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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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Duties of the commission in respect to cable television companies
Public Service (PBS) CHAPTER 48, ARTICLE 11
§ 215. Duties of the commission in respect to cable television
companies. The commission shall:

1. Develop and maintain a statewide plan for development of cable
television services, setting forth the objectives which the commission
deems to be of regional and state concern;

2. To the extent permitted by, and not contrary to applicable federal
law and rules and regulations:

(a) prescribe standards for procedures and practices which
municipalities shall follow in granting franchises, which standards
shall provide for (i) the issuance of a public invitation to compete for
the franchise; (ii) the filing of all franchise applications and related
documents as public records, with reasonable notice to the public that
such records are open to inspection and examination during reasonable
business hours; (iii) the holding of a public hearing, upon reasonable
notice to the public and the commission, at which the applicants and
their proposals shall be examined and members of the public and
interested parties are afforded a reasonable opportunity to express
their views thereon; (iv) the rendition of a written report by the
municipality, made available to the public, setting forth the reasons
for its decision in awarding the franchise; and (v) such other
procedural standards as the commission may deem necessary or appropriate
to assure maximum public participation and competition and to protect
the public interest;

(b) prescribe minimum standards for inclusion in franchises, including
maximum initial and renewal terms; minimum channel capacity; provisions
regarding access to, and facilities to make use of, channels for
education and public service programs; a requirement that no such
franchise may be exclusive; standards necessary or appropriate to
protect the interests of viewers of free broadcast television and the
public generally, which prohibit or limit cable television companies
from prohibiting or entering into agreements prohibiting the sale or
other transfer of rights for the simultaneous or subsequent transmission
over free broadcast television of any program originated or transmitted
over cable television; and such other standards for inclusion in
franchises as the commission shall deem necessary or appropriate to
protect the public interest;

(c) prescribe standards by which the franchising authority shall
determine whether an applicant possesses (i) the technical ability, (ii)
the financial ability, (iii) the good character, and (iv) other
qualifications necessary to operate a cable television system in the
public interest;

(d) prescribe standards for the construction and operation of cable
television systems, which standards shall be designed to promote (i)
safe, adequate and reliable service to subscribers, (ii) the
construction and operation of systems consistent with most advanced
state of the art, (iii) a construction schedule providing for maximum
penetration as rapidly as possible within the limitations of economic
feasibility, (iv) the construction of systems with the maximum
practicable channel capacity, facilities for local program origination,
facilities to provide service in areas conforming to various community
interests, facilities with the technical capacity for interconnection
with other systems within regions as established in the commission's
statewide plan and facilities capable of transmitting signals from
subscribers to the cable television company or to other points; and (v)
the prompt handling of inquiries, complaints and requests for repairs;

3. Provide advice and technical assistance to municipalities and
community organizations in matters relating to cable television
franchises and services;

4. Establish minimum specifications for equipment, service and safety
of cable television systems for use by municipalities;

5. Review and act upon applications for certificates of confirmation
in accordance with such standards as hereinafter provided;

6. Represent the interests of the people of the state before the
federal communications commission and other appropriate federal agencies
and make available information on communications developments at the
federal level;

7. Stimulate and encourage cooperative arrangements among
organizations, institutions and municipalities in the development of
regional, educational, instructional and public affairs programming

8. Cooperate with municipalities to facilitate undertaking of multiple
community cable television systems;

9. Encourage the creation of public and community groups, to organize,
seek chartering when appropriate, and request franchising for the
establishment of public, nonprofit and not-for-profit cable television

10. Maintain liaison with the communications industry and parties both
public and private, having an interest therein, other states and
agencies of this state to promote the rapid harmonious development of
cable television services as set forth in the legislative findings and

11. Undertake such studies as may be necessary to meet the
responsibilities and objectives of this article;

12. Implement the provisions of this article in a manner which is
cognizant of the differing financial and administrative capabilities of
companies of different sizes;

13. Encourage and cooperate with other state agencies that collect
information from cable television companies serving fewer than one
thousand subscribers to eliminate duplicative reporting requirements.