Sec. PSC 160.13 - Designation of eligible telecommunications carriers

ยง PSC 160.13. Designation of eligible telecommunications carriers

(1) GENERAL.

(a) The commission may designate a telecommunications provider as an eligible telecommunications carrier. This designation is not transferable.

(b) The commission may suspend or revoke an ETC designation if the designee violates the requirements in this section.

(2) REQUIREMENTS FOR ETC DESIGNATION.

(a) A full or low-income ETC, but not a federal-only ETC, is eligible to receive universal service funding for an area, under both applicable federal and state universal service programs, if it meets all of the following requirements:

1. Holds itself ready to offer all elements of essential telecommunications service, as defined in s. PSC 160.03(2), to all customers in the area for which it is requesting ETC status.

2. Regularly advertises its service in the area for which it is requesting ETC status, with the advertisements meeting all of the following requirements:

a. Are disseminated in media of general distribution in the area, at least 2 times per year.

b. Describe the services offered.

3. Offers lifeline service, as defined in s. PSC 160.062, wherever service is offered in the area for which it is requesting ETC status, and publicizes the availability of those offerings in a manner reasonably designed to reach those likely to qualify for them.

4. Meets all of the applicable federal eligibility requirements in 47 CFR 54.201 and 54.202(a).

(b) An applicant for federal-only ETC designation under s. 196.218(4) (b), Stats., is required to meet all of the applicable federal eligibility requirements in 47 CFR 54.201 and 54.202, and any state requirements or processes that federal law requires ETCs to follow.

Note: For example, federal ETC regulations require all providers to follow some provisions of state law, such as use of state lifeline eligibility verification databases.

(3) APPLICATION FOR NEW OR EXPANDED ETC STATUS. Application for new or expanded ETC status. An applicant for new or expanded eligible telecommunications carrier status shall demonstrate its ability to meet the requirements under sub. (2) by including all of the following information in its application:

(a) Certification that it will meet the requirements in sub. (2) (a) or (b).

(b) A demonstration of how the applicant meets the requirement of 47 USC 214(e) (1) (A). This shall be demonstrated in one of the following ways:

1. An explanation of how the applicant will use its own facilities, or a combination of its own facilities and resale, to provide voice telecommunications service to a Wisconsin customer.

2. An electronic link to or copy of the federal communications commission order approving the applicant's compliance plan, and an electronic link to the approved compliance plan.

Note: A provider may apply for ETC designation before its compliance plan is approved by the Federal Communications Commission, but the commission will not act on the application until the plan is approved.

(c) One of the following:

1. A copy of the applicant's 5 year plan, and associated documentation, as required by 47 CFR 54.202(a) (1) ii., including certification that it will use any federal high cost support monies for the purposes allowed under 47 USC 254(e) and 47 CFR 54.313(a) and 54.314 (a).

2. A certified statement that the applicant will not seek high cost assistance funding from the federal universal service fund or high rate assistance funding from the state universal service fund.

(d) A copy of any certifications, information and demonstrations required under 47 CFR 54.201 and 54.202.

(e) A list of all of the exchanges or wire centers, or both, for which ETC status is sought and identification of any wire center for which status is sought for only a portion of the wire center.

(f) The applicant's name, any other name under which the applicant does business, the applicant's commission utility identification number and proof of registration with the department of financial institutions.

(g) The applicant's contact information for each of the following:

1. Commission inquiries about financial or assessment issues.

2. Commission inquiries about customer issues.

3. Customers to use to contact the applicant directly about customer issues.

4. Potential customers to use to obtain service from the applicant.

(h) A statement that the applicant will timely update the information in pars. (f) and (g).

(i) Any other information the commission considers necessary.

(4) ETC REPORTING. All eligible telecommunications carriers shall submit to the commission, within 14 days of the associated federal filing date, all of the following:

(a) For full ETCs that are eligible for high cost assistance, all of the following:

1. All of the information required under 47 CFR 54.313.

2. Any information necessary for the commission to certify that the ETC has this year, and will next year, use its high cost assistance monies for the purposes allowed under 47 USC 254(e) and 47 CFR 54.313(a) and 54.314 (a).

