126.03.04 Ark. Code R. § 003 - Telecommunications Providers Rules - Extended Area Service Rules
TELECOMMUNICATIONS PROVIDERS RULES ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
Subject Matter of Docket/Order
Consolidates rules for telecommunications providers and amends rules to comply with the Arkansas Regulatory Reform Act of 1997.
Adopts rules to implement calling plans to comply with Ark. Code Ann. § 23-17-120.
Adopts rules to implement a grant program for the extension of facilities to unserved persons to comply with Ark. Code Ann. § 23-17-404(e)(8) (Act 1771 of 2001).
Adopts rules for extended area service to comply with Ark. Code Ann. § 23-17-403(28), § 23-17-412(i)(1), § 23-17-407(b)(1), and § 23-17-414.
A sequence of numbers that when dialed, connect the caller to an interexchange carrier or provider of operator services associated with that sequence.
Any person or entity, excluding local exchange carriers and commercial mobile service providers, that, in the ordinary course of its operations, makes telephones available to the public or to transient users of its premises, for intrastate telephone calls using a provider of operator services.
Any person or entity requesting telecommunications service.
Arkansas Calling Plan Fund or "ACPF"
An annual allocation of Arkansas Intrastate Carrier Common Line Pool (AICCLP) funds to assist in providing calling plans in telephone exchanges pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 23-17-404(e)(4)(D)(iii).
Automated Message Delivery Services (AMDS)
A service which provides a consumer who receives a busy signal or no answer the option to automatically leave a message for subsequent delivery.
Base Rate Area
A populated geographical area within the exchange service area in which local exchange service is furnished at the same rate to all subscribers without line mileage or construction charges. A map and legal description of every base rate area must be filed as a tariff.
The process by which an operator service provider audibly and distinctly identifies itself to every person using its operator services.
A location designated by a telecommunications provider where an individual may arrange for service connection, make or arrange to make payments on his bill, and ask questions regarding service or the status of his account.
Within the busy season, the sixty minute period during which a specific central office switch processes the greatest volume of telecommunications traffic.
Within a calendar year, the period of time during which a specific central office switch processes the greatest volume of telecommunications traffic.
A switching unit in a telecommunications system where connections are made between customers' lines, and between customers' lines and local or toll trunks.
Character of Service
The distinguishing features that identify the type of service provided to the customer, for example, call waiting service.
Class of Service
A customer group which has similar characteristics such as volume of use, time of use, extent of use and nature and purpose of use, as classified by the telecommunications provider. For example, the business or residential class of service.
Closed or "Finaled" Account
A permanent shut-off of service by a telecommunications provider to a customer account.
The Arkansas Public Service Commission.
Competing Local Exchange Carrier or "CLEC"
A local exchange carrier that is not an incumbent local exchange carrier.
Any objection from an applicant or customer concerning a charge, facility, rule, service, or other Commission-regulated activity that requires:
Trouble reports, as defined in these Rules, and initial calls to the appropriate telecommunications provider resulting in unchallenged, voluntary toll adjustments by the telecommunications provider, shall not be considered complaints under this definition.
Any person or entity who has applied for and agreed to pay for telecommunications service.
Customer Premises Equipment
Telecommunications equipment which is located on a customer's premises, e.g., telephone instruments, PBX switches, etc.
Customer Premises Wiring
Telecommunications wiring which is located on a customer's premises between the point of demarcation and the customer premises equipment.
Extended Area Service (EAS)
As defined in Ark. Code Ann. § 23-17-403(28), a mandatory fixed rate service that provides customers with unlimited local calling that is not part of basic local exchange service.
An identifiable point at a customer's premises where operation and maintenance responsibilities end for the telecommunications provider as defined in Part 68 of the Rules of the Federal Communications Commission.
An amount paid to a telecommunications provider by an applicant or customer to guarantee payment for telecommunications service.
A connection in which digitally encoded information is routed between an input and an output port by means of time-division multiplexing or self-routing cell procedures rather than over a dedicated circuit.
A local exchange carrier that elects to be regulated pursuant to Sections 6 through 8 or Section 12 of Act 77 of 1997.
A residential customer who is at least 65 years old.
Eligible Telecommunications Carrier or "ETC"
The local exchange carrier determined in accordance with Ark. Code Ann. § 23-17-405 for the local exchange area. The carrier determined in accordance with 47 U.S.C. § 214(e)(3) for an unallocated area ( 47 CFR § 54.203 ).
A situation in which property or human life is in jeopardy and the prompt summoning of aid is essential.
Extended Due Date
Regular monthly extension or change of a bill's due date by a telecommunications provider.
Extension of Telecommunications Facilities Fund
An annual allocation of Arkansas Intrastate Carrier Common Line Pool (AICCLP) funds to assist in the extension of telecommunications facilities to persons not served by the wireline facilities of an ETC pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 23-17-404(e)(4)(D)(ii).
Equal Access Code
An access code that allows the public to obtain equal access connection to the carrier associated with that code.
