Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 56. Public Service Companies
Chapter 15. Telegraph and Telephone Companies
5/14/2021

Article 1. Erection of Lines; Rights-of-Way; Eminent Domain, Etc.

§ 56-458. Right to erect lines parallel to railroads; occupation of roads, streets, etc.; location of same.

A. Every telegraph company and every telephone company incorporated by this or any other state, or by the United States, may construct, maintain and operate its line along and parallel to any of the railroads of the Commonwealth, and shall have authority to occupy and use the public parks, roads, works, turnpikes, streets, avenues and alleys in any of the counties, with the consent of the board of supervisors or other governing authority thereof, or in any incorporated city or town, with the consent of the council thereof, and the waterways within this Commonwealth, for the erection of poles and wires, or cables, or the laying of underground conduits, portions of which they may lease, rent, or hire to other like companies; provided, however, that if the road or street be in the State Highway System or the secondary system of state highways, the consent of the board of supervisors or other governing authority of any county shall not be necessary, but a permit for such occupation and use shall first be obtained from the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

B. No locality or the Commonwealth Transportation Board 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; provided, however, the provisions of § 56-468.1 shall not apply to providers of commercial mobile radio services.

C. No locality or the Commonwealth Transportation Board 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 Commonwealth Transportation Board of a certificated provider of telecommunications services to use the public rights-of-way shall be granted or denied within forty-five 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 Commonwealth Transportation Board 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 Commonwealth Transportation Board 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 Commonwealth Transportation Board may continue to use pole attachments and conduits utilized as of December 31, 1997. Any pole attachment or conduit occupancy fees charged by certificated providers of telecommunications services 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 Commonwealth Transportation Board 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, § 4035; 1926, p. 907; 1997, cc. 474, 515; 1998, cc. 742, 758; 2002, cc. 479, 489; 2006, c. 780.

§ 56-458.1. Relocation of lines or works of certain public utilities acquired by Commonwealth Transportation Board.

Whenever a telegraph or telephone company, or any company mentioned in Chapter 10 (§ 56-232 et seq.) of this title, shall be required by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Commissioner of Highways, to remove any part of its lines or works off of the right-of-way of a road now or hereafter included in either state highway system, or if any right-of-way, property or interest therein used and occupied by such company with its lines or works, or part thereof, is acquired by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Commissioner of Highways, for the uses of either such highway system, or if such company is notified by such Board or Commissioner of the desire of such Board or Commissioner to acquire such right-of-way, property, or interest therein, used and occupied by such company with its lines or works, or part thereof, for the uses of either such highway system, such company may relocate its lines or works, or the part or parts thereof affected. If unable to agree with the owner or owners for the right-of-way, or property, or interest therein for such relocation, such company, in addition to its other powers, shall have the right to acquire such rights-of-way, or property, or interest therein for the purpose of such relocation of its lines or works, or part or parts thereof in the manner provided by the laws of this Commonwealth for the exercise of the right of eminent domain.

1926, p. 507; Michie Code 1942, § 4384a.

§ 56-459. Removal of old line not required by this chapter.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as authorizing the Commonwealth Transportation Board to require the removal of the lines and works of any telegraph or telephone company from any street or road in either state highway system which such company is occupying by consent of the appropriate board of supervisors or other governing authority obtained under Chapter 159 of the Code of 1919 prior to June 22, 1926, without permitting such company to occupy some other part of the right-of-way existing or acquired for such street or road.

1926, p. 909; Michie Code 1942, § 4038.

§ 56-460. How consent of appropriate authorities obtained; terms of use.

