R17-02  REQUIREMENTS AND LIMITATIONS REGARDING CERTIFICATION OF COMPETING LOCAL PROVIDERS

(a)  Any entity other than an existing CLP certificate holder applying for a certificate or for authority to acquire an existing certificate shall complete a CLP application form and make a satisfactory showing to the Commission:

(1)           That it is fit, capable and financially able to render such service;

(2)           That the service to be provided will reasonably meet the service standards set out in Rule R9-8;

(3)           That the provision of the service will not adversely impact the availability of reasonably affordable local exchange service;

(4)           That it will participate to the extent it may be required to do so by the Commission in the support of universally available telephone services at affordable rates; and

(5)           That the provision of the services will not otherwise adversely impact the public interest.

(b)  Any CLP applying for a certificate to provide competing local exchange or exchange access services shall include in its application the following:

(1)           The name of the CLP, the address of the principal headquarters, the telephone and facsimile numbers, and the names and addresses of the CLP's principal officers;

(2)           Names, addresses, and telephone and facsimile numbers of the CLP's employees for the Commission to contact regarding various regulatory matters and for customers to contact regarding service;

(3)           If pay telephone service will be provided, the address to be used by the serving LEC in billing for payphone service provider (PSP) lines or trunks and by the CLP in meeting PSP notice requirements;

(4)           Information about the structure of the business organization and, where applicable, a copy of any articles of incorporation, partnership agreement, articles of organization, or by-laws of the CLP, and a copy of a certificate of authority to do business in North Carolina; if an office is not maintained in North Carolina, the name and address of agent for service of process in North Carolina;

(5)           A list of other states where the CLP or any of its affiliates is authorized to operate and a list of those states which have denied any requested authority and an indication of the nature of such denial;

(6)           A showing as to the CLP's financial, managerial and technical ability to render local exchange or local exchange access services:

(a)           As a minimum requirement, a showing of financial ability shall be made by attaching the CLP's most recent stockholders' annual report, its most recent SEC 10K or audited financial statements for the most recent twelve months or, if the company is not publicly traded, its most recent balance sheet and income statement.  If a balance sheet and income statement are not available, then the CLP shall provide a current 5-year business plan and all supporting workpapers and schedules as provided on the CLP application form.  Additional support for the Applicant's financial ability may also be included as provided on the CLP application form.  The Applicant must also provide an explanation for any conditions which may affect its ability to continue as a going concern as set forth in the CLP application form;

(b)           To demonstrate managerial and technical fitness and ability, the CLP shall attach a brief description of its history of providing local exchange or exchange access or other telecommunications services and shall list the geographic areas in which it has been and is currently providing such services.  A newly created company shall list the experience of each principal officer and may also provide other documentation in order to show its managerial and technical ability to provide services.

(c)           Rescinded.

(7)           Confirmation that the application has been served on each of the LECs in North Carolina;

(8)           A statement setting forth with particularity the proposed geographic areas to be served;

(9)           The types of local exchange and exchange access services to be provided; and

(10)         A statement that the CLP agrees to abide by all applicable statutes and all applicable Orders, rules, and regulations entered and adopted by the Commission.

(c)  The application shall be verified.  The CLP shall file the original and 11 copies of its application with the Chief Clerk of the Commission and shall submit a statutory filing fee of $250 with the application.  Applications are exempt from Commission Rule R1-5(d) which requires that pleadings filed on behalf of a corporation be filed by a member of the Bar of the State of North Carolina.  Should a public hearing be required, the requirements of G.S. 84-4 and G.S. 84-4.1 are still applicable.

(d)  Falsification or failure to disclose any required information in the petition for certification may be grounds for denial or revocation of any certificate.

(e)  All CLPs shall be willing as a condition to certification to provide support for universal service in a manner determined by the Commission.  This requirement shall not be construed as prohibiting the granting of a certificate before the universal service issues are finally determined by the Commission.