Exchange Service Area
A unit established by a telecommunications provider for the administration of telecommunications service in a specified area for which a separate local rate schedule is provided. It may consist of one or more central offices together with associated plant facilities used in furnishing telecommunications services in that area.
Failure to Pay
Failure to pay includes payment by check, other negotiable instrument, or automatic draft that is dishonored by a bank for reasons other than bank error.
Any residential customer who is certified to the telecommunications provider as having a severe physical or mental impairment which substantially limits his ability to pay for telecommunications service. Certification shall be provided by a physician, licensed psychologist, the United States Veterans Administration, the Social Security Administration, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, the Arkansas State Hospital, or a licensed mental health center.
Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier or "ILEC"
With respect to a local exchange area, a local exchange carrier, including successors and assigns, that is certified by the Commission and was providing basic local exchange service on February 8, 1996.
Insufficient Funds Check
Any negotiable instrument such as a check or automatic bank draft dishonored by a bank for reasons other than bank error.
A service provided by the telecommunication provider which intercepts calls placed to a disconnected telephone number and informs the calling party of the status of the called number.
Interest rate set annually by the Commission for customer deposits as required by Ark. Code Ann. § 23-4-206(b).
Any entity that is not a local exchange carrier and that provides interexchange communication services to the public for compensation in the State of Arkansas.
Interruption of Service
Temporarily stopping service for maintenance, testing, repair, or safety.
Local Exchange Carrier or "LEC"
A telecommunications provider of basic local exchange service and switched access service. Such term does not include commercial mobile service providers.
Operator Services - Aggregator Location
Any intrastate telecommunications service initiated from an aggregator location that includes, as a component, any automatic or live assistance to a consumer to arrange for billing or completion, or both, of any intrastate telephone call through a method other than automatic completion with billing to the telephone from which the call originated, or completion through an access code used by the consumer with billing to an account previously established with the carrier by the consumer.
An unplanned temporary loss of telecommunications service caused by a malfunction of or damage to telecommunications provider facilities. For example, a subscriber loop service outage exists if a dial tone is not obtained, signaling in either direction is disabled, or transmission standards are not maintained.
A business located in the community which acts as an agent for the telecommunications provider by accepting payments from customers.
The date the telecommunications provider or its authorized agent receives payment on an account.
Petitioning Exchange Customers
Residential and business basic local exchange customers of the ILEC requesting EAS.
Any person licensed to practice medicine by the Arkansas State Medical Board or a comparable licensing authority of another state.
Pre-subscribed Provider of Operator Services
The intrastate provider of operator services to which the consumer is connected when the consumer places a call using a provider of operator services without dialing an access code.
Public Utility or Utility
A jurisdictional utility as defined by Ark. Code Ann. § 23-1-101.
Rules or Commission Rules
These Telecommunications Providers Rules.
Serious Medical Condition
An illness or injury which results in a physician's determination that the loss of telecommunications service would give rise to a substantial risk of death or gravely impair health. A serious medical condition shall exist in the case of elderly persons or infant children under the age of 12 months if a physician certifies that the loss of telecommunications service will gravely impair health, regardless of the current existence of illness or injury.
The transfer of a telephone call from one operator service provider to another in a manner that the subsequent provider is unable or unwilling to determine the location of the origination of the call and, because of such inability or unwillingness, is prevented from billing the call on the basis of the originating location.
A telecommunications circuit which provides a telecommunications link between a customer's service location and the serving switch.
Suspension of Service
A temporary shut-off of service by a telecommunications provider without a customer request -- not an outage or an interruption of service.
A rate schedule, service regulation, price list, or other document required to be filed as a tariff by the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure.
Telecommunications Provider or "TP"
Any person, firm, partnership, corporation, association, or other entity that offers telecommunications services to the public for compensation.
The offering to the public for compensation the transmission of voice, data, or other electronic information at any frequency over any part of the electromagnetic spectrum, notwithstanding any other use of the associated facilities. Such term does not include radio and television broadcast or distribution services, or the provision of publishing of yellow pages, regardless of the entity providing such services, or services to the extent that such services are used in connection with the operation of an electric utility system owned by a government entity.
A measure of the number of telecommunication calls processed during a specific period. The measure includes the distribution in time and the duration of calls.
Tier One Company
Any ILEC that, together with its Arkansas affiliates that are also ILECs, provided basic local exchange services to greater than one hundred fifty thousand (150,000) access lines in Arkansas as of February 4, 1997.
Any verbal or written report given to a TP concerning an operational problem with facilities or equipment. Billing complaints shall not be considered as trouble reports for the purpose of this definition.
These Rules shall apply to all TP whose activities bring them under the jurisdiction of the Commission except commercial mobile service providers.
Amendments or exemptions to the Commission's Rules may be granted by the Commission in conformity with the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure, or as otherwise provided within these Rules.
These Rules shall in no way relieve any person or entity of any duty under the laws of the State of Arkansas or the United States of America.
A TP shall not unlawfully discriminate against an applicant for service or an existing customer in the provision of telecommunications service based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, or receipt of public assistance.