The consent required under § 56-458, when given, shall be by ordinance regularly adopted by the council or other governing body of the city or town, or by resolution regularly adopted and spread upon the minutes by the board of supervisors or other governing authority of the county, in which such line is to be located, or, if such consent is to be given by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, by an order spread upon the minutes of the Board. Such use of the public parks, roads, turnpikes, streets, avenues, and alleys in any of the cities or towns or counties of this Commonwealth shall be subject to such terms, regulations and restrictions as may be imposed by the corporate authorities of any such city or town, or the board of supervisors or other governing authority of any such county, except that if the road or street be in either state highway system, as now or hereafter established, any occupation and use thereof under the provisions of this chapter, whether by consent heretofore or hereafter obtained, shall be subject to such terms, regulations and restrictions as may be imposed by the Commonwealth Transportation Board not in conflict in incorporated cities and towns with any vested contractual rights of such company with such city or town.

Code 1919, § 4037; 1926, p. 908.

§ 56-461. Cost to Commonwealth in connection with construction of line to be paid by company.

The actual costs and expenses of the Commonwealth in the investigation by the Commonwealth Transportation Board of the application of any company for a permit, and in the supervision of the construction or installation of any of the works of the company, under the provisions of this chapter, shall be borne by such company, and paid before commencing the use of any road or street in either state highway system, under any permit of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, under the provisions of this chapter, which sum shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the state highway fund.

Code 1919, § 4037; 1926, p. 909.

§ 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.

§ 56-463. Company may contract for right-of-way, etc.

Every telegraph or telephone company and every cable operator that has a franchise to use the public rights-of-way in a locality may contract with any person, the owner of lands, or of any interest, franchise, privilege, or easement therein or in respect thereto, over which such line is proposed to be constructed, for the right-of-way for erecting, repairing, and preserving its poles and other structures necessary for operating its line, and in the case of telegraph or telephone companies, for sufficient land for the erection and occupation of offices at suitable distances along its line for the public accommodation. No such company or operator may be required by the Commission or other governmental regulatory entity to accept any such interest, franchise, privilege, or easement that restricts the services that may legally be offered by the company or operator.

Code 1919, § 4039; 2009, c. 331.

§ 56-464. Right of eminent domain.

If the company and such owner cannot agree on the terms of such contract, the company may acquire such right-of-way in the manner provided by the laws of this Commonwealth for the exercise of the right of eminent domain. The title which may be acquired by a telegraph or telephone company under this section shall be only to a right-of-way for the purpose stated in § 56-463; and no right-of-way acquired by any such company under this or the preceding sections of this chapter shall be to the exclusion of other like companies from having or acquiring a like right-of-way over the same lands.

Code 1919, § 4040.

§ 56-465. Preceding sections subject to repeal or change at pleasure.

The preceding sections of this chapter and also §§ 56-466, 56-467 and 56-484 shall be subject to repeal, alteration, or modification, and the rights and privileges acquired thereunder shall be subject to revocation or modification by the General Assembly at its pleasure.

Code 1919, § 4041.

§ 56-466. Location of posts, poles, cables and conduits; height of wires, etc.

All posts, poles, wires, cables and conduits which shall be erected by any authority in the preceding sections of this chapter conferred shall be so located as in no way to obstruct or interfere with public travel or the ordinary use of, or the safety and convenience of persons traveling through, on, or over, the public parks, roads, turnpikes, streets, avenues, alleys, railroads, or waters in or upon which the same may be erected, and all wires fastened upon posts or poles erected as aforesaid shall be placed at a height of not less than eighteen feet above all road crossings, and twenty-three feet above railroad crossings, and no conduits shall be laid nor posts or poles erected upon the soil or property of any person without first obtaining the consent of the owner thereof, nor shall any such wires or cables be strung across the soil, property, or premises of any person, or attached to or connected with any shade or ornamental tree, or any private building, without the consent of the owner thereof.

Such poles, wires, cables and conduits shall not in anywise damage private property without compensation therefor, nor in any way obstruct the navigation of any stream, or impair or endanger the use thereof by the public, or by any person or corporation entitled to the use of the same. Such conduits shall be laid at such distance below the surface of any public park, road, turnpike, street, avenue, or alley, and at such distance from the outside of any gas or water main or other conduit already laid under such public park, road, turnpike, street, avenue, or alley, as may be prescribed by the proper municipal, county, or state authorities.

