Chapter 4927: TELECOMMUNICATIONS - ALTERNATIVE REGULATION

4927.01 Definitions.

(A) As used in this chapter:

(1) "Basic local exchange service" means residential-end-user access to and usage of telephone-company-provided services over a single line or small-business-end-user access to and usage of telephone-company-provided services over the primary access line of service, which in the case of residential and small-business access and usage is not part of a bundle or package of services, that does both of the following:

(a) Enables a customer to originate or receive voice communications within a local service area as that area exists on September 13, 2010, the effective date of the amendment of this section by S.B. 162 of the 128th general assembly;

(b) Consists of all of the following services:

(i) Local dial tone service;

(ii) For residential end users, flat-rate telephone exchange service;

(iii) Touch tone dialing service;

(iv) Access to and usage of 9-1-1 services, where such services are available;

(v) Access to operator services and directory assistance;

(vi) Provision of a telephone directory in any reasonable format for no additional charge and a listing in that directory, with reasonable accommodations made for private listings;

(vii) Per call, caller identification blocking services;

(viii) Access to telecommunications relay service; and

(ix) Access to toll presubscription, interexchange or toll providers or both, and networks of other telephone companies.

(2) "Bundle or package of services" means one or more telecommunications services or other services offered together as one service option at a single price.

(3) "Carrier access" means access to and usage of telephone company-provided facilities that enable end user customers originating or receiving voice grade, data, or image communications, over a local exchange telephone company network operated within a local service area, to access interexchange or other networks and includes special access.

(4) "Federal poverty level" means the income level represented by the poverty guidelines as revised annually by the United States department of health and human services in accordance with section 673(2) of the "Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1981," 95 Stat. 511, 42 U.S.C. 9902 , as amended, for a family size equal to the size of the family of the person whose income is being determined.

(5) "Incumbent local exchange carrier" means, with respect to an area, the local exchange carrier that:

(a) On February 8, 1996, provided telephone exchange service in such area; and

(b)

(i) On February 8, 1996, was deemed to be a member of the exchange carrier association pursuant to 47 C.F.R. 69.601(b) ; or

(ii) Is a person or entity that, on or after February 8, 1996, became a successor or assign of a member described in division (A)(5)(b)(i) of this section.

(6) "Internet protocol-enabled services" means any services, capabilities, functionalities, or applications that are provided using internet protocol or a successor protocol to enable an end user to send or receive communications in internet protocol format or a successor format, regardless of how any particular such service is classified by the federal communications commission, and includes voice over internet protocol service.

(7) "Local exchange carrier" means any person engaged in the provision of telephone exchange service, or the offering of access to telephone exchange service or facilities for the purpose of originating or terminating telephone toll service.

(8) "Local service area" means the geographic area that may encompass more than one exchange area and within which a telephone customer, by paying the rate for basic local exchange service, may complete calls to other telephone customers without being assessed long distance toll charges.

(9) "Small business" means a nonresidential service customer with three or fewer service access lines.

(10) "Telecommunications" means the transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user's choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received.

(11) "Telecommunications carrier" has the same meaning as in the "Telecommunications Act of 1996," 110 Stat. 60, 47 U.S.C. 153 .

(12) "Telecommunications service" means the offering of telecommunications for a fee directly to the public, or to such classes of users as to be effectively available directly to the public, regardless of the facilities used.

(13) "Telephone company" means a company described in division (A) of section 4905.03 of the Revised Code that is a public utility under section 4905.02 of the Revised Code.

(14) "Telephone exchange service" means telecommunications service that is within a telephone exchange, or within a connected system of telephone exchanges within the same exchange area operated to furnish to subscribers intercommunicating service of the character ordinarily furnished by a single exchange, and that is covered by the exchange service charge; or comparable service provided through a system of switches, transmission equipment, or other facilities, or combination thereof, by which a customer can originate and terminate a telecommunications service.

(15) "Telephone toll service" means telephone service between stations in different exchange areas for which there is made a separate charge not included in contracts with customers for exchange service.

(16) "Voice over internet protocol service" means a service that uses a broadband connection from an end user's location and enables real-time, two-way, voice communications that originate or terminate from the user's location using internet protocol or a successor protocol, including, but not limited to, any such service that permits an end user to receive calls from and terminate calls to the public switched network.

(17) "Wireless service" means federally licensed commercial mobile service as defined in the "Telecommunications Act of 1996," 110 Stat. 61, 151, 153, 47 U.S.C. 332(d) and further defined as commercial mobile radio service in 47 C.F.R. 20.3 . Under division (A)(17) of this section, commercial mobile radio service is specifically limited to mobile telephone, mobile cellular telephone, paging, personal communications services, and specialized mobile radio service provided by a common carrier in this state and excludes fixed wireless service.