A TP shall not retaliate against any applicant or customer for exercising a right or enforcing an obligation created by any Commission Rule or for acting within the law.
Employees of a TP who are responsible for the application and explanation of any of these Rules shall have ready access to those Rules which apply to their respective job responsibilities. Ready access to the Rules means that they are easily accessible to an employee in his work area at the TP's offices.
Each TP shall provide a copy of any pertinent part of these Rules to an applicant or customer upon request.
These Rules shall be on display and available for inspection in the Office of the Secretary of the Commission. A copy of the Rules will be provided to any member of the public upon request.
Each TP shall provide all services and offerings on a continuous 24 hour basis. For example:
For new construction of TP plant, the current issues of the American National Standard Institute's National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) published by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., and/or the National Electrical Code (NEC) published by the National Fire Protection Association, are designated as the standards.
Construction completed prior to the effective dates of current standards shall be in accordance with the standards in effect at the time of construction.
Unless otherwise agreed to by the excavator, each TP shall mark the approximate location of its underground facilities, in compliance with Ark. Code Ann. §§ 14-271-110 and 14-271-111, within 2 business days of notification from the One Call Center or the excavator.
Each LEC provider shall provide the following information based on the class of service:
Each LEC shall give all information required by Rule 2.01. to each applicant.
Each LEC shall provide the information required under Rule 2.01. to anyone upon request.
LECs who include this information in the front of the telephone directory may refer members of the public to their directory and are not required to provide a copy of this information.
A current copy of all information required by Rule 2.01. and any revisions to that information shall be provided to the Commission's Consumer Services Office.
Each LEC shall keep on file and, upon request, provide access to its current effective tariffs.
Each LEC shall list, in a local exchange directory covering any area it serves, the telephone numbers that customers may call toll-free to report problems or ask about bills or services. Collect calls accepted by the LEC are considered to be toll-free calls.
Customers or former customers shall be able to obtain a statement of the customer's account record as recorded under Rule 7.02. The customer shall be informed at the time of the request of any charge for the statement.
LEC personnel who serve the public shall be familiar with the content of all Commission Rules which apply to their respective job responsibilities.
When a customer informs a LEC that he will have difficulty paying a bill, the LEC shall offer to:
A LEC shall fully and promptly investigate all complaints. LECs shall ensure that personnel follow these procedures and meet these standards:
LEC employees responsible for dealing with the public shall promptly handle complaints or refer them to someone who can handle the complaint.
LECs shall record all complaints and keep the record as required by Rule 7.04.
A customer shall not be required to visit the business office to make a complaint. A customer may make a complaint either orally or in written form.
Complaints may be in written or oral form. Complainants shall give a name, address, name of the LEC involved, account number if known, detailed description of the complaint, and the desired result.
Within 3 business days after receiving an informal complaint, the Commission shall:
Each LEC shall give the Commission's Consumer Services Office a current list of personnel who answer Commission questions about complaints. A LEC representative with the authority to process Commission questions about complaints must reasonably be available during business hours.
LECs shall immediately report any change in the contact personnel to the Commission's Consumer Services Office.
A LEC shall respond to Commission inquiries concerning any complaint as quickly as possible but not later than 15 days after receipt.
The Commission shall investigate each informal complaint, issue an informal complaint investigation report to the complainant, and notify the LEC of the results of the investigation. The Commission will provide the LEC a copy of any written investigation report given to the complainant.
The LEC or the complainant may file a formal complaint if not satisfied with the informal complaint results. The Commission shall provide information to the complainant which explains formal complaint procedures.
New service, additional service, transfer of service, or a change in service may be requested in writing, or, at the discretion of the LEC, by telephone.
Each LEC must keep a record of each written or verbal application for service as required by Rule 7.01.
LECs shall not unreasonably discriminate in processing applications for service. Priority shall be given to applications involving medical emergency, and public health and safety.
LECs shall connect service within the time frames required by Rule 9.01.
When an applicant requests service, a LEC shall provide an expected service date according to the service connection procedures in Rule 9.01.
A current copy of the form to be used for the application for service and any revisions to that form shall be provided to the Commission's Consumer Services Office.
Extension of facilities shall be made according to:
If service will be provided, the LEC shall provide the Extension of Service Agreement to the applicant and explain any payment options including the option in Rule 9.03. within 30 business days of receipt of the application for service. If additional time is needed by the LEC during this 30-day period, the LEC will notify the applicant in writing of the reason for delay.
If a cost to the applicant will be required to extend service, the LEC may require the applicant to sign an Extension of Service Agreement before construction begins.
The Extension of Service Agreement shall include the following:
A LEC may refuse service to an applicant for the following reasons:
A LEC may not refuse service to an applicant because of unpaid bills for merchandise or non-telecommunications services purchased, rented, or leased from or through the LEC.
If a LEC reasonably believes that the evidence offered is unreliable, it may refuse to accept it and seek additional evidence from the applicant.
