2010 Pennsylvania Code
Title 66 - PUBLIC UTILITIES
Chapter 30 - Alternative Form of Regulation of Telecommunications Services
3014 - Network modernization plans.

     § 3014.  Network modernization plans.
        (a)  Continuation of approved plan.--A local exchange
     telecommunications company that does not elect an option under
     subsection (b) shall remain subject to its network modernization
     plan in effect as of December 31, 2003, without revision or
     modification except by agreement under section 3013(b) (relating
     to continuation of commission-approved alternative regulation
     and network modernization plans) and as provided in this section
     through December 31, 2015.
        (b)  Options for amendment of network modernization plan.--
     Local exchange telecommunications companies shall have the
     following options:
            (1)  (i)  A rural telecommunications carrier that elects
            to amend its network modernization plan pursuant to this
            subsection shall remain subject to the carrier's network
            modernization plan in effect as of December 31, 2003, as
            amended pursuant to this subsection, through December 31,
            2008. Prior to implementation of such election, the rural
            telecommunications carrier shall comply with the
            notification requirements of subsection (e).
                (ii)  The rural telecommunications carrier shall
            commit to accelerate 100% broadband availability by
            December 31, 2008, in its amended network modernization
            plan. Any rural telecommunications carrier electing this
            option shall not be required to offer a bona fide retail
            request program or a business attraction or retention
            program.
            (2)  (i)  A rural telecommunications carrier that elects
            to amend its network modernization plan pursuant to this
            subsection shall remain subject to the carrier's network
            modernization plan in effect as of December 31, 2003, as
            amended pursuant to this subsection, through December 31,
            2013, or December 31, 2015, as applicable. Prior to
            implementation of such election, the rural
            telecommunications carrier shall comply with the
            notification requirements of subsection (e).
                (ii)  The rural telecommunications carrier shall
            commit:
                    (A)  to accelerate broadband availability to at
                least 80% of its total retail access lines in its
                distribution network by December 31, 2010, and 100%
                of its total retail access lines in its distribution
                network by December 31, 2013; or
                    (B)  to accelerate broadband availability to at
                least 80% of its total retail access lines in its
                distribution network by December 31, 2010, and 100%
                of its total retail access lines in its distribution
                network by December 31, 2015; and
                    (C)  to offer a bona fide retail request program
                and a business attraction or retention program
                pursuant to subsections (c) and (d). Under no
                circumstances may the rural telecommunications
                carrier reduce its existing broadband availability
                commitment.
            (3)  (i)  A nonrural telecommunications carrier that
            elects to amend its network modernization plan pursuant
            to this subsection shall remain subject to such carrier's
            network modernization plan in effect as of December 31,
            2003, as amended pursuant to this subsection, including
            meeting its 100% broadband availability commitment. Prior
            to implementation of such election, the nonrural
            telecommunications carrier shall comply with the
            notification requirements of subsection (e).
                (ii)  The nonrural telecommunications carrier shall
            commit:
                    (A)  to provide broadband availability to 100% of
                its total retail access lines in its distribution
                network by December 31, 2013, or December 31, 2015;
                and
                    (B)  to offer a bona fide retail request program
                and a business attraction or retention program
                pursuant to subsections (c) and (d). Under no
                circumstances may such nonrural telecommunications
                carrier reduce its existing broadband availability
                commitment.
            (4)  A local exchange telecommunications company that
        elects under paragraph (1), (2) or (3) shall also commit to
        universal broadband deployment in or adjacent to public
        rights-of-way abutting all public schools, including the
        administration offices supporting public schools, industrial
        parks and health care facilities in its service territory on
        or before December 31, 2005, except that a local exchange
        telecommunications company serving more than ten exchanges in
        this Commonwealth may elect to extend this commitment from
        December 31, 2005, to December 31, 2006, for any exchange
        with less than 4,000 access lines.
            (5)  A local exchange telecommunications company that
        elects under paragraph (1), (2) or (3) may amend its network
        modernization plan to extend the period of time within which
        broadband service must be made available to a customer to up
        to ten business days after the customer's request for
        broadband service.
