3 AAC 53.265 - Local exchange carriers of last resort

Current through April 6, 2022

(a) A local exchange carrier that is designated as a carrier of last resort
(1) shall provide and maintain adequate, efficient, and safe facilities-based essential retail and carrier-to-carrier telecommunication services of similar quality throughout its carrier of last resort area; and
(2) may not allow any diminution of quality or availability of essential retail and carrier-to-carrier telecommunication services throughout its carrier of last resort area after designation.
(b) The commission will not designate a carrier of last resort in a study area that is not served by a rural telephone company as defined in 47 U.S.C. 153(44). The commission will designate one carrier of last resort for each carrier of last resort area that is in the study area of a rural telephone company as defined in 47 U.S.C. 153(44). Absent a request under (q) of this section, the carrier of last resort area is the same area as the incumbent local exchange carrier's study area.
(c) In a study area that does not include a competitive local exchange market, the incumbent local exchange carrier is designated the carrier of last resort, without the need to file a petition under this section, unless otherwise ordered by the commission.
(d) In a carrier of last resort area identified in (b) of this section that includes one or more competitive local exchange markets, the commission will, by order, designate the incumbent local exchange carrier as the temporary carrier of last resort until the commission selects a permanent carrier of last resort. Upon designation of a temporary carrier of last resort, the commission will open a docket of investigation on its own motion and will, for a period of 30 days, invite notices of intent to file petitions from parties seeking permanent carrier of last resort status for that study area. The designation of a carrier as a temporary carrier of last resort is not a factor in the decision the commission makes on selection of a permanent carrier of last resort in the event of competing applications. If a temporary carrier of last resort is the only carrier to file a notice of intent to file a petition seeking permanent carrier of last resort status, the petition for permanent carrier of last resort status must include the information in (o) of this section. If more than one carrier files a notice of intent, or if a carrier other than the temporary carrier of last resort is the only carrier to file a notice of intent, a petition filed by a carrier for permanent carrier of last resort status must include the information in (p) of this section. If no carrier files a petition to be the permanent carrier of last resort, the commission will, absent a determination of good cause to the contrary, select the temporary carrier as the permanent carrier of last resort.
(e) If the permanent carrier of last resort is unable to perform the duties of a local exchange carrier of last resort for a particular portion of a carrier of last resort area or throughout the carrier of last resort area, the commission may require a carrier that is not the carrier of last resort to act as the emergency carrier of last resort for essential retail and carrier-to-carrier services. The commission may limit the essential retail services the emergency carrier of last resort must provide. During the period of designation, the emergency carrier of last resort shall receive proportionately the identical level of Alaska Universal Service Fund support as the permanent carrier of last resort receives under 3 AAC 53.350, based on the ratio of the number of retail lines served by the emergency carrier of last resort to the total number of retail lines in the carrier of last resort area. However, if the commission determines that the average cost per line of lines served by the emergency carrier of last resort is materially different from the average cost per line of lines served by the permanent carrier of last resort, the commission may apply an appropriate weighting factor to the support computation. During the period when an emergency carrier of last resort is designated, the permanent carrier of last resort's Alaska Universal Service Fund support shall be reduced by the amount that the emergency carrier of last resort receives under 3 AAC 53.350.
(f) Designation as temporary carrier of last resort under (d) of this section or designation as an emergency carrier of last resort under (e) of this section may not exceed a period of 36 months, unless extended by the commission, after notice, for good cause.
(g) A local exchange carrier of last resort shall provide essential retail and carrier-to-carrier services throughout its carrier of last resort area without reliance on any other carrier network, if all other carriers operating in the area leave the market. However, nothing in this subsection prohibits a local exchange carrier of last resort from continuing to rely on the facilities of an affiliate or other third party that it has historically used to provide essential retail and carrier-to-carrier services in a discrete portion of its carrier of last resort area. Notwithstanding the requirements of this subsection, the commission may allow, after notice and an opportunity for hearing, a local exchange carrier of last resort or carrier of last resort applicant to fulfill its carrier of last resort responsibilities to cover a discrete portion of a carrier of last resort area with facilities owned by a third party or an affiliate, if
(1) essential retail and carrier-to-carrier services have not historically been provided to the specific area through wireline facilities;
(2) the third-party or affiliate facilities are able to provide essential retail and carrier-to-carrier services in accordance with the requirements of this section;
(3) a contract exists between the local exchange carrier of last resort and the third party or affiliate to provide essential retail and carrier-to-carrier services in accordance with the requirements of this section, and to maintain the facilities to the extent necessary for the local exchange carrier of last resort to meet its carrier of last resort responsibilities and at a similar level of quality as available in the remainder of the study area; and
