A written application shall be filed with the Township for a grant of an initial franchise, renewal of a franchise under either the formal or informal procedures in accordance with § 626 of the Cable Act, 47 U.S.C. § 546, or modification of a franchise agreement pursuant to this chapter or a franchise agreement.
To be acceptable for filing, a signed original of the application shall be submitted. The application must conform to any applicable requests for proposals and contain all required information. All applicants shall include the names and addresses of persons authorized to act on behalf of the applicant with respect to the application.
All applications accepted for filing shall be made available by the Township for public inspection.
A person may apply for an initial franchise by submitting a request for issuance of a request for proposals (RFP) and requesting an evaluation of that proposal pursuant to Subsection D hereof. Upon receipt of a request for an RFP from an applicant seeking a franchise to provide cable service, the Township shall commence a proceeding to identify the relevant future needs and interests of the community and, upon completion of that proceeding, shall promptly issue an RFP and proposed franchise agreement, which shall be mailed to the person requesting its issuance and made available to any other interested party. The applicant shall respond within the time directed by the Township, providing the information and material set forth in Subsection C hereof. The procedures, instructions and requirements set forth in the RFP shall be followed by each applicant as if set forth and required herein. The Township Manager, or his/her designee, shall be authorized to seek additional information from any applicant and to establish deadlines for the submission of that information.
An RFP for the grant of an initial franchise shall require, and an unsolicited proposal shall contain, at minimum, the following information:
The name and address of the applicant and identification of the ownership and control of the applicant, including the names and addresses of the 10 largest holders of an ownership interest in the applicant and affiliates of the applicant and all persons with 5% or more ownership interest in the applicant and its affiliates; the persons who control the applicant and its affiliates; all officers and directors of the applicant and its affiliates; and any other business affiliation and cable system ownership interest in each named person.
A demonstration of the applicant's technical ability to construct and/or operate the proposed cable system.
A demonstration of the applicant's legal qualifications to construct and/or operate the proposed cable system, including but not limited to a demonstration that the applicant meets the following criteria:
The applicant must not have submitted an application for an initial or renewal franchise to the Township which was denied on the grounds that the applicant failed to propose a cable system meeting the cable-related needs and interests of the community or as to which any challenges to such franchising decision were finally resolved adversely to the applicant, within three years preceding the submission of the application.
The applicant must not have had any franchise validly revoked by any franchising authority within three years preceding the submission of the application.
The applicant must have the necessary authority under federal or Pennsylvania law to offer cable service.
A franchise will not be issued to an applicant that may not hold the franchise as a matter of law. An applicant must have, or show that it is qualified to obtain, the necessary federal licenses or waivers required to operate the cable system proposed.
The Township may, in its sole discretion, refuse to issue a franchise if, at any time during the 10 years preceding the submission of the application, the applicant was convicted of any act or omission of such character that the applicant cannot be relied upon to deal truthfully with the Township and the subscribers of the cable system or to substantially comply with its lawful obligations under applicable law, including obligations under consumer protection laws and laws prohibiting anticompetitive acts, fraud, racketeering or other similar conduct.
An applicant shall not be issued a franchise if it files materially misleading information in response to an RFP issued by the Township, or intentionally withholds information that the applicant lawfully is required to provide.
An applicant shall not be issued a franchise if an elected official of the Township holds a controlling interest in the applicant or an affiliate of the applicant.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Township shall provide an opportunity to an applicant to show that it would be inappropriate to deny it a franchise under Subsection C(3)(b) or (e) by virtue of particular circumstances surrounding the matter and the steps taken by the applicant to cure all harms flowing therefrom, the lack of involvement of the applicant's principals or the remoteness of the matter from the operation of cable systems.
A statement prepared by a certified public accountant regarding the applicant's financial ability to complete the construction and operation of the cable system proposed.
A description of the applicant's prior experience in cable system ownership, construction and operation, and, if cable service is proposed, identification of communities in which the applicant or any of its principals have, or have had a cable television franchise or license or any interest therein.
