Cablevision to service U.F. another 15 years


Staff Writer

UPPER FREEHOLD — Cablevision of Monmouth will continue its franchise in the township.

During its Dec. 15 meeting, the Township Committee unanimously voted to pass an ordinance that deems Cablevision technically competent and generally fit to operate a cable television system in the township for the next 15 years.

Cablevision applied for a renewal of its franchise in June 2004. After reviewing Cablevision’s performance and identifying the township’s future cable-related needs and interests, the township decided that Cablevision has substantially complied with its obligations. A public hearing on the matter took place Dec. 1.

The new ordinance grants Cablevision nonexclusive consent to place poles, wires, cables and other necessary fixtures in, upon, along, across, above, over and under township highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, public ways and public places. However, the Board of Public Utilities must consent to the operation and construction of such fixtures.

The ordinance also states that Cablevision must extend its services to areas in the township that have a residential density of 25 homes per mile or greater, and to areas with less than 25 homes per mile where residents have agreed to share the costs of service extension.

Cablevision will pay the township a franchise fee in the amount of 2 percent of its gross revenues from recurring charges from subscription fees.

The provisions of the ordinance also call for Cablevision to provide free standard installation and monthly cable television reception service to all the township’s public schools, public libraries and municipal buildings.

In addition, Cablevision has to provide a business office or agent for the purpose of receiving, investigating and resolving complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunctions and similar matters, according to the ordinance.

The cable company has further agreed to provide the township with a bond and a grant. The $25,000 bond will ensure “faithful performance of Cablevision’s obligations,” according to the ordinance. The township can use the $15,500 grant for a cable and/or other telecommunications-related purposes.

Cablevision has agreed as well to offer 10-percent discounts off the monthly rate for basic broadcast to residents who are ages 62 and older. To be eligible for the discount, residents cannot share subscription service with more than one person in the same household who is less than 62 years old, and they must meet the income and residence requirements of the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) program.

According to the official state of New Jersey Web site,, a person may be eligible for PAAD if he or she is a New Jersey resident who is 65 years of age or older, or is 18 years of age or older and receives Title II Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. To be eligible for PAAD, an individual must also have an annual income of less than $21,850 if single, and less than $26,791 if married.

The ordinance also contains a provision requiring Cablevision to provide the cumulative number of its video subscribers during the fifth year of its franchise. If at any time Cablevision reports having more than 1,600 cable television customer accounts, it will have to pay the township $6 for each account in excess of 1,600. The township would use the money for cable and/or other telecommunications purposes.