History: 1993 a. 496
Universal service fund. 196.218(1)(bm)
“Local exchange service" means basic local exchange service or business access line and usage service.
“Universal service" includes the availability of a basic set of essential telecommunications services anywhere in this state.
“Universal service fund" means the trust fund established under s. 25.95
(2) Fund administration.
The commission shall do all of the following:
Contract for the administration of the universal service fund.
Obtain an annual independent audit of the universal service fund.
Except as provided in par. (b)
, the commission shall require all telecommunications providers to contribute to the universal service fund beginning on January 1, 1996.
The commission may require a person other than a telecommunications provider to contribute to the universal service fund if, after notice and opportunity for hearing, the commission determines that the person is offering a nontraditional broadcast service in this state that competes with a telecommunications service provided in this state for which a contribution is required under this subsection.
The department of public instruction shall provide the commission with the department's estimate of the total amount of unencumbered balances under s. 20.255 (1) (q)
and (3) (q)
, and (r)
for that fiscal year.
The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System shall provide the commission with the board's estimate of the amount of unencumbered balance under s. 20.285 (1) (q)
for that fiscal year.
No later than 30 days after the close of a fiscal biennium, the department of administration shall provide the commission with the department's estimate of the amount of unencumbered balance under s. 20.505 (4) (s)
for that fiscal biennium.
Thirty days after the close of a fiscal year or as soon as practicable thereafter, the commission shall determine the sum of the estimates specified in subd. 2e. a.
, and c.
If the close of a fiscal year is also the close of a fiscal biennium, the sum shall include the estimate specified in subd. 2m.
In the subsequent fiscal year, all of the following apply:
The commission shall designate the method by which the contributions under this paragraph shall be calculated and collected. The method shall ensure that the contributions are sufficient to generate and, to the extent practicable, do not exceed the following amounts:
Contributions under this paragraph may be based only on the gross operating revenues from the provision of broadcast services identified by the commission under subd. 2.
and on intrastate telecommunications services in this state of the telecommunications providers subject to the contribution. Contributions based on revenues from interconnected voice over Internet protocol service shall be calculated as provided under s. 196.206 (2)
The commission may exempt from part or all of the contributions required under par. (a)
telecommunications providers who have small gross operating revenues from the provision of intrastate telecommunications services in this state and who have provided these services for less than a period specified by the commission, not to exceed 5 years. The commission may also exempt a telecommunications provider or other person from part or all of the contribution required under par. (a)
if the commission determines that requiring the contribution would not be in the public interest.
The commission shall designate by rule the classes of providers or other persons subject to par. (a)
and the required rates of contribution for each class.
The commission shall consider all of the following in specifying the contributions required under par. (a)
The impact of the contributions on all members of the public and the telecommunications industry.
The fairness of the amount of the contributions and the methods of collection.
The costs of administering the collection of the contributions.
A telecommunications provider or other person may establish a surcharge on customers' bills to collect from customers contributions required under this subsection.
A telecommunications utility that provides local exchange service may make adjustments to local exchange service rates for the purpose of recovering its contributions to the universal service fund required under this subsection. A telecommunications utility that adjusts local exchange service rates for the purpose of recovering such contributions shall identify on customer bills a single amount that is the total amount of the adjustment. The public service commission shall provide telecommunications utilities the information necessary to identify such amounts on customer bills.
If the commission or a telecommunications provider makes a mistake in calculating or reporting any data in connection with the contributions required under par. (a)
, and the mistake results in the telecommunications provider's overpayment of such a contribution, the commission shall reimburse the telecommunications provider for the amount of the overpayment.
(4) Essential telecommunications services. 196.218(4)(a)(a)
Each telecommunications provider that is designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier pursuant to 47 USC 214
(e) shall make available to its customers all essential telecommunications services. A telecommunications provider may satisfy this paragraph by providing essential telecommunications services itself or through an affiliate and in either case may provide essential telecommunications services through the use of any available technology or mode.
Notwithstanding par. (a)
, if a commercial mobile radio service provider is designated or seeks designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier pursuant to 47 USC 214
(e) for the purpose of federal universal service funding and not for the purpose of state universal service funding, the commercial mobile radio service provider is not subject to any eligible telecommunications carrier requirements imposed by the commission and shall be subject only to the eligible telecommunications carrier requirements imposed by 47 USC 214
(e) (1) and regulations and orders of the federal communications commission implementing 47 USC 214
(4m) Toll blocking.
The commission shall issue rules to implement, cost-free to low-income customers, the capability to block all long distance or other toll calls from a customer's telephone service with a goal of universal applicability of the toll-blocking service no later than January 1, 1996. A telecommunications utility may petition the commission for a waiver from providing toll-blocking service upon a demonstration that providing this service would represent an unreasonable expense for the telecommunications utility and its ratepayers.
