Chapter 3.115 Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission


- Note
(Chapter replaced by Ordinance No. 181155, effective August 17, 2007.)

3.115.010 Definitions.
Unless the context indicates otherwise, words used in this Chapter have the following meanings:
 
A.  “Agreement” means the Intergovernmental Agreement creating the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission among and between the various Jurisdictions, dated December 24, 1992, including later amendments approved by the City Council.
 
B.  "Commission" means the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission.
 
C.  "Franchise" means an ordinance approved by the City Council authorizing use of the City’s public right-of-way for operation of a cable communications system.
 
D.  "Grantee" means any person authorized by a franchise agreement to construct, operate and maintain a cable communications system within the City of Portland.

3.115.020 Cable Regulatory Commission.

(Amended by Ordinance No. 184882, effective September 21, 2011.)

 

A.  The City is a party to the Intergovernmental Agreement dated December 24, 1992, as modified by subsequent amendments, creating the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission.   The Intergovernmental Agreement establishes the responsibilities and powers of the Commission, as delegated by the various participating jurisdictions.  The City Council approved the City of Portland’s participation in the MHCRC by Ordinance No. 166168, enacted on January 20, 1993.

 

B.  As provided in the Agreement, the City is represented by three members on the Commission, appointed by the Commissioner in Charge of the Office for Community Technology and confirmed by the Council.  Appointments are for staggered terms of 3 years.  When an interim vacancy occurs, the Commissioner in Charge appoints, and the Council confirms, a member to fill the balance of the unexpired term.  All members representing the City must be residents of the City.  The Commissioner in Charge shall appoint members to the Commission so as to provide for an appropriate level of expertise taking into account the powers and duties of the Commission and in making appointments shall take into consideration the desirability of diverse representation, including without limitation, of racial and ethnic minorities, gender, different geographic areas, and different socioeconomic groups.  All members shall serve without compensation from the City or from any grantee.  No member may have an ownership interest in any grantee.  The Commissioner in Charge may remove a member appointed by the City from the Commission at any time, subject to approval by the Council.


3.115.030 General Powers & Duties.

(Amended by Ordinance No. 184882, effective September 21, 2011.)

 

A.  To the extent provided in the Agreement and in this Chapter, the Commission may exercise all cable communications system regulatory powers of the City over grantees operating within the City, whether such powers are granted to the City by law or under franchises issued to grantees. 

 

B.  The Commission shall act in an advisory capacity to the City Council through the Commissioner in Charge of the Office for Community Technology on all other matters pertaining to franchise agreements to construct, maintain and operate cable communications systems or proposed franchise agreements for such systems. 

 

C.  All powers granted to the Commission by the Agreement shall be subject to the provisions of franchises issued to grantees.. In the event of any conflict between the Agreement and a grantee franchise, the provisions of the franchise shall prevail.

 

D.  The Commission may adopt such regulations as it deems necessary or desirable in order to exercise its powers and carry out its duties under the Agreement and this Chapter.


3.115.040 Portland Community Media.

(Amended by Ordinance No. 184882, effective September 21, 2011.)  The Mayor and the Commissioner in Charge of the Office for Community Technology shall each appoint one member of the board of directors of Portland Community Media, for staggered terms of two years. All appointments shall be confirmed by the Council.  In appointing these directors, consideration shall be given to representation on the board of directors of the fields of arts, education, government, and community media; and of diverse representation including, without limitation, racial and ethnic minorities, non-English speaking people, gender, and low-income people. In addition, the Commission shall appoint one non-voting ex-officio director of the Portland Community Media board of directors.


3.115.060 Annexations.
 
A.   In the event the City annexes territory for which another public body having jurisdiction to issue a franchise has issued a franchise to construct, operate and maintain a cable communications system, then franchisee’s rights and obligations shall continue after annexation as they existed before annexation until expiration of that franchise, except that:
1.  After annexation the City shall have all rights under the franchise of the issuing public body, including without limitation all rights to regulate, to collect and use franchise fees, regulation of system construction and operation within the annexed area, and rights to insurance, indemnification and other protections; and
 
2.  After annexation the franchisee’s obligations under the franchise regarding system construction and operation and other franchise requirements within the annexed area shall be to the City rather than to the issuing public body.
B.   Nothing in this Section shall be deemed to modify the rights or obligations of the City or grantees under other franchises.

3.115.070 Cable Television Consumer Protection.
On behalf of the City, the Commission shall enforce the cable television consumer protection standards set forth in Sections 3.115.080 through 3.115.140.

3.115.080 Definitions.
 
Unless the context indicates otherwise, words used in Sections 3.115.080 through 3.115.140 have the following meanings:
 
A.  Normal Business Hours” means those hours during which most similar businesses in the City are open to serve customers. In all cases, Normal Business Hours must include some evening hours at least one night per week and some weekend hours.
 
B.  Normal Operating Conditions” means those service conditions which are within grantee’s control.  Conditions which are not within grantee’s include, but are not limited to, natural disasters, civil disturbances, power outages, telephone network outages, and severe or unusual weather conditions.  Conditions which are ordinarily within the grantee’s control 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.  Grantees must adjust staffing and operations to maintain compliance with the service standards in anticipation of events and conditions within grantee’s control.
 
