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Title 58 - Public Utilities, Services and Carriers
Installation of cable over or beneath public lands, highways, roads or waters.
Any cable television company may, upon the approval of the governing body of the city or county, construct, maintain, and operate its cable over or beneath any of the public lands of this State, over, beneath, or along any of the highways or public roads of the State, or over or beneath any of the waters of the State; provided, that cable television companies shall, unless heretofore covered by court decree, where possible and practicable, enter into an agreement with a telephone company or electric power company whereby the cable television company has the right to attach its cables to the poles owned by the telephone company or electric power company, or to bury its cable beneath the ground in conduits owned by the telephone company or electric power company; provided, further, that such cable is constructed so as not to endanger the safety of persons or to interfere with the use of these public lands, highways, or public roads, or the navigation of these waters; provided, further, that the agency charged with the maintenance of these public lands, highways, or public roads, or waters of the State shall require that the cable television company obtain a permit prior to placing its cable over, under, or along these public lands, highways, or public roads, or waters; and, provided, further, that if both electrical and telephone facilities in an area are underground then the cable television lines in that area shall also be placed underground. This proviso does not give any additional rights to public utilities to grant an easement. Provided, further, that if the cable is located in such a manner so as to constitute an interference with the right of ingress or egress to land that is subject to the easement, the cable television companies shall obtain the consent of the landowner, his heirs, or assigns, from which the original easement was obtained.
Interference with maintenance of public lands, highways, roads or waters; damage to roads or highways.
Whenever the agency charged with the maintenance of such public lands, highways or public roads, or waters of the State deems it necessary to move or remove the poles or underground conduits of such telephone company or electric power company, all cable television cables and appurtenances shall be moved or removed at the cost of the cable television company. Whenever damage results to public highways or roads as a result of operations by a cable television company, such cable television company shall repair the highway or road according to department standards and all cost shall be borne by the cable television company.
Franchising by counties and municipalities.
(a) The governing body of each municipality and each county in this State shall have the power and authority to regulate the operation of any cable television system which serves customers within its territorial limits by the issuance of franchise licenses after public notice showing the terms of any proposed franchise agreement and public initiation for bids and not inconsistent with the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission.
(b) Six months after June 29, 1976, a cable television system shall not serve customers in any unincorporated area without obtaining a franchise from the county; provided, that a cable television system to which this subsection applies may continue to serve customers after June 29, 1976, if an application for a franchise is filed at least ninety days prior to the date on which such franchise would otherwise be required and the cable television system and the county have, despite good faith negotiations, not been able to reach agreement upon the terms of such franchise.
(c) A county shall not issue a franchise for any area which is within any municipality.
(d) A franchise shall not be required where line extensions of a cable television system do not serve any customers in the unincorporated area through which such lines are extended or where such line extensions are constructed upon private lands or with easements not obtained from any public body.
(e) The governing body of a county shall not deny to any cable television system a franchise for any area in which such cable television system has wires in place on June 29, 1976, or holds a Certificate of Compliance from the Federal Communications Commission. Franchises issued by a municipality or county shall not be inconsistent with the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission.
(f) A franchise shall not be required of a cable television system to erect any tower or transmission cable in an unincorporated area for the purpose of providing service for an incorporated area.
Easements or rights-of-way to contain provision contemplating use by cable television companies.
Any easement or right-of-way obtained after June 29, 1976, by the State or any political subdivision thereof for the purpose of constructing a highway or public road and any easement or right-of-way obtained by any telephone or electric power company from the owner of any land who had previously granted an easement to this State or any political subdivision thereof for the purpose of constructing a highway or public road upon such land to which the easement or right-of-way relates shall clearly set forth the possibility that the easement or right-of-way may be used in the future by cable television companies for the purposes provided in this chapter.
Penalties for violations; persons who may bring suit.
Any person erecting or maintaining any such cable in violation of the provisions hereof shall forfeit and pay as a penalty therefor the sum of five dollars per day for each day such default continues after he shall have been given thirty days written notice specifying the default or defect in the manner of erection, construction or maintenance thereof, to be recovered at the suit of any citizen of any county in which such violation occurs, or by the agency charged with the maintenance of the public lands, highways or public roads, or waters of the State. The sum so recovered, after paying therefrom all the expenses incurred in the prosecution of such suit, shall be paid into the treasury of the county in which the violation occurred or, if the violation occurred in more than one county, into the treasury of each county in which the violation occurred on a pro rata basis.
Damage to private property.
No cable television company may damage private property on which a utility pole is located without just compensation to the landowner for the damage suffered by the landowner's property.
Underground installations on private property; consent required.
No cable television company may install underground wires or other underground equipment on private property without the written consent of the property owner. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined one hundred dollars.
Fees payable by companies receiving benefits of grandfather clauses.
Any cable television company which shall receive the benefits of operating under the grandfather clauses contained in this chapter shall pay to the county governing body or municipality the same fees as would be charged to a new franchising company by the county or municipality.
Channel to be made available to Educational Television Commission.
All cable television companies operating in the State shall make available one six megahertz channel for the transmissions of the South Carolina Educational Television Commission.
Companies to maintain complaint service.
Any cable television company franchised and operating in this State shall maintain a complaint service for the purpose of receiving consumer complaints concerning service or any other matter relating to its operations. The company shall keep written records of complaints received, including the name of the complaining party, the nature of the complaint and the disposition of the complaint. Such records shall be subject to inspection by the governing body which issued the franchise.
Televising of athletic events.
No institution of higher learning funded by state appropriations shall enter into any contract with a cable television company franchised pursuant to this chapter which gives an exclusive right to the cable television company concerned to televise athletic events in which athletic teams of such institution participate to the exclusion of free television.
Cable television company and cable television system defined.
The term "cable television company" and "cable television system" as used in this act includes a corporation incorporated under the laws of this State, a corporation incorporated under the laws of another state which has complied with the laws of this State regulating the doing of business in this State by foreign corporations, a general or limited partnership organized under the laws of this State, and a general or limited partnership organized under the laws of another state which has complied with any laws of this State regulating the doing of business in this State by these partnerships.
Fee for right-of-way usage; availability of channel to Educational Television Commission; issuance of continuing permits; enforcement.
(A) The Department of Transportation may issue a general continuing permit to each cable television company operating in this State. Upon the reporting by the company of a proposed extension of its cable subject to this chapter and approval of the extension by the department, the permit applies to each extension. This authorization eliminates the necessity of the issuance of a permit for each extension.
(B) Each cable television company in this State shall make available one six megahertz channel for the transmissions of the South Carolina Educational Television Commission.
(C) The department may initiate appropriate legal action to enforce the permit requirements of this section against nonpermitted cable encroachment located within state highway rights-of-way.