Code 1919, §§ 4035, 4038; 1926, pp. 908, 909; 1976, c. 268.

§ 56-466.1. Pole attachments; cable television systems and telecommunications service providers.

A. As used in this section:

"Cable television system" means any system licensed, franchised or certificated pursuant to Article 1.2 (§ 15.2-2108.19 et seq.) of Chapter 21 of Title 15.2 that transmits television signals, for distribution to subscribers of its services for a fee, by means of wires or cables connecting its distribution facilities with its subscriber's television receiver or other equipment connecting to the subscriber's television receiver, and not by transmission of television signals through the air.

"Electric cooperative" means a utility services cooperative formed under or subject to Article 1 (§ 56-231.15 et seq.) of Chapter 9.1.

"Pole attachment" means any attachment by a cable television system or provider of telecommunications service to a pole, duct, conduit, right-of-way or similar facility owned or controlled by a public utility.

"Public utility" has the same meaning ascribed thereto in § 56-232.

"Rearrangement" means work performed at the request of a telecommunications service provider or cable television system to, on or in an existing pole, duct, conduit, right-of-way or similar facility owned or controlled by a public utility that is necessary to make such pole, duct, conduit, right-of-way, or similar facility usable for a pole attachment. "Rearrangement" shall include replacement, at the request of a telecommunications service provider or cable television system, of the existing pole, duct, conduit, right-of-way, or similar facility if the existing pole, duct, conduit, right-of-way, or similar facility does not contain adequate surplus space or excess capacity and cannot be rearranged so as to create the adequate surplus space or excess capacity required for a pole attachment.

"Telecommunications service provider" means any public service corporation or public service company that holds a certificate of public convenience and necessity to furnish local exchange telephone service or interexchange telephone service.

B. Upon request by a telecommunications service provider or cable television system to a public utility, both the public utility and the telecommunications service provider or cable television system shall negotiate in good faith to arrive at a mutually agreeable contract for attachments to the public utility's poles by the telecommunications service provider or cable television system.

C. After entering into a contract for attachments to its poles by any telecommunications service provider or cable television system, a public utility shall permit, upon reasonable terms and conditions and the payment of reasonable annual charges and the cost of any required rearrangement, the attachment of any wire, cable, facility or apparatus to its poles or pedestals, or the placement of any wire, cable, facility or apparatus in conduit or duct space owned or controlled by it, by such telecommunications service provider or cable television system that is authorized by law, to construct and maintain the attachment, provided that the attachment does not interfere, obstruct or delay the service and operation of the public utility or create a safety hazard.

D. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection C, a public utility providing electric utility service may deny access by a telecommunications service provider or cable television system to any pole, duct, conduit, right-of-way, or similar facility owned or controlled, in whole or in part, by such public utility, provided such denial is made on a nondiscriminatory basis on grounds of insufficient capacity or reasons of safety, reliability, or generally applicable engineering principles.

E. This section shall not apply to any pole attachments regulated pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 224.

F. The Commission is authorized to determine just and reasonable rates, and terms and conditions of service, excluding safety and debt collection, for attachments to electric cooperative poles by telecommunications service providers or cable television systems if, following good faith negotiations to do so, the parties cannot reach agreement thereon; however, the Commission shall not determine rates or terms and conditions for any existing agreement until it expires or is terminated pursuant to its own terms. The terms of an expired or terminated agreement shall continue to govern while good faith negotiations or Commission review pursuant to this section are pending. Such determinations shall be made in accordance with the following:

1. Just and reasonable pole attachment rates and terms and conditions of service to be determined by the Commission shall include, without limitation, rearrangement and make-ready costs, pole replacement costs, and all other costs directly related to pole attachments and maintenance, replacement, and inspection of poles or pole attachments, and right of way maintenance essential to pole attachments, provided however, that cost recovery for rearrangement, make-ready and pole replacement shall be addressed in terms and conditions, and shall not be included in annual rental rates;

