Telecommunications Franchising Authority Program

This program evolved from federal legislation pertaining to cable television and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Federal law requires that all cable operators have a franchise in order to offer cable television services within the boundaries of a “franchising authority.” Prior to the SHACOG program all franchising authorities were individual local municipalities. Recognizing the value of a collective group effort, in 1995 SHACOG became the franchising authority for nine of its TCI affiliated communities. Under this program, the municipalities of Baldwin Borough, Baldwin Township, Brentwood Borough, Castle Shannon Borough, Dormont Borough, Heidelberg Borough, Jefferson Hills Borough, Scott Township and Whitehall Borough transferred and delegated their cable television franchising authority to SHACOG. In 1997 two additional TCI affiliated municipalities (Elizabeth Township and White Oak Borough) and two Adelphia affiliated municipalities (Rostraver Township and West Newton Borough) from the Twin Rivers Council of Governments joined the program. The success of this venture, a change in federal law, and the evolution of technology led to an expansion of the program to include all telecommunications issues involving the participating municipalities. SHACOG now has the responsibility to administer present franchises and negotiate renewals or new franchise agreements in all telecommunications matters.

By combining the independent franchises into one with a single administrative entity, the participating communities save administrative, technical and legal costs by sharing the charges for these services. More importantly, the single entity possesses greater bargaining power when negotiating with a telecommunications provider. Finally, telecommunications services will be standardized in the area.

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