(A)   Operating without franchise. It shall be unlawful for any person to construct, operate or maintain a cable system or to provide cable service in the county without a franchise. Any such person shall be subject to a fine of $500 per day. The payment of such fine notwithstanding, all such violators shall be subject to all other applicable provisions of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the payment of a franchise fee.
   (B)   Non-exclusive. Any franchise granted pursuant to this chapter shall be non-exclusive. The grantor specifically reserves the right to grant, at any time, such additional franchises for a cable system or any component thereof, to any other person including itself, as it deems appropriate, subject to applicable federal and state law.
   (C)   Discrimination and competition. In the event the county grants more than one franchise or similar authorization for the construction, operation or maintenance of any cable system to a qualified person in the county, the county shall grant the franchises on terms that are non-discriminatory and competitively neutral; provided that, nothing herein shall be construed as requiring the use of identical terms or conditions, in accordance with federal law.
   (D)   Term. A franchise agreement shall establish the term of each individual franchise.
   (E)   Federal, state and county jurisdiction.
      (1)   The county shall exercise appropriate regulatory authority under the provisions of this chapter, the Cable Act and all applicable laws. This authority shall be vested in the County of Surry County Board and administered through the County Manager or his or her designee in order to provide day-to-day administration and enforcement of the provisions of this chapter and any franchise granted hereunder and to carry out the county’s responsibilities with regard to cable service.
      (2)   This chapter shall be construed in a manner consistent with all applicable federal and state laws.
      (3)   In the event that the federal or state government discontinues preemption in any area of cable communications over which it currently exercises jurisdiction in such manner as to expand rather than limit municipal regulatory authority, the grantor may, if it so elects, adopt rules and regulations in these areas to the extent permitted by law; provided, the same do not materially alter the rights and obligations of a grantee under any existing franchise.
      (4)   The grantee’s rights are subject to the police powers of the county to adopt and enforce ordinances necessary to the health, safety and welfare of the public. The grantee shall comply with all applicable general laws and ordinances enacted by the county pursuant to that power.
      (5)   The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all franchises granted or renewed after the effective date of this chapter. This chapter shall also apply to all existing franchises, to the extent not inconsistent with the terms of any such franchise or applicable law. In the event of any conflict between the terms and conditions of a franchise agreement and the provisions of this chapter, and other generally applicable regulatory ordinances of the county, the terms of this chapter shall control unless otherwise expressly set forth in the franchise agreement. A franchise agreement (including all of the grantee’s particular rights, powers, protections, privileges, immunities and obligations associated therewith as the same exist on the date hereof) shall constitute a legally binding contract between the county and the grantee, and as such, cannot be amended, modified or changed by the county or grantee without the consent of the grantee and grantor in any manner whatsoever, whether by ordinance, rule, regulation or otherwise, to impose on grantee more stringent or burdensome requirements or conditions; provided, however, that, nothing herein contained shall preclude the county from the proper exercise of its police powers, or its powers of eminent domain.
      (6)   In the event of a change in state or federal law which by its terms would require the county to amend this chapter, the parties shall modify the existing franchise in a mutually agreed upon manner.
      (7)   The grantee shall not be relieved of its obligation to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter or a franchise agreement by reason of any failure of the county to enforce prompt compliance.
   (F)   Rights reserved to the grantor. In addition to any rights specifically reserved to the grantor by this chapter or a franchise agreement, grantor reserves to itself every right and power that is required to be reserved by a provision of any other ordinance or under any other franchise.
   (G)   Franchise agreement.
      (1)   Every grantee shall agree to the terms and provisions of a franchise agreement as negotiated between the grantee and the grantor.
      (2)   In addition to those matters required elsewhere in this chapter to be included in the franchise agreement, each franchise agreement must contain the following express representations by each grantee:
         (a)   The grantee has examined all of the provisions of this chapter and accepts and agrees to all of the provisions of this chapter, as it exists as of the effective date of the grantee’s franchise agreement; and
         (b)   The grantee recognizes, unless otherwise agreed in the applicable franchise agreement, the right of the county to adopt such additional regulations of general applicability as it shall find necessary in the exercise of its police power.
      (3)   Every franchise agreement shall contain such further conditions or provisions as may be negotiated between the county and a grantee; except that, no such conditions or provisions shall be such as to conflict with any provisions of state or federal law. In case of any conflict or of any ambiguity between any terms or provisions of a franchise agreement and this chapter, the provisions of this chapter shall control, unless expressly set forth in the franchise agreement.
   (H)   Initial franchise applications. Any person desiring an initial franchise for a cable system shall file an application with the county. An application for an initial franchise for a cable television system shall contain, where applicable:
      (1)   A statement as to the proposed franchise area;
      (2)   Resume of prior history of applicant, including the legal, technical and financial expertise of applicant in the cable television field;
      (3)   List of the partners, general and limited, of the applicant, if a partnership, or a list of the principals of the applicant, if a limited liability company, or the percentage of stock owned or controlled by shareholders holding 10% or greater, if a corporation;
      (4)   List of officers, directors and managing employees of applicant, together with a description of the background of each such person;
      (5)   The names and addresses of any parent or subsidiary of applicant or any other business entity owning or in control of applicant, in whole or in part, or owned or controlled in whole or in part by applicant;
      (6)   A current financial statement of applicant verified by a CPA audit or otherwise certified to be true, complete and correct to the reasonable satisfaction of the county;
      (7)   Proposed preliminary construction and cable service schedule; and
      (8)   Any additional information that the county may require for the administration of the franchise.
   (I)   Consideration of initial applications. Upon receipt of any application and application fee for an initial franchise, the County Administrator shall prepare a report and make his or her recommendations respecting such application to the Board.
(Ord. passed 12-19-2005)