(A) As used in this section:
(1) "Telecommunications relay service" means intrastate transmission services that provide the ability for an individual who has a hearing or speech impairment to engage in a communication by wire or radio with a hearing individual in a manner that is functionally equivalent to the ability of an individual who does not have a hearing or speech impairment to communicate using voice communication services by wire or radio. "Telecommunications relay service" includes services that enable two-way communication between an individual who uses a telecommunications device for the deaf or other nonvoice terminal device and an individual who does not use such a device.
(2) "TRS provider" means an entity selected by the public utilities commission as the provider of telecommunications relay service for this state as part of the commission's intrastate telecommunications relay service program certified pursuant to federal law.
(B) For the sole purpose of funding telecommunications relay service, the commission shall, not earlier than January 1, 2009, impose on and collect from each service provider that is required under federal law to provide its customers access to telecommunications relay service an annual assessment to pay for costs incurred by the TRS provider for providing such service in Ohio. The commission shall determine the appropriate service providers to be assessed the telecommunications relay service costs, including telephone companies as defined in division (A) of section 4905.03 of the Revised Code, commercial mobile radio service providers, and providers of advanced services or internet protocol-enabled services that are competitive with or functionally equivalent to basic local exchange service as defined in section 4927.01 of the Revised Code.
(C) The assessment shall be allocated proportionately among the appropriate service providers using a competitively neutral formula established by the commission based on the number of retail intrastate customer access lines or their equivalent. The commission shall annually reconcile the funds collected with the actual costs of providing telecommunications relay service when it issues the assessment and shall either proportionately charge the service providers for any amounts not sufficient to cover the actual costs or proportionately credit amounts collected in excess of the actual costs. The total amount assessed from all service providers shall not exceed the total telecommunications relay service costs.
Each service provider that pays the assessment shall be permitted to recover the cost of the assessment. The method of recovery may include, but is not limited to, a customer billing surcharge.
The commission shall deposit the money collected in the telecommunications relay service fund, which is hereby created in the state treasury, and shall use the money in that fund solely to compensate the TRS provider.
(D) The commission shall take such measures as it considers necessary to protect the confidentiality of information provided to the commission pursuant to this section by service providers required to pay the assessment.
(E) The commission may assess a forfeiture of not more than one thousand dollars on any service provider failing to comply with this section. Each day's continuance of such failure is a separate offense. The forfeiture shall be recovered in accordance with sections 4905.55 to 4905.60 of the Revised Code.
(F) The jurisdiction and authority granted to the commission by this section is limited to the administration and enforcement of this section. The commission may adopt such rules as it finds necessary to carry out this section. The commission shall adopt rules under section 111.15 of the Revised Code to establish the assessment amounts and procedures.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.127, HB 487, §101.01, eff. 6/11/2012.
Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.
Effective Date: 2008 HB562 09-22-200.