Identification of the area of the Township to be served by the proposed cable system, including a description of the proposed franchise area's boundaries.
A detailed description of the physical facilities proposed, including channel capacity, technical design, performance characteristics, headend and access facilities.
Where applicable, a description of the construction of the proposed cable system, including an estimate of plant mileage and its location, the proposed construction schedule, a description, where appropriate, of how services will be converted from existing facilities to new facilities and information on the availability of space in conduits, including, where appropriate, an estimate of the cost of any necessary rearrangement of existing facilities.
The proposed rate structure, including projected charges for each service tier, installation, converters and other equipment or services, as applicable.
If cable service is proposed, demonstration of how the applicant's offer to provide cable service will reasonably meet the future cable-related needs and interests of the community, including descriptions of how the proposal will meet the needs described in any recent community needs assessment conducted by or for the Township, and how the proposal will provide adequate public, educational and governmental access channel capacity, facilities or financial support to meet the community's needs and interests.
If an applicant proposes to provide cable service to an area already served by an existing cable service franchisee, the identification of the area where the overbuild would occur, the potential subscriber density in the area the would encompass the overbuild and the ability of the streets to accommodate an additional cable system.
Any other information as may be reasonably necessary to demonstrate compliance with the Cable Act and the requirements of this chapter.
Information that the Township may request of the applicant that is relevant to the Township's consideration of the application.
An affidavit or declaration of the applicant or authorized officer certifying the truth and accuracy of the information in the application, acknowledging the enforceability of application commitments and certifying that the proposal meets all federal and state law requirements.
In evaluating an application for an initial franchise seeking authority to provide cable service, the Township shall consider, among other things, the following factors:
Whether the applicant has the financial, technical and legal qualifications to provide cable service.
Whether the applicant's proposal is reasonable to meet the future cable-related needs and interests of the community, taking into account the cost of meeting such needs and interests.
Whether, to the extent not considered as part of Subsection D(4) of this article, the applicant will provide adequate public, educational and governmental access channel capacity, facilities or financial support.
Whether the applicant or an affiliate of the applicant owns or controls any other cable system in the Township, or whether grant of the application may eliminate or reduce competition in the delivery of cable service or telecommunications service in the Township.
If the Township finds that it is in the public interest to issue a franchise considering the factors set forth above, it shall issue a franchise, subject to the applicant's entry into a franchise agreement. If the Township denies a franchise, it shall issue a written decision explaining why the franchise was denied. Prior to deciding whether to issue or not to issue a franchise, the Township may hold one or more public hearings or implement other procedures under which comments from the public on an applicant's proposal may be received. The Township also may grant or deny a request for a franchise based on its review of an application without further proceedings and may reject any application which is incomplete or fails to respond to an RFP. This chapter is not intended and shall not be interpreted to grant any applicant or existing franchisee standing to challenge the issuance of a franchise to another.
If the Township grants a franchise subject to the applicant's entry into a franchise agreement, the Township and the franchisee shall agree on the terms of a franchise agreement within 60 calendar days from the date of the Township resolution granting the franchise. This period may be extended for good cause by the Township. If agreement is not reached with the Township within 60 calendar days from the date of the Township resolution granting the franchise, or if the period is not extended by the Township, the franchise will be null and void without further action by the Township. The Township shall approve or disapprove the proposed agreement by resolution or may direct that it be subject to further negotiation.
Renewals of a franchise authorizing the construction, operation and maintenance of a cable system and provision of cable service in the Township shall be conducted in accordance with Section 626 of the Cable Act, 47 U.S.C. § 546.
If renewal of a franchise is denied and the Township does not purchase the cable system or approve or effect a transfer of the cable system to another person, the Township may require the former franchisee to remove its facilities and equipment at the former franchisee's expense. If the former franchisee fails to do so within a reasonable period of time, the Township may remove the cable system at the former franchisee's expense.
