Regulation of telecommunications carriers. 196.499(1)(1)
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, a telecommunications carrier is not subject to regulation under this chapter, except for s. 196.025 (6)
, and except under each of the following provisions:
A telecommunications carrier shall comply with the requirements of this section.
A telecommunications carrier shall be treated under s. 196.85
as a telecommunications utility.
A telecommunications carrier shall be treated under s. 196.858
as an interexchange telecommunications utility.
A telecommunications carrier may be assessed under s. 196.218 (3)
as a telecommunications provider and shall respond, subject to the protection of the telecommunications carrier's competitive information, to all reasonable requests for information about its operations in this state from the commission necessary to administer the universal service fund. A telecommunications carrier may not be assessed in a manner that is inconsistent with this paragraph.
For purposes of enforcing s. 196.218 (3)
, or 196.858
, or for purposes of approving or enforcing an interconnection agreement to which a telecommunications carrier is a party, a telecommunications carrier shall be subject to ss. 196.02 (3)
, 196.44 (3)
, and 196.48
and be treated as a party to the agreement under ss. 196.199
, as a public utility under ss. 196.02 (5)
, 196.44 (2)
, and 196.85 (1)
, and as a telecommunications provider under ss. 196.25 (3)
and 196.65 (3)
Every telecommunications carrier shall keep on file with the commission a tariff for each service, that contains all the rules, rates and classifications used by it in the provision of its telecommunications services, including limitations on liability unless the commission waives any requirement. A tariff shall be effective when filed or on a date indicated by the carrier. The telecommunications carrier shall provide notice of price increases by publication in newspapers or by any other reasonable means and may provide notice of price decreases or of tariffed promotional rates. Tariffs may be filed for services offered on an interim basis, for special promotions, for discounts, including discounts intended to maintain customer relations, or for individual contracts between carriers and customers. A telecommunications carrier shall charge rates in accordance with its tariff.
Except as provided in this subsection, a telecommunications carrier may not charge different rates for residential basic message telecommunications services, business basic message telecommunications services, or single-line wide-area telecommunications service on routes of similar distances within the state, unless otherwise authorized by the commission.
does not prohibit volume or term discounts, discounts in promotional offerings, differences in the rates for intralata and interlata services of similar distances, the provision of optional toll calling plans to selected exchanges or customers or the passing through of any state or local taxes in the specific geographic areas from which the taxes originate.
Notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter, a telecommunications carrier may furnish services to its employees, officers, agents or pensioners at no charge or at rates that are lower than its tariff rates.
A telecommunications carrier may contract to charge prices for services that are unique to a particular customer or group of customers if differences in the cost of providing a service or a service element justify a different price for a particular customer or group of customers or if market conditions require individual pricing.
Abandonment of services.
A telecommunications carrier shall provide written notice to the commission not less than 60 days before its abandonment of basic message telecommunications service to an exchange. The carrier shall also publish notice in a newspaper of general circulation within the exchange and provide any other notice required by the commission. A telecommunications carrier shall be subject to rules and procedures that the commission may establish for the continuance of basic message telecommunications service to an exchange if notice has been received that all providers of the service intend to abandon that service in the exchange. A rule or procedure may not regulate the price, terms or conditions of service other than as authorized in this section and may not discriminate in favor of or against any telecommunications provider.
In this subsection, “complaint" means a complaint filed with the commission that any rate, toll, charge or schedule relating to the provision of telecommunications service violates sub. (2)
or (3) (a)
In any complaint proceeding, the person initiating the complaint has the burden of proving a violation of sub. (2)
or (3) (a)
If any business organization, body politic or 25 individuals file a complaint against a telecommunications carrier, the commission, with or without notice, may investigate the complaint as it considers necessary. The commission may not issue an order based on the investigation without allowing the telecommunications carrier an opportunity for a hearing.
Before holding a hearing under this subsection, the commission shall notify the telecommunications carrier complained of that a complaint has been made, and no sooner than 10 days after the notice has been given the commission may set a time and place for a hearing.
The commission shall give the telecommunications carrier which is the subject of a complaint and the complainant at least 10 days' notice of the time and place of a hearing and the subject of the hearing. The commission may subpoena any witness at the request of the telecommunications carrier or complainant.
Notice under subds. 1.
may be combined. The combined notice may not be given less than 10 days before a hearing.
If the commission finds by a preponderance of the evidence that existing rates, tolls, charges or schedules violate sub. (2)
or (3) (a)
, the commission may issue its order requiring compliance with sub. (2)
or (3) (a)
If the commission believes that any rate or charge violates sub. (2)
or (3) (a)
, the commission on its own motion summarily may investigate with or without notice.