            (6)  A local exchange telecommunications company
        operating under an amended network modernization plan may
        subsequently petition the commission for approval of further
        modification of its amended network modernization plan, which
        the commission may grant upon good cause shown.
            (7)  A rural telecommunications carrier serving less than
        50,000 access lines in this Commonwealth making an election
        pursuant to paragraph (1) and filing its amended network
        modernization plan with the commission pursuant to subsection
        (e) shall be granted by the commission a suspension of
        section 251(c)(2), (3), (4), (5) and (6) obligations under
        the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This suspension of
        obligations shall expire December 31, 2008, unless extended
        by the commission. Should the commission, following a
        hearing, determine that the rural telecommunications carrier
        has failed to timely meet its commitments pursuant to this
        paragraph, the suspension of obligations shall expire upon
        entry of the commission order making such determination.
        Expiration of the suspension of obligations shall not impact
        the rural telephone company exemption of the rural
        telecommunications carrier under section 251(f)(1) of the
        Telecommunications Act of 1996.
            (8)  A local exchange telecommunications company may
        accelerate its broadband availability commitment by electing
        an additional option pursuant to paragraph (1), (2) or (3),
        as applicable, at a later date. The local exchange
        telecommunications company shall be subject to the applicable
        modified inflation offset in its price stability mechanism as
        set forth in section 3015(a)(1) (relating to alternative
        forms of regulation) effective upon the filing of an amended
        network modernization plan under subsection (e).
        (c)  Bona fide retail request program.--A local exchange
     telecommunications company that elects to amend its network
     modernization plan pursuant to subsection (b)(2) or (3) shall no
     later than 90 days after the effective date of its amended plan
     implement a bona fide retail request program in areas where it
     does not provide broadband. Not later than 30 days in advance of
     program implementation, the local exchange telecommunications
     company shall file with the commission and provide the
     department with a written description of the program, a sample
     request for advanced services form for use in the program and
     the form of any advanced services term subscription agreements
     customers will be required to execute in connection with
     receiving the requested services. A bona fide retail request
     program shall consist of the following:
            (1)  Any person, business, local development district,
        industrial development agency or other entity seeking
        advanced services pursuant to a bona fide retail request
        program shall submit a written request for such services to
        the local exchange telecommunications company or to the
        department in accordance with subsection (d). The written
        request may be in the form of a petition which includes the
        information required by paragraph (2), in the form provided
        by the department under subsection (d) which includes the
        information required by paragraph (2) or in the form of
        individual requests each of which includes the information
        required by paragraph (2). If individual requests are
        received, the local exchange telecommunications company shall
        aggregate requests for the same service and initiate
        appropriate action pursuant to this subsection when the
        required number of requests have been received.
            (2)  To be considered a bona fide retail request, the
        written request must include:
                (i)  a request that a minimum of 50 retail access
            lines or 25% of retail access lines within a community,
            whichever is less, each be provided the same advanced
            service or comparable advanced services having a
            bandwidth within 100 kilobits per second (Kbps) of each
            other. Notwithstanding the foregoing comparable bandwidth
            limitation, where a request includes individual customer
            requests for advanced services having equal to or less
            than 1.544 megabits per second (Mbps) bandwidth in the
            downstream direction, all lines in the request shall be
            counted in meeting the minimum line requirement of this
            subparagraph;
                (ii)  the name, address, telephone number and
            signature of each existing retail customer requesting the
            advanced service, the advanced service being requested
            and the number of access lines for which the advanced
            service is being requested;
                (iii)  the name, address and telephone number of a
            designated contact person where the request is made by or
            on behalf of more than one person or business; and
                (iv)  a commitment by each customer who signs the
            request to subscribe to the requested service for one
            year, subject to the local exchange telecommunications
            company's identification of the price and terms of the
            service and the customer's agreement to the price and
            terms.