If a LEC refuses to serve an applicant, it shall give an explanation in writing to the applicant within 7 business days. The explanation shall include the following:
A LEC may require a deposit from any applicant to guarantee payment for service, subject to the conditions in Subsections A.(1) and (2).
LECs shall determine the amount of a deposit as follows:
Except for deposits under Rule 4.01.B.(3), applicants shall be allowed to pay the deposit in 2 installments - ½ of the deposit before receiving service and the remaining ½ by the due date of the first bill.
LECs shall give customers receipts for their deposits upon customer request.
A LEC may only require a new deposit or an increase in the amount of a deposit from a customer for the following reasons:
When a LEC charges a new or additional deposit, the total amount on deposit at any time shall not be more than the total of the customer's 2 highest bills during the last 12 months.
If the reason for requiring a deposit is unauthorized use of service or tampering with LEC's equipment, the total amount on deposit with the LEC shall not be more than the estimated bill for 6 average billing periods plus the cost of potential damage to LEC's equipment.
See Rule 4.02.A.(7) above.
A LEC shall explain in writing the reason for charging any new or additional deposit, the amount of the deposit, when the deposit must be paid, and the consequences of failing to pay the additional deposit.
Except for deposits under Rule 4.02.A.(5), a customer may pay any new or additional deposit in two installments by the due dates of his next two bills.
LECs shall give customers receipts for their deposits upon customer request.
The average bill is the total of the last 4 months' bills divided by 4.
If a customer or an applicant for service has fewer than 4 months billing history with the LEC, the average bill shall not be more than the anticipated amount of one month's bill.
Instead of a deposit, a LEC shall accept the written guaranty of a qualified third party to pay an amount equal to the deposit. If a third party is a residential customer of the LEC and meets the following conditions, he is qualified to act as a guarantor on one residential account:
Instead of a deposit, a LEC may accept the written guaranty of another customer to pay an amount equal to the deposit.
The LEC may allow a customer to guarantee more than one account.
A LEC may collect the guaranteed amount on the guarantor's account as if it were a charge for service.
A guaranty agreement shall be in the following form and must be signed by the guarantor and the LEC's representative:
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If the reason for requiring a deposit is unauthorized use of service or tampering with the LEC's equipment, a LEC does not have to refund the deposit until an account is closed.
If the deposit was subject to the jurisdiction of the United States Bankruptcy Courts, the LEC shall comply with the United States Bankruptcy Code in refunding or retaining the deposit.
A LEC may not require a residential customer to make or increase a deposit because of a name change, unless one or more of the conditions set out in Rule 4.02.A. applies.
Except as provided in Rule 4.02.A., a LEC shall not charge an additional deposit if a customer requests that his service end at one location and that the same kind and class of service from the same LEC begin at another location and the change takes 90 days or less.
Each bill shall contain the following information:
A current copy of the form to be used for billing and any revisions to that form shall be provided to the Commission's Consumer Services Office.
LECs shall not mail bills later than the mailing date printed on the bill.
The LEC may require verification of the above sources of income.
A LEC may charge a fee for handling a check which is returned unpaid for reasons other than bank error. The amount of the returned check charge shall be set forth in the LEC's tariffed schedule of fees and charges.
If a customer pays part of a bill for LEC service, a LEC shall first credit the payment to earlier charges for telecommunications service. This Rule does not apply when there is a disputed bill, delayed payment agreement, or other written instructions.
After an interruption or outage of local service of more than 24 hours, a LEC shall refund a portion of the monthly charge for the number of days without service.
If a customer tampers with LEC's equipment, the LEC may charge a reasonable amount for damage to the equipment and for estimated service taken. This is in addition to the remedies in Rules 4.01.B.(3), 4.02.B.(1) and 6.01.F. The LEC may base the estimate on the customer's average lawful usage for the most recent 12 month period. If those figures are not available, the LEC shall base the estimate on the class average.
A LEC may only transfer a past due balance from a customer's closed account to one of the following active accounts:
The only reasons a LEC may suspend service to an account are:
A LEC may not suspend service to an account for the following reasons:
A LEC may not suspend service to a trustee or debtor in bankruptcy for failure to pay a bill incurred prior to a bankruptcy filing if the trustee or the debtor pays a deposit under Rule 4.02.A.(7) within 20 days of the order for relief in bankruptcy. (See United States Bankruptcy Code, U.S.C.A. Title 11 § 366.)
The LEC may not suspend service during that 20 day period. If a debtor asks the LEC to reconnect service during that 20 day period, the LEC must reconnect. After the 20 day period, the LEC may suspend service if the customer has not paid a deposit.
A current copy of the form to be used for shut-off notices and any revisions to that form shall be provided to the Commission's Consumer Services Office.
A residential customer may name a consenting person or agency to receive a copy of all shut-off notices. A LEC shall mail 1 copy of all shut-off notices to the customer and 1 to the other person or agency.
Each shut-off notice shall contain the following information:
Suspension Date and Time Requirements
A LEC shall not close a suspended account until a customer has been given 7 days to have service reconnected after suspension. Once an account is closed, a LEC may treat a former customer who wants service again as an applicant.
