2015 Oklahoma Statutes
Title 17. Corporation Commission
§17-139.106. Oklahoma Universal Service Fund.

17 OK Stat § 17-139.106 (2015) What's This?

A. There is hereby created within the Corporation Commission the "Oklahoma Universal Service Fund" (OUSF). Not later than January 31, 1998, the Corporation Commission shall promulgate rules implementing the OUSF so that, consistent with the provisions of this section, funds can be made available to eligible local exchange telecommunications service providers.

B. The fund shall be funded and administered to promote and ensure the availability of primary universal services, at rates that are reasonable and affordable and special universal services, and to provide for reasonably comparable services at affordable rates in rural areas as in urban areas. The OUSF shall provide funding to local exchange telecommunications service providers that meet the eligibility criteria established in this section.

C. The OUSF shall be funded by a charge paid by all telecommunications carriers as provided for in Section 7 of this act, at a level sufficient to maintain universal service.

D. Within ninety (90) days after receipt of a request for funds from an eligible provider, the Administrator designated pursuant to Section 7 of this act shall review and determine the accuracy of the request and advise the provider requesting the funds of the determination of eligibility made by the Administrator. Any affected party shall have fifteen (15) days to request reconsideration by the Commission of the determination made by the Administrator. If the Commission does not issue an order within thirty (30) days from the request for reconsideration, the request shall be deemed approved, on an interim basis, subject to refund with interest. Any refund shall include interest at a rate of not more than the interest rate established by the Commission on customer deposits and shall accrue for a period not to exceed ninety (90) days from the date the funds were received by the requesting eligible provider.

E. Telecommunications carriers may, at their option, recover from their retail customers the OUSF charges paid by the telecommunications carrier. The OUSF charges shall not be subject to state or local taxes or franchise fees.

F. The Commission shall not, prior to implementation and the availability of funds from the OUSF, require local exchange telecommunications service providers to reduce rates for intrastate access services.

G. Any eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider may request funding from the OUSF as necessary to maintain rates for primary universal services that are reasonable and affordable. OUSF funding shall be provided to eligible local exchange telecommunications service providers for the following:

1. To reimburse eligible local exchange telecommunications service providers for the reasonable investments and expenses not recovered from the federal universal service fund or any other state or federal government fund incurred in providing universal services;

2. Infrastructure expenditures or costs incurred in response to facility or service requirements established by a legislative, regulatory, or judicial authority or other governmental entity mandate;

3. For reimbursement of the Lifeline Service Program credits as set forth in Section 5 of this act;

4. To reimburse eligible local exchange telecommunications service providers for providing the Special Universal Services as set forth in subsection C of Section 9 of this act;

5. To defray the costs of administering the OUSF, including the costs of an annual independent audit, if not performed by the Commission staff; and

6. For other purposes deemed necessary by the Commission to preserve and advance universal service.

H. In identifying and measuring the costs of providing primary universal services, exclusively for the purpose of determining OUSF funding levels under this section, the eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider serving less than seventy-five thousand access lines shall, at its option:

1. Calculate such costs by including all embedded investments and expenses incurred by the eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider in the provision of primary universal service, and may identify high-cost areas within the local exchange area it serves and perform a fully distributed allocation of embedded costs and identification of associated primary universal service revenue. Such calculation may be made using fully distributed Federal Communications Commission parts 32, 36 and 64 costs, if such parts are applicable. The high-cost area shall be no smaller than a single exchange, wire center, or census block group, chosen at the option of the eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider; or

2. Adopt the cost studies approved by the Commission for a local exchange telecommunications service provider that serves seventy-five thousand or more access lines; or

3. Adopt such other costing or measurement methodology as may be established for such purpose by the Federal Communications Commission pursuant to Section 254 of the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.

I. In identifying and measuring the cost of providing primary universal services, and exclusively for the purpose of determining OUSF funding levels pursuant to this section, each ILEC which serves seventy-five thousand or more access lines and each CLEC shall identify high-cost areas within the local exchange and perform a cost study using a Commission-approved methodology from those identified in subsection H of this section. The high-cost area shall be no smaller than a single exchange, wire center or census block group chosen at the option of the eligible ILEC or CLEC. If the Commission fails to approve the selected methodology within one hundred twenty (120) days of the filing of the selection, the selected methodology shall be deemed approved.

J. The Commission may by rule expand primary universal services to be supported by the OUSF, after notice and hearing. The Administrator, upon approval of the Commission, shall determine the level of additional OUSF funding to be made available to an eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider which is required to recover the cost of any expansion of universal services.

K. 1. Each request for OUSF funding by an eligible ILEC serving less than seventy-five thousand access lines shall be premised upon the occurrence of one or more of the following:

a.in the event of a Federal Communications Commission order, rule or policy, the effect of which is to decrease the federal universal service fund revenues of an eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider, the eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider shall recover the decreases in revenues from the OUSF,

b.if, as a result of changes required by existing or future federal or state regulatory rules, orders, or policies or by federal or state law, an eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider experiences a reduction in revenues or an increase in costs, it shall recover the revenue reductions or cost increases from the OUSF, the recovered amounts being limited to the net reduction in revenues or cost increases, or

c.if, as a result of changes made as required by existing or future federal or state regulatory rules, orders, or policies or by federal or state law, an eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider experiences a reduction in costs, upon approval by the Commission, the provider shall reduce the level of OUSF funding it receives to a level sufficient to account for the reduction in costs.

