Township of Byram, NJ
Sussex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Byram 2-4-1991 by Ord. No. 1-1991.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. A286, Cable Television Franchise, adopted 3-1-1978.
This ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the "Service Electric Cable Television of New Jersey, Inc., Franchise Ordinance."
A. 
For the purpose of this ordinance, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the plural include the singular, and words in the singular include the plural.
B. 
The following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BOARD
The Board of Public Utilities of the State of New Jersey.
CABLE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM
Any communications service other than cable television reception service delivered through the facilities of a CATV system and for which charges in addition to or other than those made for cable television reception service are made or proposed to be made.
CABLE TELEVISION COMPANY OR CATV COMPANY
Any person owning, controlling, operating or managing a cable television system. The term "person," as used herein, shall be construed, without limiting the generality thereof, to include specifically any agency or instrumentality of this state or of any of its political subdivisions; but this definition shall not include a telephone, telegraph or electric utility company regulated by the Board in a case where it merely leases or rents or otherwise provides to a CATV company wires, conduits, cables or pole space used in the redistribution of television signals to or toward subscribers or customers of such CATV company.
CABLE TELEVISION SYSTEM or CATV SYSTEM
Any facility within this state which is operated or intended to be operated to perform the service of receiving and amplifying the signals broadcast by one or more television stations and redistributing such signals by wire, cable or other device or means for accomplishing such redistribution to members of the public who subscribe to such service or distributing through its facility any television signals, whether broadcast or not, or any part of such facility. The term "facility," as used in this definition, includes all real property, antennas, poles, wires, cables, conduits, amplifiers, instruments, appliances, fixtures and other personal property used by a CATV company in providing service to its subscribers and customers.
COMPANY
The grantee of rights under this ordinance awarding a franchise and known as "Service Electric Cable Television of New Jersey, Inc."
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., or as that statute may be amended.
FEDERAL REGULATIONS
Those federal regulations relating to cable television service, 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.
HIGHWAY
Includes every street, road, alley, thoroughfare, way or place of any kind used by the public or open to use by the public.
PERSON
Any natural person, firm, partnership, associates, corporation, company or organization of any kind.
STATE ACT
That statute of the State of New Jersey relating to cable television, commonly known as the "Cable Television Act," N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq., or as that statute may be amended.
STATE REGULATIONS
Those regulations of the Board relating to cable television, N.J.A.C. 14:14-1.1 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 14:18-1 et seq., or as such regulations may be amended.
SUBSCRIBER REVENUES
Those revenues derived from the monthly service charges paid by subscribers located within the Township for cable television reception and fees for reconnections, inspection, repairs or modifications of any installations. "Subscriber revenues" shall also not include any revenues received:
(1) 
As reimbursement of expense in the operation of any access channels;
(2) 
As advertising payments;
(3) 
From the leasing of cable channels;
(4) 
From programs for which a per-channel or per-program charge is made; and
(5) 
From furnishing other communications and nonbroadcast services, either directly or as a carrier for another party.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of Byram, County of Sussex in the State of New Jersey.
A public hearing concerning the franchise herein granted to the company was held after proper public notice pursuant to the terms and conditions of the state Act. Said hearing having been held as above stated and said hearing having been fully open to the public, and the Township having received at said hearing all comments regarding the qualifications of the company to receive this franchise, 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 Township therefore grants the company a franchise, right and privilege to construct, erect, operate, modify and maintain in, upon, along, across, above, over and under the highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, public ways and public places now laid out or dedicated and all extensions thereof and additions thereto such poles, wires, cables, underground conduits, manholes and other television conductors and fixtures necessary for the maintenance and operation in the Township of a cable television system and cable communications system for the purpose of distributing television and radio signals and other electronic impulses in order to furnish television and radio programs and various communications and other electronic services to the public. The right so granted includes the right to use and occupy said highways, streets, alleys, public ways and public places and all manner of easements for the purposes herein set forth as provided by the federal Act and state Act.
[Amended 6-7-2010 by Ord. No. 8-2010]
A. 
The franchise term to which the Township shall grant consent shall be for a period of 10 years commencing on the effective date of this ordinance. The parties recognize that the previous franchise agreement between them expired on February 27, 2001. but stipulate that all services required to be provided by the company were so provided beyond February 27, 2001, and continue to be provided to the Township residents without interruption. The company further agrees to extend service to the entire Township and to build out all uncabled areas of the Township in accordance with its line extension policy.
B. 
In the event the company breaches its responsibilities herein, the Township reserves the right to seek redress administratively through the Board of Public Utilities or at law in a court of competent jurisdiction.
C. 
The company will restore any property damaged by the installation of its wires or facilities to its original condition at its own cost and expense. In the event it fails to restore said property upon the receipt of 30 days' written notice by the Township to do so, the Township may withdraw a portion of the performance bond posted with the Township to compensate the owner for the restoration cost. In the event said funds are withdrawn, the company shall restore the balance of the performance bond of $25,000 upon 30 days' written notice by the Township to do so.
The consent granted under this ordinance to the renewal of the franchise shall apply to the entirety of the Township.
