[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Jackson 3-11-2008 by Ord. No. 10-08 (Ch. A150 of the 1972 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
WHEREAS, the governing body of the Township of Jackson (hereinafter referred to as the "Township") determined that Cablevision of Monmouth, Inc., (hereinafter referred to as "the company" or "Cablevision") has the technical competence and general fitness to operate a cable system in the Township, and by prior ordinance granted its municipal consent for Cablevision to obtain a nonexclusive franchise for the placement of facilities and the establishment of a cable television system in the Township; and
WHEREAS, by application for renewal consent filed with the Township and the Office of Cable Television on or about December 10, 2003, Cablevision has sought a renewal of the franchise; and
WHEREAS, the Township having held public hearings has made due inquiry to review Cablevision's performance under the franchise, and to identify the Township's future cable-related needs and interests and has concluded that Cablevision has substantially complied with its obligations under the franchise and has committed to certain undertakings responsive to the Township's future cable-related needs and interests; and
WHEREAS, the governing body of the Township has accordingly concluded that the consent should be renewed subject to the requirements set forth below; and that, provided Cablevision's proposal for renewal complies with the requirements set forth below, the Township's municipal consent to the renewal of the franchise should be given;
WHEREAS, the imposition by the Township of similar burdens and costs upon franchise competitors is assumed by both parties;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Jackson, County of Ocean, and State of New Jersey, as follows:
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., and any subsequent amendment thereto.
- 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.
- The Board of Public Utilities of the State of New Jersey or its successor agency.
- Cablevision of Monmouth, Inc. (Cablevision), the grantee of rights under this ordinance.
- 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.
- Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, or organization of any kind.
- STANDARD INSTALLATION
- The installation of drop cable to a customer's premise 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.
- 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. 14:18-1.1 et seq., or as such regulations may be amended.
- The streets, avenues, highways, parks, parkways, driveways, concourses, boulevards, bridges, viaducts, tunnels, public places, or any property to which the Township has title or over which the public has an easement or right-of-way.
- The lines, fixtures, equipment, attachments and all the appurtenances thereto of whatsoever kind, which are used or intended for use in the construction, operation, maintenance and transmission of audio, video and/or other signals by the cable company herein authorized.
- The governing body of the Township of Jackson in the County of Ocean, and the State of New Jersey.
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.
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 system. Operation and construction, pursuant to said consent, is conditioned upon prior approval of the Board of Public Utilities.
This consent granted herein shall be nonexclusive and shall be for a term of 15 years from the date of issuance of a certificate of approval by the Board.
If Cablevision seeks a renewal of the consent provided herein, 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.
The consent granted under this ordinance to Cablevision shall apply to the entirety of the Township and any property hereafter annexed.
Cablevision shall be required to proffer video programming service along any public right-of-way to any person's residence within the portion of the franchise territory, as described in the application for municipal consent, at tariffed rates for standard and nonstandard installation.
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.
Cablevision shall pay to the Township an annual franchise fee, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-30.
Cablevision shall, upon request, provide free of charge, one standard installation and monthly cable television reception service to all state or locally accredited public elementary and secondary schools and all municipal public libraries, each police building, fire station, and first aid building as well as municipal buildings located within the Township that are used for municipal governmental purposes.
Upon written request from the Township, the company shall provide to state and locally accredited elementary and secondary schools and municipal public libraries in the Township, without charge, the following: one standard installation per school or library; one cable modem per installation; and, basic Internet service via cable modem for the term of this ordinance for each installation. This offer shall be subject to the terms, conditions and use policies of the company, as those policies may exist from time to time; provided, however, that these changes in policy affect only changes in use, and not the elimination of the free service provided for herein.
Upon written request from the Township, the company shall provide to Jackson Town Hall, without charge, the following: one standard installation; one cable modem per installation; and basic Internet via cable modem service for the term of this ordinance for each installation. This offer shall be subject to the terms, conditions and use policies of the company as those policies may exist from time to time; provided, however, that these changes in policy affect only changes in use, and not the elimination of the free service provided for herein.
All transmission and distribution structures, lines end equipment erected or operated by the company within the Township shall be located and operated so as to cause the minimal interference with the rights or reasonable convenience of property owners adjoining any of said streets, alleys or other public ways and places of location or operation.
Restoration. In the event that the company or its agents shall disturb any pavement, street surfaces, sidewalks, driveways or other surfaces in the natural topography, the company shall, at its sole expense, restore and replace such places or things so disturbed in as good condition as existed prior to the commencement of said work.
Relocation. If at any time during the period of this consent, the Township 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, relay and relocate its equipment at the expense of the company.
