Appendix H. Cable Television Franchises.  


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  • This ordinance awards community antenna television system franchises for the North, South and Reston franchise areas of Fairfax County pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-2108 and Fairfax County Code Chapter 9.1.

    A.

    North and South Franchise Areas.

    Paragraph 7. Va. Code § 15.2-2108.20 authorizes localities to grant negotiated cable franchises in accordance with Title VI of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 521 et seq., and Chapter 21 of Title 15.2 of Virginia Code. Pursuant to that authority and other applicable provisions of Virginia law, and subject to the conditions set forth in paragraph 8 of this Section A, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors hereby accepts, approves, grants and awards to CoxCom, LLC, d/b/a Cox Communications Northern Virginia ("Cox") a non-exclusive franchise to provide cable service in the North County and South County Franchise Areas of Fairfax County, Virginia. The terms and conditions of the franchise shall be as set forth in the Cable Franchise Agreement Between Fairfax County, Virginia, and CoxCom, LLC, d/b/a Cox Communications Northern Virginia ("Franchise Agreement"), which is hereby incorporated into this ordinance, and the provisions of Chapter 9.1 and Appendix H, Section A, of the Fairfax County Code.

    Paragraph 8. The grant of the franchise to Cox is subject to the Communications Administrator's receipt, no later than June 7, 2013, and in a form acceptable to the County, of (i) the Guarantee of Performance, as set forth in Appendix 4 to the Franchise Agreement, signed by an authorized representative of Cox Communications, Inc.; (ii) certificates of insurance for each insurance policy required by Section 11 of the Franchise Agreement; (iii) the performance bond required by Section 12(a) of the Franchise Agreement; (iv) the letter of credit required by Section 12(b) of the Franchise Agreement; and (v) the Acceptance of Franchise, as set forth in Appendix 7 to the Franchise Agreement, signed by an authorized representative of CoxCom, LLC.

    B.

    Reston Franchise Area.

    Paragraph 1. Pursuant to applicable provisions of Virginia law, and subject to the conditions set forth in paragraph 2 of this Section, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors hereby accepts, approves, grants and awards to Comcast of Virginia, Inc. a non-exclusive franchise to provide cable service within the Reston Franchise Area of Fairfax County, Virginia. The terms and duration of the franchise shall be as set forth in "A Cable Franchise Agreement Between Fairfax County, Virginia and Comcast of Virginia, Inc.," ("Franchise Agreement"). The Franchise Agreement, including all documents incorporated into the Franchise Agreement, is hereby incorporated into this ordinance.

    Paragraph 2. The grant of the franchise set forth in Paragraph 1 is subject to the Cable Administrator's receipt, no later than June 15, 2005, of (i) the Acceptance of the Franchise, as set forth in Appendix 5 to the Franchise Agreement, signed by an authorized representative of Comcast of Virginia, Inc.; (ii) certificates of insurance for each insurance policy required by Section 10 of the Franchise Agreement; (iii) the performance bond required by Section 11(a) of the Franchise Agreement; and (iv) the letter of credit required by Section 11(b) of the Franchise Agreement.

    C.

    , D. Reserved.

    E.

    North County, South County, and Reston Franchise Areas.

    Paragraph 1. Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-2108(B) authorizes a governing body to award more than one cable television franchise as it deems appropriate, if the governing body finds that the public welfare will be enhanced by such awards after a public hearing. After holding such a hearing, the Board finds that granting the application submitted by Verizon Virginia Inc. ("Verizon"), for a cable television franchise for the North County, South County, and Reston Franchise Areas is appropriate and that the grant of the requested franchise will enhance the public welfare. The grant of the franchise to Verizon will bring competition to the cable services market in Fairfax County for the first time. Competition among cable providers will give subscribers a choice among providers, and the federal General Accountability Office has found that competition in other jurisdictions has resulted in better service and reduced prices for cable subscribers throughout the jurisdiction. Verizon will offer cable service over the same telecommunications system it is currently upgrading pursuant to authorization granted by the Commonwealth; therefore, the grant of a cable franchise and Verizon's offering of cable service will result in little or no additional burden on private property rights or on public convenience. Verizon's application demonstrates that it has both the financial resources and the technical ability to construct and operate the cable system and to provide high-quality service to Fairfax County subscribers according to the terms of the "Cable Franchise Agreement by and between Fairfax County, Virginia, and Verizon Virginia Inc.," ("Verizon Franchise Agreement") and Fairfax County Code Chapter 9.1.