3. Any other information that federal regulations require such ETCs to provide to state commissions.

(b) For all full and low-income ETCs, all of the following:

1. The information required under 47 CFR 54.422.

2. Any other information that federal regulations require such ETCs to provide to state commissions.

(c) For all ETCs, all of the following within 14 days of the occurrence:

1. Updates to all of the information in sub. (3) (g) and (h).

2. Any other information that federal regulations require ETCs to provide to state commissions.

Note: Some of the information required under this section can be provided to the commission by submitting copies of filings with the FCC.

(5) AREA COVERED BY ETC DESIGNATION.

(a) The area in which a provider shall be designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier shall be one of the following:

1. If requesting ETC designation for an area that is served by an incumbent local exchange provider that is not a rural telephone company, one of the following:

a. For a full ETC applicant, one or more of the incumbent local exchange service provider's wire centers.

b. For a low-income ETC applicant, the area designated by the applicant and approved by the commission.

2. If requesting ETC designation for an area that is served by an incumbent local exchange service provider that is a rural telephone company, one of the following:

a. Except as provided in subd. 2. b., the incumbent local exchange service provider's entire service territory.

b. If the federal communications commission has granted a provider forbearance from the requirement that its designated area match the boundaries of a rural incumbent local exchange carrier's service territory, the area designated by the applicant and approved by the commission.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision in this subsection, unless approved by the commission and, if necessary, the federal communications commission, no ETC designation area may include only a portion of a wire center.

(6) DESIGNATION OF MULTIPLE ETCS IN AN AREA .

(a) The commission may only designate an additional eligible telecommunications carrier in an area where one has already been designated after finding that doing so is in the public interest. For an area served by an incumbent local exchange service provider that is not a rural telephone company, the commission may perform a less detailed public interest analysis than if the area is served by an incumbent local exchange service provider that is a rural telephone company.

(b) In its public interest analysis under par. (a), the commission shall include consideration of all of the following:

1. The factors in s. 196.03(6), Stats.

2. The potential for cream-skimming.

(7) LIST OF ETCS. The commission shall maintain a list of the eligible telecommunications carriers for all areas of the state.

(8) RELINQUISHING ETC DESIGNATION.

(a) An eligible telecommunications carrier may relinquish that designation for an area by notifying the commission and the administrators of both the state and federal universal service funds, in writing, of its intention.

(b) If at least one other ETC is designated for that area, the relinquishing ETC shall be relieved of ETC status for that area, without commission action, on the later of 14 days after commission receipt of the notification or the effective date proposed by the provider.

(c) If no other ETC is designated for that area, the relinquishing ETC shall remain as the ETC for that area until the commission designates an alternative ETC. In that case, the commission shall notify the relinquishing, ETC and the administrators of the state and federal funds, that ETC status is still in effect. The commission may use an auction or other reasonable process to designate a new ETC for an area for which the only existing ETC is seeking to relinquish that status. The commission may authorize compensation from the universal service fund as part of this process.

(d) A provider may continue to furnish services in an area for which it has relinquished ETC status. If a provider seeks to abandon facilities or discontinue any service, it shall notify affected customers and follow any abandonment or discontinuance procedures required by the commission, Wisconsin department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection or the federal communications commission.

(e) A federal-only eligible telecommunications carrier that is no longer eligible for that designation because it is no longer a wireless provider or because it wants to access state USF support may apply for a new ETC designation. The ETC's federal-only ETC status remains in effect while the commission investigates and acts on the ETC's new application.

(CR Register, April, 1996, No. 484, eff. 5-1-96; r. and recr Register, April, 2000, No. 532, eff. 5-1-00. Amended by, CR 13-068: r. and recr Register January 2016 No. 721, eff. 2-1-16; correction in (3) (c) 1., (4) (a) 2., (c) 1., (5) (a) 2. a. made under under s. 35.17, Stats. Register January 2016 No. 721, eff. 2/1/2016)

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