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In this Chapter, the following words and phrases have the meanings indicated in this Section. Words defined in Section 602 of the Cable Act have the meaning stated in the Cable Act unless this Section provides a different definition.
Access channel means any channel set aside under the franchise agreement for public use, educational use, or governmental use without a charge by the franchisee for channel usage. An access channel may be scheduled on a professional basis or may be operated so that any member of the general public may cablecast.
Application means a proposal to construct and operate a cable system within the County, transfer a franchise, renew a franchise, or modify a franchise. An application includes the initial proposal plus all subsequent amendments or supplements to the proposal and relevant correspondence.
Cable Act means the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, 47 U.S.C. §§ 521 et seq.
Cable system means a facility, consisting of a set of closed transmission paths and associated signal generation, reception, and control equipment that is designated to provide cable service which includes video programming and which is provided to multiple subscribers within the County. This term does not include:
(1) a facility that serves only to retransmit the television signals of one or more television broadcast stations;
(2) a facility that serves subscribers without using any public right-of-way;
(3) a facility of a common carrier that is subject, in whole or in part, to the provisions of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, except that the facility will be considered a cable system to the extent that it is used in the transmission of video programming directly to subscribers, unless the extent of such use is solely to provide interactive on- demand services;
(4) an open video system that complies with federal law; or
(5) any facilities of any electric utility used solely for operating its electric utility systems.
Cable service means the one-way transmission of video or other programming service to subscribers and any subscriber interaction provided in connection with that service.
Commission means the Cable Compliance Commission.
Community media organization means a nonprofit corporation that provides services to:
(1) support the production of local programming or the operation of local access channels, or both;
(2) serve viewers as well as program producers; and
(3) promote high quality productions, responsible and diverse points of view, and balance in subject matters.
Complaint means a complaint related to the provision of cable service.
Control of a franchisee or applicant means the legal or practical ability to exert actual working control over the affairs of the franchisee or applicant either directly or indirectly, whether by contractual agreement, majority ownership of an interest, any lesser ownership interest, or in any other manner.
County means Montgomery County, Maryland, except for the territory located in the municipalities of Barnesville, Brookville, Chevy Chase Village, Chevy Chase Section 3, The Town of Chevy Chase, Chevy Chase Section 5, Gaithersburg, Garrett Park, Glen Echo, Kensington, Laytonsville, Poolesville, Rockville, Somerset, Takoma Park, and Washington Grove.
Council means the County Council.
County Executive means the chief executive officer of the County or designee.
Fair market value means the price that a willing buyer would pay to a willing seller for a going concern based on the system valuation prevailing in the industry at the time but with no value allocated to the franchise itself.
FCC means the Federal Communications Commission.
Franchise means the right granted by the County to a franchisee to construct, maintain and operate a cable system over, on, or under streets, roads and all other public ways, easements and rights-of-way within all or specified areas of the County. The term does not include any license or permit that may be required by this Chapter or other laws, ordinances, or regulations of the County for the privilege of transacting and carrying on a business within the County or for disturbing the surface of any street or public thoroughfare.
Franchise agreement means an agreement entered into in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter between the County and a franchisee that sets forth the terms and conditions under which the franchise will be exercised.
Franchisee means any person granted a franchise under this Chapter.
Gross revenues means all of a cable operator’s revenues derived from the operation of the cable system to provide cable services.
Leased access channel means a channel designated in accordance with Section 612 of the Cable Act, for commercial use by persons unaffiliated with the franchisee.
Overbuild means a cable system constructed to serve any subscribers served by an existing cable system, including those parts of an existing system that will be constructed and activated by December 31, 1989 pursuant to a staging map filed with the County.
Participating municipality is a municipality that enters into an agreement with the County under which the County will administer a cable franchise granted by the municipality.
Person means any individual, corporation, partnership, association, joint venture, or organization of any kind and the lawful trustee, successor, assignee, transferee, or personal representative thereof.
Subscriber means the County or any person who is lawfully receiving, for any purpose or reason, any cable service, whether or not a fee is paid for that service.
