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a separate line item on each regular bill of each subscriber, each of the following:
(1) The amount of the total bill assessed as a franchise fee and the identity of the franchising authority to which the fee is paid. (2) The amount of the total bill assessed to satisfy any requirements imposed on the cable operator by the franchise agreement to support public, educational, or governmental channels or the use of such channels.
(3) The amount of any other fee, tax, assessment, or charge of any kind imposed by any governmental authority on the transaction between the operator and the subscriber.
(d) In any court action under subsection (c), the franchising authority shall demonstrate that the rate structure reflects all costs of the franchise fees.
(e) Any cable operator shall pass through to subscribers the amount of any decrease in a franchise fee.
(f) A cable operator may designate that portion of a subscriber's bill attributable to the franchise fee as a separate item on the bill.
(g) For the purposes of this section
(1) the term "franchise fee" includes any tax, fee, or assessment of any kind imposed by a franchising authority or other governmental entity on a cable operator or cable subscriber, or both, solely because of their status as such;
(2) the term "franchise fee" does not include
(A) any tax, fee, or assessment of general applicability (including any such tax, fee, or assessment imposed on both utilities and cable operators or their services but not including a tax, fee, or assessment which is unduly discriminatory against cable operators or cable subscribers);
(B) in the case of any franchise in effect on the date of the enactment of this title, payments which are required by the franchise to be made by the cable operator during the term of such franchise for, or in support of the use of, public, educational, or governmental access facilities;
(C) in the case of any franchise granted after such date of enactment, capital costs which are required by the franchise to be incurred by the cable operator for public, educational, or governmental access facilities;
(D) requirements or charges incidental to the awarding or enforcing of the franchise, including payments for bonds, security funds, letters of credit, insurance, indemnification, penalties, or liquidated damages; or
(E) any fee imposed under title 17, United States Code.
(h)(1) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit any authority of a franchising authority to impose a tax, fee, or other assessment of any kind on any person (other than a cable operator) with respect to cable service or other communications service provided by such person over a cable system for which charges are assessed to subscribers but not received by the cable operator.
(2) For any 12-month period, the fees paid by such person with respect to any such cable service or other communications service
shall not exceed 5 percent of such person's gross revenues derived in such period from the provision of such service over the cable system.
(i) Any Federal agency may not regulate the amount of the franchise fees paid by a cable operator, or regulate the use of funds derived from such fees, except as provided in this section.
SEC. 623. [47 U.S.C. 543] REGULATION OF RATES.
(a) COMPETITION PREFERENCE; LOCAL AND FEDERAL REGULA
(1) IN GENERAL.-No Federal agency or State may regulate the rates for the provision of cable service except to the extent provided under this section and section 612. Any franchising authority may regulate the rates for the provision of cable service, or any other communications service provided over a cable system to cable subscribers, but only to the extent provided under this section. No Federal agency, State, or franchising authority may regulate the rates for cable service of a cable system that is owned or operated by a local government or franchising authority within whose jurisdiction that cable system is located and that is the only cable system located within such jurisdiction.
(2) PREFERENCE FOR COMPETITION.—If the Commission finds that a cable system is subject to effective competition, the rates for the provision of cable service by such system shall not be subject to regulation by the Commission or by a State or franchising authority under this section. If the Commission finds that a cable system is not subject to effective competition
(A) the rates for the provision of basic cable service shall be subject to regulation by a franchising authority, or by the Commission if the Commission exercises jurisdiction pursuant to paragraph (6), in accordance with the regulations prescribed by the Commission under subsection (b); and
(B) the rates for cable programming services shall be subject to regulation by the Commission under subsection (c).
(3) QUALIFICATION OF FRANCHISING AUTHORITY.—A franchising authority that seeks to exercise the regulatory jurisdiction permitted under paragraph (2)(A) shall file with the Commission a written certification that
(A) the franchising authority will adopt and administer regulations with respect to the rates subject to regulation under this section that are consistent with the regulations prescribed by the Commission under subsection (b);
(B) the franchising authority has the legal authority to adopt, and the personnel to administer, such regulations; and
(C) procedural laws and regulations applicable to rate regulation proceedings by such authority provide a reasonable opportunity for consideration of the views of interested parties.
(4) APPROVAL BY COMMISSION.-A certification filed by a franchising authority under paragraph (3) shall be effective 30 days after the date on which it is filed unless the Commission finds, after notice to the authority and a reasonable opportunity for the authority to comment, that
(A) the franchising authority has adopted or is administering regulations with respect to the rates subject to regulation under this section that are not consistent with the regulations prescribed by the Commission under subsection (b);
(B) the franchising authority does not have the legal authority to adopt, or the personnel to administer, such regulations; or
(C) procedural laws and regulations applicable to rate regulation proceedings by such authority do not provide a reasonable opportunity for consideration of the views of interested parties.
If the Commission disapproves a franchising authority's certification, the Commission shall notify the franchising authority of any revisions or modifications necessary to obtain approval.
(5) REVOCATION OF JURISDICTION.-Upon petition by a cable operator or other interested party, the Commission shall review the regulation of cable system rates by a franchising authority under this subsection. A copy of the petition shall be provided to the franchising authority by the person filing the petition. If the Commission finds that the franchising authority has acted inconsistently with the requirements of this subsection, the Commission shall grant appropriate relief. If the Commission, after the franchising authority has had a reasonable opportunity to comment, determines that the State and local laws and regulations are not in conformance with the regulations prescribed by the Commission under subsection (b), the Commission shall revoke the jurisdiction of such authority.