If after an investigation under par. (a)
the commission determines that sufficient grounds exist to warrant a hearing, the commission shall set a time and place for a hearing. The hearing shall be conducted as a hearing under sub. (5)
. Notice of the time and place for a hearing under this paragraph shall be given to the telecommunications carrier, and to any other interested person as the commission considers necessary.
A telecommunications carrier may file a petition for relief with the commission on any matter affecting the telecommunications carrier's product or service.
The commission or any party in any investigation or hearing may take the depositions of witnesses in the manner prescribed for civil actions. Any expense incurred by or authorized by the commission in taking a deposition may be charged to the appropriation under s. 20.155 (1) (g)
Records and transcripts.
, as they apply to records and transcripts relating to public utility hearings, apply to records and transcripts relating to telecommunications carrier hearings.
Any order or determination of the commission may be reviewed under ch. 227
The commission shall inquire into the neglect or violation of this section by telecommunications carriers, or by their officers, agents or employees or by persons operating telecommunications carriers, and shall enforce all laws relating to this section and report any violation to the attorney general.
Upon request of the commission, the attorney general or a district attorney may aid in any investigation, hearing or trial under this section and shall prosecute any proceeding for the enforcement of laws relating to telecommunications carriers.
A civil action to enforce this section shall be brought in the name of the state in the circuit court for Dane County or in the county that would be the proper place of trial under s. 801.50
This section and rules and orders of the commission promulgated or adopted under this section may be enforced by an action to recover forfeitures, an action for injunction, an action to compel performance or by other appropriate actions.
If a sheriff, a police chief or a law enforcement officer designated by a sheriff or police chief to respond in a crisis situation has probable cause to believe that a person is holding a hostage or is resisting apprehension through the use or threatened use of force, the sheriff, police chief or law enforcement officer may order a telecommunications carrier to interrupt or reroute telecommunications service to or from the suspected person for the duration of the crisis situation to prevent the person from communicating with anyone other than a person authorized by the sheriff, police chief or law enforcement officer.
A telecommunications carrier may not be held liable for any action that it takes under par. (a)
A telecommunications carrier may not unreasonably refuse, restrict or delay access by any person to a telecommunications emergency service.
Extension of facilities.
Any telecommunications carrier may extend its facilities into or through any municipality for the furnishing of its services, subject to the reasonable regulation of the governing body of the municipality relative to the location of poles and wires and the preservation of the safe and convenient use of streets and alleys to the public. Upon a petition for relief made by a telecommunications carrier, the commission shall set a hearing and if it finds a contract, ordinance or resolution under this subsection to be unreasonable, the contract, ordinance or resolution shall be void.
See also ch. PSC 130
, Wis. adm. code.
A telecommunications carrier that is not authorized to provide intrastate telecommunications service on January 1, 1994, may not commence the construction of any plant, extension or facility, or provide intrastate telecommunications service directly or indirectly to the public, unless the telecommunications carrier obtains a certificate from the commission authorizing the telecommunications carrier to provide intrastate telecommunications. The commission may issue a certificate if the telecommunications carrier demonstrates that it possesses sufficient technical, financial and managerial resources to provide intrastate telecommunications services. A telecommunications carrier that is authorized to provide intrastate telecommunications service on January 1, 1994, is not required to be recertified under this subsection.
Access service authorization.
If a telecommunications utility with 150,000 or less access lines in use in this state is authorized in a geographic area to provide access service to the public or business access line and usage service within a local calling area, a telecommunications carrier may not offer in that same geographic area access service to the public or business access line and usage service within a local calling area without the authorization of the commission. The commission may authorize a telecommunications carrier to offer those services if, after notice and opportunity for hearing, the commission finds that public convenience and necessity require the offering of those services by the telecommunications carrier. The commission may not require a telecommunications carrier to meet a more stringent standard for authorization than the standard applied to any telecommunications provider seeking the same authority.
A telecommunications carrier who violates a provision of this section or rule or order of the commission promulgated or adopted under this section may be required to forfeit not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 for each violation. Each day of continued violation constitutes a separate offense.
A telecommunications carrier that knowingly and intentionally violates sub. (2)
or (3) (a)
may be required to forfeit not less than $100 nor more than $5,000 for each violation.
