N.J. Senate Approves Franchise Bill

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The New Jersey Senate gave its final approval to a bill reforming state video-franchising policy.

The chamber voted 31-5 on Monday to approve the bill and send it on to Gov. Jon Corzine. The state Assembly passed its version of the same bill in May.

If signed by the governor, the bill will allow new competitors to apply for statewide franchises. The state’s Board of Public Utilities will have 45 days to grant the operating authority.

The legislation requires the authorized video competitors to build out to communities with populations of 7,111 per square mile and to county seats. Those requirements should require coverage of the state’s 60 largest communities, which cable incumbents noted were concentrated in North New Jersey.

Once the bill is officially presented to the governor’s office, Corzine will have 45 days to decide whether to sign it into law.

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