Section: Words and phrases defined
2. The Legislature finds, determines and declares:
a. That, after careful investigation, it appears that the rates, services and operations of cable television companies in this State are affected with a public interest;
b. That it should be, and is hereby declared, the policy of this State to provide fair regulation of cable television companies in the interest of the public;
c. That the objects of such regulation are (1) to promote adequate, economical and efficient cable television service to the citizens and residents of this State, (2) to encourage the optimum development of the educational and community-service potentials of the cable television medium, (3) to provide just and reasonable rates and charges for cable television system services without unjust discrimination, undue preferences or advantages, or unfair or destructive competitive practices, (4) to promote and encourage harmony between cable television companies and their subscribers and customers, (5) to protect the interests of the several municipalities of this State in relation to the issuance of municipal consents for the operation of cable television companies within their several jurisdictions, and to secure a desirable degree of uniformity in the practices and operations of cable television companies in those several jurisdictions; and (6) to cooperate with other states and with the Federal Government in promoting and coordinating efforts to regulate cable television companies effectively in the public interest;
d. That to secure such regulation and promote the objectives thereof, authority to regulate cable television companies generally, and their rates, services and operations, in the manner and in accordance with the policies set forth in P.L.1972, c.186 (C.48:5A-1 et seq.) (the "act"), shall be vested in the Board of Public Utilities;
e. That the Federal Communications Commission (the "FCC") reported in its 2005 assessment of video programming competition that increased competition in the multichannel video programming distributor ("MVPD") market has led to improvements in cable television services, including more channels of video programming and increased service options for consumers, and in the case of facilities-based competition, lower prices for customers;
f. That, as a result of ongoing technological innovations, non-traditional providers of MVPD services such as local telephone common carriers are offering or preparing to offer MVPD services over existing telephone lines or over newly-installed high-speed fiber lines to customers in their local telephone service areas, and such developments have the potential for stimulating additional competition in the MVPD market that should lead to further improvements for MVPD customers;
g. That, in order to afford an equal opportunity for non-traditional MVPD providers such as local telephone common carriers to compete with existing providers, and to ensure that customers receive the benefits of a more competitive MVPD market, it is in the public interest to encourage common carriers to enter the MVPD market by adapting the existing regulatory framework to the changed circumstances brought about by recent technological developments while allowing the State to retain its necessary and appropriate regulatory oversight with regard to consumer protection and customer service elements; and
h. That nothing in this act shall be seen to limit or otherwise reduce the protection afforded to cable television customers, and it is in the public interest to include additional provisions in this act to ensure that customers continue to be provided a high level of consumer protection and customer service in a more competitive MVPD market.
L.1972,c.186,s.2; amended 2006, c.83, s.1.
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