[Amended 6-7-2010 by Ord. No. 8-2010]
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 to its cable television reception service in the Township or such other amount as may be fixed by law.
[Amended 6-7-2010 by Ord. No. 8-2010]
The Township acknowledges that, under the federal Act, municipalities do not have the authority to regulate the rates the company charges subscribers for its services. In the event the federal Act and other applicable law hereinafter is amended to permit the exercise of regulatory power over rates by municipalities, the Township reserves the right to exercise the maximum power permitted by law.
[Amended 6-7-2010 by Ord. No. 8-2010]
A. 
Local office; complaint procedures.
(1) 
During the term of this franchise and any renewal term, the company shall maintain a local business office or agent, within the county of Sussex, for the purpose of receiving and resolving all complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunctions and similar matters. The local office shall be open to receive inquiries or complaints and to receive payments of bills from subscribers during normal business hours, and in no event less than 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Any complaints from subscribers shall be investigated as soon as possible, but at least within two business days of their receipt. The company shall keep a maintenance service log in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:18-6.7.
(2) 
The company shall comply with any and all requirements of the New Jersey Office of Cable Television (OCT) or other regulatory bodies, with respect to telephone accessibility, facilities and personnel, and shall use its best efforts to comply with any OCT guidelines relating to the foregoing.
(3) 
The company shall continue to maintain a telephone number by which subscribers wishing to communicate with the company for any reason can reach it by a toll-free telephone call 24 hours per day, seven days a week, for such toll-free number, and the same shall be published on every monthly bill and in its monthly cable guide and in the other public information which the company disseminates to subscribers in the Township. All services provided to subscribers that are not completed within the regular office hours designated shall be considered to be emergency services.
(4) 
In the event that the company requires the converter or other equipment provided to a subscriber to be exchanged in order for such subscriber to maintain his or her current level of service, the company shall cause such exchange to be effected by delivery of the equipment to the subscriber's home (and to the extent necessary, on a weekend), at no cost to the subscriber.
(5) 
The company shall provide within its cable guide each month in which it causes any such guide to be published, by means of its televised bulletin boards (or any other channels it uses for announcements) and commercials at reasonable intervals, by press releases at reasonable intervals for delivery to local newspapers distributed in the Township or by other means which are reasonable in quantity and quality information, informing subscribers and potential subscribers of the most efficient procedures and telephone numbers for requesting installation, repairs and the addition or deletion of services, for addressing billing problems and for reporting comments or complaints.
(6) 
At the request of the Township, the company and the Township's designee shall meet at least annually to review all matters relating to cable television in the Township, with the minutes of such meeting to be delivered to the company and to be filed with the Township.
(7) 
In addition to the other requirements of this section, the New Jersey Office of Cable Television (OCTV) is hereby designated as the complaint officer required by N.J.S.A. 48:5A-26 to receive and act upon complaints by subscribers to cable television reception service provided pursuant to this franchise.
(8) 
Nothing herein shall impair the right of any subscriber or the Township to express any comment or complaint with respect to telephone accessibility to the complaint officer (as designated herein) or impair the right of the complaint officer to take any action which is appropriate under law.
B. 
Extension of service.
(1) 
The company shall be required to proffer service to any person's residence or business located in the Township in accordance with its line extension policy which is promulgated as a regulation by the OCT and which is more specifically outlined in the company's tariff which has been provided to the Township.
(2) 
The Company shall continue to provide cable television installation and service in accordance with § A286-18.
C. 
Facilities and equipment.
(1) 
In transmitting its television signals to subscribers in the Township, the company shall provide a quality of signal that is at least as good as that customarily provided under prevailing industry standards, and the company shall comply with any requirements imposed by the federal regulations, any federal pronouncements and, to the extent not preempted by federal law, any state pronouncements relating to technical standards for the transmission of television signals, transmission quality or facilities and equipment.
(2) 
The company shall cause any and all construction plans relating to work on any extension of the company plant or work which could have a significant impact on public works within the Township to be filed with the Township Engineer.
(a) 
Relocation of poles. In the event that at any time during the term of this ordinance the Township shall lawfully elect to alter or change the grade of any street, alley or other public way, the company, upon reasonable notice by the Township, shall, at its expense, remove, relay and relocate its poles, wires, cables, underground conduits, manholes and other fixtures.
(b) 
Temporary wire changes. The company shall, on the request of any person holding a valid building-moving permit issued by the Township, temporarily raise or lower its wires to permit the moving of buildings. The expense of such temporary removal, raising or lowering of wires shall be paid by the person requesting the same, and the company shall have the authority to require such payment in advance. The company shall be given not less than 10 days' advance notice to arrange for temporary wire changes.
(c) 
Tree trimming. The company shall have the authority to trim trees upon and overhanging streets, alleys, sidewalks and public places within the Township so as to prevent the branches of such trees from coming into contact with the wires and cables of the company. Such trimming shall be performed only to the extent necessary to maintain proper clearance for the company's wires and cables.
(d) 
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.
