SCS/SB 816 - This act requires certain entities to possess video service authorizations which will constitute franchises. The Public Service Commission will govern the application process for video service authorizations. The state of Missouri will be the exclusive franchising authority for competitive video service providers in the state.
The act prohibits any franchising entity or other political subdivision of the state from requiring a competitive video service provider to obtain a separate franchise or otherwise impose any fees, license, gross receipts tax, or request anything of value in exchange for providing video service. A competitive video service provider must provide distribution capacity and make reasonable, technically feasible efforts to retransmit community programming and emergency interrupt service. If a competitive video service provider is unable to retransmit community programming or emergency interrupt service for technical reasons, the provider must notify the public service commission in writing and disclose to all potential consumers that its service will not include community programing or emergency interrupt service. The Public Service Commission may order the competitive video service provider to address the technical difficulties and retransmit community programing or emergency interrupt service after a reasonable period of time.
This act allows franchise entities to audit entities possessing video service authorizations which provide video service within the franchise entity's jurisdiction. The entity holding a video service authorization must make available for inspection all records relating to services provided and taxes paid or owed upon request of the franchise entity. Any expenses incurred, by a franchise entity, in conducting an audit of an entity holding a video service authorization shall be paid by the franchise entity.
An entity holding a video service authorization must provide at least ten days prior notice to each franchising entity with jurisdiction in a locality before providing video service in such entities jurisdiction. The Public Service Commission shall issue a certificate of video service authorization within thirty days of receipt of an affidavit containing certain information from the applicant.
The video service provider fee must be paid to the political subdivision, in which service is provided, on a quarterly basis and shall be calculated at a rate not to exceed five percent of gross revenue. A competitive video service provider may identify and collect the amount of video service provider fee as a separate line item on the regular bill of each subscriber.
The act prohibits a video service provider from denying access to service to any group of potential residential subscribers because of the income of residents in which such group resides. The Public Service Commission is required to issue a report by August 28, 2010, detailing the status of competition in the provision of video services and to make any necessary recommendations for legislative reform.