Current through Register Vol. 2021, No. 11, November, 2021
Exchange Line Cable and Wire Facilities Subcategories 1.1
through 1.3 [Part 36.154(a)], or its functional equivalent.
The administrator of the Arkansas High Cost Fund.
AHCF or Fund
The Arkansas High Cost Fund.
Categories of Eligible Telecommunications Carriers
Category I Company: All ETCs with a total customer access base
or total customer base of 500,000 or more access lines as to wireline ETCs and
customers as to non-wireline ETCs.
Category II Company: All ETCs with a total customer access base
ot total customer base of 150,000 or more access lines as to
wireline ETCs and customers as to non-wireline ETC, and less than 500,000
access lines as to wireline ETCs and customers as to non-wireline ETCs.
Category III Company: All ETCs with a total customer access
base or total customer base of 15,000 or more access lines as to wireline ETCs
and customers as to non-wireline ETC, and less than 150,000 access lines as to
wireline ETCs and customers as to non-wireline ETCs.
Category IV Company. All BTCs with a total customer access base
or total customer base of less than 15,000 access lines as to wireline ETCs and
customers as to non-wireline ETCs.
Access lines will be the primary determinant of a carrier's
categorization. Any carrier desiring to use its customer count as an
alternative basis of classification must include in its submission a report by
an independent third party auditor attesting to the accuracy of the customer
count as of December 31 of the prior year.
A switching unit, in a telephone system which provides service
to the general public, having the necessary equipment and operations
arrangements for tenninatmg and interconnecting subscriber lines and trunks or
trunks only. There may be more than one central office in a building.
Commercial Mobile Service
Cellular, Personal Communications Systems and any service
regulated pursuant to Part 20 of the rules and regulations of the FCC (47 CFR
Part 20) or any successor provisions.
The Arkansas Public Service Commission.
Any person, firm, partnership, cooperative corporation,
corporation or lawful entity that has ordered and is receiving retail
telecommunications services supplied by any telecommunications provider and is
receiving a bill from the provider For services associated with one or more
retail access lines.
The Communications Act of 1934. as amended.
The Federal Communications Commission.
Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier
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.
Intrastate Retail Telecommunications Service Revenues
Consistent with the definition adopted by the FCC in CC Docket
96-45 released on May 8,1997, revenues derived fiom end users for
telecommunications and telecommiinications services. This includes revenues
derived from other carriers when such carriers utilize telecommunications
services for their own internal uses.
Local Exchange Area
The geographic area, approved by the Commission, encompassing
the area within which a local exchange carrier is authorized to provide basic
local exchange services and switched access services. It may consist of one or
more central offices together with associated plant used in furnishing
telecommunications service in that area.
Local Exchange Carrier (LEC)
A telecommunications provider of basic local exchange service
and switched access service. Such term does not include commercial mobile
Rural Telephone Company
A local exchange carrier defined as a rural telephone company
in the Federal Act as of the effective date of the Telecommunications
Regulatory Reform Act of 1997.
Any person, firm, partnership, corporation, association, or
other entity that offers telecommunications services to the public for
Telecommunications Provider Rules or TPRs
Those rules applicable to certain telecommunications providers
that have been adopted by the Commission.
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 or 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.
Total Access Lines
The number of access lines reported by the carrier to the
National Exchange Carrier Association and/or its successor in the annual USF
Data Collection or the equivalent for carriers not filing annual USF
Those telecommunications services that are defined and listed
pursuant to Section 3 (5) of die Telecommunications Regulatory Reform Act of
APPLICABILITY AND RELIEF
The Commission has the authority and responsibility pursuant to
Act 77 of 1997 and Act 385 of 2007 to assess a universal service fee upon all
providers of telecommunications services, as defined by the rules of the
Commission to support State universal service objectives.
These Rules shall apply to telecomuumications providers who
offer telecommunications services within the State of Arkansas.
Whenever compliance with any requirement of these Rules would
result in unreasonable hardship upon or excessive expense to a party or parties
subject to these Rules, the Commission may, upon application and for good cause
shown, waive or modify the requirements of these Rules. The Commission may
grant temporary relief pending a hearing.
USE OF THE FUND AND ELIGIBILITY
Universal services in Arkansas shall consist of basic local
exchange services. Basic local exchange services are the services defined in
Ark. Code Ann. §
Use of the
Arkansas High Cost Fund
Funding from the AHCF may be sought for the following
A. To provide support to ETCs
pursuant to the provisions of Act 385 of 2007.