(4) provision of carrier of last resort service using third-party or affiliate facilities is consistent with the public interest.
(h) Notwithstanding (g) of this section, the commission, for good cause and after notice and an opportunity for hearing, may revoke a local exchange carrier of last resort's ability to meet its carrier of last resort responsibilities using the facilities of a third party or an affiliate, and may require a carrier of last resort to provide service by another means.
(i) A local exchange carrier of last resort shall offer each of the following essential retail services using its own facilities within each exchange of its carrier of last resort area and as part of any extended area service arrangement:
(1) two-way, voice grade access to the public switched network;
(2) unlimited local calling;
(3) dual-tone multi-frequency signaling or its functional equivalent;
(4) single-party service or its functional equivalent;
(5) private line service or its functional equivalent;
(6) access to emergency services;
(7) access to operator services;
(8) access to interexchange services;
(9) special access;
(10) access to directory assistance;
(11) toll-blocking limitation for qualifying low-income customers;
(12) lifeline and link up services;
(13) special construction;
(14) provision of service to subdivisions;
(15) line extension services;
(16) substitute services to the customers of a failing competitor, if directed by the commission;
(17) other services that the commission determines to be in the public interest.
(j) A local exchange carrier of last resort shall offer, upon reasonable request, each of the following essential carrier-to-carrier services within each exchange of its carrier of last resort area and as part of any extended area service arrangement:
(1) local private line service, or its functional equivalent;
(2) intrastate access services;
(3) interstate access services;
(4) resale of retail services;
(5) other services as may be required under federal law or by the commission, after notice and an opportunity for hearing.
(k) A local exchange carrier of last resort shall have a line extension policy in its effective tariff or, in the case of a carrier of last resort not subject to economic regulation by the commission, approved by its governing body. The carrier's line extension policy
(1) may not unduly discourage customers from obtaining service;
(2) may not unduly impact existing customers for the cost of serving prospective remotely located customers; and
(3) must adequately take into consideration universal service support payments to the carrier, including the potential for cost of construction to be paid in part or in whole through universal service support.
(l) Notwithstanding (k) of this section, a local exchange carrier of last resort may not charge a line extension fee to a customer where a line extension would be reasonably profitable without a line extension fee and taking into consideration universal service support payments to the carrier.
(m) No later than 14 business days after denying a request for service, a local exchange carrier of last resort shall submit, to the commission's staff with oversight of consumer protection, and in accordance with 3 AAC 48.095, a report regarding the denial of the request for service. The report must include
(1) a detailed explanation of why the service request was determined unreasonable; and
(2) a preliminary cost estimate if the service request was for a line extension.
(n) After designating a permanent carrier of last resort under (d) of this section, the commission may, upon petition or its own motion, after notice and an opportunity for hearing, withdraw a carrier's permanent carrier of last resort designation and reassign it to a carrier that is an eligible telecommunications carrier in the carrier of last resort area, if
(1) the commission finds that
(A) the current carrier of last resort
(i) is financially or technically unable to provide carrier of last resort services in a carrier of last resort area; or
(ii) has failed to provide all required essential retail and carrier-to-carrier services throughout the carrier of last resort area; and
(B) withdrawal is in the public interest; or
(2) an alternative carrier petitions under (r) of this section to replace the designated carrier of last resort and the commission approves the petition.
(o) If a temporary carrier of last resort is the only carrier to file a notice of intent under (d) of this section, a petition filed by a temporary carrier of last resort proposing to be designated as permanent carrier of last resort must include
(1) the petitioning carrier's legal name, name under which business is conducted, and address;
(2) the name, title, and telephone number of the individual who is the liaison with the commission regarding the request;
(3) a description of the proposed carrier of last resort area; and
(4) a sworn statement by an officer of the carrier that the carrier fulfills all of the requirements imposed under this section on a local exchange carrier of last resort and that the carrier will continue to fulfill those requirements.
(p) If more than one carrier files a notice of intent under (d) of this section, or if a carrier other than the temporary carrier of last resort is the only carrier to file a notice of intent under (d) of this section, a petition filed by a carrier proposing to be designated as carrier of last resort must include
(1) the petitioning carrier's legal name, name under which business is conducted, and address;
(2) the name, title, and telephone number of the individual who is the liaison with the commission regarding the request;
(3) a legal description by township and range of the proposed carrier of last resort area;