(18) "Wireless service provider" means a facilities-based provider of wireless service to one or more end users in this state.

(B) The definitions of this section shall be applied consistent with the definitions in the "Telecommunications Act of 1996," 110 Stat. 56, 47 U.S.C. 151 et seq., as amended, and with federal decisions interpreting those definitions.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.01

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: 04-05-2001

4927.02 State policy.

(A) It is the policy of this state to:

(1) Ensure the availability of adequate basic local exchange service to citizens throughout the state;

(2) Provide incentives for competing providers of telecommunications service to provide advanced, high-quality telecommunications service to citizens throughout the state;

(3) Rely primarily on market forces, where they exist, to maintain reasonable service levels for telecommunications services at reasonable rates;

(4) Encourage innovation in the telecommunications industry and the deployment of advanced telecommunications services;

(5) Create a regulatory climate that provides incentives to create and maintain high technology jobs for Ohioans;

(6) Promote diversity and options in the supply of telecommunications services and equipment throughout the state;

(7) Recognize the continuing emergence of a competitive telecommunications environment through flexible regulatory treatment of telecommunications services where appropriate;

(8) Consider the regulatory treatment of competing and functionally equivalent services and, to the extent practicable, provide for equivalent regulation of all telephone companies and services ;

(9) Not unduly favor or advantage any provider and not unduly disadvantage providers of competing and functionally equivalent services; and

(10) Protect the affordability of telephone service for low-income subscribers through the continuation of federal lifeline assistance programs.

(B) The public utilities commission shall consider the policy set forth in this section in carrying out this chapter.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.02

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

Effective Date: 03-17-1989; 11-04-2005

4927.03 Authority over VOIP-enabled service and other telecommunications services.

(A) Except as provided in divisions (A) and (B) of section 4927.04 of the Revised Code and except to the extent required to exercise authority under federal law, the public utilities commission has no authority over any interconnected voice over internet protocol-enabled service or any telecommunications service that is not commercially available on September 13, 2010, and that employs technology that became available for commercial use only after September 13, 2010, unless the commission, upon a finding that the exercise of the commission's authority is necessary for the protection, welfare, and safety of the public, adopts rules specifying the necessary regulation. A consumer purchase of a service that is not commercially available on September 13, 2010, and that employs technology that became available for commercial use only after September 13, 2010, shall constitute a consumer transaction for purposes of sections 1345.01 to 1345.13 of the Revised Code, notwithstanding any provision of those sections to the contrary, unless the commission exercises jurisdiction over the service in accordance with this division. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of Chapter 4911. of the Revised Code, to the extent that the commission adopts rules under division (A) of this section regarding any interconnected voice over internet protocol enabled service provided to residential customers or regarding any telecommunications service that is provided to residential customers, that is not commercially available on September 13, 2010, and that employs technology that became available for commercial use only after September 13, 2010, the office of the consumers' counsel shall have authority to assist and represent residential customers in the implementation and enforcement of those rules.

(B)

(1) The commission has no authority over wireless service, resellers of wireless service, or wireless service providers, except as follows:

(a) As provided under section 4905.84 of the Revised Code;

(b) With respect to division (C) of section 4927.15 of the Revised Code;

(c) As provided in divisions (B)(2), (3), and (4) of this section.

(2) The commission has authority over wireless service and wireless service providers as follows, but only to the extent authorized by federal law, including federal regulations:

(a) To the extent that the commission carries out the acts described in divisions (A), (B), (C), (D), and (F) of section 4927.04 of the Revised Code;

(b) As provided in sections 4927.05 , 4927.20 , and 4927.21 of the Revised Code.

(3) The requirements of sections 4905.10 , 4905.14 , and 4911.18 of the Revised Code shall apply to a wireless service provider.

(4) The commission has such authority as is necessary to enforce division (B) of this section.

(C) For purposes of sections 4927.01 to 4927.21 of the Revised Code, sections 4903.02 , 4903.03 , 4903.24 , 4903.25 , 4905.04 , 4905.05 , 4905.06 , 4905.13 , 4905.15 , 4905.16 , 4905.17 , 4905.22 , 4905.26 , 4905.27 , 4905.28 , 4905.29 , 4905.31 , 4905.32 , 4905.33 , 4905.35 , 4905.37 , 4905.38 , 4905.39 , 4905.48 , 4905.54 , 4905.55 , 4905.56 , and 4905.60 of the Revised Code do not apply to a telephone company or, as applicable, to an officer, employee, or agent of such company or provider, except to the extent necessary for the commission to carry out sections 4927.01 to 4927.21 of the Revised Code.

