In May 2006, the state legislature made substantial changes in the way local governments grant cable television franchises with passage of the Competitive Cable Services Act (Section 58-12-300).
Existing franchise agreements stay in place until they expire or a competitor is granted a statewide Certificate of Franchise Authority and begins offering service in the existing service provider’s area. At that time, the incumbent cable service provider can apply for a COFA through the Secretary of State’s Office.
After receiving notice from the Secretary of State’s Office that an application for a COFA has been filed, local governments must take certain procedural steps to either approve or deny the application. Local governments also need to be prepared to act if their local cable operator does not file a timely application with the Secretary of State’s Office when their cable franchise expires as there may be benefits a local government may realize under the Act.