Placement of fixtures. The company shall not place or operate any fixture or equipment in such locations as will or may interfere with any other public or private utility system or any part thereof, and the location by the company of its lines and equipment shall be in such manner as not to interfere with the usual travel or use of said streets, alleys and public or private ways or places and the use and enjoyment thereof by all of such public and private utility companies, or the owner of such places.
Temporary removal of cables. The company shall, upon request of the Township, at the company's sole expense, temporarily raise, lower or remove its lines in order to facilitate the moving of buildings or machinery or in other like circumstances. If by private request, the party requesting same shall be responsible for the company's expenses.
Removal or trimming of trees. During the exercise of its rights and privileges under this franchise, the company shall be responsible for the trimming of 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 and cables of the company. Such trimming shall be only to the extent necessary to maintain proper clearance for the company's facilities.
Restoration of landscaping. The company shall restore all landscaping, streets, etc., to prior condition for any installation, retrofit and/or maintenance without additional costs to the owner.
Cablevision shall comply with the technical and customer service standards established for the cable industry under applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations.
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.
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.
The company agrees to maintain and keep in full force and effect at its sole expense 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 $1,000,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person; $1,000,000 for property damage resulting from any one accident; $1,000,000 for all other types of liability; $5,000,000 umbrella excess liability; and worker's compensation with statutory limits. Such coverage shall be written by a company or companies authorized and qualified to do business in the State of New Jersey. Upon written request, certificates of all such policies shall be promptly filed by the company with the Township.
Cablevision shall obtain and maintain, at its sole cost and expense, during the entire term of this ordinance, a bond in form acceptable 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.
The rates of the company for cable television services shall be subject to regulation to the extent permitted by federal and state law.
Senior citizen discount.
Cablevision shall implement a senior citizen discount in the amount of 25% off the monthly rate of the broadcast basic level of cable television reception service to any person 62 years of age of older who subscribes to the company's cable television service, subject to the following:
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; and
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 Aged and Disabled (PAAD) program in the state pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4D-21; and
The senior citizen discount herein relates only to the broadcast basic level of cable television service, and shall not apply to any subscribers receiving service under a bulk arrangement, or to any additional service, feature, or equipment offered by the company, including premium channel services and pay-per-view services; and
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.
Cablevision may, at its sole discretion and without prior notice to the Town, eliminate the senior citizen discount specified herein under any one of the following conditions:
The company is required to increase the franchise fee in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-30d, which increase, if required, would automatically set aside a portion of the franchise fee to fund cable television services for low-income senior citizens; or
Cablevision obtains a system-wide franchise in the Township under the Cable Television Act; or
The company is no longer legally required to offer the current twenty-five-percent senior citizen discount in neighboring Howell and Lakewood Townships. If Cablevision is legally obligated to provide a reduced discount in those two neighboring communities, the company shall offer residents of the Township at least the senior citizen discount required in Howell and Lakewood; or
Any other provision of applicable law that would permit Cablevision to eliminate the senior citizen discount specified herein.
[Amended 3-23-2010 by Ord. No. 09-10]
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 the 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cablevision shall continue to make available noncommercial public, educational and governmental (PEG) access as described in the application for municipal consent.
Upon written request by the Township, Cablevision shall install two fiber access return feeds at municipally designated buildings. Upon completion of the installations, Cablevision shall provide the Township, in lieu of the regional PEG channel described in the application, with its own designated channel, which the Township will use exclusively for education and government access.
The Township agrees that Cablevision shall retain the right to use the any public, education or government access channel, or portion thereof, for non-PEG access programming during times when the Township is not utilizing the channel capacity for purposes of providing access programming. In the event that the company uses the access channel for the presentation of such other programming, the access programming shall remain the priority use and the company's rights with respect to using the channel for non-access programming shall be subordinate to the Township's provision of access programming on such channel.
In consideration for the rights granted in this ordinance, the company shall provide the Township with an initial grant in the amount of $7,500. Such amount shall be paid to the Township within 60 days following 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 fifteen-year term of the franchise, Cablevision shall pay a grant to the Township in the amount of $4,300 in each of the following years of the term of the ordinance within 30 days of the anniversary date of the date of adoption of the ordinance (the annual grant). The amount of the annual grant shall be increased to $8,800 if prior to the date said annual grant is payable, the company has eliminated or reduced the senior citizen discount in accordance with § A510-18B(2)(c) or (d). 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 15 of the franchise.
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 such system-wide certification is granted by the Board of Public Utilities with the exception of the initial grant of $7,500 as provided above, which shall, in all cases, remain due and payable if the Township adopts its municipal consent prior to September 1, 2008.
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.
This consent shall be construed in a manner consistent with all applicable federal, state and local laws.
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion of this ordinance is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision, and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portion thereof.
This ordinance shall take effect upon issuance of a certificate of approval as issued by the Board of Public Utilities.