(D) Except as specifically authorized in sections 4927.01 to 4927.21 of the Revised Code, the commission has no authority over the quality of service and the service rates, terms, and conditions of telecommunications service provided to end users by a telephone company.

(E) The commission shall initially adopt the rules required by this chapter not later than one hundred twenty days after September 13, 2010. Subject to the authority granted to the commission under this chapter, the commission may adopt other rules, including rules regarding the removal from tariffs of services that were required to be filed in tariffs prior to September 13, 2010, as it finds necessary to carry out this chapter.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.03

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.166, HB 360, §1, eff. 12/20/2012.

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

Effective Date: 03-17-1989; 11-04-2005

4927.04 Commission's authority under federal law.

The public utilities commission has such power and jurisdiction as is reasonably necessary for it to perform the obligations authorized by or delegated to it under federal law, including federal regulations, which obligations include performing the acts of a state commission as defined in the "Communications Act of 1934," 48 Stat. 1064, 47 U.S.C. 153 , as amended, and include, but are not limited to, carrying out any of the following:

(A) Rights and obligations under the "Telecommunications Act of 1996," 110 Stat. 56, 47 U.S.C. 251 , as amended;

(B) Authority to mediate and arbitrate disputes and approve agreements under the "Telecommunications Act of 1996," 110 Stat. 56, 47 U.S.C. 252 , as amended;

(C) Administration of telephone numbers and number portability;

(D) Certification of telecommunications carriers eligible for universal-service funding under 47 U.S.C. 214(e) ;

(E) Administration of truth-in-billing;

(F) Administration of customer proprietary network information under 47 U.S.C. 222 and federal regulations adopted thereunder;

(G) Outage reporting consistent with federal requirements.

Except as provided in division (B) of section 4927.03 of the Revised Code, the commission has power and jurisdiction under this section over a telecommunications carrier to the extent necessary to perform the obligations described in this section. Nothing in this chapter limits the commission's authority under the "Telecommunications Act of 1996," 110 Stat. 56, 47 U.S.C. 151 , et seq., as amended, including the commission's authority over the provision of universal-service funding.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.04

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

Effective Date: 06-18-1996; 11-04-2005

4927.05 Certificate or registration required.

(A)

(1) No telephone company shall operate in this state without first obtaining a certificate from the public utilities commission, and no wireless service provider shall operate in this state without first being registered with the commission. A telephone company not holding such a certificate on the effective date of this section, or a wireless service provider not so registered on that date, shall file, respectively, a certification application or registration with the commission, each in the manner set forth in rules adopted by the commission. The application or registration shall include all of the following:

(a) The company's or provider's name and address;

(b) The name of a contact person and that person's contact information;

(c) A service description, including the general geographic areas served, but not maps of service areas;

(d) Evidence of registration with the secretary of state;

(e) Evidence of notice to the public utilities tax division of the department of taxation of the company's or provider's intent to provide service;

(f) As to a certification application, evidence of financial, technical, and managerial ability to provide adequate service to the public consistent with law.

Division (A)(1) of this section does not apply to any incumbent local exchange carrier with respect to its geographic service area as that area existed on the effective date of this section.

(2) The commission may suspend or reject the certification application of a telephone company if it finds, within thirty days after the application's submission and based on the evidence provided under division (A)(1)(f) of this section, that the applicant lacks financial, technical, or managerial ability sufficient to provide adequate service to the public consistent with law.

(B) If any of the filed information described in divisions (A)(1)(a) to (f) of this section changes, a telephone company shall update its certification and provide any necessary notice to customers, and a wireless service provider shall update its registration. The commission shall adopt rules governing the requirements of this division.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.05

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.06 Unfair or deceptive trade practices.

(A) No telephone company shall commit any unfair or deceptive act or practice in connection with the offering or provision of any telecommunications service in this state. A failure to comply with any of the following requirements shall constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice by a telephone company:

(1) Any communication by the company, including, but not limited to, a solicitation, offer, or contract term or condition, shall be truthful, clear, conspicuous, and accurate in disclosing any material terms and conditions of service and any material exclusions or limitations. The public utilities commission may prescribe, by rule, a commission review process to determine when disclosing such information is not practicable, and therefore nondisclosure does not result in an unfair or deceptive act or practice.

(2) Any written service solicitation, marketing material, offer, contract, or agreement, as well as any written response from the company to a service-related inquiry or complaint that the company receives from a customer or others, shall disclose the company's name and contact information. The commission may prescribe, by rule, a commission review process to determine when disclosing such information is not practicable, and therefore nondisclosure does not result in an unfair or deceptive act or practice.

