[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Carneys Point as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I General Regulations
Article II Comcast Cablevision Franchise
[Adopted 12-13-1965 by Ord. No. 184]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Community antenna television service, and shall be construed to mean the running of cables, lines and other apparatus for the transmission and distribution of television signals within, upon, over and across the streets and highways of the Township so as to set up, operate and maintain a community television service for the transmission and distribution of television broadcast signals to individual subscribing members of the public by way of special connection through the cables, lines or other apparatus of the operator.
No person, firm or corporation, or combination of the same, shall engage in, carry on or conduct in the Township of Carneys Point the operation of the business of microwave service stations used to relay television broadcast signals to community antenna television systems, commonly referred to as "CATV," unless said person, firm or corporation shall have first applied for and secured a license from the Township Committee of the Township of Carneys Point.
The application for the issuance of a license shall be submitted to the Township Committee in writing, together with the plan of operation intended by the applicant. The application shall also be accompanied by the written permission of the person or persons who shall be legally entitled to furnish the same, certifying that the applicant has the necessary permission to install its lines, cables or apparatus upon the property of such person or persons. This section shall not refer to the property of the individual subscribers but shall refer to any person who maintains poles, towers or other structures to which the applicant's lines or cables may be attached.
The Township Committee in considering and reviewing the application and in arriving at its decision shall be guided by and take into consideration the public health, safety and general welfare of the community, and particular consideration shall be given to the extent of the public need for such service. The Township Committee may also require the applicant to take such measures or precautions as it may consider necessary as conditions to the issuance of such license in furtherance of the public health, safety and general welfare of the community.
Before any such license shall be granted or issued, the applicant shall file with the Township Committee satisfactory proof in a form acceptable to the Township Committee that the Township has been insured at the applicant's expense to protect and save harmless the Township, its agents, officers, employees or representatives from any and all claims, demands, causes of action, liability, judgments, costs and expenses or losses to any person or property of all nature, including workmen's compensation, copyright or other infringement, and further including any and all expenses which may be incurred by the Township to assert any defense or participation in any litigation in which the Township may become involved arising out of or caused by or as a result of the applicant's construction, erection, maintenance, use or presence of or removal of any of its installations, equipment or attachments.
The term of any license granted under the authority of this article shall extend for a period of one year and shall be automatically renewable to the licensee in the absence of any matter which constitutes a failure to comply with the provisions of this article or default in any of the provisions of this article or any of the other ordinances or regulations of the Township or default in any of its obligations as otherwise may be provided for from time to time by lawful authority.
There shall be paid to the Township a license fee in an amount equal to 5% of the gross revenues of the licensee derived from the Township, but which shall not be less than the sum of $1,200, covering any one calendar licensed year. The Township retains the right to demand inspection of any books of account of the licensee to determine the proper amount of payment due. In addition to said report, the licensee shall provide a certified annual statement by a duly recognized certified public accountant showing the gross revenues received from the Township.
Upon issuance of the license provided for herein, the licensee shall make the CATV services available to those eligible inhabitants of the Township desiring the service at the earliest practical date. Any planning required by the licensee shall immediately commence, and construction of the system must be commenced within one year of the issuance of the license, and completion of the system shall be required within two years of the issuance of the license.
No license issued or granted under the authority of this article shall be assigned, transferred or sublet, including any of the privileges or rights thereunder, without further application and consent of the Township Committee.
No new poles or other installations for the placing of the transmitting lines or cables shall be placed by the licensee within the Township except as may be necessary for its purposes hereunder. All new locations shall first be approved by the Township Engineer in writing, and such approval must be requested of the Township Engineer in writing. Further, they shall be placed or located so as not to interfere with or hinder or obstruct the public use of streets, alleys and other public places and shall not unnecessarily or unreasonably interfere with, hinder or obstruct the use or enjoyment of private property adjacent thereto.
The Township shall have the right, free of any cost or expense, to use any poles erected by or for or owned by the CATV system in the Township, for any proper municipal purpose acceptable to the CATV system, insofar as it may be done without interfering with the free use and enjoyment of the CATV system's own wires and fixtures.
