[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Old Bridge 5-21-2018 by Ord. No. 2018-13. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance superseded former Ch. A600, Cable Television Franchise, adopted 2-6-2012 by Ord. No. 2014-04.
For the purpose of this chapter, 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.
- 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 chapter.
- The Board of Public Utilities of the State of New Jersey or its successor agency.
- CSC TKR, LLC, d/b/a Cablevision of Raritan Valley ("Cablevision"), the grantee of rights under this chapter.
- 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.
- 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 governing body of the Township of Old Bridge in the County of Middlesex and the State of New Jersey.
Editor's Note: "Terms defined above" refers to terms defined in the preamble to this ordinance, which are also defined in this section.
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 cable television system or other communications facility and for the provision of any communications service over such facilities. 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 10 years from the date of issuance of a certificate of approval by the Board.
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. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-25.1, both the Township and Cablevision shall be bound by the terms of this municipal consent until such time as Cablevision converts the municipal consent (and any certificate of approval) into a system-wide franchise.
The consent granted under this chapter 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 or business within the portion of the franchise territory, as described in the application for municipal consent, at Cablevision's schedule of rates for standard and nonstandard installation.
Commercial and residential entities will be proffered service in accordance with the company's line extension policy as identified in the application.
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; provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed to permit the Township to require payment of a franchise fee by Cablevision that is higher than the fee paid by all other cable television service providers offering service in the municipality.
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.
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: 1) one standard installation per school or library; 2) one cable modem per installation; and 3) basic cable modem service for the term of this chapter 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.
Upon written request from the Township, the company shall provide to one municipally owned facility, without charge, the following: 1) one standard installation; 2) one cable modem per installation; and 3) basic cable modem service for the term of this chapter 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.
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 cable plant and facilities in the Township:
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.
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 the company's own expense.
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 for the performance of other work. The expense of any such temporary removal or relocation shall be paid in advance to the company by the requesting party, except when requested by the Township of Old Bridge, in which case the company shall bear the cost. In such cases, the company shall be given not less than 14 days' prior written notice in order to arrange for the changes required.
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.
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.
Cablevision agrees to maintain and keep in full 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.
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 all undertakings of the company as represented in its application and incorporated herein.
The rates of the company for cable television service shall be subject to regulation to the extent permitted by federal and state law.
Cablevision shall implement a senior citizen discount in the amount of 10% off the monthly broadcast basic level of cable television service rate to any person 62 years of age or older, who subscribes to cable television services provided by the company, 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 the Aged and Disabled program pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4D-21; and
The senior discount herein relates only to the broadcast basic level of cable television service and shall not apply to any additional service, feature, or equipment offered by the company, including any 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; and
The company shall have no further obligation to provide the senior discount herein in the event that 1) the company converts the municipal consent granted herein to a system-wide franchise in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-25.1, or 2) upon Board approval of a certification that another cable television service provider offering services to residents of the Township files, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-30d, is capable of serving 60% or more of the households within the Township. In the event the company does cease providing a senior discount pursuant to this provision, it shall comply with all notice requirements of applicable law.
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.
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.
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, 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.
Upon expiration, termination or revocation of this chapter, 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 cable 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 services available to the residents of the Township as described in the application for municipal consent. All Cablevision support for PEG access shall be for the exclusive benefit of Cablevision's subscribers.
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.
Cablevision shall have discretion to determine the format and method of transmission of the PEG access programming provided for in this § A600-21.
Cablevision shall construct and maintain a fiber access return lines at One Old Bridge Plaza, for use by the Township in the production of noncommercial educational and governmental access programming on the cable system.
In consideration for the rights granted in this chapter, Cablevision shall provide the Township with 1) an initial grant payment of $10,800 payable within 90 days of the issuance of the certificate of approval by the Board of Public Utilities (the "initial grant"), and 2) a grant up to $79,200 provided in annual installments of $8,800 each, upon written request by the Township (the "annual grant"). Each installment of the annual grant shall be payable to the Township annually during the term of this franchise, within 90 days from receipt of the Township's written request. Cablevision shall not be obligated to make any additional payments beyond year 10 of this franchise term.
The Township agrees that the initial grant and the annual grant provided pursuant to Subsection E shall be used by the Township for any cable and/or other telecommunications-related purpose and/or for the exclusive support of PEG access programming, such as the purchase and/or rental of PEG access equipment and facilities. On request, the Township shall provide Cablevision with a certification of compliance with this § A600-21F.
The company shall have no further obligation to provide any PEG grant payments due and payable after the date upon which the company converts the municipal consent granted herein to a system-wide franchise in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-25.1.
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 chapter by reference and made a part hereof, except as specifically modified, changed, limited, or altered by this chapter, 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, as such laws, rules and regulations may be amended from time to time.
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion of this chapter 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.
Notices required under this chapter shall be in writing and shall be mailed, first class, postage prepaid, to the addresses below. Either party may change the place where notice is to be given by providing such change in writing at least 30 days prior to the time such change becomes effective. The time to respond to notices under this chapter shall run from receipt of such written notice.
This chapter shall take effect upon issuance of a certificate of approval as issued by the Board of Public Utilities that incorporates the material terms of this chapter. Nothing herein shall alter the right of the company to seek modification of this chapter in accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-47 and N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.7. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 48:5A-25.1, the terms of this chapter will no longer be in effect upon Cablevision converting the municipal consent (and any certificate of approval) into a system-wide franchise.