(3) The company shall inform its customers, as applicable and in any reasonable manner, of their rights and responsibilities concerning inside wire, the repair and maintenance of customer-owned equipment, and the use of a network interface device, and of any charges that the company imposes for a diagnostic visit, consistent with rules adopted by the public utilities commission.

(4) The company shall not commit any act, practice, or omission that the commission determines, by rulemaking under section 4927.03 of the Revised Code or adjudication under section 4927.21 of the Revised Code, constitutes an unfair or deceptive act or practice in connection with the offering or provision of telecommunications service in this state.

(B) The commission shall provide notice to all telephone companies specifying any act, practice, or omission that it prescribes pursuant to division (A)(4) of this section. No telephone company is liable for any act, practice, or omission absent that notice and adequate time for implementation.

(C) This section does not apply to wireless service. A consumer purchase of wireless service or a related product shall constitute a consumer transaction for purposes of sections 1345.01 to 1345.13 of the Revised Code, notwithstanding any provision of those sections to the contrary.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.06

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.07 Withdrawal of service.

(A) A telephone company may withdraw any telecommunications service if it gives at least thirty days' prior notice to the public utilities commission and to its affected customers.

(B) A telephone company may abandon entirely telecommunications service in this state if it gives at least thirty days' prior notice to the commission, to its wholesale and retail customers, and to any telephone company wholesale provider of its services.

(C) Divisions (A) and (B) of this section do not apply to any of the following:

(1) Basic local exchange service provided by an incumbent local exchange carrier;

(2) Pole attachments under section 4905.71 of the Revised Code;

(3) Conduit occupancy under section 4905.71 of the Revised Code;

(4) Interconnection and resale agreements approved under the "Telecommunications Act of 1996," 110 Stat. 56, 47 U.S.C. 151 et seq., as amended.

(D) An incumbent local exchange carrier may not withdraw or abandon basic local exchange service.

(E) A telephone company may not, without first filing a request with the commission and obtaining commission approval, withdraw any tariff filed with the commission for pole attachments or conduit occupancy under section 4905.71 of the Revised Code or abandon service provided under that section.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.07

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.08 Basic local exchange service standards.

(A) A telephone company providing basic local exchange service shall conduct its operations so as to ensure that the service is available, adequate, and reliable, consistent with applicable industry standards.

(B) The public utilities commission shall adopt rules prescribing the following standards for the provision of basic local exchange service, and shall adopt no other rules regarding that service except as expressly authorized in this chapter:

(1) Basic local exchange service shall be installed within five business days of the receipt by a telephone company of a completed application for that service.

(2) A basic local exchange service outage or service-affecting problem shall be repaired within seventy-two hours after it is reported to the telephone company, and the telephone company shall make reasonable efforts to repair a basic local exchange service outage within twenty-four hours, excluding Sundays and legal holidays, after the outage is reported to the telephone company.

(3)

(a) Except as provided in division (B)(3)(b) of this section, if a basic local exchange service outage is reported to the telephone company and lasts more than seventy-two hours, the telephone company shall credit every affected customer, of which the telephone company is aware, in the amount of one month's charges for basic local exchange service.

(b) If the outage is caused by a customer, the telephone company may elect not to credit that customer.

(4) No telephone company shall establish a due date earlier than fourteen consecutive days after the date the bill is postmarked for a bill for basic local exchange service provided to end users.

(5) A telephone company may disconnect basic local exchange service for nonpayment of any amount past due on a billed account not earlier than fourteen days after the due date of the customer's bill, provided that the customer is given notice of the disconnection seven days before the disconnection.

(6) A telephone company may require a deposit, not to exceed two hundred thirty per cent of a reasonable estimate of one month's service charges, for the installation of basic local exchange service for any person that it determines, in its discretion, is not creditworthy.

(7) A telephone company shall, unless prevented from doing so by circumstances beyond the telephone company's control or unless the customer requests otherwise, reconnect a customer whose basic local exchange service was disconnected for nonpayment of past due charges not later than one business day after the day the earlier of the following occurs:

(a) The receipt by the telephone company of the full amount of past due charges;

(b) The receipt by the telephone company of the first payment under a mutually agreed-upon payment arrangement.

(C) The rules described in division (B) of this section shall provide for a waiver of the standards described in that division in circumstances determined appropriate by the commission.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.08

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.09 Access to 9-1-1 service.

Every telephone company providing telephone exchange service shall maintain access to 9-1-1 service on a residential customer's line for a minimum of fourteen consecutive days immediately following any disconnection for nonpayment of a customer's telephone exchange service.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.09

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.11 Access to basic local exchange service.