(4t) Educational telecommunications access program rules.
The commission, in consultation with the department of administration, shall promulgate rules specifying the telecommunications services eligible for funding through the educational telecommunications access program under s. 16.997
(4u) Medical telecommunications equipment program.
From the appropriation under s. 20.155 (1) (q)
, the commission may spend up to $500,000 annually for grants to nonprofit medical clinics and public health agencies for the purchase of telecommunications equipment to be used in providing services to their clients. The commission shall promulgate rules establishing requirements and procedures for awarding grants under this subsection.
The commission shall use the moneys in the universal service fund only for any of the following purposes:
To assist customers located in areas of this state that have relatively high costs of telecommunications services, low-income customers and disabled customers in obtaining affordable access to a basic set of essential telecommunications services.
To pay costs incurred under contracts under s. 16.971 (13)
to the extent that these costs are not paid under s. 16.997 (2) (d)
, except that no moneys in the universal service fund may be used to pay installation costs that are necessary for a political subdivision to obtain access to bandwidth under a shared service agreement under s. 16.997 (2r) (a)
To provide statewide access, through the Internet, to periodical reference information databases.
To pay the department of administration for telecommunications services provided under s. 16.972 (1)
to the campuses of the University of Wisconsin System.
To promote access to information and library services to blind and visually handicapped individuals.
The commission shall promulgate rules to determine whether a telecommunications provider, the customers of a telecommunications provider or another person shall be assisted by the universal service fund for any use under par. (a) 1.
The commission shall consider all of the following in establishing the services and equipment which may be assisted by the universal service fund:
The impact of the assistance on all members of the public and the telecommunications industry.
Telecommunications plans and requirements established by the federal rural electrification administration.
The extent to which the fund preserves and promotes an available and affordable basic set of essential telecommunications services throughout the state and promotes economic development.
The commission shall annually provide information booklets to all Wisconsin Works agencies that describe the current assistance from the universal service fund that is available to low-income individuals who are served by the Wisconsin Works agencies, including a description of how such individuals may obtain such assistance. The department of children and families shall assist the commission in identifying the Wisconsin Works agencies to which the commission is required to submit the information required under this subdivision.
(5m) Rule review.
The commission shall review and revise as appropriate rules promulgated under this section.
Biennially, the commission shall submit a universal service fund report to the legislature under s. 13.172 (2)
. The report shall include information about all of the following:
The affordability of and accessibility to a basic set of essential telecommunications services throughout this state.
The affordability of and accessability to high-quality education, library and health care information services.
Financial assistance provided under the universal service fund.
An assessment of how assistance provided by the universal service fund and other alternative incentive regulations of telecommunications utilities designed to promote competition have been in advancing the public interest goals identified under s. 196.03 (6)
, and recommendations for further advancing those goals.
The commission shall prepare a report to determine if public access broadcast channels may receive funding from the universal service fund as an advanced telecommunications service or other service and the effect of federal law on public access broadcast channel funding eligibility. The results of the report shall be included in the 2nd annual report submitted by the commission under s. 196.218 (5r) (a)
, 2007 stats.
(5u) Biennial budget request.
The commission shall include in its biennial budget request under s. 16.42
a proposed budget for each individual program for which the commission proposes to expend moneys from the universal fund in the forthcoming biennium. A proposed budget under this subsection shall describe each program and identify the proposed expenditure amount for each program for each fiscal year of the biennium.
The commission shall appoint a universal service fund council under s. 15.04 (1) (c)
consisting of representatives of telecommunications providers and consumers of telecommunications services, including this state. The majority of the members of the council shall be representatives of consumers of telecommunications services.
The universal service fund council shall advise the commission concerning the administration of this section and the content of rules promulgated under this section.
The commission may require a telecommunications provider to undertake reasonable public notification and education efforts to inform eligible customers of the availability and requirements of universal and basic service programs, including any offerings of lifeline or other supported services established under state or federal law.
Any person who fails or refuses to pay the contribution required under sub. (3)
may be required to forfeit not less than $100 nor more than $10,000. Each day of continued violation constitutes a separate offense.
A court imposing a forfeiture under par. (a)
shall consider all of the following in determining the amount of the forfeiture:
The appropriateness of the forfeiture to the volume of business of the person.
Any good faith attempt to achieve compliance after the person or an officer, agent or employee of the person receives notice of the violation.
The financial gain sought by the person by not paying the contribution required under sub. (3)
Protection of telecommunications consumers.