its construction and operation of the cable television system and an excess liability (or "umbrella") policy in the amount of $5,000,000.
All of the statements and commitments contained in the application or annexed thereto and incorporated therein, and any amendments thereto except as modified herein are binding upon the company as terms and conditions of this consent. The application and other relevant writings submitted by the company shall be annexed hereto and made a part hereof by reference, provided same do not conflict with applicable state or federal law.
Should the City 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 the provisions 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 agreement 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.
In accordance with the Federal Cable Act, 47 U.S.C. § 521 et seq., the company reserves all rights with regard to the pass-through of all franchise obligations.
This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon issuance of a renewal certificate of approval from the BPU.