Statewide Video Franchising Statutes

Heather Morton 5/31/2019

Prior to 2005, all cable companies, and other companies interested in offering cable services to consumers, were required to negotiate separate agreements with each city before they could lay cable in the ground or place cable along utility poles. In some states these agreements were valid for up to 15 years. In order to establish these agreements, the company needed to enter into negotiations with as many as 2,500 or more cities per state. In order to streamline the video franchise process, the Texas Legislature in 2005 approved a cable and video franchise law that permits state issued agreements.

Statewide video franchising allows telecommunications companies to offer television service without the need to negotiate individual agreements in every city. A majority of these statewide video franchise agreements require franchise holders to provide public, education, and government (PEG) channels and offer certain residential subscriber protections. In most states, either the state department or public utilities commission is responsible for issuing franchises.

Statewide Video Franchising Statutes
State: Statutory Citation: Statutory Provision:
Alabama Not specified in statutes  
Alaska Not specified in statutes  
A. Samoa Not available  
Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §9-1401 et seq. A. The licensing of video service providers and the regulation and use of video service are matters of statewide concern. Except as provided in this chapter, the licensing of video service providers and the regulation and use of video service are not subject to further regulation by a local government. The regulation of video service pursuant to this chapter, including application to the local licenses of incumbent cable operators, is reasonable and necessary to promote all of the following: 1. Provision of competitive video, telecommunications and information service throughout this state. 2. More uniform regulation of competitive video service throughout this state. 3. Streamlined licensing by local governments and more uniform terms and conditions for video service providers that use highways to provide video and other services over video service networks. 4. Continued management by local governments of use of their highways with reasonable burdens on construction and maintenance across boundaries between local governments for video service providers to use highways to provide video and other services over video service networks. 5. Continued levying of license fees by local governments on subscriber service revenues derived from operating video service networks to provide video service. 6. Support for federal subscriber service standards.
Arkansas Ark. Stat. Ann. §23-19-201 et seq.

(a) After June 30, 2013:

(1) A person shall not act as a video service provider within the state unless the person: (A) Is providing video service under a franchise from a political subdivision in effect on March 6, 2013, or a subsequent renewal of the franchise; (B) Elects to: (i) Negotiate a franchise with a political subdivision that establishes the terms and conditions applicable to that person to provide video service within the jurisdictional boundaries of the political subdivision and has been issued a franchise from the political subdivision for such a purpose; or (ii) Adopt the terms and conditions of an existing franchise issued by a political subdivision to an incumbent video service provider providing video service within the same service area and that has been issued a franchise from the political subdivision authorizing the video service provider to provide video services within the political subdivision under the same terms and conditions as the franchise issued to an incumbent video service provider in the political subdivision; or (C) Has been granted a certificate of franchise authority to do business in the state by the secretary of state as authorized in this subchapter; and

(2) A franchise between a political subdivision and a video service provider described in subdivision (a)(1)(A) or subdivision (a)(1)(B) of this section expires on the earlier of: (A) 10 years from the date the franchise was effective; or (B) The original expiration date of the franchise.
California Cal. Public Utilities Code §5800 et seq. (a) The Public Utilities Commission is the sole franchising authority for a state franchise to provide video service under this division. Neither the commission nor any local franchising entity or other local entity of the state may require the holder of a state franchise to obtain a separate franchise or otherwise impose any requirement on any holder of a state franchise except as expressly provided in this division. Sections 53066, 53066.01, 53066.2, and 53066.3 of the Government Code shall not apply to holders of a state franchise.
Colorado Not specified in statutes  
Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. §16-330 et seq. (a) An entity or person, other than a community antenna television company certified to provide community antenna television service pursuant to §16-331 on or before Oct. 1, 2007, or an affiliate, successor or assign of such community antenna television company, seeking to provide video service in the state on and after Oct. 1, 2007, shall file with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority an application for a certificate of video franchise authority, containing such information as required by this section. A community antenna television company may apply for a certificate of video franchise authority pursuant to this section for any service area in which it was not certified to provide community antenna television service pursuant to section 16-331 on or before October 1, 2007. The application shall be accompanied by a fee of $1,000.
Delaware Del. Code Ann. tit. 26, §601 et seq. (b) The Public Service Commission is hereby authorized to grant franchises for cable television systems to be constructed or operated in whole or in part within the state outside the boundaries of incorporated municipalities which on June 28, 1974, have the power either express or implied under their charters to grant franchises for a system. The procedure prescribed by this subchapter for granting franchises shall be followed by the Commission and all franchises shall comply with the requirements hereof.
District of Columbia D.C. Code Ann. §34-1254.01 et seq.