This rule applies to any residential customer, and to business customers whose average bill for the most recent 12 months is $200.00 or less. As used in this Rule, the term "customer" shall mean only such customers as so defined in this paragraph.
When a customer informs the LEC that he is having difficulty paying a bill, the LEC shall explain that delayed payment agreements are available both by telephone and in person through the LEC's business offices. The LEC shall then inform the customer of his rights and obligations under this Rule.
If a LEC has met all of the requirements of Subsection A. and a customer requests a payment extension of less than 30 days from the payment due date, the LEC may offer to enter an extension agreement instead of a delayed payment agreement. All extensions shall be documented. The LEC shall inform the customer of the LEC's right under Rule 6.04.B. to suspend service without advance written notice if the customer fails to keep the terms of the extension agreement.
A LEC does not have to enter into an extension agreement if the customer has failed to keep the terms of an extension agreement in the last twelve months.
Subsection E.(1) of this Rule does not apply when a LEC corrects an underbilling. See Rule 5.14.C.
This subsection shall not be applied if the customer can establish that toll access is needed due to a medical condition, or toll access is used to monitor a medical condition remotely. The delayed payment agreement form the LEC uses in instances when toll is proposed to be restricted must include information telling the customer about these exceptions.
All delayed payment agreements shall be explained and will be provided in writing and must include relevant portions of this Rule, specifically, Subsections D.(1), E.(3), H., I., J., K. and L.
When a LEC arranges a delayed payment agreement by telephone, the LEC shall send or give the customer a copy of the delayed payment agreement within 5 business days of receiving the customer's down payment. A LEC may require the customer to sign the agreement and return it to the LEC within 10 days of making the agreement, but the customer's signature is not necessary for validity and enforcement of the documented agreement under this rule.
Subsections H.(1) and (2) of this Rule do not apply when a LEC corrects an underbilling. See Rule 5.14.C.(2).
If a customer can substantiate a change in ability to pay resulting from a serious medical condition or the loss of a major source of income, the LEC must document its good faith effort to renegotiate a delayed payment agreement 1 time during the period of the agreement. The customer loses this right if any term of the delayed payment agreement is not kept. A renegotiated agreement is not a new delayed payment agreement.
A LEC may charge interest on delayed payment agreement installments.
A LEC may suspend service without prior written notice, subject to the conditions of Rule 6.04.B., if a customer does not keep the terms of a delayed payment agreement or extension agreement.
A customer does not give up any right to complain to the Commission by signing a delayed payment agreement or entering an extension agreement.
A current copy of the form to be used for delayed payment agreements and any revisions to that form shall be provided to the Commission's Consumer Services Office.
When a social service agency agrees orally or in writing to pay at least 1/4 of an overdue bill, the LEC shall continue service, or restore service suspended for non-payment, if the customer qualifies for and agrees to pay any remaining overdue amounts and any additional deposit under a delayed payment agreement. The agency payment shall be considered the down payment for the delayed payment agreement. The LEC may verify any notice received from any agency.
The LEC may require the agency to give written confirmation of a verbal agreement within 10 days of the date of the verbal agreement.
If an account remains unpaid 40 days after an agency notifies a LEC, as set out in Rule 6.15.A., that they will be making a payment, the LEC may suspend service after giving the customer an additional 5 days written notice.
Each LEC must honor a physician's certificate which attests to the fact that a residential customer or any other permanent resident of the household has a serious medical condition. The certificate must clearly state that the suspension of telecommunications service would give rise to a substantial risk of death or gravely impair the health of the customer or another permanent household resident.
A physician, nurse, nurse practitioner, physician's assistant, or public or private agency providing physical or mental health care services may notify the LEC in person, by telephone, or by letter that the serious medical condition exists. When a LEC is notified, it must inform the health care professional that a physician's certificate is required within 7 days. The LEC may verify notice given by telephone.
A completed physician's certificate must be signed by a physician and must be in the following form. The LEC shall provide a copy of the physician's certificate form to the physician.
PHYSICIAN'S CERTIFICATE OF MEDICAL NEED FOR LOCAL EXCHANGE CARRIER SERVICE
The Arkansas Public Service Commission requires local exchange carriers under its jurisdiction to honor physician's certificates which attest to the fact that a customer or any permanent resident of the household has a serious medical condition. The certificate must clearly state that the suspension of telecommunications service would give rise to a substantial risk of death or gravely impair the health of the customer or another permanent household resident.
A licensed physician or other health care professional providing health care services to the patient may notify the local exchange carrier of the serious medical condition. The notice must be followed within 7 days by a certificate. The certificate is valid for up to 30 days and may be extended for one additional 30 day period by reverification by the physician or health care professional prior to the expiration date of the first certificate. This reverification requires that an additional certificate be submitted to the local exchange carrier.
You are being asked to verify that the stated condition exists. This certificate allows the customer time to secure payment for service or to make alternate arrangements for care of the patient.
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Delaying suspension or reconnecting service under this Rule does not excuse the customer from having to pay for the service.
