Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 281

    February Session, 2018

Senate Bill No. 330

Senate, April 5, 2018

The Committee on Energy and Technology reported through SEN. WINFIELD of the 10th Dist. and SEN. FORMICA of the 20th Dist., Chairpersons of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING THE REGULATION OF VOICE SERVICE PROVIDERS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 16-8 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(b) (1) The authority may employ professional personnel to perform management audits. The authority shall promptly establish such procedures as it deems necessary or desirable to provide for management audits to be performed on a regular or irregular schedule on all or any portion of the operating procedures and any other internal workings of any public service company, including the relationship between any public service company and a related holding company or subsidiary, consistent with the provisions of section 16-8c, provided no such audit shall be performed on a community antenna television company or telephone company, except with regard to any noncable communications services which the company may provide, or when (A) such an audit is necessary for the authority to perform its regulatory functions under the Communications Act of 1934, 47 USC 151, et seq., as amended from time to time, other federal law or state law, (B) the cost of such an audit is warranted by a reasonably foreseeable financial, safety or service benefit to subscribers of the company which is the subject of such an audit, and (C) such an audit is restricted to examination of the operating procedures that affect operations within the state.

Sec. 2. Subsection (a) of section 16-18a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) In the performance of their duties the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and the Office of Consumer Counsel may retain consultants to assist their staffs in proceedings before the authority by providing expertise in areas in which staff expertise does not currently exist or when necessary to supplement existing staff expertise. In any case where the authority or Office of Consumer Counsel determines that the services of a consultant are necessary or desirable, the authority shall (1) allow opportunity for the parties and participants to the proceeding for which the services of a consultant are being considered to comment regarding the necessity or desirability of such services, (2) upon the request of a party or participant to the proceeding for which the services of a consultant are being considered, hold a hearing, and (3) limit the reasonable and proper expenses for such services to not more than two hundred thousand dollars for each agency per proceeding involving a public service company, telecommunications company, electric supplier or person seeking certification to provide telecommunications services pursuant to chapter 283, with more than fifteen thousand customers, and to not more than fifty thousand dollars for each agency per proceeding involving such a company, electric supplier or person with less than fifteen thousand customers, provided the authority or the Office of Consumer Counsel may exceed such limits for good cause. In the case of multiple proceedings conducted to implement the provisions of this section and sections 16-1, 16-19, as amended by this act, 16-19e, as amended by this act, 16-22, 16-247a to 16-247c, inclusive, as amended by this act, 16-247e to 16-247h, inclusive, [16-247k] and subsection (e) of section 16-331, the authority or the Office of Consumer Counsel may exceed such limits, but the total amount for all such proceedings shall not exceed the aggregate amount which would be available pursuant to this section. All reasonable and proper expenses, as defined in subdivision (3) of this section, shall be borne by the affected company, electric supplier or person and shall be paid by such company, electric supplier or person at such times and in such manner as the authority or the Office of Consumer Counsel directs. All reasonable and proper costs and expenses, as defined in subdivision (3) of this section, shall be recognized by the authority for all purposes as proper business expenses of the affected company, electric supplier or person. The providers of consultant services shall be selected by the authority or the Office of Consumer Counsel and shall submit written findings and recommendations to the authority or the Office of Consumer Counsel, as the case may be, which shall be made part of the public record.

Sec. 3. Subsection (h) of section 16-19 of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(h) The provisions of this section shall not apply to [the regulation of a] telecommunications service. [which is a competitive service, as defined in section 16-247a, or to a telecommunications service to which an approved plan for an alternative form of regulation applies, pursuant to section 16-247k.]

Sec. 4. Section 16-19d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Advertising" means the commercial use of any media including, but not limited to, newspaper and all other forms of print, radio and television, in order to transmit a message to a substantial number of members of the public or customers of a public service company;

(2) "Political advertising" means any advertising for the purpose of influencing public opinion with respect to any legislative, administrative or electoral decision or with respect to any controversial issue of public importance;

(3) "Institutional advertising" means any advertising which is designed to create, enhance or sustain a public service company's image or good will with regard to the general public or its customers;

(4) "Promotional advertising" means any advertising that has the purpose of inducing the public to select or use the service or additional service of a public service company or select or install any appliance or equipment designed to use such service, provided such advertising shall not include advertising authorized by order or regulation of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

(b) The cost of political, institutional or promotional advertising of any gas company or electric distribution company [and the cost of political or institutional advertising of any telephone company] shall not be deemed to be an operating expense in any rate schedule proceedings held pursuant to section 16-19, as amended by this act. For the purposes of this section, political, institutional or promotional advertising shall not be deemed to include reasonable expenditures for (1) the publication or distribution of existing or proposed tariffs or rate schedules; (2) notices required by law or regulation; (3) public information regarding service interruptions, safety measures, emergency conditions, employment opportunities or the means by which customers can conserve energy or make efficient and economical use of service; (4) the promotion or marketing of efficient gas and electric equipment which the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority determines: (A) Is consistent with the state's energy policy; (B) is consistent with integrated resource planning principles; (C) provides net economic benefit to such company's customers; and (D) shall not have the primary purpose of promoting one fuel over another; or (5) advertising by a gas company that is necessary as a result of competition created by actions and decisions of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Such advertising shall be limited to the express purpose of promoting gas companies in competition with other providers and marketers of natural gas. Such advertising shall not include any promotions, cash, equipment, installation or service subsidies for the conversion to natural gas from any other energy source.

(c) A public service company shall make application to the authority for determination that equipment meets the requirements of subdivision (4) of subsection (b) of this section. The authority shall, to the extent practicable, make such determination within one hundred twenty days of such filing. All reasonable and proper expenses, required by the authority and the Office of Consumer Counsel, including, but not limited to, the costs associated with analysis, testing, evaluation and testimony at a public hearing or other proceeding, shall be borne by the company and shall be paid by the company at such times and in such manner as the authority directs.

(d) The authority shall not allocate any expenditures made by a gas company pursuant to subdivision (5) of subsection (b) of this section to residential customers in any rate schedule proceedings held pursuant to section 16-19, as amended by this act, unless the authority finds that effective competition in the residential gas market already exists.

