(a) No person may construct, operate or acquire a cable system, or extend an existing cable system outside its designated service area, without first obtaining a cable franchise from a franchising authority as provided in this chapter.
(b) Any person operating a cable system on the effective date of this chapter without a franchise shall, within sixty days of the effective date of this chapter, notify the commission in writing setting forth: (1) The name, business address and telephone number of the cable operator; (2) the principals and ultimate beneficial owners of the cable system or systems; (3) the geographic location and service area of any cable system operated by such person; (4) the number of subscribers within the cable system or systems; and (5) if applicable, the date on which and the franchising authority with which, a formal application for a franchise was filed.
(c) The commission shall, upon receipt of such information, determine the appropriate franchising authority or authorities for the purposes of the consideration of the issuance of a franchise to such cable operator or operators and shall notify the appropriate franchising authority or authorities and any such cable system operator of the franchise application procedures to be followed by the respective parties. Any such cable operator, that has not previously applied for a franchise with the appropriate franchising authority, shall, within sixty days of receipt of such notice from the commission, make formal application to the appropriate franchising authority or authorities for a franchise in accordance with the provisions of this article.
(d) The franchising authority shall be the municipality in which a cable system is to be constructed, operated, acquired or extended, or if there be no such municipality or if the municipality so elects not to act as a franchising authority, then the franchising authority shall be the county commission of the county in which such cable system is to be constructed, operated, acquired or extended: Provided, That nothing herein shall prohibit any county commission of a county in which a municipality acting as a franchising authority is located from also acting as a franchising authority for any cable system to be constructed, operated, acquired or extended within the jurisdiction of such county commission, nor prohibit any county commission of a county acquiring the franchise authority from a municipality from electing to transfer such authority to the commission.
(e) If a county commission elects not to act as the franchise authority, the commission shall become the franchising authority. A county commission acting as a franchising authority for unincorporated areas of the county may elect separately to transfer to the commission any franchise authority acquired from a municipality. If any municipality or county commission so elects not to be the franchising authority, the mayor or president of the county commission shall certify such delegation in writing to the commission. Such election shall be promptly made upon written request of the commission or the cable operator.