If suspension has been postponed under this Rule, and the medical certificate has expired, the LEC must follow the notification requirement of Rule 6.04.(A) prior to suspension.
This Rule only applies to residential customers.
LECs shall attempt to identify eligible individuals by informing them that a special program is available for customers who qualify under this Rule and shall then ask qualifying applicants or customers whether they wish to be registered as provided in this Rule:
At least 72 hours before suspending service to an identified elderly or handicapped account, a LEC must make 2 attempts at different times of day to contact the customer, an adult at the premises, or someone previously designated by the customer, either in person or by telephone.
When an identified elderly or handicapped customer tells a LEC they cannot pay a bill on time, or upon contacting an identified elderly or handicapped customer under Subsection B. of this Rule, the LEC shall offer to:
A LEC shall mark the accounts of identified elderly or handicapped customers. LECs shall keep a record as required by Rule 7.02. of how they handled overdue accounts of elderly and handicapped customers.
If a customer gives false information to qualify as elderly or handicapped, the LEC may suspend service under Rule 6.01.G.
A customer who wants to stop service must tell the LEC at least 5 days before the requested disconnection date.
The minimum 5 day notice period begins:
The customer does not have to pay for basic local service after the disconnection date requested by the customer, so long as proper notice was given according to Subsection A. of this Rule.
A LEC must confirm the disconnection date if the customer asks.
Each LEC shall keep a record containing the following information for each customer account:
A LEC shall keep an up-to-date record of all customer complaints, showing the name and address of the complainant, the account number, the date and character of the complaint, action taken to resolve the complaint, and the date of resolution.
LECs shall make a complete record of every test or inspection which these Rules require. The record shall include the time, date, place, tester, inspector, and the results. Each LEC shall keep test and inspection records at least 2 years, or as specified in these Rules.
Each LEC shall keep records of all detected or documented service outages. Each record shall include the time, date, location, duration, cause, and extent of each outage. LECs shall keep the records at least 2 years.
LECs shall keep records within the State of Arkansas, at the offices of the LEC, or at locations outside the State of Arkansas authorized by the Commission. Such records shall be available at all reasonable hours for examination by the Commission, its representatives, or others authorized by the Commission.
Records required by these Rules and orders of the Commission shall be maintained for at least the period of time designated in the most current Federal Communications Commission Rules governing preservation of records for LECs or as specifically provided for in these Rules or orders of the Commission, whichever period of time is longer. In any event, such records shall be maintained for at least 2 years.
Each LEC shall maintain copies of all construction reports and plans for a period of at least 2 years after the completion of a project. The records shall include, but not be limited to, design specifications, contracts, work orders, material placed and the associated costs.
Each LEC shall maintain accurate records of trouble reports. The records shall be organized by month for each exchange service area. Each record shall be maintained for at least 2 years. At a minimum, each record shall include:
Each LEC shall maintain current maps or plans depicting plant in all service areas served by the LEC. Those maps or plans shall be in sufficient detail to enable prompt location of each line and facility owned or operated by the LEC. Each system map and its associated records shall be maintained in sufficient detail to enable the reconstruction of the system, if required.
Each LEC shall map and add each change, relocation, or extension of plant to existing system maps no later than 24 calendar months after the change, relocation, or extension is completed. Until such changes are posted to the system maps, either sufficiently detailed engineering drawings showing the changes or a reference to the location of the drawings shall be attached to the existing maps.
Each LEC shall maintain a record of the equipped (or programmed) and in service quantity of central office switching lines (or line appearance numbers (LANs) and terminals (or connectors or directory numbers). Each LEC shall be able to provide evidence of an effective procedure to assure adequacy of central office equipment for new service applications.
LECs shall promptly report outages in an individual city, town, or in the same general area, which last more than 4 hours and affect 100 or more customers by telephone to the Commission's Consumer Services Office. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, LECs may report outages by leaving a message on the Commission's Consumer Services Office recorder.
Each LEC shall notify the Commission's Consumer Services Office in writing at least 30 days before making any major changes in its method of operation. For example, the closing of a business office, the moving of a billing department out of state, and a telephone cut-over affecting a majority of the customers in any exchange would be considered major changes for the purposes of this Rule.
Upon request, each LEC shall make available in writing to the Commission the number of customer complaints as required by Rule 7.04.B. for the requested time period.
Each LEC shall provide, the Commission's Consumer Services Office with current copies of the following information:
New copies of the information shall be provided, to the Commission's Consumer Services Office whenever the information is revised.
After a public hearing, the Commission may require a LEC to make extensions, additions, repairs, or changes in or improvements to any equipment or line if the Commission finds that they should reasonably be made to promote the security or convenience of the public or to secure adequate service or facilities.
Except in an emergency, LECs shall schedule interruptions so that the inconvenience to customers is minimized.
LECs shall make reasonable efforts to notify customers affected by a scheduled interruption as far ahead as practical and give them the date, time, and planned length of the interruption.