B. To defray the costs of administering the
fund, including the costs of completing an annual, independent
ADMINISTRATION OF THE FUND
Appointment of the Fond
shall appoint an AHCF Administrator. The Administrator must:
(1) Be neutral and impartial;
(2) Not be aligned or associated with any
particular telecommunications industry segment;
(3) Not have a direct financial interest in
the support mechanisms established by the Commission.
B. The AHCF Administrator shall act under the
supervision of the Commission, in older to administer the AHCF in accordance
with Act 385 of 2007 and the AHCF rules and procedures approved by the
Commission. The Administrator is authorized to enforce and implement applicable
rules and orders of the Commission.
C. The Administrator shall serve at the
discretion of the Commission for a term determined by the Commission. The
Commission may discharge the Administrator before the expiration of the
Administrator's term for good cause.
Duties of the
Administrator's general duties shall include:
(1) Collecting and receiving monies paid into
(2) Providing High Cost
Funds from the AHCF to participating ETCs;
(3) Detennining the sufficiency of the fund
and making adjustments to the AHCF assessment level, as required, to assure
(4) Managing the
daily operations and affairs of the AHCF;
(5) Conducting periodic audits of
contributors to the AHCF to ensure that the contributors are accurately
reporting and making proper payments to the AHCF;
(6) Performing any periodic audits of the
AHCF deemed necessary by the Administrator and/or the Commission;
(7) Resolving disputes;
(8) Reviewing all requests for high costs
funding and determining the accuracy and appropriateness of any
(9) Establishing funding
levels for each category of companies and each ETC within each category using
the funding levels and formulas as set forth in Act 385 of 2007;
(10) Performing any other duties ordered by
the Commission, including assisting in developing any funding proxies to be
used by certain ETCs; and
Developing any forms necessary for funding requests and procedures.
B. The Administrator is expressly
authorized to bring actions before the Commission to enforce the provisions of
Andits of the Fund
The AHCF is subject to an annual audit by an independent
certified public accountant selected by the Commission.
Resolution of Disputes
contributor may dispute the amount of contribution it is required to pay into
the AHCF, in the following manner:
contributor may contact the Administrator of the AHCF and the Administrator
shall have the initial responsibility for trying to resolve the
(2) If satisfactory
resolution is not achieved, the contributor to the AHCF may file an application
requesting the Commission resolve the dispute.
B. Pending final resolution of a dispute
concerning the amount of the required contribution, the disputing
telecommunications provider shall pay the entire amount to the AHCF.
of Other Disputes
adversely affected party may dispute the actions of an eligible
telecommunications carrier related to the provisioning of Universal Services.
The adversely affected party may contact the Administrator of the AHCF and the
Administrator shall have the initial responsibility for trying to resolve the
B. If satisfactory
resolution is not achieved, the affected parry may file an application
requesting the Commission resolve the dispute.
Failure to pay an assessed contribution to the AHCF shall be deemed a violation
of the AHCF Rules.
Commission determines, after notice and hearing, that a carrier has acted in
violation of these AHCF Rules, in addition to the other enforcement powers of
the Commission, the Commission, or its designee, shall bring an action on
behalf of the AHCF in the appropriate court of competent jurisdiction, to
recover any charge(s) the Commission determines are due and payable to the
(1) The Commission, or its designee, is
authorized to bring the action on behalf of and to represent the AHCF to
collect the overdue charge(s) and any costs incurred by the AHCF to pursue
collection of said charges, including but not limited to interest,
administrative and adjudicative costs and attorney fees.
(2) Upon collection of the charges and costs,
the Administrator shall pay the costs associated with such collection action(s)
and deposit any remaining funds into the AHCF.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE
the Arkansas High Cost Fund
Every telecommunications provider that operates or provides
retail telecommunications services within Arkansas shall contribute, on a
nondiscriminatory basis, into the AIICF.
Each contributor subject to these Rules, no later than May 15
of each year following the effective date of these Rules, shall submit to the
Administrator a report, based on the preceding calendar year, containing the
contributor's intrastate retail telecommunications service revenues. The
Administrator shall forward a report containing the information to the
Commission by May 30 of each year, unless otherwise ordered by the
Amount of Contributions
A. The Administrator shall, at least
annually, notify each provider of telecommunications service of the amount of
the contribution required to be made to the AHCF by each contributor, based
upon the information provided pursuant to these AHCF Rules.