(e) The authority shall adopt regulations to carry out the purposes of subsections (a) and (b) of this section.

(f) Each gas or electric distribution company shall conspicuously indicate in all of its advertising whether the costs of the advertising are being paid for by the company's shareholders, its customers or both.

(g) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a telecommunications company, as defined in section 16-1, or a telephone company, as defined in section 16-1.

Sec. 5. Subsection (f) of section 16-19e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(f) The provisions of this section shall not apply to the regulation of a telecommunications service which is a competitive service, as defined in section 16-247a, as amended by this act, or to a telecommunications service to which an approved plan for an alternative form of regulation applies. [, pursuant to section 16-247k.]

Sec. 6. Subsection (b) of section 16-19j of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, the authority shall require a portion of the staff to be made a party to proceedings relating to (1) a rate amendment proposed pursuant to section 16-19, as amended by this act, by a public service company having more than seventy-five thousand customers, (2) the approval of performance-based incentives pursuant to subsection (b) of section 16-19a, or (3) the approval of any alternative form of regulation, [pursuant to section 16-247k,] provided the authority shall not require a portion of the staff to be made a party to any proceeding described in this subsection if the authority issues a notice of its intent not to do so in writing. The notice shall include the reasons for not requiring a portion of the staff to be made a party. Upon petition of any party so noticed, the authority shall require a portion of the staff to be made a party.

Sec. 7. Subsection (a) of section 16-41 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) Each (1) public service company and its officers, agents and employees, (2) electric supplier or person providing electric generation services without a license in violation of section 16-245, and its officers, agents and employees, (3) certified telecommunications provider or person providing telecommunications services without authorization pursuant to sections 16-247f to 16-247h, inclusive, as amended by this act, and its officers, agents and employees, (4) person, public agency or public utility, as such terms are defined in section 16-345, subject to the requirements of chapter 293, (5) person subject to the registration requirements under section 16-258a, (6) cellular mobile telephone carrier, as described in section 16-250b, (7) Connecticut electric efficiency partner, as defined in section 16-243v, (8) company, as defined in section 16-49, and (9) entity approved to submeter pursuant to section 16-19ff shall obey, observe and comply with all applicable provisions of this title and each applicable order made or applicable regulations adopted by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority by virtue of this title as long as the same remains in force. Any such company, electric supplier, certified telecommunications provider, cellular mobile telephone carrier, Connecticut electric efficiency partner, entity approved to submeter, person, any officer, agent or employee thereof, public agency or public utility which the authority finds has failed to obey or comply with any such provision of this title, order or regulation shall be fined by order of the authority in accordance with the penalty prescribed for the violated provision of this title or, if no penalty is prescribed, not more than ten thousand dollars for each offense, except that the penalty shall be a fine of not more than forty thousand dollars for failure to comply with an order of the authority made in accordance with the provisions of section 16-19, [or 16-247k] as amended by this act, or within thirty days of such order or within any specific time period for compliance specified in such order. Each distinct violation of any such provision of this title, order or regulation shall be a separate offense and, in case of a continued violation, each day thereof shall be deemed a separate offense. Each such penalty and any interest charged pursuant to subsection (g) or (h) of section 16-49 shall be excluded from operating expenses for purposes of rate-making.

Sec. 8. Section 16-247a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) Due to the following: Affordable, high quality telecommunications services that meet the needs of individuals and businesses in the state are necessary and vital to the welfare and development of our society; the efficient provision of modern telecommunications services by multiple providers will promote economic development in the state; expanded employment opportunities for residents of the state in the provision of telecommunications services benefit the society and economy of the state; and advanced telecommunications services enhance the delivery of services by public and not-for-profit institutions, it is, therefore, the goal of the state to (1) ensure the universal availability and accessibility of high quality, affordable telecommunications services to all residents and businesses in the state, (2) promote the development of effective competition as a means of providing customers with the widest possible choice of services, (3) utilize forms of regulation commensurate with the level of competition in the relevant telecommunications service market, (4) facilitate the efficient development and deployment of an advanced telecommunications infrastructure, including open networks with maximum interoperability and interconnectivity, (5) encourage shared use of existing facilities and cooperative development of new facilities where legally possible, and technically and economically feasible, and (6) ensure that providers of telecommunications services in the state provide high quality customer service and high quality technical service. The authority shall implement the provisions of this section, sections 16-1, 16-18a, as amended by this act, 16-19, as amended by this act, 16-19e, as amended by this act, 16-22, 16-247b, as amended by this act, 16-247c, as amended by this act, 16-247e to 16-247h, inclusive, [and 16-247k] and subsection (e) of section 16-331 in accordance with these goals.

(b) As used in sections 16-247a to 16-247c, inclusive, as amended by this act, 16-247e to 16-247h, inclusive, [16-247k,] section 16-247o and sections [16-247m] 16-247q to 16-247r, inclusive:

(1) "Affiliate" means a person, firm or corporation which, with another person, firm or corporation, is under the common control of the same parent firm or corporation.

(2) "Competitive service" means (A) a telecommunications service deemed competitive in accordance with the provisions of section 16-247f, as amended by this act, (B) a telecommunications service reclassified by the authority as competitive in accordance with the provisions of section 16-247f, as amended by this act, or (C) a new telecommunications service provided under a competitive service tariff accepted by the authority, in accordance with the provisions of section 16-247f, as amended by this act, provided the authority has not subsequently reclassified the service set forth in subparagraph (A), (B) or (C) of this subdivision as noncompetitive pursuant to section 16-247f, as amended by this act.

(3) "Emerging competitive service" means (A) a telecommunications service reclassified as emerging competitive in accordance with the provisions of section 16-247f, as amended by this act, or (B) a new telecommunications service provided under an emerging competitive service tariff accepted by the authority, in accordance with the provisions of section 16-247f, as amended by this act, or of a plan for an alternative form of regulation approved, [pursuant to section 16-247k,] provided the authority has not subsequently reclassified the service set forth in subparagraph (A) or (B) of this subdivision as competitive or noncompetitive pursuant to section 16-247f, as amended by this act.

