City of Camden, NJ
Camden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Camden as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]

ARTICLE I
Comcast of Garden State, L.P. (§ A589-1 — § A589-24) 

[Adopted 9-14-2006 by Ord. No. MC-4206]

§ A589-1
Purpose of the ordinance. 

§ A589-2
Definitions. 

§ A589-3
Statement of findings. 

§ A589-4
Duration of franchise. 

§ A589-5
Franchise fee. 

§ A589-6
Franchise territory. 

§ A589-7
Extension of service. 

§ A589-8
Construction requirements. 

§ A589-9
Customer service. 

§ A589-10
Municipal complaint officer. 

§ A589-11
Local office. 

§ A589-12
Performance bonds. 

§ A589-13
Subscriber rates. 

§ A589-14
Commitments by the company. 

§ A589-15
Educational and governmental access. 

§ A589-16
Two-way services and interconnection. 

§ A589-17
Emergency uses. 

§ A589-18
Liability insurance. 

§ A589-19
Incorporation of the application. 

§ A589-20
Competitive equity. 

§ A589-21
Severability. 

§ A589-22
Third-party beneficiaries. 

§ A589-23
Reports to municipality. 

§ A589-24
Effective date. 

§ A589-1 Purpose of the ordinance.

The City of Camden hereby grants to Comcast renewal of its nonexclusive municipal consent to place in, upon, across, above, over and under highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, easements, public ways and public places in the municipality, poles, wires, cables, underground conduits, manholes and other television conductors, fixtures, apparatus and equipment as may be necessary for the construction, operation and maintenance in the City of Camden of a cable television and communications system.

§ A589-2 Definitions.

For the purpose of this ordinance, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meaning given herein. Such meaning or definition of terms is supplemental to those definitions of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations, 47 CFR Subsection 76.1 et seq., and the Cable Communications Policy Act, 47 U.S.C. § 521 et seq., as amended, and the Cable Television Act, N.J.SA. 48:5A-1 et seq., and shall Iin no way be construed to broaden, alter or conflict with the federal and state definitions:

ACT or CABLE TELEVISION ACT
Chapter 186 of the General Laws of New Jersey, and subsequent amendments thereto, N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq.
APPLICATION
The company's application for renewal of municipal consent.
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.
CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL or COA
The document required to operate cable television system in New Jersey, issued by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities after the municipality's municipal consent ordinance is reviewed for compliance with state and federal requirements.
[Added 1-11-2007 by Ord. No. MC-4261]
COMPANY
The grantee of rights under this ordinance and is known as Comcast of Garden State, L. P.
FCC
The Federal Communications Commission.
OFFICE or OCTV
The Office of Cable Television of the Board.
PRIMARY SERVICE AREA or PSA
Consists of the area of the municipality currently served with existing plant as set forth in the map annexed to the company's application for municipal consent.
TOWN or MUNICIPALITY
The City of Camden, County of Camden, State of New Jersey.

§ A589-3 Statement of findings.

Public hearings conducted by the municipality concerning the renewal of municipal consent herein granted to the company were held after proper public notice pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act and the regulations of the Board adopted pursuant thereto. Said hearings having been fully open to the public and the municipality having received at said public hearings all comments regarding the qualifications of the company to receive this renewal of municipal consent the municipality hereby finds that the company possesses the necessary legal, technical, character, financial and other qualifications and that the company's operating and construction arrangements are adequate and feasible.

§ A589-4 Duration of franchise.

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 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 ordinance, the municipality shall have the right to petition the OCTV, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 48:5A-47, for appropriate action, including modification and/or termination of the certificate of approval; provided, however, that the municipality shall first have given the company written notice of all alleged instances of noncompliance and an opportunity to cure same within 90 days of that notification.

§ A589-5 Franchise fee.

Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act, the company shall, during each year of operation under the consent granted herein, pay to the municipality 2% of the gross revenues from all recurring charges in the nature of subscription fees paid by subscribers for cable television reception service in the municipality or any higher amount permitted by the Act or otherwise allowable by law, whichever is greater.

§ A589-6 Franchise territory.

The consent granted under this ordinance to the renewal of the franchise shall apply to the entirety of the municipality and any property subsequently annexed hereto.

§ A589-7 Extension of service.