2. In determining pole attachment rates, the Commission shall consider (i) any effect of such rates on the deployment or utilization, or both, of broadband and other telecommunications services, (ii) the interests of electric cooperatives' members, and (iii) the overall public interest;

3. The Commission may develop and utilize alternative forms of dispute resolution for purposes of addressing disputes (i) arising under this subsection and (ii) falling within the scope of the Commission's authority established hereunder;

4. The Commission is authorized to assess reasonable application fees to recover appropriate Commission costs of proceedings arising under this subsection; and

5. The Commission is authorized to develop, if necessary, rules and regulations, including a definition of good faith negotiations, to implement this section.

2001, c. 76; 2006, cc. 73, 76; 2012, cc. 545, 674.

§ 56-466.2. Undergrounding existing overhead distribution lines; relocation of facilities of cable operator.

When an investor-owned incumbent electric utility proposes to improve electric service reliability pursuant to clause (iv) of subdivision A 6 of § 56-585.1 by installing new underground facilities to replace the utility's existing overhead distribution tap lines, if the utility owns the poles from which the existing overhead distribution tap lines are to be relocated and any cable operator of a cable television system, as those terms are defined in § 15.2-2108.19, has also attached its facilities to such poles, the utility shall provide written notice to the cable operator of the utility's intention to relocate the overhead distribution tap lines not less than 90 days prior to relocating the utility's overhead distribution lines. The cable operator shall notify the utility within 45 days of the notice of relocation whether the cable operator will relocate its facilities underground or request to remain overhead in accordance with the provisions set forth herein. If the cable operator elects to relocate its facilities underground, in such notice the cable operator may request that the utility use commercially reasonable efforts to negotiate a common shared underground easement for the facilities to be located underground of the utility and the cable operator. The cable operator shall be responsible to negotiate any additional easements that it may require. If the cable operator elects to relocate its facilities underground, the cable operator may participate with the utility in a joint relocation of the overhead lines to underground or may engage its own contractors to undertake its relocation work if it deems it appropriate to do so. The utility shall not abandon or remove the poles that the utility owns until the cable operator completes the relocation or removal of its facilities or 90 days after the completion of the relocation of the utility overhead distribution lines, whichever first occurs. If the cable operator does not elect to relocate its facilities underground and requests to maintain its facilities overhead, the utility may either (i) convey such poles "as-is" and "where-is" to the cable operator at its depreciated cost less the estimated cost of removal, provided that the cable operator may legally retain the poles that the utility intends to abandon and assumes all liability for the poles conveyed or (ii) retain ownership of its poles and allow the cable operator's existing overhead facilities to remain attached, in which case the utility shall maintain the pole in accordance with prudent utility standards, provided that the cable operator shall continue to pay its pole attachment fees and otherwise comply with its contractual obligations pursuant to the applicable pole attachment agreement. In all cases, the cable operator shall be responsible for all costs related to the relocation or maintenance of its facilities.

In instances in which an investor-owned incumbent electric utility continues to own and maintain its utility poles after the overhead distribution lines of the utility formerly on such poles have been placed underground pursuant to the foregoing provisions, then for purposes of any agreement or ordinance with respect to a cable franchise under § 15.2-2108.20 or 15.2-2108.21, the utility shall not be deemed to have converted to underground.

2017, c. 583; 2018, c. 296.

§ 56-467. Restoring condition of ground.

The portions of the surface of the parks, roads, turnpikes, streets, avenues, or alleys, or of any pavements opened up or disturbed in erecting, repairing, laying or replacing poles, wires, or cables, or in repairing conduits under the provisions of this chapter shall be immediately restored to and maintained in good condition by the company doing such work; and in case of the failure of such company to restore and maintain the same, the corporate authorities of the city or town, or the board of supervisors or other governing authority of the county, or the chairman of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, as the case may be, may properly restore and maintain the same, and the costs thereof may be recovered by the city or town, or county, or Commonwealth, from such company, in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Code 1919, § 4037; 1926, p. 908.

