(a) A city-owned communications service provider shall meet all of the following requirements:
(1) Comply in its provision of communications service with all local, State, and federal laws, regulations, or other requirements applicable to the provision of the communications service if provided by a private communications service provider.
(2) In accordance with the provisions of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes, the Local Government Finance Act, establish one or more separate enterprise funds for the provision of communications service, use the enterprise funds to separately account for revenues, expenses, property, and source of investment dollars associated with the provision of communications service, and prepare and publish an independent annual report and audit in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles that reflect the fully allocated cost of providing the communications service, including all direct and indirect costs. An annual independent audit conducted under G.S. 159-34 and submitted to the Local Government Commission satisfies the audit requirement of this subdivision.
(3) Limit the provision of communications service to within the corporate limits of the city providing the communications service.
(4) Shall not, directly or indirectly, under the powers of a city, exercise power or authority in any area, including zoning or land-use regulation, or exercise power to withhold or delay the provision of monopoly utility service, to require any person, including residents of a particular development, to use or subscribe to any communications service provided by the city-owned communications service provider.
(5) Shall provide nondiscriminatory access to private communications service providers on a first-come, first-served basis to rights-of-way, poles, or conduits owned, leased, or operated by the city unless the facilities have insufficient capacity for the access and additional capacity cannot reasonably be added to the facilities. For purposes of this subdivision, the term "nondiscriminatory access" means that, at a minimum, access shall be granted on the same terms and conditions as that given to a city-owned communications service provider.
(6) Shall not air advertisements or other promotions for the city-owned communications service on a public, educational, or governmental access channel if the city requires another communications service provider to carry the channel. The city shall not use city resources that are not allocated for cost accounting purposes to the city-owned communications service to promote city-owned communications service in comparison to private services or, directly or indirectly, require city employees, officers, or contractors to purchase city services.
(7) Shall not subsidize the provision of communications service with funds from any other noncommunications service, operation, or other revenue source, including any funds or revenue generated from electric, gas, water, sewer, or garbage services.
(8) Shall not price any communications service below the cost of providing the service, including any direct or indirect subsidies received by the city-owned communications service provider and allocation of costs associated with any shared use of buildings, equipment, vehicles, and personnel with other city departments. The city shall, in calculating the costs of providing the communications service, impute (i) the cost of the capital component that is equivalent to the cost of capital available to private communications service providers in the same locality and (ii) an amount equal to all taxes, including property taxes, licenses, fees, and other assessments that would apply to a private communications service provider, including federal, State, and local taxes; rights-of-way, franchise, consent, or administrative fees; and pole attachment fees. In calculating the costs of the service the city may amortize the capital assets of the communications system over the useful life of the assets in accordance with generally accepted principles of governmental accounting.
(9) The city shall annually remit to the general fund of the city an amount equivalent to all taxes or fees a private communications service provider would be required to pay the city or county in which the city is located, including any applicable tax refunds received by the city-owned communications service provider because of its government status and a sum equal to the amount of property tax that would have been due if the city-owned communications service provider were a private communications service provider.
(b) A city-owned communications service provider shall not be required to obtain voter approval under G.S. 160A-321 prior to the sale or discontinuance of the city's communications network. (2011-84, s. 1(a).)
Last modified: March 23, 2014