(A) Except as otherwise provided in this section, an incumbent local exchange carrier shall provide basic local exchange service to all persons or entities in its service area requesting that service, and that service shall be provided on a reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis.

(B)

(1) An incumbent local exchange carrier is not obligated to construct facilities and provide basic local exchange service, or any other telecommunications service, to the occupants of multitenant real estate, including, but not limited to, apartments, condominiums, subdivisions, office buildings, or office parks, if the owner, operator, or developer of the multitenant real estate does any of the following to the benefit of any other telecommunications service provider:

(a) Permits only one provider of telecommunications service to install the company's facilities or equipment during the construction or development phase of the multitenant real estate;

(b) Accepts or agrees to accept incentives or rewards that are offered by a telecommunications service provider to the owner, operator, developer, or occupants of the multitenant real estate and are contingent on the provision of telecommunications service by that provider to the occupants, to the exclusion of services provided by other telecommunications service providers;

(c) Collects from the occupants of the multitenant real estate any charges for the provision of telecommunications service to the occupants, including charges collected through rents, fees, or dues.

(2) A carrier not obligated to construct facilities and provide basic local exchange service pursuant to division (B)(1) of this section shall notify the public utilities commission of that fact within one hundred twenty days of receiving knowledge thereof.

(3) The commission by rule may establish a process for determining a necessary successor telephone company to provide service to real estate described in division (B)(1) of this section when the circumstances described in that division cease to exist.

(4) An incumbent local exchange carrier that receives a request from any person or entity to provide service under the circumstances described in division (B)(1) of this section shall, within fifteen days of such receipt, provide notice to the person or entity specifying whether the carrier will provide the requested service. If the carrier provides notice that it will not serve the person or entity, the notice shall describe the person's or entity's right to file a complaint with the commission under section 4927.21 of the Revised Code within thirty days after receipt of the notice. In resolving any such complaint, the commission's determination shall be limited to whether any circumstance described in divisions (B)(1)(a) to (c) of this section exists. Upon a finding by the commission that such a circumstance exists, the complaint shall be dismissed. Upon a finding that such circumstances do not exist, the person's or entity's sole remedy shall be provision by the carrier of the requested service within a reasonable time.

(C) An incumbent local exchange carrier may apply to the commission for a waiver from compliance with division (A) of this section. The application shall include, at a minimum, the reason for the requested waiver, the number of persons or entities who would be impacted by the waiver, and the alternatives that would be available to those persons or entities if the waiver were granted. The incumbent local exchange carrier applying for the waiver shall publish notice of the waiver application one time in a newspaper of general circulation throughout the service area identified in the application and shall provide additional notice to affected persons or entities as required by the commission in rules adopted under this division. The commission's rules shall define "affected" for purposes of this division. The commission shall afford such persons or entities a reasonable opportunity to comment to the commission on the application. This opportunity shall include a public hearing conducted in accordance with rules adopted under this division and conducted in the service area identified in the application. After a reasonable opportunity to comment has been provided, but not later than one hundred twenty days after the application is filed, the commission either shall issue an order granting the waiver if, upon investigation, it finds the waiver to be just, reasonable, and not contrary to the public interest, and that the applicant demonstrates a financial hardship or an unusual technical limitation, or shall issue an order denying the waiver based on a failure to meet those standards and specifying the reasons for the denial. The commission shall adopt rules to implement division (C) of this section.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.11

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.12 Alteration of rates for basic local exchange service.

(A) As used in this section, "exchange area" means a geographical service area established by an incumbent local exchange carrier and approved by the public utilities commission.

(B) Subject to divisions (C), (D), and (E) of this section, and upon not less than thirty days' notice to the public utilities commission and to affected customers, an incumbent local exchange carrier may alter its rates for basic local exchange service.

(C) In addition to the requirements of division (B) of this section, all of the following apply to any upward alteration of rates for basic local exchange service made under that division:

(1) If the incumbent local exchange carrier, within twelve months prior to the effective date of this section, increased the carrier's rates for basic local exchange service for an exchange area, both of the following apply:

(a) The incumbent local exchange carrier may not alter the carrier's rates for basic local exchange service for the exchange area upward by any amount during the period that ends twelve months after the date of the last increase of the rates for basic local exchange service.

(b) In no event may the incumbent local exchange carrier, during the twelve-month period that begins immediately after the end date of the period described in division (C)(1)(a) of this section, and during any subsequent twelve-month period, alter the carrier's rates for basic local exchange service upward for the exchange area by more than the amount authorized for an annual increase in the rate for basic local exchange service by division (A) of rule 4901:1-4-11 of the Ohio Administrative Code as that rule existed on the effective date of this section.

