Atlink Franchise Request
  1. Why can't Atlink negotiate a franchise agreement like typical telephone or cable television company?
  2. How can the City of Tuttle use the rights-of-ways without a vote of the people?
  3. Can the City prevent other communication companies from competing in Tuttle?

Why can't Atlink negotiate a franchise agreement like typical telephone or cable television company?

Article 18, Section 5A of the Oklahoma Constitution reads as follows:  

§ 5(a). Grant, extension or renewal - Approval by voters - Term.

No municipal corporation shall ever grant, extend, or renew a franchise, without the approval of a majority of the qualified electors residing within its corporate limits, who shall vote thereon at a general or special election; and the legislative body of any such corporation may submit any such matter for approval or disapproval to such electors at any general municipal election, or call a special election for such purpose at any time upon thirty days' notice; and no franchise shall be granted, extended, or renewed for a longer term than twenty-five years.

Federal law supersedes the Oklahoma Constitution.  For Oklahoma telephone companies, Federal law specifies that they are regulated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), not local governments, so a franchise agreement is not required.  Federal law requires cable television providers to receive their franchise agreements directly from local city councils, not a vote of the people.

Email to Atlink regarding findings.




How can the City of Tuttle use the rights-of-ways without a vote of the people?

The rights-of-ways belong to the City of Tuttle.  The City may use its rights-of-ways and easements for any lawful purpose, including the installation and operation of its own utility systems.  




Can the City prevent other communication companies from competing in Tuttle?

No.  Any communications company can receive a franchise agreement.  However, Oklahoma and Federal laws are different regarding how each type of communications company can receive a franchise to operate.  Telephone companies regulated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission do not need a franchise agreement.