The licensee shall furnish, without any installation or monthly service fee, the services of CATV to municipal and school buildings situate within the Township as such services may be requested.
All installations of equipment shall be of a permanent nature, durable and installed in accordance with good engineering practice and sufficient to comply with all existing Township regulations, ordinances and state laws so as not to interfere in any manner with the right of the public or individual property owners and shall not interfere with the travel and use of public places by the public and during the construction, repair or removal thereof shall not obstruct or impede traffic.
Construction and maintenance of the transmission distribution system shall be in accordance with the provisions of the National Electrical Safety Code and such applicable ordinances and regulations of the Township as may be presently in effect or may become effective in the future.
The installations and other facilities of the licensee shall be removed by it when no longer used for its intended purpose or whenever required by the Township in connection with public improvements or for other reasonable cause certified by the Township.
Any public highways, sidewalks or abutting property disturbed or damaged in the erection, construction, maintenance or operation of the facilities of the licensee shall be promptly repaired by it to the satisfaction of the Township.
The licensee shall not engage in the sale, rental or service of television sets or receivers, nor is the authority granted by the license hereunder to be construed as giving to the licensee the authority to construct, maintain or operate a pay-television system; nor shall it be construed to be an exclusive franchise, contract, grant or right. The Township expressly reserves its rights, powers and authority of and over streets, alleys and other public places in the Township pursuant to its ordinances and the statutes of the State of New Jersey heretofore or hereinafter enacted and further reserves the right to grant franchises or contracts for this or any other purposes pursuant to such ordinances and statutes.
The Township expressly reserves the right and power to make and adopt regulations pursuant to this article by resolution to regulate the conduct of the licensee in its operation of CATV as well as the regulation of the system, including the fixing of standards of service consistent with other public authority and the fixing of rates for connection and service charges. No changes or revisions in the rates and service charges shall be made, however, unless the licensee shall have first been given adequate notice of the intention to so change or revise and an opportunity to be heard thereon.
If the licensee shall fail to comply with any of the provisions of this article or shall default in any of its obligations and shall fail after written notice from the Township to correct such default or noncompliance, then the Township may forthwith terminate and revoke the license granted hereunder and any rights pertaining thereto. In case of such revocation, the licensee shall remove all of its equipment located within the corporate limits of the Township within the time specified by the Township. The notice provided for herein may be by certified or registered mail, with return receipt requested, and directed to the business address of the licensee.
[Adopted 1-23-2002 by Ord. No. 710]
Editor's Note: this article superseded former Article II, Franchise, adopted 9-23-1981 by Ord. No. 349, Article III, NYT Cable TV Franchise, adopted 8-8-1984 by Ord. No. 386, and Article IV, Garden State Cable TV Franchise, adopted 5-27-1992 by Ord. No. 535.
The Township hereby grants to Comcast Cablevision of Garden State, L.P., of its nonexclusive municipal consent to place in, upon, across, above, over and under highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, easements, public ways and public places in the Township, 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 Township of a cable television and communications system.
For the purpose of this article, 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 C.F.R. Subsection 76.1 et seq., and the Cable Communications Policy Act, 47 U.S.C. Section 521 et seq., as amended, and the Cable Television Act, N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq., and shall in no way be construed to broaden, alter or conflict with the federal and state definitions:
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ACT OR CABLE TELEVISION ACT
- Chapter 186 of the General Laws of New Jersey, and subsequent amendments thereto, N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1. et seq.
- BASIC CABLE SERVICE
- Any service tier, which includes the retransmission of local television broadcast signals as defined by the FCC.
- BOARD OR BPU
- The Board of Public Utilities, State of New Jersey.
- The grantee of rights under this article and is known as Comcast Cablevision of Garden State, L.P.
- The Federal Communications Commission.
- MUNICIPALITY OR TOWNSHIP
- The Township of Carneys Point, County of Salem, State of New Jersey.
