Township of Freehold, NJ
Monmouth County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Freehold 4-28-2009 by Ord. No. O-09-12.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Municipal Cable TV Advisory Committee — See Ch. 10, Art. IX.
Telecommunications licensing — See Ch. 319.
Use of Township roads by communications company — See Ch. A410.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Chapter A411, Cable Television Franchise, adopted by Ord. No. O-95-25 (§ 7-11 of the Revised General Ordinances).

§ A411-1 Definitions.

For the purpose of this ordinance, the terms defined above shall have the meanings there indicated, and the following additional terms shall have the following meanings:
ACT OR CABLE TELEVISION ACT
That statute of the State of New Jersey relating to cable television, known as the "Cable Television Act," N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq.
APPLICATION
Cablevision's application for renewal of municipal consent, which application is on file in the Township Clerk's office and is incorporated herein by reference and made a part hereof, except as modified, changed, limited or altered by this ordinance.
BOARD
The Board of Public Utilities of the State of New Jersey or its successor agency.
COMPANY
Cablevision of Monmouth, Inc. ("Cablevision"), the grantee of rights under this ordinance.
FCC
The Federal Communications Commission.
FEDERAL ACT
That federal statute relating to cable communications commonly known as the "Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984," 47 U.S.C. § 521 et seq., and the Telecommunications Act of 1996, or as those statutes may be amended.
FEDERAL REGULATIONS
Those federal regulations relating to cable television services, 47 CFR 76.1 et seq. (and, to the extent applicable, any other federal rules and regulations relating to cable television, including but not limited to those described in 47 CFR 76.3), or as such regulations may be amended.
STANDARD INSTALLATION
The installation of drop cable to a customer's premises where the distance from the point of entry into the building being served is less than 150 feet from the active cable television system plant.
STATE
The State of New Jersey.
STATE REGULATIONS
Those regulations of the State of New Jersey Board of Public Utilities relating to cable television, N.J.A.C. 14:17-1.1 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 14:18-1 et seq., or as such regulations may be amended.
TOWNSHIP
The governing body of the Township of Freehold, in the County of Monmouth, and the State of New Jersey.

§ A411-2 Statement of findings.

A public hearing concerning the consent herein granted to Cablevision was held after proper public notice pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act. Said hearing having been held and fully open to the public, and the municipality having received all comments regarding the qualifications of Cablevision to receive this consent, the Township hereby finds Cablevision possesses the necessary legal, technical, character, financial and other qualifications to support municipal consent and that Cablevision's operating and construction arrangements are adequate and feasible.

§ A411-3 Grant of authority.

The Township hereby grants to Cablevision its nonexclusive consent to place in, upon, along, across, above, over, and under its highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, public ways, and public places in the municipality poles, wires, cables, and fixtures necessary for the maintenance and operation in the Township of a cable television system and for the provision of any communication service over such system as may be authorized by federal or state regulatory agencies. Operation and construction, pursuant to said consent, is conditioned upon prior approval of the Board of Public Utilities.

§ A411-4 Duration of franchise.

This consent granted herein shall be nonexclusive and shall be for a term of 10 years from the date of issuance of a certificate of approval by the Board.

§ A411-5 Expiration and subsequent renewal.

If Cablevision seeks successive consent, it shall, prior to the expiration of this consent, apply for a municipal consent and certificate of approval in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-16 and applicable state and federal rules and regulations. The company shall also petition the Board for approval authorizing continued operation during the period following expiration of the consent granted herein and until such a time that a decision is made by the Township and the Board relative to the renewal of said consent.

§ A411-6 Franchise territory.

The consent granted under this ordinance to Cablevision shall apply to the entirety of the Township and any property hereafter annexed.

§ A411-7 Service area.

Cablevision shall be required to proffer video programming service along any public right-of-way to a residentially zoned area without the application of line extension policy at tariffed rates for standard and nonstandard installation.

§ A411-8 Extension of service.

Cablevision shall extend service along any public right-of-way outside its service area to those residences within the franchise territory which are located in areas that have a residential density of 25 homes per mile or greater, or areas with less than 25 homes per mile where residents agree to share the costs of such extension in accordance with the line extension formula as provided by the company in its application for municipal consent.

§ A411-9 Franchise fee.

Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Cable Television Act, Cablevision shall pay to the Township, as an annual franchise fee, a sum equal to 2% of the actual gross revenues received from all recurring charges in the nature of subscription fees paid by subscribers for its cable television reception services in the Township. In the event applicable law hereinafter permits a larger franchise fee to be collected but does not fix the amount thereof, the Township and Cablevision shall negotiate in good faith with respect to the amount thereof.

§ A411-10 Free service.