            (3)  In administering the bona fide retail request
        program, the local exchange telecommunications company shall:
                (i)  establish an Internet website and toll-free
            telephone number to address customer inquiries regarding
            the program;
                (ii)  mail a request form to a customer upon request;
                (iii)  confirm its receipt of any completed request
            in writing to the customer and identify the service
            requested;
                (iv)  as part of the written confirmation, if
            available, or in a subsequent written communication to
            the customer, provide the customer the applicable rate,
            the contract term, the status of the request and a term
            subscription agreement for execution; and
                (v)  notify the customers in a community, within 30
            days of receipt of a bona fide request, of the expected
            date of the availability of the requesters' service.
            (4)  When a bona fide retail request has been received
        that meets the requirements of paragraph (2), the local
        exchange telecommunications company shall provide the
        requested advanced service, or other reasonably comparable
        service having a bandwidth within 100 kilobits per second
        (Kbps) of the requested service, to the community as soon as
        practicable, but in no event later than 365 days of the date
        the requirements of paragraph (2) have been met or within the
        period approved by the commission under paragraph (5) or (6)
        where:
                (i)  the local exchange telecommunications company
            provides the requested advanced service to other
            customers in its service territory;
                (ii)  no service is available to the requesting
            customers from an alternative service provider at or
            within 100 kilobits per second (Kbps) of the data speed
            requested or such service is available at a price that
            exceeds the then current price offered by the local
            exchange telecommunications company by more than 50%;
                (iii)  the community is situated within the service
            territory of the local exchange telecommunications
            company; and
                (iv)  the local exchange telecommunications company
            does not have to provide fiber to the customer's premises
            to furnish the requested advanced service.
            (5)  Where, as a result of property acquisition,
        including acquiring rights-of-way, or new construction, a
        local exchange telecommunications company is unable to
        provide the requested advanced service within the one-year
        period set forth in paragraph (4), the company may petition
        the commission for an extension of up to six months, with
        service upon the customer or customers who made the bona fide
        retail request and the department if the department submitted
        the request on behalf of the customer or customers. The
        commission may delegate its authority to rule on such
        petitions to a bureau director or other appropriate employee
        who shall grant the petition for good cause shown.
            (6)  Where the total number of bona fide retail requests
        received by any local exchange telecommunications company or
        affiliated companies that meet the requirements of paragraphs
        (2) and (4) exceed 40 requests in any 12-month period or
        where there are more than 20 such requests that require
        property acquisition, including acquiring rights-of-way, or
        new construction in any 12-month period, the local exchange
        telecommunications company or companies may provide a
        verified certification to the commission that one or both of
        the previously stated criteria are met, with service upon the
        customer or customers who made the additional requests and
        upon the department if the department submitted any such
        requests. Upon receipt of the certification, the commission
        or the commission through its designated staff shall permit
        the local exchange telecommunications company or companies to
        extend the time for such deployments for a period of no more
        than 12 months unless the commission determines an additional
        time period to be just and reasonable. If a deployment is
        extended, it shall be counted in determining the maximum
        number of deployments provided for under this subsection in
        any 12-month period covering the month to which it is
        extended.
            (7)  No advanced service requested and deployed by a
        local exchange telecommunications company under the bona fide
        retail request program which has a bandwidth of less than
        1.544 megabits per second (Mbps) in the downstream direction
        shall be counted as a credit toward the local exchange
        telecommunications company's broadband deployment obligation
        under its network modernization plan amended pursuant to
        subsection (b)(2) or (3).
            (8)  With regard to requests submitted under this
        subsection, a retail customer may challenge the action of a
        local exchange telecommunications company pursuant to section
        701 (relating to complaints).
            (9)  Local exchange telecommunications companies with
        bona fide retail request programs shall provide semiannual
        reports to the commission and the department of the number of
        requests for advanced services received during the reporting
        period by exchange or density cell and the action taken on
        requests meeting the requirements of this subsection.
            (10)  A local exchange telecommunication company's bona
        fide retail request program established under this subsection
        shall continue through December 31, 2015, or such earlier
        date as the local exchange telecommunications company
        achieves 100% broadband availability throughout its service
        territory.