(4) "Noncompetitive service" means (A) a telecommunications service deemed noncompetitive in accordance with the provisions of section 16-247f, as amended by this act, (B) a telecommunications service reclassified by the authority as noncompetitive in accordance with the provisions of section 16-247f, as amended by this act, or (C) a new telecommunications service provided under a noncompetitive service tariff accepted by the authority, in accordance with the provisions of section 16-19, as amended by this act, and any applicable regulations, or of a plan for an alternative form of regulation approved, [pursuant to section 16-247k,] provided the authority has not subsequently reclassified the service set forth in subparagraph (A), (B) or (C) of this subdivision as competitive or emerging competitive pursuant to section 16-247f, as amended by this act.

(5) "Private telecommunications service" means any telecommunications service which is not provided for public hire as a common carrier service and is utilized solely for the telecommunications needs of the person that controls such service and any subsidiary or affiliate thereof, except for telecommunications service which enables two entities other than such person, subsidiary or affiliate to communicate with each other.

(6) "Telecommunications service" means any transmission in one or more geographic areas (A) between or among points specified by the user, (B) of information of the user's choosing, (C) without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received, (D) by means of electromagnetic transmission, including but not limited to, fiber optics, microwave and satellite, (E) with or without benefit of any closed transmission medium, and (F) including all instrumentalities, facilities, apparatus and services, except customer premises equipment, which are used for the collection, storage, forwarding, switching and delivery of such information and are essential to the transmission.

(7) "Network elements" means "network elements", as defined in 47 USC 153(a)(29).

Sec. 9. Section 16-247b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

[(a) On petition or its own motion, the authority shall initiate a proceeding to unbundle a telephone company's network, services and functions that are used to provide telecommunications services and which the authority determines, after notice and hearing, are in the public interest, are consistent with federal law and are technically feasible of being tariffed and offered separately or in combinations. Any telecommunications services, functions and unbundled network elements and any combination thereof shall be offered under tariff at rates, terms and conditions that do not unreasonably discriminate among actual and potential users and actual and potential providers of such local network services.

(b) Each telephone company shall provide reasonable nondiscriminatory access and pricing to all telecommunications services, functions and unbundled network elements and any combination thereof necessary to provide telecommunications services to customers. The authority shall determine the rates that a telephone company charges for telecommunications services, functions and unbundled network elements and any combination thereof, that are necessary for the provision of telecommunications services.] The rates for interconnection and a telephone company's unbundled network elements and any combination thereof shall be [based on their respective forward looking long-run incremental costs, and shall be] consistent with the provisions of 47 USC 252(d).

[(c) (1) The rate that a telephone company charges for a competitive or emerging competitive telecommunications service shall not be less than the sum of (A) the rate charged to another telecommunications company for a noncompetitive or emerging competitive local network service function used by that company to provide a competing telecommunications service, and (B) the applicable incremental costs of the telephone company.

(2) On and after the date the authority certifies a telephone company's operations support systems interface pursuant to section 16-247n, the authority shall, upon petition, conduct a contested case proceeding to consider whether modification or removal of the pricing standard set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection for a telecommunications service deemed competitive pursuant to section 16-247f is appropriate. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, if the authority determines that such a modification or removal is appropriate and is consistent with the goals set forth in section 16-247a, the authority shall so modify or remove said pricing standard for such telecommunications service.

(3) Prior to the date that the authority certifies a telephone company's operations support systems interface pursuant to section 16-247n, the authority may, upon petition, conduct a contested case proceeding to consider whether modification or removal of the pricing standard set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection for a telecommunications service deemed competitive pursuant to section 16-247f is appropriate. Any petition filed pursuant to this subdivision shall specify the geographic area in which the applicant proposes to modify or remove such pricing standard. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, if the authority determines that such modification or removal is appropriate, is consistent with the goals set forth in section 16-247a and facilities-based competition exists in the relevant geographic area, the authority shall so modify or remove said pricing standard for such telecommunications service. In determining whether facilities-based competition exists in the relevant geographic area, the authority shall consider:

(A) The number, size and geographic distribution of other providers of service;

(B) The availability of functionally equivalent services in the relevant geographic area at competitive rates, terms and conditions;

(C) The financial viability of each company providing functionally equivalent services in the relevant geographic market;

(D) The existence of barriers to entry into, or exit from, the relevant geographic market;

(E) Other indicators of market power that the authority deems relevant, which may include, but not be limited to, market penetration and the extent to which the applicant can sustain the price for the service above the cost to the company of providing the service in the relevant geographic area;

(F) The extent to which other telecommunications companies must rely upon the noncompetitive services of the applicant to provide their telecommunications services and carrier access rates charged by the applicant;

(G) Other factors that may affect competition; and

(H) Other factors that may affect the public interest.

(d) A telephone company shall not use the revenues, expenses, costs, assets, liabilities or other resources derived from or associated with providing a noncompetitive service to subsidize the provision of competitive, emerging competitive or unregulated telecommunications services by such telephone company or any affiliate that is a certified telecommunications provider.]

Sec. 10. Subsection (c) of section 16-247c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(c) The authority shall not prohibit or restrict the competitive provision of intrastate telecommunications services offered by a certified telecommunications provider unless the authority finds that the competitive provision of a telecommunications service would be contrary to the goals set forth in section 16-247a, as amended by this act, or would not be in accordance with the provisions of section 16-247a, as amended by this act, or 16-247b, as amended by this act, this section [,] or sections 16-247e to 16-247h, inclusive. [, or section 16-247k.]

Sec. 11. Section 16-247f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

[(a) The authority shall regulate the provision of telecommunications services in the state in a manner designed to foster competition and protect the public interest.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 16-19, the following telecommunications services shall be deemed competitive services: (1) A telecommunications service offered on or before July 1, 1994, by a certified telecommunications provider and a wide area telephone service, "800" service, centrex service or digital centrex service offered by a telephone company, (2) a telecommunications service offered to business customers by a telephone company, (3) a home office service offered by a telephone company, and (4) a telecommunications service provided by a telephone company to a residential customer who subscribes to two or more telephone company services, including basic local exchange service, any vertical feature or interstate toll provided by a telephone company affiliate. Unless reclassified pursuant to this section, any other service offered by a telephone company on or before July 1, 1994, shall be deemed a noncompetitive service, provided such initial classification shall not be a factual finding that such service is noncompetitive. Notwithstanding subdivision (3) of subsection (c) of section 16-247b, prior to January 1, 2010, a telephone company shall not obtain a waiver from the authority of the pricing standard set forth in subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of section 16-247b for any service reclassified as competitive pursuant to subdivision (2), (3) or (4) of this subsection.