- OFFICE OR OCTV
- The Office of Cable Television of the Board.
Public hearings conducted by the Township, concerning the renewal of municipal consent herein wanted to the company, were held after proper public notice pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act and the regulations of the Board adopted pursuant thereto. Said hearings, having been fully open to the public, and the Township, having received at said public hearings all comments regarding the qualifications of the company to receive this renewal of municipal consent, the Township 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 automatic renewal of 10 years as provided by N.J.S.A. 48:5A-19 and 25, and N.J.A.C. 14:18-13.6.
In the event that the municipality shall find that the company has not substantially complied with the material terms and conditions of this article, the municipality shall have the right to petition the OCTV for appropriate action, including modification and/or termination of the certificate of approval; provided however, that the municipality shall first have given the company written notice of all alleged instances of noncompliance and an opportunity to cure same within 90 days of that notification.
Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act, the company shall, during each year of operation under the consent granted herein, pay to the Township 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 Township or any higher amount permitted by the Act or otherwise allowable by law, whichever is greater.
The consent granted under this article to the renewal of the franchise shall apply to the entirety of the Township and any property subsequently annexed hereto.
The company shall be required to proffer service along any public right-of-way to any person's residence or business located in all areas of the franchise territory as described herein, at tariffed rates for standard and nonstandard installations.
The company has completed an upgrade of the cable television distribution system serving the Township. The upgraded system is a hybrid fiber optic/coaxial cable system following a fiber to the node architecture. The upgraded system provides improved picture quality, enhanced signal reliability and increased channel capacity.
The upgrade has been completed following the company's engineering guidelines for hybrid fiber/coaxial (HFC) plant design, which meets or exceeds all applicable state and federal regulations as well as voluntary cable television industry standards and follows commonly accepted industry practices.
Restoration. In the event that the company or its agents shall disturb any pavement, street surfaces, sidewalks, driveways, or other surface in the nature topography, the company shall, at its sole expense, restore and replace such places or things so disturbed in as good a condition as existed prior to the commencement of said work.
Relocation. If at any time during the period of this consent, the municipality shall alter or change the grade of any street, alley or other way or place the company, upon reasonable notice by the municipality, shall remove, relay or relocate its equipment, at the expense of the company.
Temporary removal of cables. The company shall, upon request of the municipality at the company's expense, temporarily raise, lower, or remove its lines in order to facilitate the moving of buildings or machinery or in other like circumstances. Whenever the request is made by, for, or on behalf of private parties, the cost will be borne by those same parties.
Removal or trimming of trees. During the exercise of its rights and privileges under this franchise, the company shall have the authority to trim trees upon and overhanging streets, alleys, sidewalks or other public places of the municipality so as to prevent the branches of such trees from coming in contact with the wires and 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 community upon written request of the Township Administrator or Clerk.
The company shall continue to comply fully with all applicable state and federal statutes and regulations regarding credits for outages, the reporting of it to regulatory agencies and notification of it 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 it to customers.
The company shall use every effort to meet or exceed voluntary standards for telephone accessibility developed by the National Cable Television Association (NCTA). Those standards shall include, but not be limited to, the goal of answering 90% of incoming telephone calls within 30 seconds.
Nothing herein shall impair the right of any subscriber or the municipality to express any comment with respect to telephone accessibility to the complaint officer, or impair the right of the complaint officer to take any action that is appropriate under law.
The company is permitted, but is not required to, charge a late fee consistent with applicable state and federal statutes and regulations.
The Office of Cable Television is hereby designated as the complaint officer for the municipality pursuant to N.J.S.A. 48:5A-26(b). All complaints shall be received and processed in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.5. The Municipality shall have the right to request copies of records and reports pertaining to complaints by Township customers from the OCTV.
During the term of this franchise, and any renewal thereof, the company shall maintain a local business office or agent for the purpose of receiving, investigating and resolving all complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunctions and similar matters. Such local business office shall be open during normal business hours and in no event less than 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Company's employees, representatives or agents will provide telephone response for such purposes as mentioned herein 24 hours per day.
