Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 56. Public Service Companies
Chapter 15. Telegraph and Telephone Companies
4/20/2019

§ 56-462. Franchise to occupy parks, streets, etc.; imposition of terms, conditions, etc., as to use of streets, etc., and construction thereon.

A. No incorporated city or town shall grant to any such telegraph or telephone corporation the right to erect its poles, wires, or cables, or to lay its conduits upon or beneath its parks, streets, avenues, or alleys until such company shall have first obtained, in the manner prescribed by the laws of this Commonwealth, the franchise to occupy the same. Any city or town may impose upon any such corporation any terms and conditions consistent herewith and supplemental hereto, as to the occupation and use of its parks, streets, avenues, and alleys, and as to the construction and maintenance of the facilities of such company along, over, or under the same, that the city or town may deem expedient and proper. The Department of Transportation may also impose upon any such company any terms, rules, regulations, requirements, restrictions and conditions consistent herewith and supplemental hereto, as to the occupation and use of roads and streets in either state highway system, and as to the construction, operation or maintenance of the works along, over, or under the same, which the Department may deem expedient and proper, but not in conflict, in incorporated cities and towns, with any vested contractual rights of any such company with such city or town.

B. No locality or the Department of Transportation shall impose any fees on a certificated provider of telecommunications service for the use of public rights-of-way except in the manner prescribed in § 56-468.1; however, the provisions of § 56-468.1 shall not apply to providers of commercial mobile radio services.

C. No locality or the Department of Transportation shall impose on certificated providers of telecommunications service, whether by franchise, ordinance or other means, any restrictions or requirements concerning the use of the public rights-of-way (including but not limited to the permitting process; notice, time and location of excavations and repair work; enforcement of the statewide building code; and inspections), which are (i) unfair or unreasonable or (ii) any greater than those imposed on the following users of the public rights-of-way: all providers of telecommunications services and nonpublic providers of cable television, electric, natural gas, water and sanitary sewer services. For purposes of this subsection, "restrictions or requirements concerning the use of the public rights-of-way" shall not include any existing franchise fee or the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee.

D. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any permit or other permission required by a locality pursuant to a franchise, ordinance, or other permission to use the public rights-of-way or by the Department of Transportation of a certificated provider of telecommunications services to use the public rights-of-way shall be granted or denied within 45 days from submission and, if denied, accompanied by a written explanation of the reasons the permit was denied and the actions required to cure the denial.

E. No locality receiving directly or indirectly a Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee or the Department of Transportation shall require a certificated provider of telecommunications services to provide in-kind services or physical assets as a condition of consent to use public rights-of-way or easements, or in lieu of the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee. This shall not limit the ability of localities, their authorities or commissions which provide utility services, or the Department of Transportation to enter into voluntary pole attachment, conduit occupancy or conduit construction agreements with certificated providers of telecommunications service. Any locality, other than a city or town electing to continue to enforce an existing franchise, ordinance or other form of consent under subsection J of § 56-468.1, or the Department of Transportation may continue to use pole attachments and conduits utilized as of December 31, 1997. Any pole attachment or conduit occupancy fees for this use shall be waived for facilities in place as of December 31, 1997, and shall be waived for future extensions in cities with populations between 60,000 and 70,000, so long as the locality or the Department of Transportation continues to use these facilities on such poles or in such conduits solely for their internal communications needs. The fee waiver is for the occupancy fees only, does not cover any relocation, rearrangement or other make-ready costs, and does not apply to any county, city or town that has obtained a certificate pursuant to § 56-265.4:4.

Code 1919, § 4038; 1926, p. 909; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 40; 1997, cc. 474, 515; 1998, cc. 742, 758; 2002, cc. 479, 489; 2006, c. 780; 2013, cc. 585, 646.

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.