Competing public utilities; indeterminate permits; telecommunications utility certification. 196.50(1)(a)
Except as provided in par. (am)
, the commission may not grant any person a license, permit or franchise to own, operate, manage or control any plant or equipment for the production, transmission, delivery or furnishing of heat, light, water or power in the municipality, if there is in operation under an indeterminate permit a public utility engaged in similar service in the municipality, unless the person seeking the license, permit or franchise secures from the commission a declaration, after a public hearing of any interested party, that public convenience and necessity require the delivery of service by the applicant.
The commission shall promulgate rules allowing a natural gas public utility to provide service in a municipality served by another natural gas public utility without first obtaining a certificate to serve that municipality under s. 196.49 (1)
and this subsection if all of the following apply:
The natural gas public utilities enter into a territorial agreement regarding areas to be served by each utility in the municipality.
The area to be served by the additional natural gas public utility is adjacent to a municipality the additional natural gas public utility is already authorized to serve.
The additional natural gas public utility will provide service only to a limited number of customers in the municipality.
If the commission authorizes a telecommunications carrier to provide access service to the public or business access line and usage service within a local calling area under s. 196.499 (16)
, the commission shall consider if or to what extent a telecommunications utility with 150,000 or less access lines in use in this state may be relieved of its obligation to be the provider of last resort. The commission shall consider the extent of competition in the relevant geographic area for the service, the revenues that have been or may be lost by the telecommunications utility, the ability of competing telecommunications providers to serve the existing or projected demand and any other factors that it considers to be relevant.
Any provision in an agreement or municipal franchise that prohibits entry into the telecommunications or video services market after September 1, 1994, is void.
Certification of telecommunications utilities. 196.50(2)(a)
Alternative telecommunications utilities shall be certified under s. 196.203
. All other telecommunications utilities shall be certified under this subsection.
A certificate, franchise, license or permit, indeterminate or otherwise, in effect on September 1, 1994, for a telecommunications utility shall remain in effect and shall have the effect of a certificate of authority. A telecommunications utility is not required to apply for a new certificate of authority to continue offering or providing service to the extent of the prior authorization. Each telecommunications utility shall have on file with the commission a map that defines the geographical limits of the service territory that the telecommunications utility is obliged to serve.
After August 31, 1994, a person who does not possess authority from the commission to provide telecommunications services may not provide services in this state as a telecommunications utility until the person obtains a certificate of authority under this subsection. A certified alternative telecommunications utility or any other certified telecommunications utility may also apply for certification or amended certification under this subsection.
No later than 45 days after the commission receives an application for a certificate of authority or an amended certificate of authority, the commission shall determine if the application is complete. If the commission determines that the application is complete, the commission shall docket the application and issue a final order no later than the expiration date of the temporary license under par. (e)
. If the commission determines that the application is incomplete, the commission shall notify the applicant in writing of the commission's determination, identify any part of the application which the commission has determined to be incomplete and state the reasons for the determination. An applicant may supplement and refile an application which the commission has determined to be incomplete. There is no limit on the number of times that an applicant may refile an application before a final order on the application. If the commission fails to make a determination within 15 days after receiving a refiled application regarding the completeness of an application previously determined to be incomplete, the refiled application shall be considered to be complete.
Pending the determination on an application for a certificate of authority or an amended certificate of authority, the commission may issue, without notice and hearing, a temporary license for a period not to exceed one year. The issuance of a temporary license does not bind the commission in the final determination on the application.
An application for a certificate of authority or amended certificate of authority that is filed after June 30, 1994, shall identify the geographical area to be served and the classification for which it is filed. The application shall be served by the applicant on all affected telecommunications providers.
The commission shall issue a certificate of authority or an amended certificate of authority if it finds, after notice and opportunity for hearing, that the applicant possesses sufficient technical, financial and managerial resources to provide telecommunications service to any person within the identified geographic area. In making this determination, the commission shall consider the factors identified in s. 196.03 (6)
The authority of every telecommunications utility with a certificate under this subsection is statewide and nonexclusive. The existence of or issuance of a certificate of authority or amended certificate of authority to any telecommunications utility and the approval of any tariff for the telecommunications utility shall not preclude the commission from authorizing additional telecommunications utilities to provide the same or equivalent service or to serve the same geographical area as any previously authorized utility or approved tariff.
A telecommunications utility's obligation to serve is defined by the map that the utility files under par. (b)
A telecommunications utility certified under this subsection is exempt from ss. 196.02 (2)
, 196.219 (3) (c)
, and (L)
, and (5)
, 196.395 (1)
, and 196.79
and, except with respect to wholesale telecommunications service, is exempt from s. 196.219 (4)
A telecommunications utility certified under this subsection may do any of the following:
Provide notice to the commission to terminate the certification under this subsection and certify the telecommunications utility as an alternative telecommunications utility under s. 196.203
. No later than 30 days after receiving notice under this subd. 1. a.
