The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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State Franchise Authority: Rights Granted

Reference Number: MTAS-1397
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: May 24, 2016
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Rights Granted
The state-issued certificate of franchise authority provides authority to construct, maintain, and operate facilities within the public rights of way, subject to the police powers of local governments. No city can require a cable or video services provider to obtain a local franchise agreement, and no additional taxes or franchise fees may be levied by cities on the operations of these providers. The state-issued certificate is valid for 10 years, after which the provider must reapply.

Local ordinances governing utility pole attachment and construction activities in public rights of way remain effective, but not to the extent that permission to attach to utility poles or to use the rights of way may be denied to a company holding a state franchise. The holder of a state franchise must still provide required notice to a city before installing lines in its rights of way or attaching to poles and, further, must repair any pavement or property disturbed during installation. Permit fees also may still be collected by cities.

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