2. The receipt of OUSF funds for any of the changes referred to in this subsection shall not be conditioned upon any rate case or earnings investigation by the Commission. The Commission shall, pursuant to subsection D of this section, approve the request for payment or adjustment of payment from the OUSF based on a comparison of the total annual revenues received from the sources affected by the changes described in paragraph 1 of this subsection by the requesting eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider during the most recent twelve (12) months preceding the request, and the reasonable calculation of total annual revenues or cost increases which will be experienced after the changes are implemented by the requesting eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider.

L. Upon request for OUSF funding by an ILEC serving seventy-five thousand or more access lines or a CLEC, the Commission shall after notice and hearing make a determination of the level of OUSF funds, if any, that the provider is eligible to receive for the purposes contained in subsection K of this section. If the Commission fails to make a determination within one hundred twenty (120) days of the filing of the request, the request for funding shall be deemed approved. Providers who are not prohibited from applying for OUSF funds as set forth in Section 9 of this act shall receive funding for any special universal services provided and contributions made to the Oklahoma E911 Emergency Service Fund and the Oklahoma Telecommunications Technology Training Fund from the OUSF without a hearing.

M. The incumbent local exchange telecommunications service provider, its successors and assigns, which owned, maintained and provided facilities for universal service within a local exchange area on January 1, 1996, shall be the local exchange telecommunications service provider eligible for OUSF funding within the local exchange area, except as otherwise provided for in this act.

N. 1. Where the incumbent local exchange telecommunications service provider receives or is eligible to receive monies from the OUSF, except as otherwise provided in this section, the Commission, after notice and hearing, may designate other local exchange telecommunications service providers to be eligible for the funding, provided:

a.the other local exchange telecommunications service provider is certificated by the Commission to provide and offers the primary universal services supported by the OUSF to all customers in the universal service area designated by the Commission, using its own facilities, or a combination of its own facilities and the resale of the services or facilities of another. Universal service support under this subsection shall not begin until the other local exchange telecommunications service provider has facilities in place,

b.the other local exchange telecommunications service provider may only receive funding for the portion of the facilities that it owns, maintains, and uses for regulated services,

c.the other local exchange telecommunications service provider shall not receive OUSF funding at a level higher than the level of funding the incumbent local exchange telecommunications service provider is eligible to receive for the same area if the incumbent local exchange telecommunications service provider is also providing service in the same area; provided, the cost of any cost studies required to be performed shall be borne by the party requesting such studies, unless the party performing the study utilizes the study for its own benefit,

d.the other local exchange telecommunications service provider advertises the availability and charges for services it provides through a medium of general distribution, and

e.it is determined by the Commission that the designation is in the public interest and the other local exchange telecommunications service provider is in compliance with all Commission rules for which a waiver has not been granted.

2. Notwithstanding the criteria set forth in this section for designation as an eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider, a commercial mobile radio service provider may, after notice and hearing, seek reimbursement from the OUSF for the provision of services supported by the OUSF, and any telecommunications carrier may seek reimbursement from the OUSF for the provision of Lifeline Service consistent with Section 5 of this act and for the provision of Special Universal Services consistent with Section 9 of this act.

O. In exchanges or wire centers where the Commission has designated more than one local exchange telecommunications service provider as eligible for OUSF funding, the Commission shall permit one or more of the local exchange telecommunications service providers in the area to relinquish the designation as a local exchange telecommunications service provider eligible for OUSF funding in a manner consistent with Section 214(e)(4) of the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, upon a finding that at least one eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider shall continue to assume the carrier-of-last-resort obligations throughout the area.

P. For any area served by an incumbent local exchange telecommunications service provider which serves less than seventy-five thousand access lines within the state, only the incumbent local exchange telecommunications service provider shall be eligible for OUSF funding except:

1. Other eligible telecommunications carriers which provide Special Universal Services or Lifeline Service shall be eligible to request and receive OUSF funds in the same manner as the incumbent local exchange telecommunications service provider in the same area pursuant to this act;

2. The incumbent local exchange telecommunications service provider may elect to waive the right to be the only eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider within the local exchange area by filing notice with the Commission; or

3. When the Commission, after notice and hearing, makes a determination that it is in the public interest that another local exchange telecommunications service provider should also be deemed a carrier of last resort and be eligible to receive OUSF funding in addition to the incumbent local exchange telecommunications service provider. It shall not be in the public interest to designate another local exchange telecommunications service provider as being a carrier of last resort and eligible to receive OUSF funding if such designation would cause a significant adverse economic impact on users of telecommunications services generally or if the other carrier refuses to seek and accept carrier-of-last-resort obligations throughout the universal service area as designated by the Commission. The other local exchange telecommunications service provider shall not receive OUSF funding at a level higher than the level of funding the incumbent local exchange telecommunications service provider is eligible to receive for the same area if the incumbent local exchange telecommunications service provider is also providing service in the same area and the other local exchange telecommunications service provider meets the requirements of subparagraphs a, b, d and e of paragraph 1 of subsection N of this section.

Added by Laws 1997, c. 408, § 6, eff. July 1, 1997.

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