(c) On petition, on its own motion, or in conjunction with a tariff investigation conducted pursuant to subsection (f) of this section, after notice and hearing, and within ninety days of receipt of a petition or its motion or within the time period set forth in subsection (f) of this section, as applicable, the authority may reclassify a telecommunications service as competitive, emerging competitive or noncompetitive, in accordance with the degree of competition which exists for that service in the marketplace, provided (1) a competitive service shall not be reclassified as an emerging competitive service, and (2) the authority may extend the period (A) before the end of the ninety-day period and upon notifying all parties to the proceedings by thirty days, or (B) in accordance with the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, as applicable.

(d) In determining whether to reclassify a telecommunications service, the authority shall consider:

(1) The number, size and geographic distribution of certified telecommunications providers of the service, provided the authority shall not reclassify any service as competitive if such service is available only from a telephone company or an affiliate of a telephone company that is a certified telecommunications provider;

(2) The availability of functionally equivalent services in the relevant geographic area at competitive rates, terms and conditions, including, but not limited to, services offered by certified telecommunications providers, providers of commercial mobile radio services, as defined in 47 CFR 20.3, voice over Internet protocol providers and other services provided by means of alternative technologies;

(3) The existence of barriers to entry into, or exit from, the relevant market;

(4) Other factors that may affect competition; and

(5) Other factors that may affect the public interest.

(e) Except for those tariffs for services offered or provided to business retail end users for which a certified telecommunications provider or a telephone company elects to be exempt from filing or maintaining pursuant to subsection (h) of this section, each certified telecommunications provider and each telephone company shall file with the authority a new or amended tariff for each competitive or emerging competitive intrastate telecommunications service authorized pursuant to section 16-247c. A tariff for a competitive service shall be effective on five days' written notice to the authority. A tariff for an emerging competitive service shall be effective on twenty-one days' written notice to the authority. A tariff filing for a competitive or emerging competitive service shall include (1) rates and charges which may consist of a maximum rate and a minimum rate, (2) applicable terms and conditions, (3) a statement of how the tariff will benefit the public interest, and (4) any additional information required by the authority. A telephone company filing a tariff pursuant to this section shall include in said tariff filing the information set forth in subdivisions (1) to (4), inclusive, of this subsection, a complete explanation of how the company is complying with the provisions of section 16-247b and, in a tariff filing which declares a new service to be competitive or emerging competitive, a statement addressing the considerations set forth in subsection (d) of this section. If the authority approves a tariff which consists of a minimum rate and a maximum rate, the certified telecommunications provider or telephone company may amend its rates upon five days' written notice to the authority and any notice to customers which the authority may require, provided the amended rates are not greater than the approved maximum rate and not less than the approved minimum rate. A promotional offering for a previously approved competitive or emerging competitive tariffed service or a service deemed competitive pursuant to this section shall be effective on three business days' written notice to the authority.

(f) On petition or its own motion, the authority may investigate a tariff or any portion of a tariff, which investigation may include a hearing. The authority may suspend a tariff or any portion of a tariff during such investigation. The investigation may include, but is not limited to, an inquiry to determine whether the tariff is predatory, deceptive, anticompetitive or violates the pricing standard set forth in subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of section 16-247b. Not later than seventy-five days after the effective date of the tariff, unless the party filing the tariff, all statutory parties to the proceeding and the authority agree to a specific extension of time, the authority shall issue its decision, including whether to approve, modify or deny the tariff. If the authority determines that a tariff filed as a new service is, in fact, a reclassification of an existing service, the authority shall review the tariff filing as a petition for reclassification in accordance with the provisions of subsection (c) of this section.

(g) The provisions of this section shall not prohibit the authority from ordering different tariff filing procedures or effective dates for an emerging competitive service, pursuant to a plan for an alternative form of regulation of a telephone company approved by the authority in accordance with the provisions of section 16-247k.]

[(h)] (a) On and after [July 1, 2016] October 1, 2018, any certified telecommunications provider or telephone company [may, upon written notice to the authority, elect to be exempt from any requirement to file or maintain with the authority any tariff for services offered or provided to business retail end users. A certified telecommunications provider or telephone company that elects to be exempt from the requirement to file or maintain with the authority any tariff for services offered or provided to business retail end users] shall make the rates, terms and conditions for [such] services offered or provided to business retail end users available to business retail end users in a clear and conspicuous manner, that is apparent to the reasonable business retail end user, either (1) in a customer service guide, (2) on such certified telecommunications provider's or telephone company's Internet web site, or (3) in a contract between such business retail end user and such certified telecommunications provider or telephone company.

(b) On and after October 1, 2018, any certified telecommunications provider or telephone company shall make the rates, terms and conditions for services offered or provided to residential end users available to residential end users in a clear and conspicuous manner that is apparent to the reasonable residential end user on such certified telecommunications provider's or telephone company's Internet web site.

Sec. 12. Subsection (d) of section 16-247g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(d) Any certified telecommunications provider and any telephone company shall (1) maintain its accounts in such manner as the authority shall require; (2) file financial reports at such times and in such form as the authority shall prescribe; (3) file with the authority such current descriptions of services and listings of rates and charges as it may require; (4) cooperate with the authority in its investigations of consumer complaints and comply with any resulting orders; [(5) comply with standards established pursuant to section 16-247p;] and [(6)] (5) comply with additional requirements as the authority shall prescribe by regulation.

