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(A) The County of Surry, North Carolina, pursuant to applicable federal and state law, is authorized to grant one or more non-exclusive franchises to construct, operate, maintain and reconstruct cable systems within the unincorporated areas of the county.
(B) The Board of Commissioners of the County of Surry finds that cable service has become an integral part of its citizens’ lives, and that evolving cable systems have the potential to play an even more dramatic role in the future, providing great benefits and advanced capabilities to the county. At the same time, the Board further finds that the public convenience, safety and general welfare can best be served by establishing regulatory powers that are vested in the county or such persons as the county designates.
(C) In order to ensure that the county and its residents receive state-of-the-art cable services and capabilities as this technology further evolves, all franchises granted pursuant to this chapter will be subject to periodic review to keep current with changing law, technology and services. It is the intent of this chapter to help ensure that local cable operators provide the best possible cable service to residents of the county, and any franchises issued pursuant to this chapter shall be deemed to include this finding as an integral part thereof.
(D) Further, it is recognized that cable systems have the capacity to provide entertainment and information services to the county’s residents, and may have the capacity to provide a variety of broadband, interactive communications services to institutions and individuals. For these purposes, the following goals underlie the regulations contained herein.
(1) Cable television services should be made available to all of the county’s residents at the lowest reasonable cost.
(2) The system should be capable of accommodating both the present and reasonably foreseeable future state-of-the-art cable television needs of the county.
(3) The systems authorized by this chapter shall be responsive to the needs and interests of the local community, and shall provide the widest possible diversity of information sources and services to the public. Each of the above-enumerated goals shall be sought to the maximum extent, taking into account the costs and benefits to the residents of the County of Surry.
(E) The Board further finds that on-going industry consolidation could result in less local accountability, and that, therefore, stringent customer service standards, including liquidated damages provisions, may be the only practical means of ensuring compliance and approximating the costs of franchise agreement non-compliance to the county and its residents.
(Ord. passed 12-19-2005)