(2) If the incumbent local exchange carrier did not, within twelve months prior to the effective date of this section, increase the carrier's rates for basic local exchange service for an exchange area, and if the commission has made a prior determination that the exchange area qualified for alternative regulation of basic local exchange service under Chapter 4901:1-4 of the Ohio Administrative Code as that chapter existed on the effective date of this section, in no event may the incumbent local exchange carrier, during the twelve-month period that begins on the effective date of this section, and during any subsequent twelve-month period, alter the carrier's rates for basic local exchange service upward for the exchange area by more than the amount described in division (C)(1)(b) of this section.

(3)

(a) If the commission has not made a prior determination that the exchange area qualified for alternative regulation of basic local exchange service under Chapter 4901:1-4 of the Ohio Administrative Code as that chapter existed on the effective date of this section, an incumbent local exchange carrier may not alter its rates for basic local exchange service upward for that exchange area unless the carrier first applies to the commission and the commission determines that the application demonstrates that two or more alternative providers offer, in the exchange area, competing service to the basic local exchange service offered by an incumbent local exchange carrier in the exchange area, regardless of the technology and facilities used by the alternative provider, the alternative provider's location, and the extent of the alternative provider's service area within the exchange area. An alternative provider includes a telephone company, including a wireless service provider, a telecommunications carrier, and a provider of internet protocol-enabled services, including voice over internet protocol.

(b) Upon the filing of an application under division (C)(3)(a) of this section, the commission shall be deemed to have found that the application meets the requirements of that division unless the commission, within thirty days after the filing of the application, issues an order finding that the requirements have not been met.

(c) In no event may an incumbent local exchange carrier that applies to the commission under division (C)(3)(a) of this section, during the twelve-month period that begins on the thirty-first day after the company files the application, and during any subsequent twelve-month period, alter the carrier's rates for basic local exchange service upward for the exchange area to which the application applies by more than the amount described in division (C)(1)(b) of this section.

(4) In no event may an incumbent local exchange carrier, before January 1, 2012, alter the carrier's rates for basic local exchange service upward for a customer receiving lifeline service under section 4927.13 of the Revised Code.

(D) Except as provided in division (E) of this section, no banking of upward rate alterations made under division (B) of this section is permitted.

(E) At any time and upon not less than thirty days' notice to the commission and to affected customers, an incumbent local exchange carrier owned and operated exclusively by and solely for its customers may alter its rates for basic local exchange service by any amount.

(F) The rates, terms, and conditions for basic local exchange service and for installation and reconnection fees for basic local exchange service shall be tariffed in the manner prescribed by rule adopted by the commission.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.12

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.13 Lifeline service for eligible residential customers.

(A) An incumbent local exchange carrier that is an eligible telecommunications carrier under 47 C.F.R. 54.201 shall implement lifeline service throughout the carrier's traditional service area for its eligible residential customers.

(1) Lifeline service shall consist of all of the following:

(a) Flat-rate, monthly, primary access line service with touch-tone service, at a recurring discount to the monthly basic local exchange service rate that provides for the maximum contribution of federally available assistance;

(b) Not more than once per customer at a single address in a twelve-month period, a waiver of all nonrecurring service order charges for establishing service;

(c) Free blocking of toll service, 900 service, and 976 service.

The carrier may offer to lifeline service customers any other services and bundles or packages of services at the prevailing prices, less the lifeline discount.

(2) The carrier also shall offer special payment arrangements to lifeline service customers that have past due bills for regulated local service charges, with the initial payment not to exceed twenty-five dollars before service is installed, and the balance for regulated local service charges to be paid over six, equal, monthly payments. Lifeline service customers with past due bills for toll service charges shall have toll restricted service until the past due toll service charges have been paid or until the customer establishes service with another toll service provider.

(3)

(a) Every incumbent local exchange carrier required to implement lifeline service under division (A) of this section shall establish an annual marketing budget for promoting lifeline service and performing outreach regarding lifeline service. All funds allocated to this budget shall be spent for the promotion and marketing of lifeline service and outreach regarding lifeline service and only for those purposes and not for any administrative costs of implementing lifeline service. All activities relating to the promotion of, marketing of, and outreach regarding lifeline service shall be coordinated through a single advisory board composed of staff of the public utilities commission, the office of the consumers' counsel, consumer groups representing low-income constituents, two representatives from the Ohio association of community action agencies, and, except as provided in division (A)(3)(b) of this section, every incumbent local exchange carrier required to implement lifeline service under division (A) of this section. The public utilities commission may review and approve decisions of the advisory board in accordance with commission rules, including decisions on how the lifeline marketing, promotion, and outreach activities are implemented.