A. 
Cablevision shall, upon written request, provide, free of charge, one standard installation and monthly cable television reception service to all state or locally accredited public schools and all municipal public libraries, as well as municipal buildings located within the Township and used for governmental purposes, as listed in Exhibit A attached.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Exhibit A is on file in the Township offices.
B. 
Upon written request from the municipality, Cablevision shall provide, without charge, basic cable modem service to state and local accredited elementary and secondary schools and municipal public libraries in the municipality as follows: one standard installation per school or library campus, one cable modem per installation, and cable modem service for the term of this agreement for each installation, subject to the terms, conditions and use policies of the provider of the cable modem service as those policies may exist from time to time.
C. 
Upon written request from the municipality, Cablevision shall provide, without charge, basic cable modem service to the Township Municipal Building: one standard installation, one cable modem, and cable modem service for the term of this agreement, subject to the terms, conditions and use policies of the provider of the cable modem service as those policies may exist from time to time.

§ A411-11 Construction/system requirements.

Cablevision shall perform construction and installation of its plant and facilities in accordance with applicable state and federal law. The company shall be subject to the following additional construction requirements with respect to the installation of its plant and facilities in the Township:
A. 
In the event that the company or its agents shall disturb any pavement, street surfaces, sidewalks, driveways or other surfaces, the company shall, at its sole expense, restore and replace such disturbances in as good a condition as existed prior to the commencement of said work.
B. 
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 Township, shall remove or relocate its equipment, at its own expense.
C. 
Upon request of a person holding a building or moving permit issued by the Township, the company shall temporarily move or remove appropriate parts of its facilities so as to permit the moving or erection of buildings or the performance of other work. The expense of any such temporary removal or relocation shall be paid in advance to the company by the person requesting the same. In such cases, the company shall be given not less than 14 days' prior written notice in order to arrange for the changes required.
D. 
During the exercise of its rights and privileges under this consent, the company shall have the authority to trim trees upon and overhanging streets, alleys, sidewalks and public places of the Township so as to prevent the branches of such trees from coming in contact with the wires, cables, conduits and fixtures of the company. Such trimming shall be only to the extent necessary to maintain proper clearance for the company's facilities.

§ A411-12 Technical and customer service standards.

Cablevision shall comply with the technical and customer service standards established for the cable industry under applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations.

§ A411-13 Local office or agent.

Cablevision shall establish and maintain, during the entire term of this consent, a local area business office or agent for the purpose of receiving, investigating and resolving complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunctions and similar matters. Said office shall be open daily during normal business hours, and in no event less than 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the exception of holidays.

§ A411-14 Designation of complaint officer.

The Office of Cable Television is hereby designated as the complaint officer for the Township pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 48:5A-26. All complaints shall be reviewed and processed in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.5.

§ A411-15 Liability insurance.

Cablevision agrees to maintain and keep in force and effect, at its sole cost, at all times during the term of this consent, sufficient liability insurance naming the Township as an additional insured and insuring against loss by any such claim, suit, judgment, execution or demand in the minimum amounts of $500,000 for bodily injury or death to one person and $1,000,000 for bodily injury or death resulting from any one accident or occurrence stemming from or arising out of the company's exercise of its rights hereunder.

§ A411-16 Performance bond.

Cablevision shall obtain and maintain, at its sole cost and expense, during the entire term of this agreement, a bond to the municipality in the amount of $25,000. Such bond shall be to insure the faithful performance of its obligations as provided in this franchise.

§ A411-17 Rates.

A. 
The rates of the company for cable television services shall be subject to regulation to the extent permitted by federal and state law.
B. 
Cablevision shall implement a senior citizen discount in the amount of 10% off the monthly rate of the broadcast basic level of cable television reception service to any person 62 years of age or older who subscribes to the company's cable television service, subject to the following:
(1) 
Such discount shall only be available to eligible senior citizens who do not share the subscription with more than one person in the same household who is less than 62 years of age;
(2) 
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-11.2, subscribers seeking eligibility for the discount must meet the income and residence requirements of the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled Program pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4D-21;
(3) 
The senior discount herein relates only to the broadcast basic level of cable television service and shall not apply to any additional service, features, or equipment offered by the company, including any premium channel services and pay-per-view services; and
(4) 
Senior citizens who subscribe to a level of cable television service beyond expanded basic service, including any premium or per-channel a-la-carte service, shall not be eligible for the discount.
C. 
In the event that Cablevision shall be required to increase the franchise fee in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48-5A-30(d), then at such time as the new fee is instituted, Cablevision shall no longer be obligated to maintain or offer the senior discount specified in § A411-17B above.

§ A411-18 Emergency uses.

Cablevision shall be required to have the capability to override the audio portion of the system in order to permit the broadcasting of emergency messages by the Township pursuant to state and federal requirements. The company shall in no way be held liable for any injury suffered by the Township 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 Township shall utilize the state-approved procedures for such emergency uses.