, the commission shall issue an order granting a certification under s. 196.203
. The granting of such certification shall operate to terminate the certification under this subsection. All regulatory requirements in or related to the certification under this subsection that are inconsistent with the requirements of or regulation allowed under s. 196.203
, including all such requirements imposed by the certification and all such requirements imposed by the commission, whether by statute or commission rule or order, on the telecommunications utility are terminated on the effective date of the order, unless the telecommunications utility, in its notice to the commission seeking certification under s. 196.203
, requests to remain subject to one or more requirements of its prior certification under this subsection that do not violate the telecommunications utility's requirements or obligations under this chapter and the commission does not deny the request in its order pursuant to this subd. 1. a.
granting certification under s. 196.203
Provide notice to the commission to recertify the telecommunications utility under this subsection and impose on the telecommunications utility only those provisions of this chapter specified in this subd. 1. b.
No later than 30 days after receiving notice under this subd. 1. b.
, the commission shall issue an order that grants recertification under this subsection and that imposes on the telecommunications utility only those provisions of this chapter specified in this subd. 1. b.
The telecommunications utility shall be exempt from all provisions of this chapter, except ss. 196.01
, 196.025 (6)
, 196.219 (2r)
, and 196.503
; and except those provisions in s. 196.203 (4m) (a)
that are imposed on all alternative telecommunications utilities under s. 196.203 (3)
; and except, with respect to its wholesale telecommunications services only, ss. 196.03 (1)
, 196.219 (4)
, and 196.37
. If required by the public interest, the commission may, with respect only to intrastate switched access services, impose on the telecommunications utility s. 196.03 (1)
, except that the commission may not impose s. 196.03 (1)
without also imposing s. 196.37
on the telecommunications utility. The granting of the recertification shall operate to terminate the telecommunications utility's prior certification. All regulatory requirements related to the prior certification that are inconsistent with the requirements of or regulation allowed under this subd. 1. b.
, including all such requirements imposed by the certification, and all such requirements imposed by the commission, whether by statute or commission rule or order, on the telecommunications utility are terminated on the effective date of the order unless the telecommunications utility, in its notice to the commission seeking recertification under this subd. 1. b.
, requests to remain subject to one or more requirements of its prior certification that do not violate the telecommunications utility's requirements or obligations under this chapter and the commission does not deny the request in its recertification order.
Issuance of a commission order under subd. 1.
shall operate as a limited waiver of the telecommunications utility's right to an exemption under 47 USC 251
(f) (1), which shall apply only to all of the following:
Issuance of a commission order under subd. 1.
shall operate as a limited waiver of the telecommunications utility's right to petition the commission for suspension or modification under 47 USC 251
(f) (2), which shall apply only to all of the following:
Any certificate, permit, license or franchise issued to a public utility, other than a telecommunications utility, which contains any term interfering with the existence of a 2nd public utility, other than a telecommunications utility, is amended to permit any municipality to grant a franchise for the operation of the 2nd public utility.
No municipality may construct any public utility if there is in operation under an indeterminate permit in the municipality a public utility engaged in similar service other than a telecommunications service, unless it secures from the commission a declaration, after a public hearing of all parties interested, that public convenience and necessity require the municipal public utility.
Pending investigation and finding by the commission as to whether public convenience and necessity require a 2nd public utility, the furnishing of any public utility service, other than a telecommunications service, in any municipality contrary to the provisions of this section may be enjoined at the suit of the state or of any public utility having an interest in the issue.
No denial on federal financing.
No certificate of convenience and necessity or permit to any public utility under ss. 196.49
shall be denied because of the amount of the public utility's notes, bonds or other evidences of indebtedness issued to the United States in connection with loans to rural telecommunications utilities made under the rural electrification act of 1936, 7 USC 901
, as amended, or by reason of the ratio of such indebtedness to the value of the public utility's property or to its other classes of securities.
This subsection applies to any telecommunications utility that is restricted under federal law or under any consent decree approved by a federal district court.
Upon application by a telecommunications utility subject to this subsection for a certificate to provide interlata services, the commission shall consider all of the following factors in determining whether to grant a certificate of authority:
Whether granting the certificate is in the public interest.
Whether the utility will provide interconnection to its local exchange network under reasonable terms and conditions.