LECs shall make reasonable efforts to notify customers affected by an unforeseen interruption as soon as practical and explain the cause and how long it will last.
LECs shall make every reasonable effort to first restore service which affects public health and safety.
LECs shall first attempt to restore service which affects public health and safety.
Each LEC shall have written procedures for designated employees to follow during major service outages. The procedures shall contain at least the following:
When an eligible telecommunications carrier receives an application for service within its service territory or within an adjacent unallocated territory, the eligible telecommunications carrier shall neither refuse to accept the application for service nor request the applicant to withdraw the application.
All extensions of service shall be made in accordance with the LEC's extension of facilities tariffs. An applicant for service must meet all requirements of these Rules in order to qualify to receive service.
All reasonable efforts shall be made to serve qualified applicants within 5 business days after receipt of an application, unless a later date is requested by the applicant.
For purposes of evaluating the quality of service, 95% or more of all qualified applications monthly for each exchange must be served within the time frame specified above except exchanges of 2000 lines or less will be evaluated on an average of three consecutive monthly results.
Each LEC shall notify the applicant of the expected service date. If a LEC will not be able to connect service on the expected service date, it shall promptly notify the applicant of the new expected service connection date.
Within 5 business days after receipt of a qualified application for service, a LEC shall:
Within 30 business days of the receipt of a qualified application, the LEC shall provide a written proposal to the applicant which shall provide:
When an engineering study is required, the LEC shall provide a written proposal to the applicant for service within 60 business days of the receipt of the application.
If the LEC will not be able to connect service on the expected service date, it shall promptly notify the applicant of the new expected service connection date.
Within 5 business days after receipt of a qualified application for service, an ETC shall:
Within 60 business days of the receipt of a qualified application, the ETC shall provide a written proposal to the applicant which shall provide:
If the ETC will not be able to connect service on the expected service date, it shall promptly notify the applicant of the new expected service connection date.
Each LEC shall make reasonable extensions of its facilities within its certificated area. Also see Rule 3.03.
Each LEC shall extend facilities within base rate and supplemental rate areas at no cost to the applicant unless the applicant requests non-standard plant construction.
Each ETC shall make reasonable extensions of its facilities within adjacent unallocated territory. Also see Rule 3.03.
Each ETC shall pay the cost for constructing circuits needed to reinforce or parallel an ETC's existing facilities.
Grants are available to an ETC for the extension of facilities to persons unserved by its wireline services. ETCs shall make a request on behalf of its applicants for fund allocation when required by Rule 9.02.A.(2)b.(vii) or B.(2)f. The fund trustee will determine the allocation of available funds to the requests received from ETCs.
When an engineering study is required, the ETC shall request funds from the trustee within 60 business days of an application for service at a location within its service territory.
The trustee shall be allowed to accumulate funds over a period greater than 12 months for a proposed grant that exceeds the available funds from an annual allocation of funds from the AICCLP.
When an ETC makes an initial request as required by Subsection A.(3) of this rule, it shall at the same time request the Commission to allocate the geographic area not previously allocated to that ETC as required by the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure, Rule 7.05.(a).
The Extension of Telecommunications Facilities Fund is subject to an annual audit by an independent certified public accountant selected by the Commission.
A party aggrieved by the trustee's decision may appeal that decision within 30 days to the Commission.
Service provided to amateur radio clubs at their tower locations for clubs' autopatches shall be charged residential rates.
Each LEC shall intercept all calls to a number listed incorrectly in the telephone directory until a new directory is distributed or a correction sheet is mailed to each customer. In the event of a directory listing error, the corrected information shall be maintained in the files of the information operator and the correct telephone number furnished when the listing is requested.
The minimum grade of service will be single party service with no mileage or zone charges.
Upon publication, each LEC shall furnish a copy of the revised directory to each customer within the corresponding directory service area at no charge. The LEC shall provide a directory to each customer for each of his telephone numbers.
Upon publication, each LEC shall provide a copy of each revised directory to the Consumer Services Office of the Commission.
Each LEC shall notify its customers in writing of telephone directory closing dates and opportunities and procedures for making changes at least 60 days before the closing date.
Local telephone numbers shall be assigned at the discretion of the LEC.
Each LEC may make reasonable changes in local telephone numbers after giving the affected customers 60 days notice of changes.
Each ILEC shall continuously evaluate suburban growth and telephone service needs to ensure that base rate area boundaries include all well-populated contiguous territory whether located inside or outside of an incorporated city or town.
Each LEC shall provide all local, interoffice, tandem, toll, etc. switched services utilizing digital switching.
If a customer experiences a service outage that does not result in an emergency, the LEC shall make every reasonable effort to restore service not later than 24 hours after an outage is reported. If service cannot be restored within 24 hours, the LEC shall make reasonable efforts to notify the affected customers and give a time when service should be restored.
When the LEC becomes aware of an outage that results in an emergency, the LEC shall begin immediate restoration of service and shall continue restoration until service is restored.