(a) The Council may grant one or more franchises to provide cable service over, on, under, or within the public rights-of-way.

(b) No person may construct or operate a cable system over, on, under, or within a public right-of-way without first obtaining a franchise under this chapter.
Florida Fla. Stat. §610.102 et seq. The department of state shall be designated as the franchising authority for a state-issued franchise for the provision of cable or video service. A municipality or county may not grant a new franchise for the provision of cable or video service within its jurisdiction.
Georgia Ga. Code §36-76-1 et seq.

(a) (1) Any entity or person seeking to provide cable service or video service in this state after Jan. 1, 2008, at the discretion of the cable service provider or video service provider, may elect from among the franchise options as set forth in this Code section. A cable service provider or video service provider shall not provide cable service or video service without a franchise obtained pursuant to this chapter.

(2) A cable service provider or video service provider may elect to negotiate a local cable service or video service franchise agreement with a municipal or county franchise authority duly authorized under the laws of Georgia and may enter into a negotiated cable television franchise agreement in accordance with Title VI of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §521 et seq., or a video service franchise agreement in accordance with applicable state and federal law that establishes the terms and conditions for the franchise agreement within the jurisdictional limits of that municipality or county. A local cable service or video service franchise agreement entered into after Jan. 1, 2008, shall remain in force and effect through its expiration date notwithstanding subsection (g) of Code §36-76-4.

(3) A cable service provider or video service provider may elect to adopt the terms of a negotiated franchise agreement entered into between a cable service provider or video service provider and a municipal or county franchise authority in the service area in which the cable service provider or video service provider desires to provide service. The municipal or county franchise authority shall be required to enter into any such negotiated franchise agreement upon the same terms and conditions to any requesting cable service provider or video service provider. A local cable service or video service franchise agreement that is adopted by a cable service provider or video service provider after Jan. 1, 2008, shall remain in force and effect through its expiration date notwithstanding subsection (g) of Code §36-76-4.

(4) A cable service provider or video service provider may elect after Jan. 1, 2008, to file an application for a state franchise in one or more specified service areas with the secretary of state in accordance with the procedures set forth in this chapter.
Guam Not specified in statutes  
Hawaii Hawaii Rev. Stat. §440G-1 et seq. (a) The director of commerce and consumer affairs is empowered to issue a cable franchise to construct or operate facilities for a cable system upon the terms and conditions provided in this chapter.
Idaho Idaho Code §50-3001 et seq.

(1) On and after July 1, 2012, no person shall act as a video service provider or operate a video service network within the state of Idaho unless such person:

(a) Is an incumbent cable service provider providing cable service within an existing franchise area by permission of, or pursuant to, a franchise from a political subdivision in effect on the effective date of this chapter or a subsequent renewal thereof; or

(b) Is a nonincumbent cable service provider who: (i) Elects to negotiate a franchise agreement in accordance with title VI of the communications act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §521 et seq., with a political subdivision, which agreement establishes the terms and conditions applicable to that person to provide cable or video service within the jurisdictional boundaries of such political subdivision and has been issued a franchise from the political subdivision for such purpose; or (ii) Elects to adopt the terms and conditions of an existing franchise issued by a political subdivision to an incumbent cable service provider providing video service within the same service area and who has been issued a franchise from the political subdivision authorizing the video service provider to provide video services within the political subdivision pursuant to the same terms and conditions as the franchise issued to the incumbent cable service provider in the political subdivision; or