§ 56-468. Endangering life or limb by stringing wires across other works.

Whoever shall hereafter erect, string, or maintain wires for any telephone or telegraph lines, over or across the works, in this Commonwealth, of any company chartered as a work of internal improvement in any manner so as to endanger the lives or limbs of the employees of such company, or other person, shall, for each offense, be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500.

Code 1919, § 4049.

§ 56-468.1. (Contingent expiration -- see Editor's note) Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee.

A. As used in this article:

"Access lines" are defined to include residence and business telephone lines and other switched (packet or circuit) lines connecting the customer premises to the public switched telephone network for the transmission of outgoing voice-grade telecommunications services. Centrex, PBX, or other multistation telecommunications services will incur a Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee on every line or trunk (Network Access Registrar or PBX trunk) that allows simultaneous unrestricted outward dialing to the public switched network. ISDN Primary Rate Interface services will be charged five Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees for every ISDN Primary Rate Interface network facility established by the customer. Other channelized services in which each voice-grade channel is controlled by the telecommunications service provider shall be charged one fee for each line that allows simultaneous unrestricted outward dialing to the public switched telephone network. Access lines do not include local, state, and federal government lines; access lines used to provide service to users as part of the Virginia Universal Service Plan; interstate and intrastate dedicated WATS lines; special access lines; off-premises extensions; official lines internally provided and used by providers of telecommunications service for administrative, testing, intercept, and verification purposes; and commercial mobile radio service.

"Cable operator" and "cable system" have the same meanings as contained in subsection A of § 15.2-2108.1:1.

"Centrex" means a business telephone service offered by a local exchange company from a local central office; a normal single line telephone service with added custom calling features including but not limited to intercom, call forwarding, and call transfer.

"ISDN Primary Rate Interface" means digital communications service containing 24 bearer channels, each of which is a full 64,000 bits-per-second.

"Locality" has the same meaning as contained in § 15.2-102.

"Network Access Register" means a central office register associated with Centrex service that is required in order to complete a call involving access to the public switched telephone network outside the confines of that Centrex company. Network Access Register may be incoming, outgoing, or two-way.

"New installation of telecommunications facilities" or "new installation" includes the construction of new pole lines and new conduit systems, and the burying of new cables in existing public rights-of-way. New installation does not include adding new cables to existing pole lines and conduit systems.

"PBX" means public branch exchange and is telephone switching equipment owned by the customer and located on the customer's premises.

"PBX trunk" means a connection of the customer's PBX switch to the central office.

"Provider of local telecommunications service" means a public service corporation or locality holding a certificate issued by the State Corporation Commission to provide local exchange telephone service and any other person who provides local telephone services to the public for a fee, other than a CMRS provider as that term is defined in § 56-484.12.

"Provider of telecommunications service" means a public service corporation or locality holding a certificate issued by the State Corporation Commission to provide local exchange or interexchange telephone service to the public for a fee and any other person who provides local or long distance telephone services to the public for a fee, other than a CMRS provider as that term is defined in § 56-484.12.

"Public highway" means, for purposes of computing the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee, the centerline mileage of highways and streets which are part of the primary state highway system as defined in § 33.2-100, the secondary state highway system as defined in §§ 33.2-100 and 33.2-324, the highways of those cities and certain towns defined in § 33.2-319 and the highways and streets maintained and operated by counties which have withdrawn or elect to withdraw from the secondary system of state highways under the provisions of § 11 of Chapter 415 of the Acts of Assembly of 1932 and which have not elected to return.

"Subscriber" means a person who receives video programming, as defined in 47 U.S.C. § 522(20), distributed by a cable operator, as defined in subsection A of § 15.2-2108.1:1, and does not further distribute it.