(f)  Except as provided in Commission Rule R17-6, a CLP shall, either directly or through arrangements with other carriers, provide as a part of its basic local exchange service(s) the following:

(1)           Access to emergency service and services for the hearing and speech impaired;

(2)           Access to local and long distance directory assistance and provision of local telephone directories to end-users;

(3)           Access to operator services;

(4)           Access to all standard dialing patterns to all interLATA and intraLATA long distance carriers, including 1+ and 0+ access to the customer's carrier of choice for interLATA and intraLATA long distance calls;

(5)           Compliance with Commission basic services standards as defined in any applicable rules and decisions of the Commission;

(6)           Free blocking of 900 and 976-type services and other pay-per-call services, including but not limited to calls to 700 and 800 numbers, for which charges are made by the service provider and billed by the CLP;

(7)           Free per-call and per-line blocking in accordance with Orders of the Commission applicable to LECs; subscribers must be advised by bill insert or direct mailing of the availability of these free features at least once per year; and

(8)           Number portability where technically and economically reasonable.

(g)  The provisions of Commission Rule R9-8 and R12-1 through R12-9 shall apply to CLPs.

(h)  Rescinded.

(i)  CLPs shall maintain their books of account in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

(j)  Financial reports are not required to be routinely filed by CLPs.  However, the CLP shall submit specific financial information upon request of the Commission or the Public Staff.

(k)  By the 15th day of each July and January, respectively, each CLP shall file a report with the Chief Clerk reflecting the number of local access lines subscribed to at the end of the preceding month in each respective geographic area served by the CLP, listing separately for business and residential service.  CLPs electing regulation under G.S. 62-133.5(h) are only required to file total access lines.  Other operating statistics are not required to be filed except upon specific request of the Commission or the Public Staff.

(l)  CLPs shall be required to participate in the telecommunications relay service in accordance with G.S. 62-157 and applicable orders, rules and regulations entered and adopted by the Commission.

(m)  CLPs shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter 62A of the General Statutes, the Public Safety Telephone Act, applicable to service providers.

(n)  A CLP must abide by all applicable provisions adopted by the Commission for disconnection, partial payments, global toll denial, nonregulated charges, 900 and similar charges, treatment of stale debts, disconnect notices, periodic notification of disconnect policy and billing statements as set forth in Commission Rule R12-17.

(o)  Rescinded.

(p)  Billing services for intrastate long distance calls may be offered by a CLP only to long distance carriers certified by the Commission or to clearinghouses acting on behalf of certified long distance carriers.  The name of the service provider shall be clearly stated on each page of the bill, and a contact telephone number for questions on the service shall appear on the bill. If billing is done through a clearinghouse, the name of the clearinghouse shall also appear on each page of the bill.

(q)  A notice by bill insert or direct mailing shall be given by a CLP to all affected customers at least 14 days before any public utility rates are increased and before any public utility service offering is discontinued.  Notice of a rate increase shall include at a minimum the effective date of the rate change, the existing rates and the new rates.

(r)  A CLP must abide by the provisions adopted by the Commission for the handling of problems arising from billing of 900 calls; other pay-per-call services, including but not limited to calls to 976, 700 and 800 numbers, for which charges are made by the service provider and billed to the caller by the CLP, shall be subject to the same provisions as are applicable to 900 calls.

(s)  Usage charges and per-call rates for switched local exchange services provided by a CLP shall not apply unless the call is answered.  Timing of a call shall not begin until the call is answered and shall end when either the calling party or the answering party disconnects.

(t)  The provisions of Commission Rule R13, with the exception of R13-3(a), (b) and (c) shall apply to the offering of pay telephone service by a CLP.  A CLP has the authority by virtue of its CLP certificate to offer both non-automated collect and automated collect service under the provisions of R13.  When the term PSP Certificate Number is referred to in Rule R13, the docket number in which the CLP was certified shall be utilized, and when the term PSP certificate or certificate is referred to in Rule R13, the CLP certificate shall be used.

(u)  CLPs are responsible for payment of the regulatory fee in accordance with G.S. 62-302 and Commission Rule R15.

(v)  A CLP shall not knowingly offer or provide service for use in an unlawful manner.

(w)  A CLP shall not assess a charge or penalty for disconnection of any regulated service unless the charge or penalty is specifically provided for in a contract signed by the subscriber.

(NCUC Docket No. P-100, Sub 133, 7/19/95; 2/23/96; P-100, Sub 140, 4/3/00; NCUC Docket No. M-100, Sub 128, 04/10/00; NCUC Docket No. P-100, Sub 133; 9/21/00; NCUC Docket No. M-100, Sub 4, 6/30/2011.)