B. Each contributor shall pay its
contribution directly to the Administrator on a monthly basis, unless otherwise
ordered by the Commission.
shall be a late charge on any current monthly payment due from any
telecommunications provider if not received by the AHCF Administrator within
five days after the due date. The late charges shall total 2 % of the current
monthly payment due. In no event, however, shall the amount of any late charges
be less than $50.
contributions and penalty and handling charge payments made to the
Administrator shall be deposited into the AHCF account.
telecommunications provider may recover the amount of its contribution to the
AHCF from its intrastate retail telecommunications service customers.
B. In the event a telecommunications provider
elects to explicitly state the AHCF contributions as a surcharge on each
customer's bill, such information may be provided to the Secretary of the
Arkansas Public Service Commission. The Secretary shall open an administrative
docket solely for the receipt of notification of such a surcharge. If a
telecommunications provider files such information, it shall also provide the
supporting documentation for calculating the amount of the line item reflecting
the AHCF contribution.
Termination of the Arkansas Universal Service
The Administrator of the AUSF shall determine the amounts
received by each incumbent local exchange carrier from the current Arkansas
Universal Service Fund (AUSF). Such payments shall continue until the AHCF is
operational. At that time, any funds remaining in the AUSF shall be transferred
to the AHCF and the AUSF will no longer be operational after that time.
THE ARKANSAS HIGH COST FUND
Funding from the AHCF
A. AHCF support shall be distributed, on a
monthly basis, directly to eligible local exchange carriers as provided for in
Act 385 of 2007.
Administrator shall provide funding for Category I, Category II, Category III,
and Category IV Companies using the formulas set forth in Act 385 of 2007, If
an applicant seeks funding for Category I funding, the Administrator shall use
the Category I funding formula to provide funding up to the amount of the cap.
Funding for Categories II, III, and IV Companies shall be made using the
specific formulas as set forth in Act 385 of 2007 for those size categories. If
the funding request in any size category exceeds the funding available, the
Administrator shall pro-rate the payment to the ETCs receiving funding using
the formula in Act 385 of 2007 to pro-rate payments. In addition, for Category
IV Companies, the Administrator shall use the transition funding formula to
establish funding level for each ETC in Category IV.
C. Receipt of AHCF funds shall not be
conditioned upon any rate case or earnings investigation by the
Request for Funding from the AHCF
A. Any eligible telecommunications carrier
seeking funding from the AHCF shall file a request for funding with the
Administrator requesting support from the AHCF. The request shall be on a form
developed by the Administrator.
The application for funding shall include the ETCs agreement to be subject to
and comply with all TPRs adopted by the Commission, except for any TPR the
Commission has waived for the ETC or for any TPR not applicable due to the
technology employed by the ETC.
Upon receipt of a request for AHCF funding from an ETC, the Administrator shall
determine whether the applicant is a Category I, II, III, or IV Company. If
possible the Administrator shall use publicly available information to
determine the appropriate category for the applicant. If such information is
not available through public sources, the Administrator may determine the
category based upon other information submitted by the applicant with
sufficient detail for the Administrator to identify its reasonable
D. If an application for
AHCF funding is submitted by an applicant requiring a proxy method to establish
funding levels, the Administrator shall promptly notify the Commission and a
proxy method shall be developed by the Commission for use in determining the
funding to the ETC.
Administrator shall provide copies of the request for funding to the Secretary
of the Arkansas Public Service Commission and to each provider of
telecommunications services that has previously submitted a written request
with the Administrator to receive notice of requests for funding.
F. Within sixty (60) days after receipt of a
request for AHCF funds, the Administrator shall review and determine the
accuracy and appropriateness of the request and advise the entity requesting
funding of the Administrator's determination. The Administrator shall provide
copies of his determination on the request for funding to the Secretary of the
Arkansas Public Service Commission, and to each provider of telecommunications
service in Arkansas which has previously requested in writing to receive such
G. Any affected
party shall have thirty (30) days following the date the Administrator's
determination is filed, with the Secretary of the Commission within which to
request reconsideration by the Commission of the Administrator's
H. The Commission
shall, after notice and hearing, if requested, issue its opinion on the request
for reconsideration within thirty (30) days after the request for
reconsideration, unless the thirty (30) day period is extended for good