AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING FRANCHISED CABLE TELEVISION SERVICE STANDARDS AND RATE INCREASE PROCEDURES.
Section 1. Customer Service Standards.
(A) Franchise telephone access lines shall be maintained twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week at a telephone number printed on customer billings.
(B) Access lines must be local, toll-free or collect to all customers within the franchisee’s service area.
(C) Telephone service shall be an automated response system or direct access to franchisee personnel after normal business hours.
(D) Franchise personnel shall respond to all customer calls, made after normal business hours, on the next business day.
(E) Telephone answering time under normal operating conditions shall not exceed thirty (30) seconds form the time a connection is made.
(F) If an answered call is transferred, transfer time shall not exceed an additional thirty (30) seconds.
(G) Franchisee shall meet the answer-time standard at least ninety percent (90%) of the time under normal operating conditions as measured on a quarterly basis.
(H) Busy signals cannot be received more than three percent (3%) of the time, under normal operating conditions.
(I) The franchisee’s customer service and bill payment center shall be located within the city’s zoned Central Business District and be open at least during normal business hours.
Section 2. Installations, Outages and Service Calls.
(A) Standard installations (located within one hundred twenty-five  feet from the existing distribution system) shall be performed within seven (7) days after placement of order.
(B) Work on reported “service interruptions” shall begin within twenty-four (24) hours after being reported to the franchisee, except for conditions beyond the control of the franchisee. Work on all other service problems shall begin the next business day after notification.
(C) Scheduling for installations or service calls shall be for either a specific time or no more than a four (4) hour block of time during the regular business day.
(D) Appointments cannot be cancelled after the close of business the day before an appointment is scheduled.
(E) If the franchisee’s representative cannot maintain a service appointment schedule, customers must be contacted and offered another appointment time at the customer’s convenience.
(F) Appointment standards must be met no less than ninety-five percent (95%) of the time, as measured on a quarterly basis.
Section 3. Communications, Billings and Refunds.
(A) Written information about the following shall be provided upon service installation, at least once a year to all subscribers, and at any time upon request:
(1) Products and services offered.
(2) Prices, options for programming services, and conditions of subscription for programming and other services.
(3) Installation and service maintenance policies.
(4) Instructions on how to use the cable service.
(5) Channel positions of programming carried on the system.
(6) Billing/complaint procedures (to include local franchising authority’s mailing address and telephone number).
(B) Customers shall be notified of any changes in rates, programming services or channel positions in writing and by announcements on the cable system.
(1) If change is within cable operator’s control, notice must be provided at least thirty (30) days in advance.
(2) Customers must be notified thirty (30) days in advance of any changes pertaining to the items listed in Section 3(a)(1)-(6) of this outline, above.
(1) All bills shall be:
(a) Clear, concise and understandable.
(b) Itemized, including itemization of basic tier and premium service charges, and equipment charges.
(c) Show all activity during billing period, including optional charges, rebates, credits.
(2) Operators shall respond to written complaints from subscribers regarding billing disputes within thirty (30) days.
(2) Refund checks shall be issued promptly, but no later than:
(a) Customer’s next billing cycle following resolution of customer’s request, or thirty (30) calendar days, whichever is earlier; or
(b) Return of equipment supplied by cable operator, if service is terminated.
(3) Credits shall be issued no later than customer’s next billing cycle following determination that credit is warranted.
Section 4. Definitions of Key Terms.
(A) “Normal business hours” - are those during which most similar businesses in the community are open to serve customers. In all cases, “normal business hours” must include some evening hours at least once per week and/or some weekend hours.
(B) Normal operating conditions: - The term “normal operating conditions” means those service conditions which are within the control of the cable operator. Those conditions which are not within the control of the cable operator include, but are not limited to, natural disasters, civil disturbances, pow r outages, telephone network outages, and severe or unusual weather conditions. Those conditions which -c; ordinarily within the control of the cable operator include, but are not limited to, special promotions, pay-per-view events, rate increases, regular peak or seasonal demand periods, and maintenance or upgrade of the cable system.
(C) Service interruption: The term “service interruption” means the loss of picture or sound on one or more cable channels.
Section 5. Rate Increase Review Process.
(A) Any basic-tier service or equipment rate increase request above the federally-established authorized benchmark level shall be in writing by registered mail from the franchisee to the City of Solomon.
(B) A public hearing to consider the request shall be conducted by the Cable Television Rate Review Committee within forty-five (45) days of receipt by the City of the request.
(C) All cable television customers shall be given written mailed notice of the proposed rate increase and advised of the time, date, place and purpose of the public hearing, no more than thirty (30) or less than twenty (20) days prior to the hearing.
(D) Public notice of the hearing shall be printed by the city in the official city newspaper no more than twenty (20) or less than ten (10) days prior to the hearing.
(E) The Cable Television Rate Review Committee shall be composed of the Mayor, City Clerk and one resident of the City appointed annually by the City Council.
(F) The Review Committee shall accept and hear testimony at the public hearing regarding the proposed rate increase, including evidence from the franchisee to support the proposed increase.
(G) The Review Committee shall upon close of the public hearing determine the merit and sufficiency of the proposed rate increase request. A determination shall be made within ten (10) days of the conclusion of the hearing.
(H) Appeal of any decision of the Rate Review Committee may be made in writing to the City Council within ten (10) days of the committee’s determination. The City Council shall issue a final decision on the appeal within twenty (20) days of such appeal.