(e) 
Compliance with standards. All facilities and equipment of the company shall be constructed and maintained in accordance with the requirements and specifications of the applicable ordinances and regulations set forth by the Township and/or any other local, state or federal agencies.
[Amended 6-7-2010 by Ord. No. 8-2010]
The company shall provide public, educational and governmental (PEG) access channels and facilities in accordance with its application for renewal of municipal consent. Although nothing herein shall require the company to carry or transmit any particular television stations or programming source, the company shall provide the subscribers in the Township with at least the same broad categories of programming, in approximately the same quantity, as are now provided and which appear in the application.
[Amended 6-7-2010 by Ord. No. 8-2010]
To secure its faithful performance of its obligations and commitments under franchise, however granted, and during any renewal term, the company shall provide a performance bond in the penal sum of $25,000. Such bond shall specifically secure the faithful performance of all undertakings of the company as presented in the application and in the commitments.
[Amended 6-7-2010 by Ord. No. 8-2010]
A. 
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 municipality as an insured and insuring against loss by any such claim, suit, judgment, execution or demand, in the minimum amount of $1,000,000 combined single limit for bodily injury or death to one person and $500,000 for property damage resulting from any one accident, and an excess liability (or umbrella) policy in the amount of $10,000,000.
B. 
The contractor building the cable television line shall file a workers' compensation certificate of insurance with the Township Clerk prior to commencing the work.
The company shall have the authority to promulgate such rules, regulations, terms and conditions governing the conduct of its business as shall be reasonably necessary to enable the company to exercise its rights and perform its obligations under this franchise and to assure uninterrupted service to each and all of its subscribers; provided, however, that such rules, regulations, terms and conditions shall not be in conflict with federal and/or state laws.
The company shall not sell or transfer its CATV system to another, nor transfer any rights under this franchise to another, except as provided in the state Act.
Any modification of existing and applicable FCC rules resulting from amendment thereto by the FCC shall, to the extent applicable, be considered as part of this franchise as of the effective date of the amendment made by the FCC and shall be incorporated in this franchise by specific amendments thereto by the lawful action of the Township Council within one year from the effective date of the FCC's amendment or at the time of renewal to this franchise, whichever occurs first.
This ordinance and franchise are subject to all provisions of the state Act and federal Act and to all lawful rules and regulations of the OCTV adopted pursuant thereto. The company shall at all times comply with the state regulations governing cable television operation, the state Act, the federal Act and any other. In the event of a conflict between the state Act and state regulations and any FCC rules and regulations, the FCC rules and regulations shall prevail.
The company shall not allow its cable or other operations to interfere with the television reception of persons not served by the company, nor shall the CATV system interfere with, obstruct or hinder in any manner the operation of the various utilities serving the residents of the Township.
All of the statements and commitments contained in the application and any amendment thereto or otherwise submitted, in writing, by the company to the Township or the Advisory Committee, except as modified herein, are binding upon the any as terms and conditions of this consent. The application and any other relevant writings submitted by the company shall be annexed hereto and made a part hereof by reference.
[Amended 6-7-2010 by Ord. No. 8-2010]
The company shall provide services in accordance with its tariff for cable television service approved by the Board of Public Utilities on January 1, 2010. In addition, the company shall provide the following services to the Township of Byram free of charge:
A. 
Five cable connections to the Byram Township Municipal Building, including the Byram Township Police Department.
B. 
Two cable connections for the Byram Intermediate School.
C. 
Two cable connections for the Byram Lakes School.
D. 
One cable connection for the Byram Civic Center.
E. 
Three cable connections for the three Byram Township Fire Department buildings located at 225 Route 206, 34 Lee Hill Road and Lackawanna Drive.
F. 
One cable connection for the Lakeland Emergency Squad.
Subject to the requirements of the federal Act and approval by the Board, the Township reserves the power to amend any portion of this ordinance after public hearing for the purpose of requiring reasonable additions or greater standards of construction, operation, maintenance or otherwise on the part of the company. Said amendments shall be feasible and within the economic capabilities of the company.
[Amended 6-7-2010 by Ord. No. 8-2010]
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this ordinance is for any reason held invalid, preempted or unconstitutional by any court or federal or state agency of competent jurisdiction. such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision of this ordinance, and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions hereof.
Notwithstanding any specific mention of applicable federal or state statutes or regulations above, the company shall comply with all of the requirements of the federal Act, the federal regulations, the state Act and state regulations (to the extent not preempted) and any other valid statute, regulation, rule or promulgation.
Should any of the federal or state statutes, regulations or pronouncements applicable to the regulation of cable television be modified in any way, such modifications, to the extent that they embody required terms and conditions and meaningfully can be incorporated into this ordinance, shall be so incorporated, consistent with any applicable effective dates specified in such modification. To the extent that any such modification places limits on permissible terms and conditions and any provision of this ordinance becomes invalid by virtue of such modification, the preceding § A286-20 shall apply.
This ordinance shall take effect upon its final passage and publication according to law and as of the date upon which the Township receives written notification that the company accepts the provisions of this ordinance, including the commitments, whichever date occurs last.