A franchisee may, at any time while the franchise and franchise agreement are in effect, submit an application for a modification of a franchise agreement, and the application shall include the following information:
The specific modification requested, including proposed language for the revised franchise agreement.
A statement whether the modification is sought pursuant to Section 625 of the Cable Act, 47 U.S.C. § 545, and, if so, a demonstration that the requested modification meets the standards set forth in 47 U.S.C. § 545.
Any other information that the franchisee believes is necessary for the Township to make an informed determination on the application for modification.
An affidavit or declaration of the applicant or authorized officer certifying the truth and accuracy of the information in the application and certifying that the application is consistent with all federal and state law requirements.
The Township grants to the franchisee under the Cable Act and this chapter a non-exclusive franchise authorizing the franchisee to construct and operate a cable system in, along, among, upon, across, above, over, under, or in any manner connected with public rights-of-way within the franchise area, and for the purpose of erecting, installing, constructing, repairing, replacing, reconstructing, maintaining, or retaining, on, over, under, upon, across, or along any public rights-of-way and all extensions thereof and additions thereto, such poles, wires, cables, conductors, ducts, conduits, vaults, manholes, pedestals, amplifiers, appliances, attachments, and other related property or equipment as may be necessary or appurtenant to the cable system. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the franchisee from offering any service over its cable system that is not prohibited by federal or state law.
No person may construct or operate a cable system over, on, or under public streets in the Township without a franchise granted by the Township unless otherwise authorized by law, and no person may be granted a franchise without having entered into a franchise agreement with the Township pursuant to this chapter.
For the purpose of constructing, operating and maintaining a cable system in the Township, a franchisee may erect, install, construct, repair, replace, relocate, reconstruct and retain in, on, over, under, upon, across and along the streets within the Township such lines, cable, conductors, ducts, conduits, vaults, manholes, amplifiers, appliances, pedestals, attachments and other property and equipment as are necessary and appurtenant to the operation of the cable system.
The franchisee shall construct and maintain the cable system so as not to interfere with other uses of the streets. The franchisee shall endeavor to make use of existing poles and other facilities available to the franchisee where feasible.
By entering into a franchise agreement with the Township under this chapter, the franchisee automatically acknowledges the Board's right to grant additional franchises upon such terms and conditions as the Board deems appropriate.
A franchise shall commence upon written acceptance by the franchisee, as required by this chapter, and shall remain in full force and effect for the period determined by the Board and franchisee in a franchise agreement, unless and until renewed, revoked or terminated prior to the end of its term, as herein provided.
A franchise granted under this chapter shall include such portions within the territorial borders of the Township, as the Board shall approve. In the event of annexation by the Township, the franchisee shall use every reasonable effort in its best business judgment to provide service to the new territory.
The franchisee's rights are subject to the police powers of the Township to adopt and enforce ordinances necessary to the health, safety and welfare of the public. The franchisee shall comply with all applicable general laws and ordinances enacted by the Township pursuant to that power.
The Township has the right to install and maintain, free of charge, upon the poles and within the underground pipes and conduits of the franchisee, any wires and fixtures required by the Township to the extent that: such installation and maintenance does not interfere with the existing and future operations of the franchisee; the structures of the franchisee can accommodate the additional proposed facilities; and provided that such wires and fixtures required by the Township are not used to deliver cable service to subscribers within the Township. This provision shall not be understood or interpreted to require the franchisee to construct and/or place additional aerial or underground structures, ducts, conduits, or poles to accommodate the Township's facilities.
All notices, reports or demands required to be given by either the Township or a franchisee under this chapter in connection with any franchise granted by the Board pursuant hereto shall be deemed to be given when delivered, in writing, either personally to the person designated by the franchisee, or when five days have elapsed after it is deposited in the United States mail in a sealed envelope, with registered or certified mail postage prepaid thereon, or on the next business day if sent by express mail or overnight air courier addressed to the parties to whom the notice is being given, as follows:
Such addresses may be changed by the Township or the franchisee upon notice to the other party given as provided in this section.