(c) Has been granted a certificate of franchise authority to do business in the state of Idaho as a system operator by the Idaho secretary of state, as authorized in this chapter.
Illinois Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 220, §5/21-100 et seq. (a) A person or entity seeking to provide cable service or video service in this state after June 30, 2007 (the effective date of Public Act 95-9) shall either (1) obtain a state-issued authorization pursuant to §21-401 of the Public Utilities Act (220 ILCS 5/21-401); (2) obtain authorization pursuant to §11-42-11 of the Illinois Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/11-42-11); or (3) obtain authorization pursuant to §5-1095 of the Counties Code (55 ILCS 5/5-1095).
Indiana Ind. Code §8-1-34-1 et seq. (a) Except as provided in section 21 of this chapter, after June 30, 2006: (1) the commission is the sole franchising authority (as defined in 47 U.S.C. 522(10)) for the provision of video service in Indiana; and (2) a unit may not: (A) require a provider to obtain a separate franchise; (B) impose any fee, gross receipt tax, licensing requirement, rate regulation, or build-out requirement on a provider; (C) regulate a holder or provider; or (D) establish, fund, or otherwise designate an agency, a board, or another subordinate entity to monitor, supervise, evaluate, or regulate the holder or provider; except as authorized by this chapter.
Iowa Iowa Code §477A.1 et seq. 1. After July 1, 2007, a person providing cable service or video service in this state shall not provide such service without a franchise. The franchise may be issued by either the utilities board within the utilities division of the department of commerce pursuant to §477A.3 or by a municipality pursuant to §364.2.
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. §12-2021 et seq. (a) An entity or person seeking to provide cable service or video service in this state on or after July 1, 2006, shall file an application for a state-issued video service authorization with the state corporation commission as required by this section. The state corporation commission shall promulgate regulations to govern the state-issued video service authorization application process. . .
Kentucky Not specified in statutes  
Louisiana La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §45:1361 et seq. A. Any person or entity seeking to provide cable service or video service in this state after Aug. 15, 2008, shall file an application for a state franchise with the secretary of state as required by this Section and shall provide a copy of such application simultaneously to each local governmental subdivision listed in Paragraph (B)(2) of this section.
Maine Not specified in statutes  
Maryland Not specified in statutes  
Massachusetts Not specified in statutes  
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws §484.3301 et seq.

(1) No later than 30 days from the effective date of this act, the Michigan public service commission shall issue an order establishing the standardized form for the uniform video service local franchise agreement to be used by each franchising entity in this state.

(2) Except as otherwise provided by this act, a person shall not provide video services in any local unit of government without first obtaining a uniform video service local franchise as provided under section 3.
Minnesota Not specified in statutes  
Mississippi Not specified in statutes  
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. §67-2675 et seq. 3. No person shall commence providing video service or commence construction of a video service network in any area until such person has obtained a state-issued video service authorization, under the provisions of §§67.2675 to 67.2714.
Montana Not specified in statutes  
Nebraska Not specified in statutes  
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. §711.020 et seq.

1. For the purpose of bringing about fair and reasonable competition for video service, the secretary of sstate has the exclusive authority to issue a certificate of authority to a person to provide video service and construct and operate a video service network in any service area in this state.

2. The secretary of state: (a) Shall carry out the provisions of this chapter; and (b) May adopt regulations necessary for the issuance, modification and termination of a certificate of authority, including, without limitation, prescribing any forms related to the application process.

3. On or after June 4, 2007, a local government does not have the authority to: (a) Issue, grant, approve or renew any franchise, agreement, permit, license or similar authorization, regardless of its name, for the privilege of: (1) Providing video service within the jurisdiction of the local government; or (2) Except as otherwise provided in NRS 711.640 and 711.670, constructing or operating a video service network within the jurisdiction of the local government, except that a local government in a county whose population is less than 100,000 may renew or extend the term of an unexpired local franchise of an incumbent cable operator which has elected pursuant to NRS 711.480 and 711.490 to continue to operate within its service area pursuant to the local franchise; (b) Impose any build-out requirements, investment requirements or other requirements relating to infrastructure, facilities or deployment of equipment for the privilege of providing video service or constructing or operating a video service network within the jurisdiction of the local government; or (c) Except as otherwise provided in NRS 711.640 and 711.670, require the payment of any application, document, franchise, service or other fee, tax, charge or assessment for the privilege of providing video service or constructing or operating a video service network within the jurisdiction of the local government.
New Hampshire Not specified in statutes  
New Jersey N.J. Rev. Stat. §48:5A-1 et seq. 15. No person shall hereafter begin the construction or extension of a CATV system, or begin the operation of a CATV system, or acquire ownership or control thereof, without first obtaining from the board of public utilities a certificate of approval or franchise issued in accordance with the provisions and procedures specified in P.L.1972, c.186 (C.48:5A-1 et seq.); except that the director may, by order, rule or regulation, exempt a CATV company from the above requirement in a case in which the CATV company's temporary acts or operations do not require the issuance of a certificate of approval or a system-wide franchise in the public interest.  The issuance of a certificate of approval or a system-wide franchise by the board to a CATV company shall be deemed to confer a franchise upon the CATV company.  A telecommunications service provider holding authority, granted prior to the enactment of P.L.2006, c.83 (C.48:5A-25.1 et al.), to utilize the public rights-of-way to construct, upgrade, operate or maintain a communications network shall not be required to obtain a certificate of authority, system-wide franchise or any other authorization, except for being subject to generally applicable non-discriminatory permit requirements, to construct, upgrade, operate or maintain a communications network capable of providing cable service, and a certificate of authority or a system-wide franchise shall be required only prior to the actual provision of cable service on a commercial basis to the general public.
New Mexico Not specified in statutes  
New York Not specified in statutes  
North Carolina N.C. Gen. Stat. §66-350 et seq.

