1996 version of the 1934 Communications Act:
PART II--DEVELOPMENT OF COMPETITIVE MARKETS
SEC. 251. [47 U.S.C. 251] INTERCONNECTION.
(a) GENERAL DUTY OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS CARRIERS.--Each telecommunications carrier has the duty--
(1) to interconnect directly or indirectly with the facilities and equipment of other telecommunications carriers; and
(2) not to install network features, functions, or capabilities that do not comply with the guidelines and standards established pursuant to section 255 or 256.
(b) OBLIGATIONS OF ALL LOCAL EXCHANGE CARRIERS.--Each local
exchange carrier has the following duties:
(1) RESALE.--The duty not to prohibit, and not to impose
unreasonable or discriminatory conditions or limitations on, the resale of its telecommunications services.
(2) NUMBER PORTABILITY.--The duty to provide, to the extent technically feasible, number portability in accordance with requirements prescribed by the Commission.
(3) DIALING PARITY.--The duty to provide dialing parity to competing providers of telephone exchange service and telephone toll service, and the duty to permit all such providers to have nondiscriminatory access to telephone numbers, operator services, directory assistance, and directory listing, with no unreasonable dialing delays.
(4) ACCESS TO RIGHTS-OF-WAY.--The duty to afford access to the poles, ducts, conduits, and rights-of-way of such carrier to competing providers of telecommunications services on rates, terms, and conditions that are consistent with section 224.
SEC. 253. [47 U.S.C. 253] REMOVAL OF BARRIERS TO ENTRY.
(a) IN GENERAL.--No State or local statute or regulation, or other State or local legal requirement, may prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the ability of any entity to provide any interstate or intrastate telecommunications service.
(b) STATE REGULATORY AUTHORITY.--Nothing in this section shall affect the ability of a State to impose, on a competitively neutral basis and consistent with section 254, requirements necessary to preserve and advance universal service, protect the public safety and welfare, ensure the continued quality of telecommunications services, and safeguard the rights of consumers.
(c) STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY.--Nothing in this section affects the authority of a State or local government to manage the public rights-of- way or to require fair and reasonable compensation from telecommunications providers, on a competitively neutral and nondiscriminatory basis, for use of public rights-of-way on a nondiscriminatory basis, if the compensation required is publicly disclosed by such government.
(d) PREEMPTION.--If, after notice and an opportunity for public comment, the Commission determines that a State or local government has permitted or imposed any statute, regulation, or legal requirement that violates subsection (a) or (b), the Commission shall preempt the enforcement of such statute, regulation, or legal requirement to the extent necessary to correct such violation or inconsistency.
(2) SPECIFIC INTERCONNECTION REQUIREMENTS.--
(A) AGREEMENT REQUIRED.--A Bell operating company meets the requirements of this paragraph if, within the State for
which the authorization is sought--
(i)(I) such company is providing access and
interconnection pursuant to one or more agreements described in paragraph (1)(A), or
(II) such company is generally offering access and interconnection pursuant to a statement described in paragraph (1)(B), and
(ii) such access and interconnection meets the requirements of subparagraph (B) of this paragraph.
(B) COMPETITIVE CHECKLIST.--Access or interconnection
provided or generally offered by a Bell operating company to other telecommunications carriers meets the requirements of this subparagraph if such access and interconnection includes each of the following:
(i) Interconnection in accordance with the requirements of sections 251(c)(2) and 252(d)(1).
(ii) Nondiscriminatory access to network elements in accordance with the requirements of sections 251(c)(3) and 252(d)(1).
(iii) Nondiscriminatory access to the poles, ducts, conduits, and rights-of-way owned or controlled by the Bell operating company at just and reasonable rates in accordance with the requirements of section 224.
(iv) Local loop transmission from the central office to the customer's premises, unbundled from local switching or other services.
(v) Local transport from the trunk side of a wireline local exchange carrier switch unbundled from switching or other services.
(vi) Local switching unbundled from transport, local loop transmission, or other services.
(vii) Nondiscriminatory access to-- (I) 911 and E911 services;
PART III--FRANCHISING AND REGULATION
SEC. 621. [47 U.S.C. 541] GENERAL FRANCHISE REQUIREMENTS.
(a)(1) A franchising authority may award, in accordance with the provisions of this title, 1 or more franchises within its jurisdiction; except that a franchising authority may not grant an exclusive franchise and may not unreasonably refuse to award an additional competitive franchise. Any applicant whose application for a second franchise has been denied by a final decision of the franchising authority may appeal such final decision pursuant to the provisions of
section 635 for failure to comply with this subsection.
