Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 21. Franchises; Sale and Lease of Certain Municipal Public Property; Public Utilities
9/15/2019

§ 15.2-2108.19. Definitions.

As used in this article:

"Act" means the Communications Act of 1934.

"Affiliate," in relation to any person, means another person who owns or controls, is owned or controlled by, or is under common ownership or control with, such person.

"Basic service tier" means the service tier that includes (i) the retransmission of local television broadcast channels and (ii) public, educational, and governmental channels required to be carried in the basic tier.

"Cable operator" means any person or group of persons that (i) provides cable service over a cable system and directly or through one or more affiliates owns a significant interest in such cable system or (ii) otherwise controls or is responsible for, through any arrangement, the management and operation of a cable system. Cable operator does not include a provider of wireless or direct-to-home satellite transmission service.

"Cable service" means the one-way transmission to subscribers of (i) video programming or (ii) other programming service, and subscriber interaction, if any, which is required for the selection or use of such video programming or other programming service. Cable service does not include any video programming provided by a commercial mobile service provider defined in 47 U.S.C. § 332 (d).

"Cable system" or "cable television system" means any facility consisting of a set of closed transmission paths and associated signal generation, reception, and control equipment that is designed to provide cable service that includes video programming and that is provided to multiple subscribers within a community, except that such definition shall not include (i) a system that serves fewer than 20 subscribers; (ii) a facility that serves only to retransmit the television signals of one or more television broadcast stations; (iii) a facility that serves only subscribers without using any public right-of-way; (iv) a facility of a common carrier that is subject, in whole or in part, to the provisions of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., except that such facility shall be considered a cable system to the extent such facility is used in the transmission of video programming directly to subscribers, unless the extent of such use is solely to provide interactive on-demand services; (v) any facilities of any electric utility used solely for operating its electric systems; (vi) any portion of a system that serves fewer than 50 subscribers in any locality, where such portion is a part of a larger system franchised in an adjacent locality; or (vii) an open video system that complies with § 653 of Title VI of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 573.

"Certificated provider of telecommunications services" means a person holding a certificate issued by the State Corporation Commission to provide local exchange telephone service.

"Force majeure" means an event or events reasonably beyond the ability of the cable operator to anticipate and control. "Force majeure" includes, but is not limited to, acts of God, incidences of terrorism, war or riots, labor strikes or civil disturbances, floods, earthquakes, fire, explosions, epidemics, hurricanes, tornadoes, governmental actions and restrictions, work delays caused by waiting for utility providers to service or monitor or provide access to utility poles to which the cable operator's facilities are attached or to be attached or conduits in which the cable operator's facilities are located or to be located, and unavailability of materials or qualified labor to perform the work necessary.

"Franchise" means an initial authorization, or renewal thereof, issued by a franchising authority, including a locality or the Commonwealth Transportation Board, whether such authorization is designated as a franchise, permit, license, resolution, contract, certificate, agreement, or otherwise, that authorizes the construction or operation of a cable system, a telecommunications system, or other facility in the public rights-of-way. A negotiated cable franchise is granted by a locality after negotiation with an applicant pursuant to § 15.2-2108.20. An ordinance cable franchise is granted by a locality when an applicant provides notice pursuant to § 15.2-2108.21 that it will provide cable service in the locality.

"Gross revenue" means all revenue, as determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, that is actually received by the cable operator and derived from the operation of the cable system to provide cable services in the franchise area; however, in an ordinance cable franchise "gross revenue" shall not include: (i) refunds or rebates made to subscribers or other third parties; (ii) any revenue which is received from the sale of merchandise over home shopping channels carried on the cable system, but not including revenue received from home shopping channels for the use of the cable service to sell merchandise; (iii) any tax, fee, or charge collected by the cable operator and remitted to a governmental entity or its agent or designee, including without limitation a local public access or education group; (iv) program launch fees; (v) directory or Internet advertising revenue including, but not limited to, yellow page, white page, banner advertisement, and electronic publishing; (vi) a sale of cable service for resale or for use as a component part of or for the integration into cable services to be resold in the ordinary course of business, when the reseller is required to pay or collect franchise fees or similar fees on the resale of the cable service; (vii) revenues received by any affiliate or any other person in exchange for supplying goods or services used by the cable operator to provide cable service; and (viii) revenue derived from services classified as noncable services under federal law, including, without limitation, revenue derived from telecommunications services and information services, and any other revenues attributed by the cable operator to noncable services in accordance with rules, regulations, standards, or orders of the Federal Communications Commission.

"Interactive on-demand services" means a service providing video programming to subscribers over switched networks on an on-demand, point-to-point basis, but does not include services providing video programming prescheduled by the programming provider.

"Ordinance" includes a resolution.

"Transfer" means any transaction in which (i) an ownership or other interest in the cable operator is transferred, directly or indirectly, from one person or group of persons to another person or group of persons, so that majority control of the cable operator is transferred; or (ii) the rights and obligations held by the cable operator under the cable franchise granted under this article are transferred or assigned to another person or group of persons. However, notwithstanding clauses (i) and (ii) of the preceding sentence, a transfer of the cable franchise shall not include (a) transfer of an ownership or other interest in the cable operator to the parent of the cable operator or to another affiliate of the cable operator; (b) transfer of an interest in the cable franchise granted under this article or the rights held by the cable operator under the cable franchise granted under this article to the parent of the cable operator or to another affiliate of the cable operator; (c) any action that is the result of a merger of the parent of the cable operator; (d) any action that is the result of a merger of another affiliate of the cable operator; or (e) a transfer in trust, by mortgage, or by assignment of any rights, title, or interest of the cable operator in the cable franchise or the system used to provide cable in order to secure indebtedness.

"Video programming" means programming provided by, or generally considered comparable to, programming provided by a television broadcast station.

All terms used herein, unless otherwise defined, shall have the same meaning as set forth in Title VI of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. § 521 et seq. In addition, references in this article to any federal law shall include amendments thereto as are enacted from time-to-time.

2006, cc. 73, 76.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.