California Public Utilities Code
(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Increasing competition for video and broadband services is a matter of statewide concern for all of the following reasons:
(A) Video and cable services provide numerous benefits to all Californians including access to a variety of news, public information, education, and entertainment programming.
(B) Increased competition in the cable and video service sector provides consumers with more choice, lowers prices, speeds the deployment of new communication and broadband technologies, creates jobs, and benefits the California economy.
(C) To promote competition, the state should establish a state-issued franchise authorization process that allows market participants to use their networks and systems to provide video, voice, and broadband services to all residents of the state.
(D) Competition for video service should increase opportunities for programming that appeals to California’s diverse population and many cultural communities.
(2) Legislation to develop this new process should adhere to the following principles:
(A) Create a fair and level playing field for all market competitors that does not disadvantage or advantage one service provider or technology over another.
(B) Promote the widespread access to the most technologically advanced cable and video services to all California communities in a nondiscriminatory manner regardless of socioeconomic status.
(C) Protect local government revenues and control of public rights-of-way.
(D) Require market participants to comply with all applicable consumer protection laws.
(E) Complement efforts to increase investment in broadband infrastructure and close the digital divide.
(F) Continue access to and maintenance of the public, education, and government (PEG) channels.
(G) Maintain all existing authority of the California Public Utilities Commission as established in state and federal statutes.
(3) The public interest is best served when sufficient funds are appropriated to the commission to provide adequate staff and resources to appropriately and timely process applications of video service providers and to ensure full compliance with the requirements of this division. It is the intent of the Legislature that, although video service providers are not public utilities or common carriers, the commission shall collect any fees authorized by this division in the same manner and under the same terms as it collects fees from common carriers, electrical corporations, gas corporations, telephone corporations, telegraph corporations, water corporations, and every other public utility providing service directly to customers or subscribers subject to its jurisdiction such that it does not discriminate against video service providers or their subscribers.
(4) Providing an incumbent cable operator the option to secure a state-issued franchise through the preemption of an existing cable franchise between a cable operator and any political subdivision of the state, including, but not limited to, a charter city, county, or city and county, is an essential element of the new regulatory framework established by this act as a matter of statewide concern to best ensure equal protection and parity among providers and technologies, as well as to achieve the goals stated by the Legislature in enacting this act.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that a video service provider shall pay as rent a franchise fee to the local entity in whose jurisdiction service is being provided for the continued use of streets, public facilities, and other rights-of-way of the local entity in order to provide service. The Legislature recognizes that local entities should be compensated for the use of the public rights-of-way and that the franchise fee is intended to compensate them in the form of rent or a toll, similar to that which the court found to be appropriate in Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association v. Board of Supervisors for the County of Santa Barbara (1989) 209 Cal. App. 3d 940.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that collective bargaining agreements be respected.
(d) It is the intent of the Legislature that the definition of gross revenues in this division shall result in local entities maintaining their existing level of revenue from franchise fees.