(b) Division (A)(3)(a) of this section does not apply to an incumbent local exchange carrier with fewer than fifty thousand access lines.

(4) All other aspects of the carrier's state-specific lifeline service shall be consistent with federal requirements.

(B) The rates, terms, and conditions for the carrier's lifeline service shall be tariffed in the manner prescribed by rule adopted by the public utilities commission.

(C)

(1) Eligibility for lifeline service under division (A) of this section shall be based on either of the following criteria:

(a) An individual's verifiable participation in any federal or state low-income assistance program, specified in rules adopted by the commission, that limits assistance based on household income;

(b) Other verification that an individual's household income is at or below one hundred fifty per cent of the federal poverty level.

The public utilities commission shall adopt rules establishing requirements for the implementation of automatic enrollment of eligible individuals for lifeline assistance. The public utilities commission shall work with the appropriate state agencies that administer federal or state low-income assistance programs and with carriers to negotiate and acquire information necessary to verify an individual's eligibility and the data necessary to automatically enroll eligible individuals for lifeline service. Every incumbent local exchange carrier required to implement lifeline service under division (A) of this section shall implement automatic enrollment in accordance with the applicable rules of the public utilities commission and to the extent that appropriate state agencies are able to accommodate the automatic enrollment.

(2) The carrier shall provide written notification if the carrier determines that an individual is not eligible for lifeline service and shall provide the individual an additional thirty days to prove eligibility.

(3) The carrier shall provide written customer notification if a customer's lifeline service is to be terminated due to failure to submit acceptable documentation for continued eligibility for that assistance and shall provide the customer an additional sixty days to submit acceptable documentation of continued eligibility or dispute the carrier's findings regarding termination of the lifeline service.

(D) An incumbent local exchange carrier required to implement lifeline service under division (A) of this section may recover from end users of the carrier's telecommunications service other than lifeline service customers, by a method approved by the public utilities commission, any lifeline service discounts and any other lifeline service expenses that the public utilities commission prescribes by rule and that are not recovered through federal or state funding, except for expenses incurred under division (A)(3)(a) of this section. A carrier seeking recovery of discounts or expenses shall, in accordance with rules adopted by the public utilities commission, apply to the public utilities commission for approval of the method of recovery. If the method of recovery includes a customer billing surcharge, the public utilities commission shall prescribe by rule how the surcharge is to be identified on customer bills.

(E) Every incumbent local exchange carrier required to implement lifeline service under division (A) of this section shall annually file with the public utilities commission a report that identifies the number of its customers who receive, at the time of the filing of the report, lifeline service.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.13

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.14 Adoption of rules for rates for persons with disabilities.

The public utilities commission may adopt rules requiring any telephone company that is a telephone toll service provider to offer discounts for operator-assisted and direct-dial services for persons with communication disabilities.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.14

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.15 Rates, terms and conditions for 9-1-1 and other services.

(A) The rates, terms, and conditions for 9-1-1 service provided in this state by a telephone company or a telecommunications carrier and each of the following provided in this state by a telephone company shall be approved and tariffed in the manner prescribed by rule adopted by the public utilities commission and shall be subject to the applicable laws, including rules or regulations adopted and orders issued by the commission or the federal communications commission :

(1) Carrier access;

(2) N-1-1 services, other than 9-1-1 service;

(3) Pole attachments and conduit occupancy under section 4905.71 of the Revised Code;

(4) Pay telephone access lines;

(5) Toll presubscription;

(6) Telecommunications relay service.

(B) The public utilities commission may order changes in a telephone company's rates for carrier access in this state subject to this division. In the event that the public utilities commission reduces a telephone company's rates for carrier access that are in effect on September 13, 2010, that reduction shall be on a revenue-neutral basis under terms and conditions established by the public utilities commission, and any resulting rate changes necessary to comply with division (B) or (C) of this section shall be in addition to any upward rate alteration made under section 4927.12 of the Revised Code.

(C) The public utilities commission has authority to address carrier access policy and to create and administer mechanisms for carrier access reform, including, but not limited to, high cost support.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.15

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.166, HB 360, §1, eff. 12/20/2012.

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.16 Unbundling, resale or network interconnection.

(A) The public utilities commission shall not establish any requirements for the unbundling of network elements, for the resale of telecommunications service, or for network interconnection that exceed or are inconsistent with or prohibited by federal law, including federal regulations.

