CCS/HCS/SS/SCS/SB 237- This act pertains to telecommunications.
SECTION 227.240 - The act adds cable television to the list of utilities allowed access to the Department of Transportation's right of way corridor.
SECTION 386.020 - The act modifies the definition of "competitive telecommunications service" to include the services which have been classified as such in Section 392.245.
SECTION 392.200 - The act modifies the commission's approval process for service offerings in a sub-exchange. The act states that telecommunication services may be offered in a sub-exchange unless the Public Service Commission (PSC) finds that doing so is contrary to the public interest; a change from the current law which states that such approval shall be based upon clear and convincing evidence.
The act authorizes customer-specific pricing for business customers only. It shall be offered on an equal basis for both incumbent and alternative local exchange companies and for interexchange telecommunications companies. The act adds business services in an exchange where basic local services offered to business customers have been declared competitive under Section 392.245 to the circumstances where customer-specific pricing has been authorized.
The act allows telecommunications companies to offer discounted rates or special promotions to existing customers as well as new or former customers.
The act allows incumbent and alternative local exchange companies to offer packages of services - which is defined in this act as more than one telecommunications service or one or more telecommunication service combined with one or more non telecommunication service - and that such packages shall not be subject to price cap or rate of return regulations, provided that each service offered in the package is available on its own, apart from the package, still subject to rate of return or price cap regulations.
SECTION 392.245 - The act states that any rate, charge, toll or rental for telecommunication service that does not exceed the maximum allowable price shall be deemed to be just, reasonable and lawful. The act adds to the provisions that allow small incumbent local exchange companies to be regulated under the price cap provisions by including situations where two or more wireless providers are providing service in any part of the company's service area.
The act allows an incumbent local exchange company to change the rates of service so long as they are consistent with subsections 2 through 5 of Section 392.200.
The act changes the standards by which services are classified as competitive. The act states that any service offered to business and residential customers other than exchange access service, shall be classified as competitive if there are two non-affiliated entities in addition to the incumbent local exchange company providing basic local service to both business and residential customers within that exchange. The act clarifies that wireless providers shall be considered as entities providing basic local services, provided that only one such non-affiliated provider shall be considered as providing said service within an exchange. The act states that any entity providing local voice service over facilities in which it or one of its affiliates have an ownership shall be considered as a basic local service provider; regardless of whether or not that entity is regulated by the PSC. A provider of local voice service that requires the use of a third party, unaffiliated broadband network for origination of such service shall not be considered a basic service provider. Local voice service has been defined in the act; two-way voice service capable of receiving calls from a provider of basic local telecommunication service. The act defines broadband network as a connection that delivers services at speeds exceeding two hundred kilobits per second in at least one direction. The act states that companies only offering prepaid services, or only reselling telecommunications service, shall not be considered entities providing basic local service. The act provides a time frame of thirty days from the request under which the commission shall determine whether the requisite number of companies are providing the services required and if so, approve tariffs as competitive.
The act allows ILEC's to petition the commission for a competitive classification determination separate from the determination found when the requisite number of providers are supplying service in an exchange. This process allows an ILEC to use competition from any entity providing voice service using another company's facilities to do so, as the basis for the petition. This would allow, in certain circumstances, resellers to be considered in this petition process - this is different than the competitive classification determination found when the requisite number of providers are supplying service in an exchange, where resellers are not considered in the competition equation. The determination for competition here utilizes a more subjective investigation by the commission and provides more time for the commission to make a determination; sixty days. The act also directs the commission to maintain records of regulated providers of local voice service; the commission shall utilize these records when making a determination on any such petition.
If the services of an incumbent local exchange company are determined to be competitive, the company may thereafter adjust its rates upon filing tariffs which shall become effective within the timelines identified in Section 392.500. The commission is authorized to review the services which have been classified as competitive at least every two years, or when an ILEC increases the rates for basic local services in an exchange which has been declared competitive. The purpose for the review is to determine if the competitive conditions continue to exist in the exchange.
The maximum annual increase for non basic telecommunications services of an ILEC has been changed with the act; the maximum allowable increase is now five percent rather than eight.
The act provides a mechanism by which the Public Service Commission shall measure the rates for basic local telecommunications service; the measure shall come at the time of the effective date of the act, two years after that date, and five years after the effective date of the act.
SECTION 392.500 - The act makes a change to the time frame relating to both increases and decreases in rates for any competitive telecommunications service. The act makes increases effective ten days after the filing of the proposed rate and decreases effective after one day's notice of such a decrease to the commission.
SECTIONS 536.024 and 536.037 - The act makes a change to current law and subjects any rules or regulations promulgated by the commission beginning January 1, 2007, to review by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.