System malfunction means an equipment or facility failure that results in the loss of satisfactory service on one or more channels. A malfunction is a major malfunction if it affects 11 or more subscribers.
Transfer of a franchise means any transaction in which:
(1) an ownership or other interest in a franchisee is transferred, directly or indirectly, from one person or group of persons to another person or group of persons so that control of the franchisee is transferred; or
(2) the rights held by the franchisee under a franchise agreement are transferred or assigned to another person or group of persons.
(3) The following transactions do not constitute a transfer of a franchise:
(A) A transaction among or between affiliates if:
(i) the initial franchisee provides an unconditional guarantee of performance by the new franchisee in a form acceptable to the County before the transaction closes;
(ii) the transferee agrees, in writing, before the transaction closes, that it will abide by and accept all terms of the franchise agreement and this Chapter, and that it will assume the obligations, liabilities, and responsibility for all acts and omissions, known and unknown, of the previous franchisee under the franchise agreement and this Chapter for all purposes, including renewal;
(iii) the initial franchisee has no uncured defaults from the time of the notice through the date of closing of the transaction; and,
(iv) the initial franchisee has provided the County at least 90 days notice and has responded completely to all information requests from the County;
(B) A sale of ownership or other interest in an entity controlling a franchisee, either directly or indirectly, if the successor controlling entity commits in writing that it will not take any action to impede the franchisee from satisfying all obligations under the franchise agreement, including but not limited to completing a system build-out;
(C) A transfer in trust, by mortgage, by other hypothecation, or by assignment, of any right, title, or interest of a franchisee in the franchise or cable system in order to secure indebtedness.
Transfer of interest in a franchisee means the sale or transfer, directly or indirectly, of an existing or newly created equity interest in the franchisee that does not result in a transfer of control of the franchisee. The following transactions do not constitute a transfer of an interest if the Executive or a designee finds that the franchisee has responded completely to all information requests from the County:
(1) A transaction among or between affiliates;
(2) A sale of ownership, or other interest, in an entity controlling the franchisee, either directly or indirectly; or,
(3) A transfer in trust, by mortgage, by other hypothecation, or by assignment, of any right, title, or interest of the franchisee in the franchise or cable system in order to secure indebtedness.
User means a person utilizing a cable system's facilities for purposes of transmission of material or information to subscribers or others. (FY 1991 L.M.C., ch. 3, § 1; 1998 L.M.C., ch. 10, § 1; 2002 L.M.C., ch. 31 , § 1; 2005 L.M.C., ch. 14 , § 2; 2006 L.M.C., ch. 34 , § 1; 2014 L.M.C., ch. 23, § 1.)
Editor’s note—2006 L.M.C., ch. 34, § 3, repeals 2002 L.M.C., ch. 31, § 4, as amended by 2005 L.M.C., ch. 14, § 2.
2005 L.M.C., ch. 14 , § 2, amends 2002 L.M.C., ch. 31, § 4, as follows: Expiration date. This act expires on December 31, 2008.
2002 L.M.C., ch. 31, §§ 2, 3 and 4, state:
Sec. 2. Service-level requirements for cable modem service. The County Executive must issue regulations under method (2) establishing minimum cable modem service levels that a franchisee must provide. The regulations supersede any less-stringent requirements in a franchise or subscriber agreement.
Sec. 3. Transition.
(a) This Act applies to each current or future franchise, franchisee, subscriber, or other person subject to the requirements of the County Cable Communications Act, as amended by this and any future Act, and supersedes any contrary regulation, franchise, franchise agreement, subscriber agreement, or other agreement. The complaint adjudication provisions in Chapter 8A of the Code, as amended by this Act, apply to any complaint pending on, or filed on or after, the date this Act takes effect [March 6, 2003]. Section 8A-31A(i) applies to any subscriber agreement modified or entered into after this Act becomes law [December 5, 2002].
(b) The County Executive must designate the initial term of 2 members of the Cable Compliance Commission as 2 years. Any later term of these 2 members, and the terms of all other members, mut be 3 years.
Sec. 4. Expiration date. This Act expires on December 31, 2005.