(a) Authority. – The secretary of state is designated the exclusive franchising authority in this state for cable service provided over a cable system. This designation replaces the authorization to counties and cities in former G.S. 153A-137 and G.S. 160A-319 to award a franchise for cable service. This designation is effective Jan. 1, 2007. After this date, a county or city may not award or renew a franchise for cable service.

(b) Award and Scope. – The secretary is considered to have awarded a franchise to a person who files a notice of franchise under G.S. 66-352. A franchise for cable service authorizes the holder of the franchise to construct and operate a cable system over public rights-of-way within the area to be served. Chapter 160A of the General Statutes governs the regulation of public rights-of-way by a city.
North Dakota Not specified in statutes  
N. Mariana Islands Not available  
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §1332.01 et seq. (A) (1) In accordance with §1332.25 of the Revised Code, the director of commerce may issue to any person, or renew, a video service authorization, which authorization confers on the person the authority, subject to §§1332.21 to 1332.34 of the Revised Code, to provide video service in its video service area; construct and operate a video service network in, along, across, or on public rights-of-way for the provision of video service; and, when necessary to provide that service, exercise the power of a telephone company under §4931.04 of the Revised Code. The term of a video service authorization or authorization renewal shall be 10 years. (2) For the purposes of the "Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984," Pub. L. No. 98-549, 98 Stat. 2779, 47 U.S.C. 521 et seq., a video service authorization shall constitute a franchise under that law, and the director shall be the sole franchising authority under that law for video service authorizations in this state.
Oklahoma Not specified in statutes  
Oregon Not specified in statutes  
Pennsylvania Not specified in statutes  
Puerto Rico P.R. Code Ann. tit. 27, §269h

(a) Franchises.—

(1) No cable company shall build or operate a cable system in Puerto Rico, fully or partially, without having previously obtained a franchise under this section for such construction or operation.

(2) The Telecommunications Regulatory Board of Puerto Rico shall be empowered to grant nonexclusive franchises to one or more cable companies to provide said services if it determines that granting such franchises, in one or all service areas and to one or more cable companies, is in the best public interest. A franchise may be granted for a specific period of time, which shall not exceed 18 years. The Board shall specify in all its franchises the conditions, limitations, requirements and service areas determined as necessary to promote the purposes of this chapter. All franchises granted up to the present by the Public Service Commission shall remain in effect with regard to their rights and responsibilities, but the Board shall assume jurisdiction on the terms and conditions of said franchises.
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws §39-19-1 et seq. No person or company shall operate a CATV service unless there shall be in force for the same a valid certificate issued by the administrator authorizing the operation. Every application for a certificate shall be filed with the administrator on a form provided by him or her and shall contain verified answers to such questions and such information as the administrator may propound or require and shall be accompanied by a fee of $50. All certificates shall be nonexclusive. Any additional certificate issued shall not contain terms or conditions more favorable or less burdensome than those imposed on the incumbent company. The administrator, within a reasonable time, shall fix the time and place of hearing on the application.
South Carolina S.C. Code Ann. §58-12-300 et seq.

(A) Except as provided in §58-12-325, a person or entity providing cable service in this state on the effective date of this article under a franchise previously granted by the governing body of a municipality or county is not subject to nor may it avail itself of the state-issued certificate of franchise authority provisions of this article with respect to the municipality or county until the franchise expires. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any such cable service provider may seek authorization to provide service in areas where it currently does not have an existing franchise agreement pursuant to provisions of this article.

(B) Subject to the provisions of subsection (A), a person or entity seeking to provide cable or video service in this state after the effective date of this article must file an application for a state-issued certificate of franchise authority with the secretary of state as required by this section. . . .
South Dakota Not specified in statutes  
Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. §7-59-301 et seq.

