Pennsylvania Legislation

Posted on February 19, 2007 - 6:58pm.

This page last updated 2/7/08
Recent State News via saveaccess: newswire

Bill Number(s):
HB 1490 Read Bill
referred to Consumers Affairs July 2007, Hearing Feb 7th 2008

Bill Number(s):
HB 2880 Read Bill
SB 1247

HB 2880/SB1247 Status:
10/10/06 - Both bills died in 2006. Faced with an uphill battle to interest election-focused legislators in a complex cable-reform bill, as well as loud opposition from the measure’s municipal foes, sponsors of the two proposals withdrew their legislation from consideration. A form of these Bills is expected to reappear.
Source: Free Press

Legislators introduced bills in both chambers to hasten passage.

Incumbent cable operators must honor franchise until expiration.

ILECs need not obtain a franchise to build out cable system, only need franchise to provide cable programming.

State-issued franchise without local negotiations.

Franchising authority would be assigned to the Corporation Bureau of the Department of State. Once a potential new provider files an application, the bureau will have only 15 days to issue the statewide operating permission.

The bills retain power for local governments to exercise non-discriminatory police power over the public; rights-of-way; receive and mediate disputes between franchise holders and customers for cable quality service complaints; require a local point of contact; require notice of any franchise transfer within fourteen business days after the completion of the transfer; and establish reasonable guidelines regarding the use of public, educational,and governmental access channels.

The amount of gross revenues local governments will be allowed to collect is capped at 5% with no ability to collect other taxes. PEG is somewhat preserved — up to three channels for large cities. There is limited audit authority and non recovery of audit fees and no imposition of late fee penalty or interest.

Municipalities may not require a local business office; require documents not required by federal or state law; require information about technical standards; require bonding or insurance of an entity that is eligible for self insured status; or require buildout beyond that area identified in the application.

Providers can terminate their video service at will with only 90 days’ notice. Old providers are bound to their current contracts until their negotiated termination dates, but incumbents can apply for state authority to serve outside of their current franchise areas.

Redlining is banned, but carriers have multiple outs including ability to offer DirectTV as a means to meet service requirement.


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( categories: PENNSYLVANIA | State Franchises )