B. 1. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, there is hereby established a Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee to replace any and all fees of general application (except for zoning, subdivision, site plan and comprehensive plan fees of general application) otherwise chargeable to a provider of telecommunications service by the Commonwealth Transportation Board or a locality in connection with a permit for such occupation and use granted in accordance with § 56-458 or § 56-462. Cities and towns whose public streets and roads are not maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, and any county that has withdrawn or elects to withdraw from the secondary system of state highways under the provisions of § 11 of Chapter 415 of the Acts of Assembly of 1932, may impose the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee on the ultimate end-users of local telecommunications service only by local ordinance. Localities, their authorities or commissions, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board may allow providers of telecommunications services and cable operators to use their electric poles or electric conduits in exchange for payment of a fee.

2. The Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee established by this section is hereby imposed on all cable operators that use the public rights-of-way.

C. The amount of the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee shall be calculated annually by the Department of Transportation (VDOT), based on the calculations described in subsection D of this section. In no year shall the amount of the fee be less than $0.50 per access line per month.

D. The annual rate of the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee shall be calculated by multiplying the number of public highway miles in the Commonwealth by a highway mileage rate (as defined in subsection E of this section), and by adding the number of feet of new installations in the Commonwealth (multiplied by $1 per foot), and dividing this sum by the total number of access lines in the Commonwealth. The monthly rate shall be this annual rate divided by 12.

E. The annual multiplier per mile is $425 per mile beginning July 1, 2001 and thereafter.

F. The data used for the calculation in subsection D shall be based on the following information and schedule: (i) all providers of telecommunications services shall remit to VDOT by December 1 of each year data indicating the number of feet of new installations made during the one-year period ending September 30 of that year, which shall be auditable by affected localities, and the number of access lines as of September 30 of that year, which shall be auditable by affected localities; and (ii) the public highway mileage from the most recently published VDOT report. By the following January 15, VDOT shall calculate the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee to be used in the fiscal year beginning the next ensuing July 1 and report it to all affected localities and providers of local telecommunications services.

G. A provider of local telecommunications service shall collect the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee on a per access line basis and the cable operator shall collect the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee on a per subscriber basis by adding the fee to each ultimate end user's monthly bill for local telecommunications service or cable service. A company providing both local telecommunications service and cable service to the same ultimate end user may collect only one Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee from that ultimate end user based on (i) the local telecommunications service if the locality in which the ultimate end user resides has imposed a Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee on local telecommunications service or (ii) cable service if the locality in which the subscriber resides has not imposed a Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee on local telecommunications service. The Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee shall, when billed, be stated as a distinct item separate and apart from the monthly charge for local telecommunications service and cable service. Until the ultimate end user pays the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee to the local telecommunications service provider or cable operator, the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee shall constitute a debt of the consumer to the locality, VDOT, or the Department of Taxation, as may be applicable. If any ultimate end user or subscriber refuses to pay the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee, the local telecommunications service provider or cable operator shall notify the locality, VDOT, or the Department of Taxation, as appropriate. All fees collected in accordance with the provisions of this section shall be deemed to be held in trust by the local telecommunications service provider and the cable operator until remitted to the locality, VDOT, or the Department of Taxation, as applicable.

H. Within two months after the end of each calendar quarter, each provider of local telecommunications service shall remit the amount of Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees it has billed to ultimate end users during such preceding quarter, as follows:

1. The provider of local telecommunications service shall remit directly to the applicable locality all Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees billed in (i) cities; (ii) towns whose public streets and roads are not maintained by VDOT; and (iii) any county that has withdrawn or elects to withdraw from the secondary system of state highways under the provisions of § 11 of Chapter 415 of the Acts of Assembly of 1932 and that has elected not to return, provided, however, that such counties shall use a minimum of 10% of the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees they receive for transportation construction or maintenance purposes. Any city currently subject to § 15.2-3530 shall use a minimum of 90% of the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees it receives for transportation construction or maintenance purposes.