Sec. 13. Subsection (g) of section 16-247g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(g) Notwithstanding any decision of the authority to allow the competitive provision of a telecommunications service or to grant a certificate pursuant to this section, the authority, after holding a hearing with notice to all interested parties and determining that (1) continued competitive provision of a telecommunications service would be contrary to the goals set forth in section 16-247a, as amended by this act, or would not be in accordance with the provisions of sections 16-247a to 16-247c, inclusive, as amended by this act, section 16-247e or 16-247f, as amended by this act, this section [,] or section 16-247h, [or 16-247k,] (2) a certified telecommunications provider does not have adequate financial resources, managerial ability or technical competency to provide the service, or (3) a certified telecommunications provider has failed to comply with an applicable order made or regulation adopted by the authority, may suspend or revoke the authorization to provide said telecommunications service or take any other action it deems appropriate. In determining whether to suspend or revoke such authorization, the authority shall consider, without limitation, (A) the effect of such suspension or revocation on the customers of the telecommunications service, (B) the technical feasibility of suspending or revoking the authorized usage only on an intrastate basis, and (C) the financial impact of such suspension or revocation on the provider of the telecommunications service.

Sec. 14. Subsection (b) of section 16-247s of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(b) Each certified telecommunications provider, as defined in section 16-1, that provides local exchange service to customers in the state shall [provide without charge to a telephone company serving more than one hundred thousand customers for directory assistance purposes all listings for its Connecticut customers other than those listings that are nonpublished. Such telephone company, or its agent or affiliate as applicable, shall, in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, as from time to time amended, and any applicable order or regulation adopted by the Federal Communications Commission thereunder, including the availability and timing of updates and applicable rates, compile all such listings and all listings for its own Connecticut customers other than those that are nonpublished in a directory assistance database and make all such listings contained in such database available in electronic format to directory assistance providers. If a customer requests a customer listing from a certified telecommunications provider that does not provide directory assistance, such provider shall connect the customer at no charge with an entity that provides directory assistance to the customer. Each such certified telecommunications provider shall indemnify a telephone company for any damages caused by that certified telecommunications provider's negligence in misidentifying a nonpublished customer.] comply with the subscriber list terms pursuant to 47 USC 222(e).

Sec. 15. Section 16-247u of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Telephone record" means information retained by a telephone company that relates to a telephone number dialed by a customer or another person using the customer's telephone with such customer's permission, or the incoming number of a call directed to a customer or another person using the customer's telephone with such customer's permission, or other data related to such call typically contained on a customer's telephone bill, including, but not limited to, the time the call started and ended, the duration of the call, the time the call was made and any charges applied. A telephone record does not include information collected and retained by or on behalf of a customer utilizing caller identification or similar technology;

(2) "Telephone company" means any person that provides commercial telephone services to a customer, irrespective of the communications technology used to provide such service, including, but not limited to, traditional wireline or cable telephone service, cellular, broadband PCS or other wireless telephone service, microwave, satellite or other terrestrial telephone service, and voice over Internet telephone service;

(3) "Telephone" means any device used by a person for voice communications, in connection with the services of a telephone company, whether such voice communications are transmitted in analog, data or any other form;

(4) "Customer" means the person who subscribes to telephone service from a telephone company or the person in whose name such telephone service is listed. [;]

[(5) "Person" means any individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, trust, estate, cooperative association or other entity;

(6) "Procure" in regard to a telephone record, means to obtain by any means, whether electronically, in writing or in oral form, with or without consideration.

(b) No person shall: (1) Knowingly procure, attempt to procure, solicit or conspire with another to procure a telephone record of any resident of this state without the authorization of the customer to whom the record pertains, (2) knowingly sell or attempt to sell a telephone record of any resident of this state without the authorization of the customer to whom the record pertains, or (3) receive a telephone record of any resident of this state with the knowledge such record has been obtained without the authorization of the customer to whom the record pertains or by fraudulent, deceptive or false means.

(c) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any person acting pursuant to a valid court order, warrant or subpoena and shall not be construed to prevent any action by a law enforcement agency, or any officer, employee or agent of such agency, to obtain telephone records in connection with the performance of the official duties of the agency.

(d) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit a telephone company from obtaining, using, disclosing or permitting access to any telephone record, either directly or indirectly through its agents (1) as otherwise authorized by law, (2) with the lawful consent of the customer, (3) as may be necessarily incident to the rendition of the service, including, but not limited to, initiating, rendering, billing and collecting customer charges, or to the protection of the rights or property of the telephone company, or to protect the customer of those services and other carriers from fraudulent, abusive or unlawful use of or subscription to, such services, (4) to a governmental entity, if the telephone company reasonably believes that an emergency involving immediate danger of death or serious physical injury to any person justifies disclosure of the information, or (5) to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in connection with a report submitted thereto under Section 227 of the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990.

(e) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to expand upon the obligations and duties of any telephone company to protect telephone records beyond those otherwise established by federal or state law, including, but not limited to, provisions governing customer proprietary network information in Section 222 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and 47 USC 222.

(f) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a telephone company and its agents or representatives who act reasonably and in good faith pursuant to this section.]

[(g)] (b) Each telephone company that maintains telephone records of a resident of this state shall establish reasonable procedures to protect against unauthorized or fraudulent disclosure of such records which could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to any customer. For purposes of this subsection, a telephone company's procedures shall be deemed reasonable if the telephone company complies with the provisions governing customer proprietary network information in Section 222 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and 47 USC 222.

[(h) Any violation of subsection (b) of this section: (1) Involving a single telephone record of a resident of this state shall be a class C misdemeanor, (2) involving two to not more than ten telephone records of a resident of this state shall be a class B misdemeanor, and (3) involving more than ten telephone records of a resident of this state shall be a class A misdemeanor.

(i) Any violation of subsection (b) of this section shall be deemed an unfair or deceptive trade act or practice under subsection (a) of section 42-110b.]

Sec. 16. Section 16-256d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

Each telephone company, as defined in section 16-1, shall [, upon request of any business customer, provide the customer with an itemization of tariffed equipment and associated charges, indicating the number of telephones and lines and the types of service the customer is being billed for and the charge for each such telephone, line and service. Each such company shall, on a quarterly basis, notify its business customers of the availability of such itemizations.] comply with the federal truth in billing laws pursuant to 47 USC 201(b).

Sec. 17. Section 16-256i of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Customer" means (A) in the case of a residential customer, any adult who is authorized by the individual in whose name the local exchange carrier has established an account for telecommunications services to authorize a change in telecommunications services, and (B) in the case of a business customer, any individual who is authorized by the business to authorize a change in telecommunications services;

(2) "Telemarketer" means any individual who, by telephone, initiates the sale of telecommunications services for a telecommunications company; and

(3) "Telemarketing" means the act of soliciting by telephone the sale of telecommunications services.

