February 12, 2009
Re: Update on Systemwide Cable Franchises Public Access Stations
As the new systemwide franchise is implemented by Verizon, there have been questions about the provision of public access facilities in communities served by this new franchise. While the law indicates certain franchise related services are to happen automatically, municipalities are required take a proactive approach in order to obtain the full spectrum of benefits due them under the systemwide franchise.
As a matter of best practice in administering the new system wide franchises, municipalities should actively communicate in writing to all parties its expectations and desires regarding free cable television and Internet hookups to municipal buildings, PEG stations as well as equipment and training availability, return lines to connect PEG channel(s) to Verizon’s cable television network, , etc. Your staff or volunteers responsible for monitoring the implementation of the systemwide franchise in your community should read the article by Steve Goodell, Esq. posted at the League Cable Television Resource Center http://www.njslom.org/cabletv_resource.html
They should also start a dialogue with Verizon, your local access station and any other affected groups. Communication of understandings, or impasses, among these parties should be the subject of correspondence which should also be copied to the New Jersey Office of Cable Television Two Gateway Center Newark, NJ 07102.
Implementing the systemwide franchise benefits due your municipality can result in challenges and delays but your community has an opportunity to obtain additional resources and training for its access stations.
If you have questions about this please call Michael J. Darcy assistant executive director 609-695-3481 ext. 116 or MDarcy@NJSLOM.com
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.