2010 Tennessee Code
Title 7 - Consolidated Governments
Chapter 59 - Cable Television
Part 3 - Competitive Cable and Video Services Act
7-59-316 - Telecommunications joint venture Application.

7-59-316. Telecommunications joint venture Application.

(a)  (1)  Except as otherwise provided in this section, notwithstanding chapter 52 of this title and title 65, chapter 25, or any other state law to the contrary, a county or municipality, or any entity otherwise authorized by law to act on a county or municipality's behalf, or a cooperative is authorized to participate in a telecommunications joint venture that is created to provide broadband services to areas within the jurisdiction of the municipality, county or cooperative that has been determined to be an historically unserved area, meaning that the area does not have access to broadband Internet services, has been an area developed for residential use for more than five (5) years, and is outside the service area of a video or cable service local franchise holder or the franchise area of a holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority.

     (2)  For purposes of this section, a “telecommunications joint venture” means a joint venture or other business relationship with one (1) or more third parties to provide broadband services that may include broadband Internet services, voice over Internet protocol telephonic services, video over Internet protocol services and similar services provided over broadband facilities.

     (3)  A telecommunications joint venture authorized by this section shall only be authorized to provide broadband services in historically unserved areas.

(b)  (1)  A telecommunications joint venture created and operated pursuant to the authority granted in this section may be subsidized by one (1) or more of the participants as may be determined by the participants; provided, however, that electric cooperatives and municipal electric systems shall comply with:

          (A)  Any applicable provisions of contracts with suppliers of electricity prohibiting or otherwise limiting cross-subsidies of services with electricity revenues;

          (B)  Chapter 52, part 6 of this title; and

          (C)  Title 65, chapter 25, part 2.

     (2)  It is the legislative intent that any joint venture established under this section shall not be subsidized by revenues from power or other utility operations.

(c)  (1)  Until July 1, 2018, unless such date is extended by the general assembly, notwithstanding § 65-21-105, in any area of the state determined by the department, in accordance with subsection (d), to be an historically unserved area where there is no access to broadband Internet services, a municipality or cooperatively owned utility shall not receive or request in exchange for new pole attachments any pole attachment charge from a cable or video service provider, or a telecommunications joint venture seeking to provide new broadband Internet services to the area that exceeds fifty percent (50%) of the highest pole attachment rate charged by the municipality or cooperatively owned utility to a cable service provider on January 1, 2008. For purposes of the discounted pole attachment charge for new pole attachments in historically unserved areas, no increase in the underlying pole attachment rate shall raise the discounted rate until July 1, 2018, unless such date is extended by the general assembly. This subdivision (c)(1) does not apply to any pole attachment charges for poles where, as of January 1, 2008, the cable or video service provider or a telecommunications joint venture is paying a pole attachment charge.

     (2)  A municipality or cooperatively owned utility shall provide access to its poles and conduit located in public rights-of-way to any entity listed in subdivision (c)(1) that requests a pole attachment agreement on terms and conditions consistent with this section and other applicable law in the historically unserved area.

(d)  Any municipality or county government seeking to establish a joint venture as provided in this part shall apply to the department for a finding that the area is historically unserved and that no private provider intends to serve that area. The applicant shall provide a copy of the application to all telecommunications providers offering service in the area applied for and to all holders of state-issued certificates of franchise authority or local franchises in areas within fifty (50) miles of the area applied for, referred to in this subsection (d) as area broadband providers, at the same time it submits its application to the department. The application shall include proof that the municipality or county has publicly advertised its intent to establish a joint venture to provide service pursuant to this section. The municipality or county shall demonstrate that it has provided notice of its intent to all area broadband providers at least sixty (60) days prior to its submission of its application to the department. All area broadband providers shall have the right to submit comments regarding any application to the department. All records of a telecommunications joint venture shall be available for disclosure and public inspection pursuant to title 10, chapter 7. All meetings of or pertaining to a telecommunications joint venture shall be open meetings in accordance with title 8, chapter 44.

(e)  The comptroller in cooperation with the department shall provide a report to the general assembly not later than January 31, 2011, and thereafter on January 31 annually, on the status of the provision of broadband services in accordance with this section.

[Acts 2008, ch. 932, § 17.]  

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