(B) The commission shall not establish pricing for such unbundled elements, resale, or interconnection that is inconsistent with or prohibited by federal law, including federal regulations, and shall comply with federal law, including federal regulations, in establishing such pricing.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.16

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.17 Notice of rates, terms or conditions of service; contact information to be provided on bills and notices.

(A) Except as provided in sections 4927.07 and 4927.12 of the Revised Code , a telephone company shall provide at least fifteen days' advance notice to its affected customers of any material change in the rates, terms, and conditions of a service and any change in the company's operations that are not transparent to customers and may impact service.

(B) A telephone company shall inform its customers of the commission's toll-free number and e-mail address on all bills and disconnection notices and any residential customers of the office of the consumers' counsel's toll-free number and e-mail address on all residential bills and disconnection notices.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.17

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.18 Adoption of rules regarding inmate or juvenile offender services.

The public utilities commission may adopt rules regarding the rates, terms, and conditions of intrastate telecommunications service initiated from a telephone instrument set aside for use by inmates or juvenile offenders by authorities of a secured correctional facility.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.18

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.19 Examination of books, records or practices.

The public utilities commission may investigate or examine the books, records, or practices of any telephone company, but only to the extent of the commission's jurisdiction over the company under sections 4927.01 to 4927.21 of the Revised Code. Subject to that limitation, the commission may do any of the following:

(A) Through its commissioners or by inspectors or employees authorized by it, examine the books, records, contracts, documents, and papers of any such company for any purpose incidental to the commission's authority under those sections;

(B) By subpoena duces tecum, compel the production of such books, records, contracts, documents, and papers;

(C) Compel the attendance of such witnesses as it requires to give evidence in connection with such an investigation.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.19

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.20 Compliance with commission's directives.

To the extent subject to the public utilities commission's jurisdiction under this chapter, all of the following shall comply with every order, direction, and requirement of the commission made under authority of this chapter:

(A) Every telephone company, including every wireless service provider;

(B) Every telecommunications carrier;

(C) Every provider of internet protocol-enabled services, including voice over internet protocol.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.20

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

4927.21 Complaints against telephone company.

(A) Any person may file with the public utilities commission, or the commission may initiate, a complaint against a telephone company other than a wireless service provider, alleging that any rate, practice, or service of the company is unjust, unreasonable, unjustly discriminatory, or in violation of or noncompliance with any provision of sections 4927.01 to 4927.20 of the Revised Code or a rule or order adopted or issued under those sections. Any dispute between telephone companies, between telephone companies and wireless service providers, or between wireless service providers that is within the commission's jurisdiction under sections 4927.01 to 4927.20 of the Revised Code may be brought by a filing pursuant to this division.

(B) If it appears that reasonable grounds for complaint are stated by a complaint filed under division (A) of this section, the commission shall fix a time for hearing and shall notify complainants and the telephone company or wireless service provider thereof. The parties to the complaint shall be entitled to be heard, represented by counsel, and to have a process for the attendance of witnesses.

(C) If the commission after hearing in a proceeding under division (B) of this section makes a finding against the party complained of, the commission may do either or both of the following:

(1) Determine, but only to the extent authorized under sections 4927.01 to 4927.20 of the Revised Code, the rate, practice, or service thereafter to be adopted and observed, including any appropriate remedy for a complaint;

(2) Assess a forfeiture of not more than ten thousand dollars for each violation or failure. Each day's continuance of the violation or failure is a separate offense, and all occurrences of a violation or failure on each such day shall be deemed one violation. All forfeitures authorized under this section are cumulative, and a suit for and recovery of one does not bar the recovery of any other. Collected forfeitures shall be deposited into the state treasury to the credit of the general revenue fund. Actions to recover such forfeitures shall be prosecuted in the name of the state and shall be brought in the court of common pleas of any county in which the party complained of is located. The attorney general shall commence such actions and prosecute them when the commission directs.

(D) The commission also may suspend, rescind, or conditionally rescind the certification of a telephone company under section 4927.05 of the Revised Code under either of the following circumstances:

(1) The commission determines, after notice and opportunity for hearing, that the telephone company has failed to comply with any provision of section 4905.10 or 4905.14 of the Revised Code.

(2) The commission determines in a proceeding under division (B) of this section that the telephone company has willfully or repeatedly failed to comply with any other applicable state or federal law.

(E) The commission has no authority to order credits to any customer of a telephone company, except in response to a complaint determined in accordance with this section.

(F) Upon request of the commission, the attorney general may commence and prosecute such action or proceeding in mandamus, by injunction, or by other appropriate civil remedy in the name of the state, as is directed by the commission, alleging any violation or noncompliance specified in division (A) of this section, and praying for such proper relief as the court may prescribe.

Cite as R.C. § 4927.21

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.