(a) (1) Any entity, person or joint venture, as authorized under this part, seeking to provide cable or video service over a cable system or video service network facility in this state after July 1, 2008, at the discretion of the cable service provider or video service provider, may elect from among the franchise options as set forth in this section. A cable or video service provider shall not provide cable service or video service without a franchise obtained pursuant to this part, except as in accordance with §7-59-102.

(2) A person seeking to provide cable service or video service may elect to negotiate a local cable service or video service franchise agreement with a municipal or county franchise authority and may enter into a negotiated cable television franchise agreement in accordance with Title VI of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. §521 et seq.), or a video service franchise agreement in accordance with any applicable state or federal law that establishes the terms and conditions for the franchise agreement within the jurisdictional limits of that municipality or county, including parts 1 and 2 of this chapter. A local cable service or video service franchise agreement entered into after July 1, 2008, shall remain in force and effect through its expiration date notwithstanding the provision for terminating a local franchise agreement established in subsection (b).

(3) A person seeking to provide cable or video service, including any incumbent cable service provider, may elect to adopt the terms of a negotiated franchise agreement entered into between a cable service provider or video service provider and a municipal or county franchise authority in the service area in which the provider desires to provide service. The municipal or county franchise authority shall be required to enter into any such negotiated franchise agreement upon the same terms and conditions with any requesting provider of cable service or video service. A local cable service or video service franchise agreement that is adopted by a cable service provider or provider of video service after July 1, 2008, shall remain in force and effect through its expiration date notwithstanding the provision for terminating a local franchise agreement established in subsection (b).

(4) A cable or video service provider may elect to file an application with the department for a state-issued certificate of franchise authority for one (1) or more specified service areas in accordance with the procedures set forth in this part.
Texas Tex. Public Utilities Code Ann. §66.001 et seq. The Public Utility Commission of Texas shall be designated as the franchising authority for a state-issued franchise for the provision of cable service or video service.
Utah Not specified in statutes  
Vermont Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 30, §501 et seq. (a) No company may own or operate a cable television system unless it holds a certificate of public good issued by the Public Service Board authorizing it to do so.
Virginia Not specified in statutes  
US Virgin Islands V.I. Code Ann. tit. 30, §301 et seq. No person shall construct or operate a cable television company or system within the territory, except as provided in this chapter. Any franchise authorized under this chapter shall be nonexclusive.
Washington Not specified in statutes  
West Virginia Not specified in statutes  
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. §66.0420 et seq.

(3) Authority to provide video service.

(a) In general. Except for an interim cable operator, and except as provided in par. (c) and sub. (11), no person may provide video service in this state unless the department has issued a video service franchise to the person and the person has provided the notice required under par. (h).

(b) Incumbent cable operators. 1. A municipality may not renew or extend the cable franchise of an incumbent cable operator that expires after Jan. 9, 2008. 2. An incumbent cable operator may do one of the following: a. Continue to provide cable service as an interim cable operator until the cable franchise expires. b. Apply for a video service franchise. If an incumbent cable operator applies for a video service franchise, the cable franchise shall terminate and have no effect upon issuance of the video service franchise. Upon termination of the cable franchise, the municipality that granted the franchise shall, at the request of the incumbent cable operator, surrender, return, or take such other action as may be necessary to nullify any bond, letter of credit, or similar instrument intended to secure the performance of the incumbent cable operator under the cable franchise. 3. An incumbent cable operator whose cable franchise expires after Jan. 9, 2008, may not, after expiration of the cable franchise, provide video service in this state unless the incumbent cable operator applies for a video service franchise under subd. 2. b. and, upon issuance of the video service franchise, provides the notice required under par. (h). An incumbent cable operator whose cable franchise expired before Jan. 9, 2008, and who was providing cable service immediately before Jan. 9, 2008, may continue to provide cable service if, no later than March 1, 2008, the incumbent cable operator applies for a video service franchise under subd. 2. b.

(c) Other providers. A person, other than an incumbent cable operator, who was providing video service immediately before Jan. 9, 2008, may provide video service without a video service franchise issued by the department. This paragraph ceases to apply to such a person if the person does not apply for a video service franchise no later than March 1, 2008.
Wyoming Not specified in statutes  

 

Heather Morton is a program principal in Fiscal Affairs. She covers financial services, alcohol production and sales and telecommunications issues for NCSL.

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