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220 ILCS 5/21-601

    (220 ILCS 5/21-601)
    (Section scheduled to be repealed on December 31, 2020)
    Sec. 21-601. Public, education, and government access. For the purposes of this Section, "programming" means content produced or provided by any person, group, governmental agency, or noncommercial public or private agency or organization.
    (a) Not later than 90 days after a request by the local unit of government or its designee that has received notice under subsection (a) of Section 21-801 of this Act, the holder shall (i) designate the same amount of capacity on its network to provide for public, education, and government access use as the incumbent cable operator is required to designate under its franchise terms in effect with a local unit of government on January 1, 2007 and (ii) retransmit to its subscribers the same number of public, education, and government access channels as the incumbent cable operator was retransmitting to subscribers on January 1, 2007.
    (b) If the local unit of government produces or maintains the public education or government programming in a manner or form that is compatible with the holder's network, it shall transmit such programming to the holder in that form provided that form permits the holder to satisfy the requirements of subsection (c) of this Section. If the local unit of government does not produce or maintain such programming in that manner or form, then the holder shall be responsible for any changes in the form of the transmission necessary to make public, education, and government programming compatible with the technology or protocol used by the holder to deliver services. The holder shall receive programming from the local unit of government (or the local unit of government's public, education, and government programming providers) and transmit that public, education, and government programming directly to the holder's subscribers within the local unit of government's jurisdiction at no cost to the local unit of government or the public, education, and government programming providers. If the holder is required to change the form of the transmission, the local unit of government or its designee shall provide reasonable access to the holder to allow the holder to transmit the public, education, and government programming in an economical manner subject to the requirements of subsection (c) of this Section.
    (c) The holder shall provide to subscribers public, education, and government access channel capacity at equivalent visual and audio quality and equivalent functionality, from the viewing perspective of the subscriber, to that of commercial channels carried on the holder's basic cable or video service offerings or tiers without the need for any equipment other than the equipment necessary to receive the holder's basic cable or video service offerings or tiers.
    (d) The holder and an incumbent cable operator shall negotiate in good faith to interconnect their networks, if needed, for the purpose of providing public, education, and government programming. Interconnection may be accomplished by direct cable, microwave link, satellite, or other reasonable method of connection. The holder and the incumbent cable operator shall provide interconnection of the public, education, and government channels on reasonable terms and conditions and may not withhold the interconnection. If a holder and an incumbent cable operator cannot reach a mutually acceptable interconnection agreement, the local unit of government may require the incumbent cable operator to allow the holder to interconnect its network with the incumbent cable operator's network at a technically feasible point on their networks. If no technically feasible point for interconnection is available, the holder and an incumbent cable operator shall each make an interconnection available to the public, education, and government channel originators at their local origination points and shall provide the facilities necessary for the interconnection. The cost of any interconnection shall be borne by the holder unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. The interconnection required by this subsection shall be completed within the 90-day deadline set forth in subsection (a) of this Section.
    (e) The public, education, and government channels shall be for the exclusive use of the local unit of government or its designee to provide public, education, and government programming. The public, education, and government channels shall be used only for noncommercial purposes. However, advertising, underwriting, or sponsorship recognition may be carried on the channels for the purpose of funding public, education, and government access related activities.
    (f) Public, education, and government channels shall all be carried on the holder's basic cable or video service offerings or tiers. To the extent feasible, the public, education, and government channels shall not be separated numerically from other channels carried on the holder's basic cable or video service offerings or tiers, and the channel numbers for the public, education, and government channels shall be the same channel numbers used by the incumbent cable operator, unless prohibited by federal law. After the initial designation of public, education, and government channel numbers, the channel numbers shall not be changed without the agreement of the local unit of government or the entity to which the local unit of government has assigned responsibility for managing public, education, and government access channels, unless the change is required by federal law. Each channel shall be capable of carrying a National Television System Committee (NTSC) television signal.
    (g) The holder shall provide a listing of public, education, and government channels on channel cards and menus provided to subscribers in a manner equivalent to other channels if the holder uses such cards and menus. Further, the holder shall provide a listing of public, education, and government programming on its electronic program guide if such a guide is utilized by the holder. It is the public, education, and government entity's responsibility to provide the holder or its designated agent, as determined by the holder, with program schedules and information in a timely manner.
    (h) If less than 3 public, education, and government channels are provided within the local unit of government as of January 1, 2007, a local unit of government whose jurisdiction lies within the authorized service area of the holder may initially request the holder to designate sufficient capacity for up to 3 public, education, and government channels. A local unit of government or its designee that seeks to add additional capacity shall give the holder a written notification specifying the number of additional channels to be used, specifying the number of channels in actual use, and verifying that the additional channels requested will be put into actual use.
    (i) The holder shall, within 90 days of a request by the local unit of government or its designated public, education, or government access entity, provide sufficient capacity for an additional channel for public, education, and government access when the programming on a given access channel exceeds 40 hours per week as measured on a quarterly basis. The additional channel shall not be used for any purpose other than for carrying additional public, education, or government access programming.
    (j) The public, education, and government access programmer is solely responsible for the content that it provides over designated public, education, or government channels. A holder shall not exercise any editorial control over any programming on any channel designed for public, education, or government use or on any other channel required by law or a binding agreement with the local unit of government.
    (k) A holder shall not be subject to any civil or criminal liability for any program carried on any channel designated for public, education, or government use.
    (l) A court of competent jurisdiction shall have exclusive jurisdiction to enforce any requirement under this Section or resolve any dispute regarding the requirements set forth in this Section, and no provider of cable service or video service may be barred from providing service or be required to terminate service as a result of that dispute or enforcement action.
(Source: P.A. 100-20, eff. 7-1-17.)