(4) one or more maps of the proposed carrier of last resort area in sufficient geographic detail to confirm the legal description in township and range of the proposed carrier of last resort area, or a statement that those maps are on file with the commission as they are identical to the incumbent carrier's certificated service area; if the incumbent carrier is the incumbent for more than one study area per certificated service area, the petitioning carrier must clearly identify the proposed carrier of last resort area;
(5) a map of the carrier's network and verification that services are provided over the carrier's own facilities, with the map showing the proposed carrier of last resort area boundary;
(6) a description of the carrier's major network facilities by exchange within the proposed carrier of last resort area;
(7) a demonstration that the petitioning carrier
(A) occupies, in the market for local telephone exchange service within the carrier of last resort area under petition, a position that is comparable to the position occupied by the existing carrier of last resort; and
(B) can provide the essential retail and carrier-to-carrier services required of a local exchange carrier of last resort upon designation or with minimal facility upgrade;
(8) a demonstration that the petitioning carrier is committed and able to meet the requirements imposed under this section on a local exchange carrier of last resort in the proposed carrier of last resort area upon designation or with minimal facility upgrade; and
(9) an explanation why granting the petition for carrier of last resort status
(A) is consistent with the public interest and with public convenience and necessity; and
(B) advances universal service principles under 47 U.S.C. 254(b) based on the ubiquity of service, quality of service, extent to which the petitioning carrier relies on the facilities of another carrier, cost of operating the petitioning carrier's network, and other relevant factors.
(q) A petitioning carrier may petition for a carrier of last resort area that is less than the temporary or permanent carrier of last resort's entire study area, but not including partial exchanges, if the temporary or permanent carrier of last resort has disaggregated its federal high-cost support under 47 C.F.R. 54.315 and has deaveraged its local or access rates. The petitioning carrier must show that designating an area that is less than the entire study area is in the public interest and advances universal service principles under 47 U.S.C. 254(b).
(r) The commission will accept a petition under (n)(2) of this section to replace the permanent carrier of last resort only after the carrier of last resort has been so designated for a period of five years. A carrier must file, 90 days before filing that petition, a notice of intent to file a petition to replace the permanent carrier of last resort. The commission will issue a notice of the filing of a notice of intent to file a petition, and will set deadlines for comments.
(s) The commission will open an investigation on its own motion if it receives a petition filed under (r) of this section. In the initiating order, the commission will
(1) invite the existing carrier of last resort to file a competing petition to remain the carrier of last resort for that carrier of last resort area;
(2) invite other carriers wishing to be designated as a carrier of last resort to file competing petitions to become the carrier of last resort for that carrier of last resort area;
(3) establish a deadline for the filing under (1) and (2) of this subsection of competing petitions; those petitions must include the information required under (p) of this section; and
(4) provide an opportunity for the petitioning carrier to update, on or before the deadline set under (3) of this subsection, the information filed in the carrier's petition.
(t) A petition by a carrier of last resort to discontinue, suspend, abandon, or diminish the quality of essential retail and carrier-to-carrier services in any portion of its carrier of last resort area must
(1) include a plan to transfer customers to another carrier that is fit, willing, and capable of functioning as a local exchange carrier of last resort in that portion of the carrier of last resort area or a demonstration that continued service to that portion of the carrier of last resort area is no longer in the public interest;
(2) include a demonstration of why the relief requested is in the public interest and will not result in a diminution of essential retail and carrier-to-carrier services to the public;
(3) be filed at least six months before the date proposed for the discontinuance, suspension, abandonment, or diminution, if another facilities-based carrier is fit, willing, and capable of immediately serving the exiting carrier's customer base; and
(4) be filed at least 18 months before the date proposed for the discontinuance, suspension, abandonment, or diminution, if no other facilities-based carrier is fit, willing, and capable of immediately serving the exiting carrier's customer base.
(u) A local exchange carrier of last resort may not discontinue, suspend, abandon, or diminish the quality of essential retail and carrier-to-carrier services in any portion of its carrier of last resort area until
(1) the commission finds that the public interest requires the modification, termination, or transfer of the carrier of last resort designation;
(2) the commission has designated, by order, an alternative carrier of last resort, if necessary to ensure continued carrier of last resort service;
(3) the alternative carrier of last resort is meeting, throughout the carrier of last resort area, the requirements imposed under this section on a local exchange carrier of last resort, including provision of essential retail and carrier-to-carrier services; and
(4) the commission issues an order withdrawing carrier of last resort status.
(v) Nothing in this section relieves a carrier from compliance with the requirements of AS 42.05.

Notes

3 AAC 53.265
Eff. 7/31/2011, Register 199; am 11/6/2016, Register 220, January 2017

As of Register 202 (July 2012), the regulations attorney made technical revisions under AS 44.62.125(b)(6), to 3 AAC 53.265(b).

Authority:AS 42.05.141

AS 42.05.145

AS 42.05.151

AS 42.05.261

AS 42.05.271

AS 42.05.291

AS 42.05.301

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