            (11)  In addition to adjudicating any complaints brought
        by customers under paragraph (8), the commission shall
        monitor and enforce the compliance of participating local
        exchange telecommunications companies with their obligations
        under this subsection.
        (d)  Business attraction or retention program.--
            (1)  Not later than 90 days after amending its network
        modernization plan under subsection (b)(2) or (3), the local
        exchange telecommunications company shall establish a
        business attraction or retention program to permit the
        department to aggregate customer demand where necessary and
        facilitate the deployment of advanced or broadband services
        to qualifying businesses which the department seeks to
        attract to or retain in this Commonwealth and whose requests
        for such services are submitted by or through the department.
            (2)  Each local exchange telecommunications company which
        amends its network modernization plan under subsection (b)(2)
        or (3) not later than 90 days after the effective date of its
        amended plan shall designate a single point of contact to
        receive all written advanced or broadband service requests
        forwarded by the department, provide associated contact
        information to the department and provide the department and
        the commission with a written description of its
        participation in the program and a sample request for
        advanced or broadband services form for use in the program.
            (3)  The department may submit a request to the
        applicable local exchange telecommunications company by or on
        behalf of qualifying businesses in areas that the department
        deems priority areas for economic development, including and
        giving preference to keystone opportunity zones, keystone
        opportunity expansion zones, enterprise zones, keystone
        opportunity improvement zones and other areas identified by
        the department as lacking adequate access to advanced or
        broadband services which would be important in order to
        promote economic development projects in those areas.
            (4)  The department shall establish an advisory committee
        that shall consist of representatives of each local exchange
        telecommunications company with a business attraction or
        retention program, local development districts and other
        local economic and industrial development agencies to assist
        the department in developing protocols and procedures for
        implementing these programs pursuant to this subsection.
            (5)  Qualifying business or businesses' requests for
        advanced services submitted by the department that are
        provisioned through the bona fide retail request program
        shall be processed in accordance with subsection (c) and
        shall be allocated 50% of the maximum number of annual
        deployments referenced in subsection (c)(6). Other requests
        shall be allocated 50% of the number of such deployments,
        provided, however, that any allocated deployments that are
        unused may be utilized by the department or nondepartment
        applicants, as applicable.
            (6)  For qualifying business or businesses whose request
        for advanced services is determined by the local exchange
        telecommunications company to be better processed outside of
        the bona fide retail request program, the local exchange
        telecommunications company shall make a proposal to the
        requesting business or businesses to provide the requested
        advanced or broadband service and subsequently shall
        provision such service. The local exchange telecommunications
        company shall advise the department and the business or
        businesses within 30 days of the date the contract is signed
        of the date by which the requested advanced or broadband
        service will be provided, which date shall be not later than
        one year after the date the contract is signed unless the
        business or businesses agree to a longer period or the local
        exchange telecommunications company obtains commission
        approval of an extension under the same procedure set forth
        in subsection (c)(5).
            (7)  No advanced service requested of and deployed by a
        local exchange telecommunications company under the Business
        Attraction or Retention Program which has a bandwidth of less
        than 1.544 megabits per second (Mbps) in the downstream
        direction shall be counted as a credit toward the local
        exchange telecommunication company's broadband deployment
        obligation under its network modernization plan amended under
        subsection (b)(2) or (3).
            (8)  Each local exchange telecommunications company which
        is required to participate in the department's Business
        Attraction or Retention Program shall continue its
        participation through December 31, 2015, or such earlier date
        as it achieves 100% broadband availability throughout its
        service territory.
            (9)  The department shall oversee local exchange
        telecommunications company participation in the Business
        Attraction or Retention Program, including the timely
        completion of qualifying advanced or broadband services
        requests submitted by or through the department which are
        processed within or outside of the participating local
        exchange telecommunications companies' bona fide retail
        request programs.
            (10)  The commission shall monitor and enforce the
        compliance of participating local exchange telecommunications
        companies with their obligations under the Business
        Attraction or Retention Program.