(2) Any franchise shall be construed to authorize the construction of a
cable system over public rights-of-way, and through easements, which is within the area to be served by the cable system and which have been dedicated for compatible uses, except that in using such easements the cable operator shall ensure--
(A) that the safety, functioning, and appearance of the property and the convenience and the safety of other persons not be adversely affected by the installation or construction of facilities necessary for a cable system;
(B) that the cost of the installation, construction, operation, or removal of such facilities be borne by the cable operator or subscriber, or a combination of both; and
(C) that the owner of the property be justly compensated by the cable operator for any damages caused by the installation, construction, operation, or removal of such facilities by the cable operator.
(3) In awarding a franchise or franchises, a franchising authority shall
assure that access to cable service is not denied to any group of potential residential cable subscribers because of the income of the residents of the local area in which such group resides.
(4) In awarding a franchise, the franchising authority--
(A) shall allow the applicant's cable system a reasonable period of time to become capable of providing cable service to all households in the franchise area;
(B) may require adequate assurance that the cable operator will provide adequate public, educational, and governmental access channel capacity, facilities, or financial support; and
(C) may require adequate assurance that the cable operator has the financial, technical, or legal qualifications to provide cable service.
(b)(1) Except to the extent provided in paragraph (2) and subsection (f), a
cable operator may not provide cable service without a franchise.
(2) Paragraph (1) shall not require any person lawfully providing cable
service without a franchise on July 1, 1984, to obtain a franchise unless the franchising authority so requires.
(3)(A) If a cable operator or affiliate thereof is engaged in the provision of telecommunications services--
(i) such cable operator or affiliate shall not be required to obtain a franchise under this title for the provision of telecommunications services; and
(ii) the provisions of this title shall not apply to such cable operator or affiliate for the provision of telecommunications services.
(B) A franchising authority may not impose any requirement under this title
that has the purpose or effect of prohibiting, limiting, restricting, or conditioning
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SEC. 622. [47 U.S.C. 542] FRANCHISE FEES.
(a) Subject to the limitation of subsection (b), any cable operator may be required under the terms of any franchise to pay a franchise fee.
(b) For any twelve-month period, the franchise fees paid by a cable operator with respect to any cable system shall not exceed 5 percent of such cable operator's gross revenues derived in such period from the operation of the cable system to provide cable services. For purposes of this section, the 12-month period shall be the 12-month period applicable under the franchise for accounting purposes. Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit a franchising authority and a cable operator from agreeing that franchise fees which lawfully could be collected for any such 12-month period shall be paid on a prepaid or deferred basis; except that the sum of the fees paid during the term of the franchise may not exceed the amount, including the time value of money, which would have lawfully been collected if such fees had been paid per annum.
(c) Each cable operator may identify, consistent with the regulations prescribed by the Commission pursuant to section 623, as a separate line item on each regular bill of each subscriber, each of the following:
(1) The amount of the total bill assessed as a franchise fee and the identity of the franchising authority to which the fee is paid.
(2) The amount of the total bill assessed to satisfy any requirements imposed on the cable operator by the franchise agreement to support public, educational, or governmental channels or the use of such channels.
(3) The amount of any other fee, tax, assessment, or charge of any kind imposed by any governmental authority on the transaction between the operator and the subscriber.
(d) In any court action under subsection (c), the franchising authority shall
demonstrate that the rate structure reflects all costs of the franchise fees.
(e) Any cable operator shall pass through to subscribers the amount of any
decrease in a franchise fee.
(f) A cable operator may designate that portion of a subscriber's bill
attributable to the franchise fee as a separate item on the bill. (g) For the purposes of this section--
(1) the term ''franchise fee'' includes any tax, fee, or assessment of any kind imposed by a franchising authority or other governmental entity on a cable operator or cable subscriber, or both, solely because of their status as such;
(2) the term ''franchise fee'' does not include--
(A) any tax, fee, or assessment of general applicability
(including any such tax, fee, or assessment imposed on both utilities and cable operators or their services but not including a tax, fee, or assessment which is unduly discriminatory against cable operators or cable subscribers);
(2) For any 12-month period, the fees paid by such person with respect to any such cable service or other communications service shall not exceed 5 percent of such person's gross revenues derived in such period from the provision of such service over the cable system.
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a) COMPETITION PREFERENCE; LOCAL AND FEDERAL REGULATION.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--No Federal agency or State may regulate the rates for the provision of cable service except to the extent provided under this section and section 612