C.  “Service Interruption” means the loss of picture or sound on one or more cable channels.

3.115.090 Local Office and Office Hours.
Grantees shall have customer service center and bill payment locations open at least during Normal Business Hours.  Grantees shall locate customer service center and bill payment offices at locations that are convenient to subscribers and the public.  Grantee customer service centers must be adequately staffed and able to respond to subscribers and the public not less than 50 hours per week, with a minimum of nine hours per day on weekdays and five hours on weekends excluding legal holidays. As used herein, "adequately staffed" means customer service representatives are available to respond to customers who come to the service center in at least the following ways:
 
A.  To accept payments;
 
B.  To exchange or accept returned converters or other company equipment;
 
C.  To respond to inquiries; and
 
D.  To schedule and conduct service or repair calls.

3.115.100 Telephone Answering Standard.
A.    Cable system office hours and telephone availability. Grantees shall maintain a local, toll-free or collect call telephone access line which shall be available to its subscribers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Grantees shall provide, in at least one prominent location, an easily identifiable telephone number for local customer service on all bills, account statements or statements of service to grantee subscribers. Toll-free telephone lines, either staffed or with answering capability, providing at least emergency referral information, must be operational 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. Grantee must have trained representatives available to respond to customer telephone inquiries during Normal Business Hours. After Normal Business Hours, the access line may be answered by a service or an automated response system, including an answering machine. Inquiries received by grantee after Normal Business Hours must be responded to by a trained representative on the next business day.
 
B.    Telephone Answering Time. Under Normal Operating Conditions, telephone answer time by grantee’s customer representatives including wait time, shall not exceed thirty (30) seconds when the connection is made. If the call needs to be transferred, transfer time shall not exceed thirty (30) seconds. Grantees shall meet these standards no less than ninety (90) percent of the time under Normal Operating Conditions, measured on a calendar quarterly basis.
 
C.   Busy Phones. Under Normal Operating Conditions, the customer shall receive a busy signal less than three (3) percent of the time.

3.115.110 Installations, Disconnections, Outages And Service Calls.
Under Normal Operating Conditions, grantees shall meet each of the following standards shall be met no less than ninety five (95) percent of the time measured on a quarterly basis:
 
A.  Standard installations shall be performed within seven (7) business days after an order has been placed.
 
B.  Under Normal Operating Conditions, grantee shall begin work on Service Interruptions promptly and no later than 24 hours after the interruption becomes known. Grantee must begin working on other service problems the next business day after notification of the service problem. Working on Service Interruptions must be more than merely acknowledging that a service interruption has occurred.
 
C.  The appointment alternatives for installations, service calls and other installation activities shall be either a specific time or, at maximum, a four-hour time block during Normal Business Hours. Grantee may schedule service calls and other installation activities outside of Normal Business Hours for the express convenience of the customer.
 
D.  Grantee shall be deemed to have honored a scheduled appointment under the provisions of this section when a technician arrives within the agreed upon time and, if the subscriber is absent when the technician arrives, the technician leaves written notification of arrival and return time, and a copy of that notification is kept by the grantee.
 
E.  Grantee may not cancel an appointment with a customer after the close of business on the business day prior to the scheduled appointment. Rescheduling an appointment is an independent obligation and does not necessarily excuse the missed appointment.
 
F.  If grantee’s representative is running late for an appointment with a customer and will not be able to keep the appointment as scheduled, the customer shall be contacted. The appointment shall be rescheduled, as necessary, at a time which is convenient for the customer.

3.115.120 Notice Requirements.

(Amended by Ordinance No. 184882, effective September 21, 2011.)

 

A.  Notifications to subscribers. Grantee shall provide written information on each of the following areas at the time of service installation, at least annually to all subscribers, and at any time upon request:

 

1.  Products and services offered;

 

2.  Prices and options for programming services and conditions of subscription to programming and other services;

 

3.  Installation and service maintenance policies;

 

4.  Instructions on how to use the cable service;

 

5.  Channel positions programming carried on the system; and,

 

6.  Billing and complaint procedures, including the address and telephone number of the City's Office for Community Technology.

 

B.  Grantee shall notify customers of any changes in rates, programming services or channel positions as soon as possible in writing. Notice must be given to subscribers a minimum of thirty (30) days in advance of such changes if the change is within the control of the grantee. In addition, grantee shall notify subscribers thirty (30) days in advance of any significant changes in the other information required by this Section. Grantees are not required to provide prior notice of any rate change that is the result of a regulatory fee, franchise fee, or any other fee, tax, assessment, or charge of any kind imposed by any Federal agency, State, or franchising authority on the transaction between the operator and the subscriber.


3.115.130 Billing.
 
A.  Bill Statements. Grantee bills shall be clear, concise and understandable. Bills must be fully itemized, with itemizations including, but not limited to, basic and premium service charges and equipment charges. Bills shall also clearly delineate all activity during the billing period, including optional charges, rebates and credits.  In case of a billing dispute, grantee must respond to a written complaint from a subscriber within seven (7) calendar days.
 
B.  Refunds. Grantee shall issue refund checks promptly to customers, but no later than either the customer's next billing cycle following resolution of the request or thirty (30) days,  whichever is earlier. Grantee may withhold a refund pending the customer returning the equipment supplied by grantee if service is terminated.
 
C.  Credits. Grantee shall issue credits for service no later than the customer's next billing cycle following the determination that a credit is warranted.

3.115.140 Reporting.
 
Grantees shall file reports to the Commission on a quarterly basis showing the performance of grantee customer service standard obligations under Sections 3.115.080 through 3.115.140. The quarterly reports shall cover the periods January 1 through March 31; April 1 through June 31; July 1 through September 31; and October 1 through December 31. The reports shall be due no later than 30 days following the end of a quarter. The reports shall include, at a minimum, figures and narrative indicating performance of the following standards for:
Local office hours
Telephone call center hours
Telephone answering
Busy signal statistics
Standard installations
Service interruptions    
Appointment windows: made, cancelled, and rescheduled
Notice requirements
Billing (refunds and credits)