        (e)  Notice of filing of amendments.--A local exchange
     telecommunications company that elects to amend its network
     modernization plan under subsection (b) shall notify the
     commission in writing of such election and, within 60 days
     following such notification, file its amended network
     modernization plan with the commission. Copies of the written
     notice of election and of the amended network modernization plan
     shall be served by the local exchange telecommunications company
     on the Office of Consumer Advocate and the Office of Small
     Business Advocate. Concurrent with the filing of the amended
     plan with the commission, the local exchange telecommunications
     company shall publish notice of such filing in a newspaper or
     newspapers of general circulation in its service territory or by
     bill message or insert. An amended plan compliant with the
     requirements of this chapter shall be approved by the commission
     within 100 days of its filing. If the commission fails to act
     within 100 days, the amended plan shall be deemed approved.
        (f)  Network modernization plan report.--
            (1)  A local exchange telecommunications company
        operating under a network modernization plan shall continue
        to file with the commission biennial reports on its provision
        of broadband availability in the form and detail required by
        the commission as of July 1, 2004, unless such reporting
        requirements are subsequently reduced by the commission.
            (2)  Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to
        impede the ability of the commission to require the
        submission of further information to support the accuracy of
        or to seek an explanation of the reports specified in this
        subsection.
            (3)  Under no circumstances shall the commission compel
        the public release of maps or other information describing
        the actual location of a local exchange telecommunications
        company's facilities.
        (g)  Assistance to political subdivisions.--A local exchange
     telecommunications company shall commit in its amended network
     modernization plan to make technical assistance available to
     political subdivisions located in its service territory in
     pursuing the deployment of additional telecommunications
     infrastructure or services by the local exchange
     telecommunications company.
        (h)  Prohibition against political subdivision advanced and
     broadband services deployment.--
            (1)  Except as otherwise provided for under paragraph
        (2), a political subdivision or any entity established by a
        political subdivision may not provide to the public for
        compensation any telecommunications services, including
        advanced and broadband services, within the service territory
        of a local exchange telecommunications company operating
        under a network modernization plan.
            (2)  A political subdivision may offer advanced or
        broadband services if the political subdivision has submitted
        a written request for the deployment of such service to the
        local exchange telecommunications company serving the area
        and, within two months of receipt of the request, the local
        exchange telecommunications company or one of its affiliates
        has not agreed to provide the data speeds requested. If the
        local exchange telecommunications company or one of its
        affiliates agrees to provide the data speeds requested, then
        it must do so within 14 months of receipt of the request.
            (3)  The prohibition in paragraph (1) shall not be
        construed to preclude the continued provision or offering of
        telecommunications services by a political subdivision of the
        same type and scope as were being provided on the effective
        date of this section.
        (i)  Broadband Outreach and Aggregation Program.--
            (1)  The department shall establish a Broadband Outreach
        and Aggregation Program for the purpose of making
        expenditures and providing grants from the Broadband Outreach
        and Aggregation Fund established under section 3015(c)
        (relating to alternative forms of regulation) for:
                (i)  Outreach programs for political subdivisions,
            economic development entities, schools, health care
            facilities, businesses and residential customers
            concerning the benefits, use and procurement of broadband
            services; and
                (ii)  Seed grants to aggregate customer demand for
            broadband services in communities or political
            subdivisions with limited access to such services and to
            permit customers in such communities or political
            subdivisions to request such services from a
            telecommunications provider.
            (2)  The department shall annually report to the
        commission on all payments to and expenditures from the
        Broadband Outreach and Aggregation Fund, and the commission
        shall verify the accuracy of the contributions from the
        participating local exchange telecommunications companies.
        (j)  Education Technology Program.--
            (1)  The Department of Education shall establish an
        Education Technology Program for the purpose of providing
        grants to school entities from the Education Technology Fund
        (E-Fund) established under section 3015(d).
            (2)  The Department of Education shall authorize grants
        from the E-Fund for the following purposes:
                (i)  Purchase or lease of telecommunications
            services, infrastructure or facilities to establish and
            support broadband networks between, among and within
            school entities and not for the provision of
            telecommunications services to the public for
            compensation.
