Enabling Legislation

Sec. 16-331. Certificate of public convenience and necessity. Advisory councils.

Franchise terms. Regulations. Community needs assessment. (a) No person, association or corporation, or a municipality which owns or operates one or more plants for the manufacture or distribution of electricity pursuant to section 7-213, shall construct or operate a community antenna television system without having first obtained a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Department of Public Utility Control certifying that the person, firm or corporation is qualified pursuant to the provisions of subsection (b) of this section to operate such a service within the territory specified in such certificate. The department may issue more than one such certificate for any franchise area or portion of a franchise area. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 33-645, any such certificate shall authorize the holder thereof to occupy public highways to the extent required to provide community antenna television system service. A certificate shall be issued only after written application for the same has been made to the department, accompanied by a fee of fifty dollars, and public hearing has been held thereon. No certificate shall be sold or transferred without the approval of the department. For due cause shown, the department may amend, suspend or revoke any such certificate. If a certificate is not exercised within two years from the date of issue, the department may revoke the certificate. The department may specify in the certificate at the time of issue and from time to time thereafter such terms and conditions as the public interest may require. ...

(c) (1) A representative of a community antenna television company issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity in accordance with this section shall, twice a year, arrange for and hold a meeting with the advisory council established, in accordance with regulations adopted by the department in accordance with chapter 54, for the franchise area served by such company. (2) The department shall designate an advisory council as an intervenor in any contested case before the department involving the community antenna television company which the council is advising. Such company shall provide to the chairperson of its advisory council a copy of any report, notice or other document it files with the department. If a community antenna television company fails or refuses to furnish adequate service to any customer, the advisory council for the franchise area served by the company may file a written petition with the department alleging the failure or refusal. The department shall hold a hearing on such petition and, not later than one hundred fifty days after receiving the petition, shall issue a written decision on the petition. The company shall thereafter furnish service to the customer in accordance with the conditions prescribed under the department's decision. (3) Each community antenna television company shall, every six months, provide on bills, bill inserts or letters to subscribers, and shall prominently post in the company's primary subscriber service area and community access facility, a notice indicating the name and an address of the chairperson of the company's advisory council and describing the responsibilities of the advisory council. Each such company shall provide its advisory council with an opportunity to review such notice prior to distributing or posting the notice.

(d) (1) An initial certificate issued prior to June 1, 1988, shall grant a franchise for fifteen years, provided that for certificates issued prior to January 1, 1975, the initial franchise term shall be deemed to end for four such companies each year, starting in 1989, in order of those companies having the highest gross revenues under chapter 211 or 212a during the calendar year ending December 31, 1982. An initial, renewal or transfer certificate issued on or after June 1, 1988, shall grant a franchise for a term of not less than five years and not more than ten years, except that under special circumstances, as described in subdivision (2), a franchise may be granted for a term of more than ten years but not more than fifteen years. The department shall have the discretion to determine the appropriate length of a franchise term, initial, renewal or transfer, and in making its decision shall consider the following without limitation: (A) The operator's past performance in terms of meeting the needs of the cable-related community; (B) the operator's past performance in terms of complying with the material terms of the existing franchise; (C) the operator's compliance with department regulations and the general statutes; (D) the ability of the operator's management to properly operate the franchise; (E) the operator's effectiveness in dealing with consumer requests, complaints and billing questions or disputes; (F) the operator's effectiveness in dealing with the advisory council; (G) the quality and diversity of the operator's programming; (H) the quality of the operator's community access programming, including public access, educational access and governmental access programming, in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (3) of this subsection; (I) the quality of the operator's equipment and facilities; (J) the operator's proposals for future extensions and upgrading to technologically advanced equipment, facilities and systems; (K) the operator's past performance in terms of meeting the needs of the cable-related community by providing African-American and Hispanic programming; (L) the operator's good faith efforts, as determined by the department, to provide service, when practicable, to all customers within the service area; (M) the operator's past performance in making available addressable converters, traps or other devices or services which enable subscribers to voluntarily block transmission of specific programming to their homes or places of business; and (N) the applicant's provision of innovative services, including audio services, information services, electronic publishing and information concerning the proceedings of the General Assembly and legislative committees.

(5) The department shall adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54, establishing procedures and standards for the renewal of certificates issued to community antenna television companies. Such regulations shall, without limitation, (A) incorporate the provisions of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 USC 546, (B) require the department to consult with the advisory council for the franchise area served by the certificate holder before making a decision concerning the renewal of the certificate, (C) require any holder of a certificate which is not renewed by the department to continue to operate the franchise for one year after the end of its term or until a successor is chosen and ready to assume control of the franchise, whichever is sooner, (D) establish standards for the content of notices sent to cable subscribers concerning public hearings for franchise renewal proceedings which standards shall include, without limitation, the requirements specified in subdivision (6) of this subsection, (E) establish standards to ensure that the costs and expenses of a municipality constructing, purchasing or operating a community antenna television company are accurately attributed to such company, and (F) establish quality standards for the instructional and educational channels. The department shall adopt regulations pursuant to this subdivision in conjunction with the Commission for Educational Technology.

Sec. 16-331b. Members of community antenna advisory councils to serve without compensation.

Members of community antenna advisory councils established pursuant to section 16-331 shall serve without compensation. For the purposes of this section compensation shall include the receipt of any free or discounted cable television service, either basic or premium.

Sec. 16-331c. Community antenna television companies' contribution to community antenna advisory councils.

Each community antenna television company, as defined in section 16-1, shall annually contribute to the advisory council in its franchise area an amount not less than two thousand dollars. An advisory council may at its option receive any or all of its funding through in-kind services of the community antenna television company. Each advisory council shall annually, on January first, provide the Department of Public Utility Control with an accounting of any funding or services received.

Sec. 16-331d. Community antenna television advisory council vacancies and conflict of interest of members.

(a) The chief elected official from the town in which a vacant seat exists on a community antenna television advisory council shall appoint a member to fill such vacancy if any other appointing authority fails to make an appointment within six months of the time in which a vacancy occurs.

(b) No member of a community antenna television advisory council appointed by the chief elected official of a municipality, the board of education or the public libraries shall be an employee of a community antenna television company. For the purposes of this subsection, an employee includes any person working full or part time or performing any subcontracting or consulting services for the company.