Vermont Public Service Board

8.430 - 8.440 Designation of Admin. Entities, and Administration and Use

8.430 Designation of Administrative Entities.

8.431 Generally. The public, educational, and governmental access channels may be operated and administered by one or more non-commercial entities. The entities may be designated in the certificate of public good at the time of issuance, or may be formed in response to the opportunity to create access programming. The entities do not require the approval of the Board, and may be in whatever form their members select; in particular, their members may include for purposes of coordination an employee or representative of the cable operator. Entities may also be formed to administer access for more than one cable system. However, if the cable operator is not satisfied that a particular entity will perform properly, or if there is more than one entity volunteering to be the administrative entity for a single channel, the operator or entities may petition the Board to hear and resolve the dispute.

8.432 Educational and governmental. When a second channel is activated for educational or governmental use, a second administrative entity may be created. A governmental access channel will normally be operated and administered by a committee or a commission appointed by local governments, including appropriate representation of local school systems within the service area of the cable television system if it will share the channel with educational use. Where more than one cable system is operating in a school system or municipality, cooperation between the administrative entities for the respective access channels is encouraged.

8.433 Responsibilities. The responsibilities of each administrative entity, to be taken over from the cable operator as the entity becomes established and as provided in the access plan, shall ordinarily include:

(A) The development and implementation of community outreach programs.

(B) The provision of training to interested members of the community.

(C) Establishment of such local operating rules for the use of equipment and facilities as are necessary for the preservation of equipment and facilities, whether owned by the administrative entity or the cable operator.

(D) Receipt and management of all funds in a manner consistent with the public nature of those funds. This includes funds provided by the operator of the system for the support of PEG access if the operator and the entity have agreed that the funds will be held and expended by the entity.

(E) Adoption of an annual budget and income and expense statement, and an operational plan describing proposed capital expenses and personal service contracts.

(F) If the funds for PEG access are disbursed directly by the operator to the entity for expenditure, preparation of an annual report of expenditures and balances remaining, to be submitted to the operator.

(G) Maintenance of records and preparation of forms as may be required by the Federal Communications Commission for its oversight of access channel usage. Such information may be delivered to the cable operator or submitted directly to the F.C.C., as is found expedient by the parties.

8.434 Meetings and reports. All meetings of such administrative entities shall be open to the public pursuant to Vermont's Open Meeting Law, 1 V.S.A. 311 et seq., and shall be announced in advance by character-generated announcement on the PEG channel to which it pertains. The access plan, local rules, budget, and annual report of the entity shall be available to the public at reasonable times and places.

8.435 Exceptions. Nothing in section 8.420 nor section 8.433 shall forbid the access administrative entity from negotiating with the operator to permit the operator to perform any of the above responsibilities, or to permit the entity to perform responsibilities of the operator, as part of the access plan filed with the Board.

8.440 Administration and Use. The use of the channel capacity for PEG access shall be administered as follows:

8.441 Notice. The entity responsible for administering and operating the public access channel shall provide notice to the general public of the opportunity to use such channel. The notice shall be by means of a character-generated message transmitted at least hourly on such channel between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. each day; notification by local newspaper or similar medium at least annually is strongly encouraged. Notices shall include the name, address, and telephone number of the entity to be contacted for use of the channel. All access programming shall be identified as such.

8.442 Time. Channel time shall be scheduled on the public access channel by the entity responsible for the administration thereof on a first-come, first-served, non-discriminatory basis; except that the entity may prevent any single user, or type of user on a combined access channel, from monopolizing the programming time available.

8.443 Local priority. Local use of educational and governmental access channels shall have preferred status in the event of competing requests for channel time. Priority may be afforded to local governments within the service area of the system.

8.444 Without charge. Channel time for PEG access programming shall be without charge to the user.

8.445 No editorial control by municipality. A municipality shall not exercise any editorial control over any use by the public of a public access channel; but if the municipality appoints a member of an access administrative entity, that member may take part in editorial decisions of the entity.

8.446 Record of use. The entity responsible for the administration of a public access channel shall maintain a record of the use of such channel which shall include the names and addresses of all persons using or requesting the use of any such channel. Such record, or a statistical summary thereof, shall be available for public inspection for a minimum of two years.

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