§ A411-19 Equitable terms.

A. 
In the event that the service of another multichannel video program provider not subject to the Township's regulatory authority within the Township creates a significant competitive disadvantage to Cablevision, the company shall have the right to request from the Township lawful amendments to its franchise that relieve it of burdens which create the unfair competitive situation. Should the company seek such amendments to its franchise, the parties agree to negotiate in good faith appropriate changes to the franchise in order to relieve the company of such competitive disadvantages. If the parties can reach an agreement on such terms, the Township agrees to support the company's petition to the Board for modification of the consent in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-47 and N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.7.
B. 
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on appropriate amendments to the franchise, the Township acknowledges that the company shall have the right to petition the Board directly for such amendments in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-47 and N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.7; provided, however, that the Township shall be under no obligation to support Cablevision's request for such relief from the Board.
C. 
In any subsequent municipal consent, the Township shall require, at a minimum, the same terms and conditions of any other provider of multichannel video programming subject to the Township's regulatory authority as those contained in the instant consent. In the event such subsequent consent does not contain the same terms and conditions as the instant consent, the Township agrees to support the company's petition to the Board for modification of the consent in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-47 and N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.7 to relieve the company of competitive disadvantages identified in the company's petition.

§ A411-20 Removal of Facilities.

Upon expiration, termination or revocation of this ordinance, Cablevision, at its sole cost and expense, and upon direction of the Board, shall remove the cables and appurtenant devices constructed or maintained in connection with the services authorized herein, unless Cablevision, its affiliated entities or assignees should, within six months after such expiration, termination or revocation, obtain certification from the FCC to operate an open video system or any other federal or state certification to provide telecommunications.

§ A411-21 Public, educational, and governmental access.

A. 
Cablevision shall continue to make available noncommercial public, educational and governmental (PEG) access as described in the application for municipal consent.
B. 
The Township agrees that Cablevision shall retain the right to use the PEG access channel, or portion thereof, for non-PEG access programming during times when the Township is not utilizing the channel for purposes of providing PEG access programming. In the event that the company uses said PEG access channel for the presentation of such other programming, the PEG programming shall remain the priority use, and the company's rights with respect to using the channel for non-PEG programming shall be subordinate to the Township's provision of PEG access programming on such channel.
C. 
Cablevision shall continue to provide and maintain the access return line at One Municipal Plaza for use by the Township in the production of noncommercial educational and governmental access programming on the cable system. Based on need, Cablevision shall provide the Township with one additional channel for PEG access purposes upon 120 days' advance written notice from the Township. The need for providing the additional channel shall be conditioned upon usage according to the following formula: anytime the existing designated PEG access channel is in continuous use with the cable-casting of locally produced programming (excluding programming of solely character-generated messages or programming that is repetitive) during at least 50% of the time between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. during any consecutive ten-week period, the Township shall have the right to request that an additional channel be designated for PEG access; provided, however, that if the usage ratio of the additional designated channel should at any time fall below 15% (based on the usage formula herein), use of the additional designated channel shall revert back to Cablevision.
D. 
In consideration for the rights granted in this ordinance, the company shall provide the Township with an initial grant in the amount of $12,000. Such amount shall be paid to the Township within 60 days following the receipt of a certified copy of the adoption of this consent ordinance and its acceptance by the company, or within 30 days of the grant of the certificate from the Board, whichever comes first. In addition, beginning in the second year of the municipal consent and annually thereafter through the ten-year term of the franchise, Cablevision shall, upon written request, pay a grant to the Township in the amount of $3,000 in each of the following years of the term of the ordinance (the "annual grant"). The annual grant may be used by the Township for any cable- and/or other telecommunications-related purpose as the Township, in its discretion, may deem appropriate. Cablevision shall not be obligated to make any additional payments beyond year 10 of the franchise. The annual grant shall be payable to the Township within 60 days from receipt of the Township's written request. Notwithstanding the foregoing, should Cablevision apply for a system-wide certification or otherwise convert its municipal consent to a system-wide certification in accordance with applicable law, it shall be relieved of any payments due and owing after the date of such conversion or award of a system-wide franchise.
E. 
All PEG access support provided by Cablevision shall be for the exclusive use of the company's customers in the municipality.

§ A411-22 Incorporation of application.

All of the commitments contained in the application and any amendment thereto submitted in writing to the Township by the company, except as modified herein, are binding upon Cablevision as terms and conditions of this consent. The application and any other written amendments thereto submitted by Cablevision in connection with this consent are incorporated in this ordinance by reference and made a part hereof, except as specifically modified, changed, limited, or altered by this ordinance, or to the extent that they conflict with state or federal law.

§ A411-23 Consistency with applicable laws.

This consent shall be construed in a manner consistent with all applicable federal, state and local laws.