(6) EXERCISE OF JURISDICTION BY COMMISSION.-If the Commission disapproves a franchising authority's certification under paragraph (4), or revokes such authority's jurisdiction under paragraph (5), the Commission shall exercise the franchising authority's regulatory jurisdiction under paragraph (2)(A) until the franchising authority has qualified to exercise that jurisdiction by filing a new certification that meets the requirements of paragraph (3). Such new certification shall be effective upon approval by the Commission. The Commission shall act to approve or disapprove any such new certification within 90 days after the date it is filed.
(7) AGGREGATION OF EQUIPMENT COSTS.—
(A) IN GENERAL.-The Commission shall allow cable operators, pursuant to any rules promulgated under subsection (b)(3), to aggregate, on a franchise, system, regional, or company level, their equipment costs into broad categories, such as converter boxes, regardless of the varying levels of functionality of the equipment within each such broad category. Such aggregation shall not be permitted with respect to equipment used by subscribers who receive only a rate regulated basic service tier.
(B) REVISION TO COMMISSION RULES; FORMS.-Within 120 days of the date of enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Commission shall issue revisions to the appropriate rules and forms necessary to implement subparagraph (A).
(b) ESTABLISHMENT OF BASIC SERVICE TIER RATE REGULA
(1) COMMISSION OBLIGATION TO SUBSCRIBERS.-The Commission shall, by regulation, ensure that the rates for the basic service tier are reasonable. Such regulations shall be designed to achieve the goal of protecting subscribers of any cable system that is not subject to effective competition from rates for the basic service tier that exceed the rates that would be charged for the basic service tier if such cable system were subject to effective competition.
(2) COMMISSION REGULATIONS.-Within 180 days after the date of enactment of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, the Commission shall prescribe, and periodically thereafter revise, regulations to carry out its obligations under paragraph (1). In prescribing such regulations, the Commission
(A) shall seek to reduce the administrative burdens on subscribers, cable operators, franchising authorities, and the Commission;
(B) may adopt formulas or other mechanisms and procedures in complying with the requirements of subparagraph (A); and
(C) shall take into account the following factors:
(i) the rates for cable systems, if any, that are subject to effective competition;
(ii) the direct costs (if any) of obtaining, transmitting, and otherwise providing signals carried on the basic service tier, including signals and services carried on the basic service tier pursuant to paragraph (7)(B), and changes in such costs;
(iii) only such portion of the joint and common costs (if any) of obtaining, transmitting, and otherwise providing such signals as is determined, in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Commission, to be reasonably and properly allocable to the basic service tier, and changes in such costs;
(iv) the revenues (if any) received by a cable operator from advertising from programming that is carried as part of the basic service tier or from other consideration obtained in connection with the basic service tier;
(v) the reasonably and properly allocable portion of any amount assessed as a franchise fee, tax, or charge of any kind imposed by any State or local authority on the transactions between cable operators and cable subscribers or any other fee, tax, or assessment of general applicability imposed by a governmental entity applied against cable operators or cable subscribers;
(vi) any amount required, in accordance with paragraph (4), to satisfy franchise requirements to support public, educational, or governmental channels or the use of such channels or any other services required under the franchise; and
(vii) a reasonable profit, as defined by the Commission consistent with the Commission's obligations to subscribers under paragraph (1).
(3) EQUIPMENT.-The regulations prescribed by the Commission under this subsection shall include standards to establish, on the basis of actual cost, the price or rate for—
(A) installation and lease of the equipment used by subscribers to receive the basic service tier, including a converter box and a remote control unit and, if requested by the subscriber, such addressable converter box or other equipment as is required to access programming described in paragraph (8); and
(B) installation and monthly use of connections for additional television receivers.
(4) COSTS OF FRANCHISE REQUIREMENTS.—The regulations prescribed by the Commission under this subsection shall include standards to identify costs attributable to satisfying franchise requirements to support public, educational, and governmental channels or the use of such channels or any other services required under the franchise.
(5) IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT.-The regulations prescribed by the Commission under this subsection shall include additional standards, guidelines, and procedures concerning the implementation and enforcement of such regulations, which shall include
(A) procedures by which cable operators may implement and franchising authorities may enforce the regulations prescribed by the Commission under this subsection;
(B) procedures for the expeditious resolution of disputes between cable operators and franchising authorities concerning the administration of such regulations;
(C) standards and procedures to prevent unreasonable charges for changes in the subscriber's selection of services or equipment subject to regulation under this section, which standards shall require that charges for changing the service tier selected shall be based on the cost of such change and shall not exceed nominal amounts when the system's configuration permits changes in service tier selection to be effected solely by coded entry on a computer terminal or by other similarly simple method; and
(D) standards and procedures to assure that subscribers receive notice of the availability of the basic service tier required under this section.
(6) NOTICE. The procedures prescribed by the Commission pursuant to paragraph (5)(A) shall require a cable operator to provide 30 days' advance notice to a franchising authority of any increase proposed in the price to be charged for the basic service tier.