(b) A telecommunications company shall not submit a primary, local or intrastate interexchange carrier change order to a company providing local exchange telephone service [prior to the order being confirmed in accordance with the provisions of Subpart K of Part 64 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as from time to time amended, and the provisions of this section, if applicable] unless such change order is in compliance with 47 USC 258.

[(c) A telecommunications company or its affiliate or authorized representative using telemarketing to initiate the sale of telecommunications services shall comply with the following requirements for all such telemarketing calls: (1) The telemarketer shall identify himself by name and identify the telecommunications company providing the proposed services and the name of the business, firm, corporation, association, joint stock association, trust, partnership, or limited liability company, if different from the telecommunications company, for whom the call is made; (2) the telemarketer shall state that only the customer may authorize a change in service; (3) the telemarketer shall confirm that he is speaking to the customer; (4) the telemarketer shall clearly explain the proposed services in detail and explain that an affirmative response will change the customer's telecommunications carrier; (5) the telemarketer shall obtain from the customer an affirmative response that the customer agrees to a change in his primary, local or intrastate interexchange carrier; and (6) the primary, local or intrastate interexchange carrier change order or independent third party verification record shall identify the individual with whom the telemarketer confirmed the authorization to change the primary, local or intrastate interexchange carrier.

(d) (1) A telecommunications company or its affiliate or authorized representative using telemarketing to initiate the sale of telecommunications services shall (A) prior to submitting a change in primary, local or intrastate interexchange carriers, obtain verbal authorization confirmed by an independent third party or written authorization of such change from the customer, and (B) not more than four business days after obtaining notification or confirmation that the change in carrier has been made, send by first class mail to the customer notification that the customer's primary, local or intrastate interexchange carrier has been changed, along with a postpaid postcard or toll-free number which the customer can use to deny authorization for the change order. If the telecommunications company receives a postcard or telephone call at the toll-free number provided in the notification denying authorization for the change, the company shall immediately notify the customer's previous carrier and shall cause the customer's primary, local or intrastate interexchange service to be switched back to the customer's previous carrier and shall: (i) Adjust the affected customer's bill so that the customer pays no more than the customer would have paid had his carrier not been switched; (ii) pay the previous carrier an amount equal to all charges paid by the customer after the change to the new carrier; and (iii) pay the previous carrier an amount equal to all expenses assessed by the local exchange company for switching the customer's primary, local or intrastate interexchange service.

(2) It shall be an unfair or deceptive trade practice, in violation of chapter 735a, for any telecommunications company to unreasonably delay or deny a request by a customer to switch a customer's primary, local or intrastate interexchange carrier back to the customer's previous carrier.

(e) The authority shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 to implement the provisions in this section.

(f) A telecommunications company, or its affiliate or authorized representative using telemarketing to initiate the sale of telecommunications services, which the authority determines, after notice and opportunity for a hearing as provided in section 16-41, has failed to comply with the provisions of this section or section 16-256j shall pay to the state a civil penalty of not more than ten thousand dollars per violation.]

Sec. 18. Section 16-256k of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

Each telephone company, as defined in section 16-1, and each certified telecommunications provider, as defined in said section 16-1, shall [clearly and conspicuously disclose, in writing, to customers, upon subscription and annually thereafter, (1) whether the removal or change in any telecommunications service will result in the loss of a discount or other change in the rate charged for any telecommunications service subscribed to or used by the customer; and (2) for any promotional offering filed on and after October 1, 2002, with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority pursuant to subsection (e) of section 16-247f, that the offering is a promotion and will be in effect for a limited period of time.] comply with the federal truth in billing laws pursuant to 47 USC 201(b).

Sec. 19. Sections 16-247k to 16-247n, inclusive, 16-247p, 16-256c and 16-256h of the general statutes are repealed. (Effective October 1, 2018)

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2018

16-8(b)(1)

Sec. 2

October 1, 2018

16-18a(a)

Sec. 3

October 1, 2018

16-19(h)

Sec. 4

October 1, 2018

16-19d

Sec. 5

October 1, 2018

16-19e(f)

Sec. 6

October 1, 2018

16-19j(b)

Sec. 7

October 1, 2018

16-41(a)

Sec. 8

October 1, 2018

16-247a

Sec. 9

October 1, 2018

16-247b

Sec. 10

October 1, 2018

16-247c(c)

Sec. 11

October 1, 2018

16-247f

Sec. 12

October 1, 2018

16-247g(d)

Sec. 13

October 1, 2018

16-247g(g)

Sec. 14

October 1, 2018

16-247s(b)

Sec. 15

October 1, 2018

16-247u

Sec. 16

October 1, 2018

16-256d

Sec. 17

October 1, 2018

16-256i

Sec. 18

October 1, 2018

16-256k

Sec. 19

October 1, 2018

Repealer section

ET

Joint Favorable

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: See Below

Municipal Impact: See Below

Explanation

The bill eliminates various requirements related to the state's regulation of telecommunications services (e.g., local telephone service).

The bill eliminates rate regulation for local telephone service, which may increase the local telephone rates paid by the state and municipalities, as ratepayers.

Additionally the bill removes a civil penalty provision of up to $10,000 per violation for telecommunications companies and other parties who violate certain requirements in regards to telemarketing violations. There is no fiscal impact, as there is currently no revenue collected for this purpose.

The Out Years

Any increase to local telephone service rates to the state and municipalities as ratepayers would continue into the future subject to inflation and changes in rates.

OLR Bill Analysis

SB 330

AN ACT CONCERNING THE REGULATION OF VOICE SERVICE PROVIDERS.

SUMMARY

The bill eliminates various requirements related to the state's regulation of telecommunications services (e.g., local telephone service), including requirements for telecommunications providers generally and requirements specific to telephone companies, which, by law, are telecommunications providers that provide at least one noncompetitive service.

