SS/HB 339 - The act waives the carrier of last resort obligation for incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) in 3 situations involving an owner of newly developed property who gives certain preferential treatment to an alternative local phone service provider. Any such ILEC must notify the Public Service Commission (PSC) of the waiver within 120 days.
An ILEC that does not meet the criteria for the automatic waiver of its carrier of last resort obligation may request a waiver from the PSC. The PSC must render a decision within 90 days of any such request, but may delay a decision with cause.
Owners of newly developed property for which an ILEC's carrier of last resort obligation has been waived must inform subsequent owners and occupants of the waiver and provide certain information about the alternative phone service provider.
An ILEC's carrier of last resort obligation shall be reinstated if the criteria allowing the waiver no longer apply, no phone service is being provided to the newly developed property, and the property owner requests the ILEC to provide service to the property. In such a case, the ILEC must notify the PSC that it has assumed the obligation. The ILEC shall have a reasonable amount of time in which to install its infrastructure and may request reasonable fees from the property owner for any excess costs it incurs to provide service to the property at that time.
ILECs may request payment from property owners with multi-tenant structures when the ILEC provides service to such structures but it is not economically reasonable for the ILEC to do so.
The act allows an ILEC to meet its carrier of last resort obligation using any form of technology, but if using a wireless technology, it must meet or exceed the federal wireless Phase II enhanced 911 requirements for 911 service. A waiver of carrier of last resort obligation under the act does not apply to an ILEC's same obligation in other locations. The carrier of last resort obligation does not extend to any other company providing service to a newly developed property for which the ILEC's obligation has been waived.
The act allows an ILEC to divest itself of its carrier of last resort designation in St. Louis County and the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City by providing notice of such decision to the PSC.
The act allows the residents in an area served by an exclusive contract to petition the original carrier of last resort ILEC to provide service to the area if the contract with the alternative provider changes or if service is no longer being provided by the alternative provider. The ILEC must respond to a petition within 30 days.
The act disallows a telecommunications company from receiving high-cost universal service funds in high-cost areas if the company has been relieved of its carrier of last resort duty in those areas under the act. This provision does not render the company ineligible for universal service funds in other areas where it retains the carrier of last resort obligation.
This act is similar to SB 209 (2011) and contains provisions similar to provisions in HB 495 (2009), HB 1372 (2010), and SB 698 (2010).