2. The Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees billed in all other counties shall be remitted by each provider of local telecommunications service to VDOT. VDOT shall allocate the total amount received from providers to the construction improvement program of the secondary system of state highways. Within such allocation to the secondary system, VDOT shall apportion the amounts so received among the several counties, other than those described in clause (iii) of subdivision 1, on the basis of population, with each county being credited a share of the total equal to the proportion that its population bears to the total population of all such counties. For purposes of this section the term "population" shall mean either population according to the latest United States census or the latest population estimate of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service of the University of Virginia, whichever is more recent. Such allocation and apportionment of Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other allocation of funds to such secondary system and apportionment to counties thereof provided by law.

I. The Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee billed by a cable operator shall be remitted to the Department of Taxation for deposit into the Communication Sales and Use Tax Trust Fund by the twentieth day of the month following the billing of the fee.

J. Any locality with a franchise agreement, ordinance implementing a franchise agreement or other form of consent allowing the use of the public rights-of-way by a provider of local telecommunications service, existing prior to July 1, 1998, or any city or town with an ordinance or code section imposing a franchise fee or charge on a provider of local telecommunications service in effect as of February 1, 1997, may elect to continue enforcing such existing franchise, ordinance or code section or other form of consent in lieu of receiving the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee; provided, however, that such city or town does not (i) discriminate among telecommunications service providers and (ii) adopt any additional rights-of-way management practices that do not comply with §§ 56-458 C and 56-462 C. The Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee shall not be imposed in any such locality.

Any locality electing to adopt the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee by ordinance shall notify all affected providers of local telecommunications service no later than March 15 preceding the fiscal year. Such notice shall be in writing and sent by certified mail from such locality to the registered agent of the affected provider or providers of local telecommunications service.

1998, cc. 742, 758; 2002, cc. 479, 489; 2006, c. 780.

§ 56-468.2. Reimbursement for relocation costs.

A. After July 1, 1998, certificated providers of telecommunications services shall receive reimbursement for eligible relocation costs incurred at the direction of a locality that imposes by ordinance the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee or the Department of Transportation for new installations as defined in § 56-468.1 in any public rights-of-way in accordance with §§ 56-458 and 56-462 on the basis of age and according to the following schedule. Such reimbursement shall be received from either (i) the locality that granted the permit or franchise to use such right-of-way or (ii) the Commonwealth Transportation Board if the road or street is in the primary or secondary state highway system:

1. For the first three years after the completion of the installation, the certificated provider of telecommunications service shall be reimbursed 100 percent of the eligible cost for the relocation of facilities installed in the public rights-of-way.

2. For the fourth through sixth year after the completion of the installation, the certificated provider of telecommunications service shall be reimbursed 50 percent of the eligible cost for the relocation of facilities installed in the public rights-of-way.

3. Beginning in the seventh year, the certificated provider of telecommunications service shall be responsible for the cost of relocating facilities installed in the public rights-of-way.

Such reimbursement shall be received from either (i) the locality that granted the permit or franchise to use such right-of-way or (ii) the Commonwealth Transportation Board if the road or street is in the primary or secondary state highway system.

B. The amount of relocation reimbursement in any fiscal year to be reimbursed under this section shall not exceed the amount of Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees received by that locality either directly or through its secondary highway fund apportionment in the preceding fiscal year. For facilities relocated in 1998 and 1999 at the direction of the locality or the Commonwealth Transportation Board, this limit on relocation reimbursement shall be the estimated annualized fees to be collected in that locality in 1998 for 1998 relocations and in 1999 for 1999 relocations. If the relocation reimbursement limit will be exhausted on a relocation project where two or more certificated providers of telecommunications service are eligible for relocation reimbursement, then the moneys available under the cap shall be shared by those eligible providers by prorating the reimbursement based on the reimbursement to which each provider would be entitled absent the limit.

1998, cc. 742, 758; 2015, c. 256.