Current law subjects telecommunications services to varying levels of regulation based on the service's degree of competitiveness and the type of company providing the service. Generally, it requires more stringent regulation of rates, tariffs, disclosures, and practices of telephone companies providing noncompetitive services (i.e., legacy utility phone companies) and less stringent regulatory requirements for telecommunications providers providing competitive services. The bill largely eliminates this regulatory framework, including:

For telephone companies, in addition to rate regulation as described above, the bill eliminates:

For all telecommunications companies, the bill eliminates, among other things:

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2018

RATES AND TARIFFS

Elimination of Regulatory Structure based on Competitiveness ( 11)

Under current law, PURA regulates telecommunication services based on their classification as competitive, emerging competitive, or noncompetitive. Current law generally allows PURA to reclassify services as competitive, emerging competitive, and noncompetitive, based on the amount of competition in the market place and related factors specified in statutes. These provisions were enacted to promote competition in the telecommunications industry. (In practice, PURA does not anticipate reclassifying services going forward, as telephone companies have not proposed a reclassification in over 10 years.)

The bill largely eliminates this regulatory structure. It retains references to competitive, noncompetitive, and emerging competitive services (see COMMENT).

Rate Regulation ( 3, 4, 10 & 19)

Existing law subjects certain utilities to rate of return regulation, in which PURA determines or approves a utility's rates based on its capital investment and operating expenses. Current law exempts from this regulation telecommunications services that are:

The bill instead exempts all telecommunication services from rate of return regulations. It also makes conforming changes throughout the statutes, including one that exempts telecommunications companies (including telephone companies) from a prohibition on recovering their political or institutional advertising costs through their rates.

Current law allows PURA to implement an alternative form of rate regulation for a telephone company's noncompetitive and emerging competitive services. Once PURA approves a plan for an alternative form of rate regulation, the company is no longer subject to rate of return regulation for the affected services. Current law also allows PURA to modify an approved plan if it determines modification is required due to previously unforeseen circumstances. In practice, PURA adopted such a plan for the state's telephone companies in 1995.

The bill eliminates the provisions for alternative forms of rate regulation.

Elimination of Required Tariffs Filed with PURA ( 11)

Under current law, telecommunications providers and telephone companies must file tariffs with PURA for their competitive and emerging competitive services. Companies can, however, elect to be exempt from this requirement for services provided to business retail end users (i.e., businesses) and instead make their rates, terms, and conditions available to businesses in a clear and conspicuous manner in their customer service guide, on their website, or in the company's contract with the business.

Beginning October 1, 2018, the bill eliminates the requirement for any company to file tariffs with PURA for competitive and emerging competitive services. For services provided to businesses, all companies must meet current law's disclosure requirements for those that elect to be exempt from the tariff requirement. For services offered or provided to residential end users, the bill requires telecommunications providers and telephone companies to make the rates, terms, and conditions available on the company's website in a clear, conspicuous manner apparent to a reasonable end user.

Under current law, tariff filings for competitive or emerging competitive services must include:

By eliminating the requirement to file tariffs, the bill also eliminates (1) provisions requiring a company's rate change to be effective only after a designated time period after the company files the tariff with PURA and (2) PURA's ability to investigate and hold hearings on tariffs.

Telephone Companies' Disclosure to Business Customers ( 16)

Conforming to the elimination of tariffs, the bill eliminates a requirement that telephone companies provide business customers, at their request, an itemization of tariffed equipment and association charges that indicates (1) the number of telephones and lines, and the types of service the customer is being billed for, and (2) the charge for each such telephone, line, and service.

The bill instead requires telephone companies to comply with existing federal law that broadly requires a communications service's charges and practices to be just and reasonable.

19 — PROCEDURES TO WITHDRAW SERVICES

The bill eliminates requirements that telephone companies with over 75,000 customers (Frontier) apply to PURA to withdraw from providing retail competitive services. Under these requirements, a telephone company's application to withdraw services must include, among other things, the number of affected customers and a discussion of how to mitigate the withdrawal's impact. Current law requires PURA to consider several factors when considering applications to withdraw services, including the withdrawal's effect on the (1) company's ability to provide other services and the quality of those services and (2) rates paid by retail customers of the withdrawn service. Under current law, PURA can only approve the applications if it finds that the withdrawal is consistent with the state's telecommunications goals and not contrary to the public interest.

9 & 19 — UNBUNDLED NETWORKS AND RATES

Current law requires PURA to unbundle a telephone company's network, services, and functions to allow other telecommunications companies to compete with the local telephone company by having reasonable and nondiscriminatory access to the network.

The bill eliminates this requirement and related provisions requiring telephone companies to provide reasonable and nondiscriminatory access to and pricing for all telecommunications services, functions, and unbundled network elements necessary to provide telecommunications service to customers. It also eliminates requirements that PURA determine telephone company rates for such services. The law requires rates for interconnection and a telephone company's unbundled network elements to be consistent with federal law. The bill eliminates a requirement that such rates also be based on respective forward looking long-run incremental costs.

The bill also deletes requirements for PURA to (1) require telephone companies to release information related to their unbundled network elements and (2) determine rates for unbundled network elements.

14 — DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE

The bill eliminates a requirement that telecommunications companies cooperate to create a statewide directory assistance database and instead requires the companies to meet applicable federal requirements. Current law requires each telecommunications company that provides local service in the state to provide its published listings for Connecticut customers to a telephone company with more than 100,000 customers (Frontier). The telephone company, its agent, or affiliate, must compile the listings with the company's own published listings in a directory assistance database and make listings in the database available to directory assistance providers.

The bill also eliminates related provisions requiring the telecommunications providers to (1) connect customers at no charge to entities that provide directory assistance if the telecommunications provider does not provide such assistance and (2) indemnify the telephone company for any damages caused by the provider's negligence in misidentifying a nonpublished customer.

The bill instead requires companies to comply with existing federal law that requires telecommunications companies that provide local service to provide subscriber list information on a timely and unbundled basis, under nondiscriminatory and reasonable rates, terms, and conditions to anyone upon request for purposes of publishing directories in any format (47 U.S.C. 222(e)). Under federal law, subscriber list information is any information that (1) identifies subscribers' listed names, telephone numbers, addresses, or primary advertising classifications and (2) a carrier or affiliate has caused to be published in any directory format identifying subscribers' listed names (47 U.S.C. 222(h)(3)).