    Paragraph 2. The Board also finds that the terms and conditions of the Verizon Franchise Agreement are not more favorable or less burdensome than those in the franchise agreements that the Board of Supervisors granted to Media General Cable of Fairfax County, Inc., which franchise is now held by Cox Communications Northern Virginia, Inc., and to Comcast of Virginia, Inc. Practically all of the significant terms of the Verizon Franchise Agreement match those in the County's franchise agreements with the incumbent providers: (i) The term of the franchise will be 15 years; (ii) Verizon commits to providing cable service throughout its franchise area; (iii) Verizon commits to initially provide up to 18 public, educational, and governmental (PEG) access channels; (iv) Verizon agrees to pay a franchise fee of 5% of its gross revenues; (v) Verizon agrees to pay a PEG grant of 3% of its gross revenues less franchise fees, which is the same term to which Cox agreed and is no less burdensome nor more favorable than the PEG support that Comcast provides; (vi) Verizon will allow the County to audit its books to ensure compliance with the monetary terms of the franchise; (viii) Verizon will provide cable service free of charge to buildings designated by the County; (vii) Verizon agrees to file annual, quarterly, and special reports with the County; (ix) Verizon will maintain insurance to protect its assets and for the benefit of the County; (x) Verizon has agreed to enforcement mechanisms that the County can invoke to ensure compliance with its terms, including liquidated damages for enumerated violations and revocation for material violations; (xi) Verizon commits to obtain a performance bond and a letter of credit to secure its obligations under the franchise; (xii) Verizon agrees to adhere to the federal customer service standards applicable to cable operators and more stringent provisions established in its Franchise Agreement. However, the Board finds that to impose upon Verizon obligations that are identical to those imposed upon the County's incumbent cable operators is neither possible, given the differences between the franchise agreements under which the two incumbent operators currently provide cable service, nor beneficial to County subscribers and residents. Variances between the Verizon Franchise Agreement and the incumbents' franchise agreements are appropriate in light of, among other things, the different transmission systems; different corporate structures, size, and financial strength; different corporate procedures; different circumstances under which each of the cable operators entered or is entering the cable market; and the needs of County subscribers and residents. Most significantly, the Verizon Franchise Agreement varies from those of the incumbent cable operators by committing Verizon to a system design that is substantially more burdensome than the design requirements to which the incumbent cable operators are subject. Verizon's more extensive use of fiber optic technology will rely on a minimum of electrically-powered devices, making it less vulnerable to power outages, and thus more reliable, and it will have a significantly greater bandwidth capability than the systems of the incumbent cable operators. The Board finds that the terms and conditions of the franchise that Verizon proposes, taken as a whole, are not more favorable or less burdensome than those in the franchises the Board granted to Media General Cable of Fairfax County, Inc., which franchise is now held by Cox Communications Northern Virginia, Inc., and to Comcast of Virginia, Inc.

    Paragraph 3. Pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-2108 and other applicable provisions of Virginia law, and subject to the conditions set forth in paragraph 4 of this Section, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors hereby accepts, approves, grants and awards to Verizon Virginia Inc. a non-exclusive franchise to provide cable service in the North County, South County, and Reston Franchise Areas of Fairfax County, Virginia. The terms and duration of the franchise shall be as set forth in the Verizon Franchise Agreement. The Verizon Franchise Agreement is hereby incorporated into this ordinance.

    Paragraph 4. The grant of the franchise to Verizon is subject to the Communications Administrator's receipt, no later than September 30, 2005, and in a form acceptable to the County, of (i) the Acceptance of the Franchise, as set forth in Exhibit H to the Verizon Franchise Agreement, signed by an authorized representative of Verizon Virginia Inc.; (ii) certificates of insurance for each insurance policy required by Section 10 of the Verizon Franchise Agreement; (iii) the performance bond required by Section 13 of the Verizon Franchise Agreement; and (iv) the letter of credit required by Section 13 of the Verizon Franchise Agreement. (20-96-H; 21-05-H; 35A-05-H; 41-13-H.)