[Amended 1-11-2007 by Ord. No. MC-4261]

The company shall be required to proffer service along the public right-of-way to any person's residence or business located in those areas of the primary service area as set forth herein. As to extensions of service beyond the PSA, Comcast's application is required, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 14:18-11.2(a)6, to state that the company "shall comply with N.J.A.C. 14:3-8, more specifically N.J.A.C. 14:18-3-8.1., 8.2. through 8.5.6(b), 8.8 and 8.13 (the "Smart Growth Rules"], regarding extension of service." Comcast states that it will comply with all lawful regulations governing the operation of its cable television system and cable communications system within the City of Camden, while reserving its right to seek administrative or judicial review of the validity of any statute, regulation or ordinance. Accordingly, any extension of the cable television system beyond the PSA which is made in the City will be made in accordance with the Smart Growth Rules and/or the OCTV's Line Extension Policy ("LEP"), as may be applicable. For purposes of the LEP, the minimum density of homes-per-mile shall be 35.

§ A589-8 Construction requirements.

A. 

Restoration: In the event that the company or its agents shall disturb any pavement, street surfaces, sidewalks, driveways, or other surface in the natural topography, the company shall, at its sole expense, restore and replace such places or things so disturbed in as good a condition as existed prior to the commencement of said work.

B. 

Relocation: If at any time during the period of this consent, the municipality shall alter or change the grade of any street, alley or other way or place the company, upon reasonable notice by the municipality, shall remove, re-lay or relocate its equipment, at the expense of the company.

C. 

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.

§ A589-9 Customer service.

In providing services to its customers, the company shall comply with N.JA.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 municipality upon written request of the Municipality Administrator or Clerk.

A. 

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.

B. 

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.

C. 

The company shall use every reasonable effort to meet or exceed voluntary standards for telephone accessibility developed by the National Cable Television Association (NCTA).

D. 

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 permitted under law.

§ A589-10 Municipal complaint officer.

The Office of Cable Television is hereby designed 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 municipality customers from the OCTV.

§ A589-11 Local office.

During the term of this franchise, and any renewal thereof, the company shall maintain a 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. Such a business office shall have a publicly listed toll-free telephone number and be open during standard business hours, and in no event (excepting emergent circumstances) less than 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The company will make all commercially reasonable efforts to locate and secure an additional independent third-party payment vendor within the municipal boundaries of the City; such vendor must meet the company's corporate requirements for financial integrity.

§ A589-12 Performance bonds.

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.

§ A589-13 Subscriber rates.

The rates of the company shall be subject to regulation as permitted by federal and state law.

§ A589-14 Commitments by the company.

A. 

The company shall provide total preferred cable television services on one outlet at no cost to each qualified existing or future school in the municipality, public and private, elementary, intermediate and secondary, provided the school is within 175 feet of active cable distribution plant. Each additional outlet installed, if any, shall be paid for on a material-plus-labor basis by the school requesting service. Monthly service charges shall be waived on all additional outlets.

[Amended 1-11-2007 by Ord. No. MC-4261]

B. 

The company shall provide total preferred cable service at no cost on one outlet to each qualified existing or future police, fire, emergency management facility and public library in the municipality, provided the facility is located within 175 feet of active cable distribution plant. Each additional outlet installed, if any, shall be paid for on a material-plus-labor basis by the municipality. Monthly service charges shall be waived on all additional outlets.

[Amended 1-11-2007 by Ord. No. MC-4261]

C. 

The company shall provide free basic Internet service via high-speed cable to one nonnetworked personal computer in each qualified existing and future school in the City, public and private, elementary, intermediate and secondary, at no charge, provided the facility is located within 175 feet of active cable distribution plant. The Internet service shall be installed on a personal computer that is accessible to the students and not for administrative use only.

D. 

The company shall provide free basic Internet access via high-speed cable on one nonnetworked personal computer in each qualified existing and future public library at no charge, provided the facility is located within 175 feet of active cable distribution plant. The Internet service shall be installed on a personal computer that is accessible to library patrons and not for administrative use only.

E. 

The company shall modify service drops along the border of the City in the area of Highland Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue (specifically 22 homes being odd numbers from 3023 to 3135 Highland and 15, 17, 19, 21, 25, 43, 47, 51, 53, 55 and 55A Roosevelt) to have these residences receive the signal transmitted by the Camden EG Channel.

F. 

The company will provide and maintain the cable, modulators and equipment necessary for the City of Camden education-government access channel to send a signal from its studio at 1600 Pine Street to the company, and to receive the return feed of signal. Construction of two-way feed will be completed within six months of receipt of a certificate of approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. The company will not be responsible for the acquisition or maintenance of any studio equipment used for the access channel.

[Added 1-11-2007 by Ord. No. MC-4261]

G. 

Within six months of a receipt of a renewal certificate of approval (COA), the company shall provide the City with a one-time technology grant in the amount of $120,000 for any purpose the City deems appropriate.

[Added 1-11-2007 by Ord. No. MC-4261]

H. 