15 — UNAUTHORIZED PROCUREMENT OF TELEPHONE RECORDS

The bill eliminates provisions generally prohibiting anyone from unauthorized procuring, selling, or receiving telephone records (see BACKGROUND) and associated penalties for violating this prohibition.

The bill eliminates provisions that, with certain exceptions, prohibit anyone from knowingly:

Current law includes exceptions to this prohibition for law enforcement officers in connection with their official duties; anyone acting under a valid court order, warrant, or subpoena; and telephone companies acting reasonably and in good faith and in certain other circumstances.

In eliminating the prohibition, the bill also eliminates associated penalties. Under current law, any violation of the prohibition described above is an unfair or deceptive trade practice under state law. Under current law, violations involving:

By law, unchanged by the bill, each telephone company that maintains a state resident's telephone records must establish reasonable procedures, as defined in federal law, to protect against the records' unauthorized or fraudulent disclosure which could result in any customer's substantial harm or inconvenience.

17 — TELEMARKETING AND “SLAMMING”

Change Orders

State and federal law requires telecommunications companies to take certain steps to prevent unauthorized switching of a customer's telecommunications carrier (i.e., “slamming”). Under current state law, a telecommunications company cannot submit an order to change a customer's primary, local, or intrastate interexchange carrier unless it authorizes the change through verbal authorization confirmed by an independent third party or written authorization of the change from the customer. The bill instead allows such change orders to be authorized in compliance with federal law, which, among other things, allows companies to verify change orders electronically and in the ways permissible currently under state law. Unlike current state law, federal law does not require the change order or third party verification record to identify the individual with whom the telemarketer confirmed authorization.

The bill also eliminates requirements for telecommunications companies that have received confirmation of such change orders to send customers notice that their carrier has changed and a post card or toll-free number they can call to deny authorization for the change order. It also eliminates related provisions requiring the company, if a customer denies authorization, to (1) adjust the customer's bill so the customer pays no more than he or she would have paid had the carrier not been switched and (2) pay related charges to the previous carrier.

Other Telemarketing Procedures

The bill eliminates other procedures telecommunications companies, their affiliates, and authorized representatives must follow when selling telecommunications services over the phone (i.e., telemarketing). The bill eliminates requirements that telemarketers conducting such calls:

Regulations and Penalties

The bill eliminates the civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation for telecommunications companies, their affiliates, and authorized representatives who fail to comply with requirements in current law concerning change orders, telemarketing, and unchanged requirements related to billing format and content. It also eliminates PURA's authority to adopt regulations related to change orders and telemarketing.

The bill also eliminates a provision making a telecommunications company's unreasonable delay or denial of a request to switch back a customer's carrier an unfair trade practice.

18 — ANNUAL DISCLOSURE ON PROMOTIONS AND DISCOUNTS

The bill eliminates requirements that telephone companies and telecommunications providers make written disclosures related to promotional offerings and discounts to their customers annually and when the customer subscribes. Under current law, the companies must disclose:

The bill instead requires the companies to comply with existing federal requirements on truth in billing.

1 — MANAGEMENT AUDITS FOR TELEPHONE COMPANIES

The law authorizes PURA to conduct management audits on public service companies (i.e., generally utilities, including telephone companies), but prohibits management audits for cable companies, with certain exceptions.

The bill similarly prohibits management audits for telephone companies, but it retains an exception for noncable communications services (see BACKGROUND). Thus, presumably, under the bill, as under current law, PURA remains authorized to conduct management audits on telephone companies' noncable communications services (e.g., phone services).

By law, unchanged by the bill, PURA may also conduct a management audit on a telephone company when the audit:

19 — OTHER REPEALED SECTIONS

Telecommunication Provider Access to Occupied Buildings

The bill eliminates provisions related to a telecommunications provider's access to occupied buildings (i.e., a residence with three or more families, a place of business with three or more occupants separately conducting business, or a combination of three or more families or businesses, including trailer parks, hospitals, and condominium associations).

The bill eliminates prohibitions on:

It also eliminates requirements for occupied building owners to permit wiring by a telecommunications provider to provide service to the building, or prewiring if the building's construction is not yet complete, as long as certain requirements are met. The bill eliminates a requirement for PURA to enact regulations for telecommunications providers to compensate occupied building owners for any taking of property resulting from the installation and wiring.

The bill also eliminates the penalty for violating these provisions, which, under current law, is a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each day after PURA finds a failure to comply.

Regulations on Quality-of-Service and Performance Standards

The bill eliminates a requirement that PURA adopt regulations establishing:

BACKGROUND

Noncable Communications Services

By law, noncable communications services are telecommunications services that are not included as cable services under federal law (CGS 16-1(14)). Under federal law, cable service is one-way transmission to subscribers of video programming (i.e., programming comparable to television broadcasts) or other information a cable operator makes available to subscribers (47 U.S.C. 522). Telecommunications services generally include any transmission of information by various means of information chosen by the user to points specified by the user (e.g., telephone service)(CGS 16-247a).

Telephone Records

By law, a telephone record is information, retained by a company providing commercial telephone services to a customer, related to:

By law, telephone records do not include information collected and retained by or on behalf of a customer using caller identification or a similar technology (CGS 16-247u(a)(1)).

Related Bill

HB 5343, favorably reported by the Energy and Technology Committee, requires PURA to impose a fine, order restitution, or both for anyone who fails to obey or comply with laws, orders, or regulations, including those orders made under alternative rate plan provisions.

COMMENT

Conforming Changes

The bill eliminates provisions on how services are classified as “competitive,” “noncompetitive,” and “emerging competitive” but retains references to such classifications in numerous places throughout the statutes. In practice, PURA does not anticipate reclassifying services going forward, as telephone companies have not proposed a reclassification in over 10 years. However, the retained references make certain provisions unclear under the bill. For example, under 16-247a, in the bill and in current law, competitive is defined in part as telecommunications services deemed competitive in accordance with 16-247f, but under the bill, 16-247f no longer contains any language describing how services are deemed competitive.

The bill eliminates provisions on alternative forms of regulation PURA can establish for telephone companies, but retains reference to such alternative forms in numerous places (e.g., line 262 in the bill, 16-247a(b)(3)). With 16-247k repealed under the bill, it is unclear what this would mean.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Energy and Technology Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

20

Nay

5

(03/20/2018)

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