The telephone number and address of the local office shall be listed in applicable telephone directories and in correspondence from the company to the customer. The telephone number for the local office shall utilize an exchange that is a nontoll call for Township residents.
Additionally, the company shall make reasonable efforts to provide additional payment options to Township customers that are economically practicable, and technically feasible including, but not limited to online bill payment, electronic fund transfers (EFT's), automatic credit card debiting, third-party payment locations and/or establishment of drop-box locations for the purpose of added customer convenience.
During the life of the franchise the company shall give to the municipality a bond in the amount of $25,000. Such bond shall be to insure the faithful performance of all undertakings of the company as represented in its application for municipal consent incorporated herein.
The rates of the company shall be subject to regulation as permitted by federal and state law.
The company shall continue to provide a dedicated government access channel. The government access channel is currently maintained and administered by the Township for the purpose of cable-casting noncommercial governmental access programming in conformance with the Township's published access rules and all applicable state and federal statutes and regulations.
The company shall continue to provide system-wide leased or commercial access channel opportunities on a channel maintained by the company for the purpose of cable-casting commercial access programming in conformance with the company's guideline and applicable state and federal statutes and regulations.
The company shall take appropriate steps 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 channels that the company transmits.
The company shall provide the Township with a one-time technology grant in the amount of $25,000 within six months of receipt of a renewal certificate of approval for the purpose of purchasing technology equipment in relation to the government access channel.
The company shall provide preferred cable television service on one outlet to each qualified existing and future municipal building including police, fire, first aid, emergency management, public library and community centers in the Township at no cost or charge, provided the facility is located within 200 feet of the active cable distribution plant. Installation of additional outlets shall be paid for on a materials-plus-labor basis by the municipality. Monthly service charges shall be waived on all additional outlets.
The company shall continue to provide preferred cable television service on one outlet at no cost to each qualified existing and future public and private, elementary, intermediate and secondary school in the Township, provided the school is within 200 feet of the active cable distribution plant. The school may distribute the signal to all classrooms within the school on the school's internal network as long as that network meets or exceeds FCC standards for cumulative leakage index (CLI). Should the schools request additional outlets to be installed, such installation 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.
The company shall provide free basic Internet service, via high-speed cable modem, to one nonnetworked personal computer in each qualified existing and future school in the Township, public and private, elementary, intermediate and secondary, at no charge. The Internet service shall be installed on a personal computer that is accessible to the students and not for administrative use only.
The company shall provide free basic Internet access via high-speed cable modem on one nonnetworked personal computer in each qualified existing and future public library at no charge. The Internet service shall be installed on a personal computer that is accessible to library patrons and not for administrative use only.
In the event that the Township determines that it is necessary and feasible for it to contract with the company for the purpose of providing two-way or interconnection services, the company shall be required to apply to the BPU for approval to enter into and establish the terms and conditions of such contract. All costs for such application to the BPU shall be borne by the Township.
The company shall be required to fully comply with all applicable federal and state statutes and regulations rules and regulations governing the implementation, operation and testing of the emergency alert system (EAS).
The company shall in no way be held liable for any injury suffered by the municipality or any other person, during an emergency, if for any reason the municipality is unable to make full use of the cable television system as contemplated herein.
The company shall at all times maintain a comprehensive general liability insurance policy with a single limit amount of $1,000,000 covering liability for any death, personal injury, property 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 $3,000,000.
All of the commitments and statements contained in the application and any amendment thereto submitted in writing to the municipality by the company, except as modified herein, are binding upon the company as terms and conditions of this municipal consent. The application and any other relevant writings submitted by the company shall be considered a part of this article and made a part hereof by reference as long as it does not conflict with state or federal law. All ordinances or parts of ordinances or other agreements between the Township and the company that are in conflict with the provisions of this agreement are hereby declared invalid and superseded.
Should the Township 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 article subject to the provisions of N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.7.