Recognizing the City is currently in negotiation on multiple projects with private developers, the State of New Jersey, and others that may dramatically increase the housing stock and population of the City in coming years, the company will provide an additional technical grant of up to $20,000 as follows: 1) $10.,000 if the number of company video subscriber households in the City increases by 2,000 over the number of subscribers as of the date of issuance of the COA; and 2) $10,000 if the number of video subscribers increases by 3,000 over the number of subscribers as of the date of issuance of the COA. Any additional grant payment shall be payable within six months after the requisite benchmark is achieved. Comcast shall provide to the City an annual report of City subscriber counts. The above benchmarks must be achieved within five years of the adoption of the municipal consent ordinance, beyond which they expire.

[Added 1-11-2007 by Ord. No. MC-4261]

§ A589-15 Educational and governmental access.

A. 

The company will continue to provide one channel for educational and governmental ("EG") access for the use by the residents of the City of Camden, on the most basic tier of service offered by the company in accordance with the Cable Act, Section 623, and as further set forth below. Educational access video programming shall be provided by the governing body of the City or other designated educational institution. Government video programming shall be provided by the governing bodies of the City. Unused capacity may be utilized by the company subject to the provisions for fallow time below.

B. 

The company does not relinquish its ownership of or ultimate right of control over a channel by designating it for EG use. An EG access user, whether an educational or government user, acquires no property or other interest by virtue of the use of a channel so designated and may not rely on the continued use of a particular channel number no matter how long the same channel may have been designated for such use.

C. 

The company shall not exercise editorial control over any educational or governmental use of channel capacity, except company may refuse to transmit any educational or governmental access program or portion of an educational or governmental access program that contains obscenity, indecency, or nudity.

D. 

The governing body of the City shall be responsible for developing, implementing, and enforcing rules for EG access channel use which shall insure that the EG access channel and the EG access equipment, which shall be provided by the municipality, will be available on a first-come, first-served, nondiscriminatory basis.

E. 

Educational access. Educational access shall mean noncommercial use by educational institutions such as public or private schools, but not home schools, community colleges, and universities.

F. 

Government access. Government access shall mean noncommercial use by the governing body of the City of Camden, for the purpose of showing the public local government at work.

G. 

Company use of fallow time. Because blank or underutilized EG channels are not in the public interest, in the event the municipalities or other EG access users elect not to fully program their EG access channel, company may program unused time on those channels subject to reclamation by the municipality upon no less than 60 days' written notice.

H. 

Indemnification. The City shall indemnify company for any liability, loss, or damage it may suffer due to violation of the intellectual property rights of third parties on the EG channel and from claims arising out of the City's rules for or administration of access.

I. 

The company will provide an additional PEG access channel, upon a demonstration by the City that utilization of the existing governmental/educational access channel exceeds 48 hours per week of original, noncommercial, first-run, locally produced, full motion video programming over a period of 18 consecutive weeks.

§ A589-16 Two-way services and interconnection.

In the event that the municipality determines that it is necessary and feasible for it to contract with the company for the purpose of providing two-way or interconnection services, the company shall be required to apply to the BPU for approval to enter into and establish the terms and conditions of such contract. All costs for such application to the BPU shall be borne by the municipality.

§ A589-17 Emergency uses.

A. 

The company will comply with the Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules in accordance with applicable state and federal statutes and regulations.

B. 

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.

§ A589-18 Liability insurance.

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.

§ A589-19 Incorporation of the application.

All of the statements and commitments contained in the application or annexed thereto and incorporated therein, and any amendment 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.

§ A589-20 Competitive equity.

Should the municipality grant a franchise to construct, operate and maintain a cable television system to any other person, corporation or entity on terms materially less burdensome or more favorable than the terms contained herein, the company may substitute such language that is more favorable or less burdensome for the comparable provision of this ordinance, subject to the provisions of N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.7.

§ A589-21 Severability.

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.

§ A589-22 Third-party beneficiaries.

Nothing in this franchise or in any prior agreement is or was intended to confer third-party beneficiary status on any member of the public to enforce the terms of such agreements or franchise.

§ A589-23 Reports to municipality.

A. 

A company representative shall appear annually, upon reasonable written request of the Mayor, at a public hearing, public meeting, or public work session of the governing body or before the City's Cable Advisory Committee, to discuss matters pertaining to the provision of cable service to residents of the Borough and other cable-related issues as the City and company may see fit to discuss.

B. 

Upon reasonable written request by the municipality, Comcast will supply a map once annually showing the location of aerial and underground lines.

C. 

Company will provide a biannual activity report containing information on Camden City community investment YTD, product and services, information, and a list of contacts within the company.

§ A589-24 Effective date.

This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon issuance of a renewal certificate of approval from the BPU.