Each LEC shall adopt a program of inspection and maintenance of its facilities in order to determine the necessity for replacement and repair. The frequency of the various inspections shall be based on the LEC's experience and accepted good practice. Each LEC shall be able to provide evidence of compliance with its inspection program.
When telecommunications facilities are permanently abandoned, the LEC shall remove them or maintain them in a safe condition.
In order to provide adequate and continuous service, each LEC shall adopt and pursue an effective central office switching equipment maintenance program. Each LEC shall be able to provide evidence of compliance with its central office maintenance program.
When a LEC receives a trouble report from its retail customer, the LEC shall test the local loop up to the point of demarcation.
Each LEC shall minimize interference to communications circuits from inductive power influence by taking such steps as:
Each LEC shall ensure that adequate facilities are available to meet the requirements in these Rules.
Local central office equipment shall meet the following minimum requirements during an average busy hour of the busy season:
Trunk circuit groups shall have sufficient capacity to allow the following percentages of call completions without encountering an all-trunks-busy signal during the average busy hour of the busy season:
Central office switching equipment shall be engineered and maintained to complete at least 98% of all intra-office test calls originated with standard industry switching service analyzers.
Each LEC shall provide emergency power for each central office.
* dBrnC = decibels above reference noise with C-message weighting.
These rules are pursuant to, and in accordance with, the provisions of Act 1764 of 2003 as codified in Ark. Code Ann. § 23-17-403(28), § 23-17-412(i)(1), § 23-17-407(b)(1), and § 23-17-414.
An EAS election is considered valid for five (5) years from the ballot certification date. During this time an ILEC is not required to provide a new EAS rate or have a new election for the same route.
Consistent with Ark. Code Ann. § 23-17-414(b)(2) and (c), after the initial election and implementation of EAS, the ILEC can initiate a proceeding with the Commission to change the rate(s) pursuant to the provisions of these rules.
To ensure the continued provision of interexchange telecommunication services in a manner consistent with the public interest, it is the Commission's policy that every local exchange area have access to interexchange telecommunications service, except that a TP must be allowed to discontinue service, without Commission approval, to a local exchange area if comparable service is available in the area and the discontinuance is not contrary to the public interest. This section does not authorize the Commission to require a TP that has not provided services to a local exchange area during the previous 12 months and that has never provided services to that same local exchange area for a cumulative period of one year at any time in the past to initiate services to that local exchange area.
No TP shall offer intrastate long distance or toll service within Arkansas without first obtaining a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CCN) from the Commission. All applications shall be made in accordance with the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure.
All TP's records required by these Rules, or necessary for the administration thereof, shall be maintained in a manner so as to be readily available to the Commission or its authorized representative upon request.
TP bills shall be rendered not later than ninety (90) days after service is provided. Such bills shall contain the following information:
Where a TP has overbilled a customer, the TP shall make a refund or billing credit in a subsequent billing cycle following discovery and computation of the overbilled amount. When a TP bills a customer an amount correcting a previous underbilling, and it results in an undue hardship on a customer, the customer may call and make special payment arrangements, unless the underbilling was caused by unauthorized or fraudulent use or procurement of service.
When a customer reaches a wrong number on an intrastate toll call and promptly notifies the appropriate TP representative, the TP shall credit the customer's account for that call.
Prepaid services shall be permitted. Amounts received for prepaid services shall not be treated as deposits.
TPs may require deposits from customers and shall pay interest thereon at the rate prescribed by the Commission.
The Rural Saver Optional Calling Plan provides for residential calling to a customer's county seat plus calling to other exchanges within a 41 mile (radius) circle. The plan is further defined as follows:
The plan shall not be available in exchanges meeting the total access line requirement but where it is not possible to make intrastate, intraLATA calls within a 41 mile circle.
(1) Monthly End User Charge Per Access Line
(2) Per Minute Usage Charge
(3) Other Monthly End-User Charge
(4) Non-recurring Charge
When revenues exceed costs for an ILEC/ETC the administrator shall carry the excess revenues forward and subtract from costs in the next month. In a similar manner the administrator shall carry forward any excess revenues from the first two months to the next month. The ILEC/ETC shall be billed for any excess revenues remaining after the third month and billed in succeeding months having a revenue excess. The ILEC/ETC shall be billed at the same time funds are disbursed as required by Subsection B.(2) of this rule. The ILEC/ETC shall remit funds to the administrator to cover the bill with the following month's fund request required by Subsection A.(1) of this rule.
Funds shall not be disbursed to any ILEC/ETC until funds are available to adequately cover all requests.
The ACPF is subject to an annual audit by an independent certified public accountant approved by the Commission. Cost of the audit shall be considered an administrative cost and paid from the annual fund allocation.
A party aggrieved by the administrator's decision may appeal that decision within 30 days to the Commission.
Correction and inmate facilities are exempt from all OSP rules except Rule 15.01.B.(11).
Each eligible telecommunications carrier shall be responsible for maintaining at least one public telephone, providing continuous 24 hour service in a well-lighted area which is accessible to the public at all times in each exchange unless the Commission orders a greater number. This responsibility will continue until such time as:
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