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(A) Title. This subchapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Cable Customer Service Code."
(B) Further findings and purpose.
(1) The City of Urbandale, Iowa ("city") finds that the further development of cable communications may result in great benefits for the people of the city. Cable technology is rapidly changing, and cable plays an essential role as part of the city's basic infrastructure. Cable television systems permanently occupy and extensively make use of scarce and valuable public rights-of-way, in a manner different from the way in which the general public uses them, and in a manner reserved primarily for those who provide essential services to the public subject to special public interest obligations, such as utility companies. The grant of a franchise has the effect of giving the holder extensive economic benefits and placing the holder in a position of public trust. The city finds that public convenience, safety, and general welfare can best be served by establishing regulatory powers vested in the city or such persons as the city so designates to protect the public and to ensure that any franchise granted is operated in the public interest.
(2) Further, it is recognized that cable systems have the capacity to provide not only entertainment and information services to the city's residents, but can provide a variety of broadband, interactive communications services to institutions and individuals. Many of these services involve city agencies and other public institutions.
(C) In light of the foregoing, the following goals, among others, underlie the provisions set forth in this subchapter:
(1) Cable should be available to as many city residents and businesses as possible.
(2) A cable system should be capable of accommodating both present and reasonably foreseeable future cable-related needs of the city.
(3) A cable system should be constructed and maintained during a franchise term so that changes in technology may be integrated to the maximum extent commercially practicable into existing system facilities.
(4) A cable system should be responsive to the needs and interests of the local community, and shall provide the widest possible diversity of information sources and service to the public.
(5) A cable operator should pay fair compensation to the city for the occupation and use of scarce and valuable local public rights-of-way.
(D) The city intends that all provisions set forth in this chapter be construed to serve the public interest and the foregoing public purposes, and that any franchise issued pursuant to this chapter be construed to include the foregoing findings and public purposes as integral parts thereof.
(E) Delegation of powers. The city may delegate the performance of any act, duty, or obligation, or the exercise of any power, under this chapter or any franchise agreement to any employee, officer, department or agency of the city, except where prohibited by applicable law.
(1) For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
ACCESS CHANNEL. Any channel on a cable system set aside by a grantee for public, educational, or governmental use.
BASIC SERVICE. That cable service tier which includes all signals of domestic television broadcast stations provided to any subscriber (except a signal secondarily transmitted by satellite carrier beyond the local service area of such station, regardless of how such signal is ultimately received by the cable system); any public, educational, and governmental programming required by the franchise to be carried on the basic tier; and any additional video programming signals added to the basic tier by the cable operator.
CABLE ACT. The Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, 47 U.S.C. §§ 521 et seq., as amended from time to time.
CABLE OPERATOR. Means the same as defined in 47 U.S.C. § 522.
CABLE SERVICE. Means the same as defined in 47 U.S.C. § 522.
CABLE SYSTEM or SYSTEM. Means the same as defined in 47 U.S.C. § 522.
CONVERTER. An electronic device which may serve as an interface between a system and a subscriber's television receiver or other terminal equipment, and which may perform a variety of functions, including signal security, descrambling, electronic polling, frequency conversion and channel selection.
EDUCATIONAL ACCESS CHANNEL or EDUCATIONAL CHANNEL. Any channel on a cable system set aside by a grantee for educational use.
FRANCHISE AREA. The area of the city that a grantee is authorized to serve by its franchise agreement.
GOVERNMENTAL ACCESS CHANNEL or GOVERNMENTAL CHANNEL. Any channel on a cable system set aside by a grantee for government use.
INSTALLATION. The connection of system services to subscribers' television receivers or other subscriber-owned or -provided terminal equipment.
NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS. Those hours during which most similar businesses in the community are open to serve customers, including some evening hours at least one night per week and/or some weekend hours.
NORMAL OPERATING CONDITIONS. Those service conditions that are within the control of a grantee. Conditions that are within the control of a grantee include, but are not limited to, special promotions, pay-per-view events, rate increases, regular peak or seasonal demand periods, and maintenance or upgrade of a cable system. Conditions that are not within the control of a grantee include, but are not limited to, natural disasters, civil disturbances, power outages, and telephone network outages.
PROGRAMMER. Any person or entity that produces or otherwise provides program material or information for transmission by video, audio, digital or other signals, either live or from recorded traces or other storage media, to users or subscribers by means of a cable system.
PUBLIC ACCESS CHANNEL. Any channel on a cable system set aside by a grantee for use by the general public, including groups and individuals, and which is available for such use on a non-discriminatory basis.
SCHOOL. Any primary or secondary school or college accredited by the State of Iowa, including without limitation all accredited post-secondary institutions such as community colleges, technical colleges and universities.
SECURITY FUND. A performance bond, letter of credit, or cash deposit, or any or all of these, to the extent applicable to a given grantee.
SERVICE INTERRUPTION. Loss of picture or sound on one or more channels, or degradation of picture or sound beyond permissible levels as defined by applicable law.
SUBSCRIBER. The city or any person who is lawfully receiving, for any purpose or reason, any cable service via a cable system, whether or not a fee is paid for such service.
1. TRANSFER shall mean any transaction in which: (A) there is any change in control of the grantee; or (B) the rights and/or obligations held by the grantee under the franchise are transferred, directly or indirectly, to another party; or (C) any change or substitution occurs in the managing general partners of the grantee, where applicable. Notwithstanding the foregoing, transfers or changes of control between affiliates under common ownership or control shall not constitute a TRANSFER, provided that the ultimate parent of the grantee executes and delivers a guarantee of the grantee's performance under this chapter and its franchise agreement in substantially the form attached hereto as Appendix B.
2. Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, pledges in trust or mortgages of the assets of a cable system to secure the construction, operation, or repair of the system may be made without application and without city's prior consent. However, no such arrangement shall be made if it would in any respect under any condition: (1) prevent the grantee or any successor from complying with this subchapter, franchise agreement or other applicable law or regulation; or (2) permit a third party to succeed to the interest of the operator, or to own or control the system, without the prior consent of city. Any mortgage, pledge or lease shall be subject to and subordinate to the rights of city under any franchise, this subchapter, or other applicable law.
A. "Control" for purposes of this definition of TRANSFER means the legal or practical ability to exert actual working control over the affairs of an entity, either directly or indirectly, whether by contractual agreement, majority ownership interest, any lesser ownership interest, or in any other manner.
B. A rebuttable presumption that a transfer of control has occurred shall arise upon the acquisition or accumulation of 5% or more of the ownership (as measured by voting interests, not number of shares) of an entity by any person or group of persons acting in concert, none of whom already own or control 50% or more of such right or control, singularly or collectively.
C. A grantee is responsible for ensuring that the intent of § 117.40 herein is carried out. If for any reason an event occurs that would require the city's approval under § 117.40, whether or not such event is directly or indirectly within the grantee's control, such event shall constitute a "transfer" for purposes of this chapter and any applicable law.
USER. A person or organization using a channel or equipment and facilities for purposes of producing or transmitting material, as contrasted with the receipt thereof in the capacity of a subscriber.
(2) The definitions contained in Iowa Code § 477A.1 are incorporated herein by reference.
(Ord. 2015-20, passed 11-10-2015)