                (ii)  Purchase or lease of premises
            telecommunications network equipment and end-user
            equipment to enable the effective use of broadband
            networks between, among and within school entities and
            not for the provision of telecommunications services to
            the public for compensation.
                (iii)  Distance learning initiatives that use the
            foregoing broadband networks.
                (iv)  Technical support services for the activities
            described in subparagraphs (i) through (iii).
            (3)  Each applicant school entity shall be required to
        provide 100% matching funds to support each E-Fund grant
        request. Funds received from Federal technology programs such
        as the universal service support mechanism for schools and
        libraries set forth in 47 CFR Pt. 54 (relating to universal
        service or successor regulations), in-kind contributions and
        any other technology expenditures shall be applied toward the
        matching fund requirement.
            (4)  No later than 90 days after the effective date of
        this section, the Department of Education shall prescribe the
        grant process and the form and manner of the E-Fund
        application. Grants shall be limited to the funds available
        in the Education Technology Fund. In awarding grants, the
        Department of Education shall give priority to applications:
                (i)  that are submitted by school entities that seek
            funds for discounted broadband services under subsection
            (l) or for broadband infrastructure, facilities or
            equipment from local exchange telecommunications
            companies which contribute to the E-Fund;
                (ii)  that seek funds for regional networks that
            serve multiple school districts which are filed on behalf
            of multiple school districts and school entities; or
                (iii)  that are submitted by school entities that do
            not have broadband service, provided, however, that
            nothing in this subsection shall preclude the department
            from awarding funds to school entities for
            telecommunications services, infrastructure or facilities
            that provide bandwidths greater than 1.544 megabits per
            second (Mbps).
        The Department of Education shall assure that the
        applications funded each year are geographically dispersed
        throughout the Commonwealth.
        (k)  Balanced deployment.--A local exchange
     telecommunications company shall reasonably balance deployment
     of its broadband network between rural, urban and suburban areas
     within its service territory, as those areas are applicable, in
     accordance with its approved network modernization plan.
        (l)  Broadband discounts to schools.--Each local exchange
     telecommunications company that elects to amend its network
     modernization plan pursuant to this section:
            (1)  Shall offer school customers which meet the
        eligibility standards described in 47 CFR 54.501 (relating to
        eligibility for services provided by telecommunications
        carriers) and which agree to enter into a minimum three-year
        contract a 30% discount, or greater discount at the local
        exchange telecommunications company's discretion, in the
        otherwise applicable tariffed distance-sensitive per-mile
        rate element and also will waive the associated nonrecurring
        charges for available intrastate broadband services where
        used for educational purposes and not for the provision of
        telecommunications services to the public for compensation.
        The discount or waiver shall not be required where
        application of it to a particular service would conflict with
        applicable law.
            (2)  Will assist school customers in applying for e-rate
        funding under 47 CFR 54.505 (relating to discounts).
        (m)  Inventory of available services.--
            (1)  The department shall compile, periodically update
        and publish, including at its Internet website, a listing of
        advanced and broadband services, by general location,
        available from all advanced and broadband service providers
        operating in this Commonwealth irrespective of the technology
        used.
            (2)  All providers of advanced and broadband services
        shall cooperate with the department.
            (3)  The department may not disclose maps or other
        information describing the specific location of any
        telecommunications carrier's or alternative service
        provider's facilities.
        (n)  Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be
     construed:
            (1)  As giving the commission the authority to require a
        local exchange telecommunications company to provide specific
        services or to deploy a specific technology to retail
        customers seeking broadband or advanced services.
            (2)  As prohibiting a local exchange telecommunications
        company from participating in joint ventures with other
        entities in meeting its advanced services and broadband
        deployment commitments under its network modernization plan.
     (Nov. 30, 2004, P.L.1398, No.183)

        2004 Amendment.  Act 183 added section 3014, effective
     January 1, 2006, as to subsec. (h)(3) and immediately as to the
     remainder of the section.
        Cross References.  Section 3014 is referred to in sections
     3012, 3015 of this title.

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