2001 - 2002 LEGISLATURE
March 4, 2002 - Introduced by Representatives Montgomery and Pettis. Referred
to Committee on Information Policy and Technology.
1An Act to renumber and amend
100.207 (1), 196.202 (2) and 196.50 (4); to
15.795 (title), 93.14 (3), 93.15 (1), 93.15 (2), 196.195 (12) (a), 196.196 (1) 3
(g) 1. (intro.), 196.499 (1) (b), 196.50 (4) (title), 198.12 (6) and 198.22 (6); to
4repeal and recreate
196.202 (2) (intro.); and to create
15.795 (2), 20.155 (3) 5
(title), 20.155 (3) (g), 20.155 (3) (h), 20.155 (3) (i), 20.155 (3) (k), 93.01 (1r), 93.14 6
(1m), 100.207 (1) (a), 100.207 (1) (c), 100.207 (3g), 100.207 (3m), 100.207 (5g), 7
100.207 (5m), 100.207 (6) (br), 146.70 (3m), 196.02 (13), 196.195 (12) (f), 196.196 8
(1) (em), 196.196 (5) (f) 1. g., 196.196 (5) (f) 4., 196.202 (2) (b), 196.202 (6), 196.50 9
(4) (a) and 196.50 (4) (c) of the statutes; relating to: creating a wireless 911
10board; imposing a surcharge on wireless telephone customers; making grants
11for wireless 911 emergency telephone service; allowing adjustments in
12telecommunications utility rates for expenses in supporting wireless 911
13emergency telephone service; requiring wireless number portability;
14jurisdictional and enforcement authority of the department of agriculture,
1trade and consumer protection; construction and ownership of
2telecommunications facilities by local units of government; services provided by
3telecommunications providers; authority of the public service commission
4regarding area codes and telephone numbers; allowing for adjustments in
5incentive-regulated telecommunication utility rates; requesting the joint
6legislative council to study retail and wholesale telecommunications services;
7granting rule-making authority; and making appropriations.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill creates a wireless 911 board that makes grants for providing 911
wireless emergency telephone service. The grants are funded by a surcharge paid
by wireless customers. These provisions are discussed below. The bill also does all
of the following with respect to the regulation of telecommunications providers,
which are discussed below: 1) restricts ownership or construction of
telecommunications facilities by local units of government; 2) restricts
telecommunications providers in initiating service and applying laws of other states
to contracts; 3) restricts telecommunications providers in billing other services; 4)
requires wireless telephone number portability; and 5) makes various other changes.
911 wireless emergency telephone service
The bill creates a wireless 911 board (board), consisting of the following 12
members: 1) one representative appointed by the speaker of the assembly; 2) one
representative appointed by the assembly minority leader; 3) one senator appointed
by the president of the senate; 4) one senator appointed by the senate minority
leader; 5) four members who represent wireless telecommunications providers and
who are appointed by the governor; and 6) four members who represent public
agencies that operate emergency telephone service systems and who are appointed
by the governor.
The bill requires wireless telecommunications providers to impose a 50-cent
surcharge on customer bills and pay the surcharge to the board, except that in fiscal
year 2002-03, a wireless telecommunications provider may retain 2% of the
surcharge for reimbursing the cost of collecting the surcharge. The surcharge must
be imposed on the first bills issued after July 1, 2002. The board may promulgate
rules to increase or decrease the surcharge, but the board may increase the surcharge
only once per year. In addition, any increase must be uniform statewide and may not
exceed 10 cents, and the surcharge may never exceed $1.
The board must use the surcharge to make grants to wireless
telecommunications providers and public agencies that operate emergency
telephone systems. A wireless telecommunications provider is eligible for a grant if
it is subject to orders of the federal communications commission (FCC) regarding
wireless 911 emergency telephone service. The grants must be used for specified
expenses incurred by wireless telecommunications providers to comply with the
FCC's orders. A public agency is eligible for a grant only if the board determines that
the agency is providing, or has begun to implement, 911 emergency services for
wireless users and the agency has complied with the FCC's orders. A grant to a public
agency must be used for specified expenses related to the operation of an emergency
telephone system. In addition, the total amount in grants that a public agency may
receive may not exceed 50% of the agency's eligible expenses.
The board may use no more than 2.5% of the surcharges collected in a fiscal year
for the board's general program operations. Half of the remaining amount must be
placed in an account for grants to wireless telecommunications providers, and the
other half is placed in an account for grants to public agencies. However, if there is
insufficient money for a grant to a wireless telecommunications provider, the board
may, under certain circumstances, make a grant to a wireless telecommunications
provider from the account for public agencies. If the board makes such a grant, the
board must, as soon as practicable, transfer an amount equal to the grant to the
public agency account from the wireless telecommunications provider account.
The bill creates other requirements for the grant program, including the
1. The bill allows the board to make grants in installments, if there are
insufficient funds in a surcharge account.
2. The bill allows the board to withhold from public inspection any information
the board receives that would aid the competitor of a wireless provider.
3. The bill requires the board to contract for independent audits of grant
applications. The board must also establish procedures that prohibit members of the
board from having access to confidential business information submitted by wireless
4. The bill prohibits cities, villages, towns, counties, and other state agencies
from requiring wireless telecommunications providers to collect or pay a surcharge
or fee related to wireless emergency telephone service.
5. The bill requires the board to submit an annual report to the legislature
regarding the grant program.
6. The bill's requirements regarding the surcharge and grant program do not
apply after the first day of the 60th month beginning after the bill's effective date.
Finally, the bill allows a price-regulated telecommunications utility, subject to
approval of the Public Service Commission (PSC), to adjust its rates for the purpose
of recovering the utility's expenses incurred exclusively in supporting the provision
of 911 emergency services for wireless telephone users under the FCC's orders.
Local government construction and ownership of telecommunications
The bill prohibits local units of government from owning or constructing
telecommunications facilities that are used to provide service to the public, unless
the local unit of government leases, on a nondiscriminatory basis, the facility to a
telecommunications provider that is not a local unit of government. In addition, the
electorate of the local unit of government must approve the lease in a referendum and
the local unit of government must submit a financing plan and budget to the PSC.
Also, under certain circumstances, the bill allows the PSC to promulgate additional
requirements that must be satisfied. For a local unit of government that owns or has
obtained financing for a telecommunications facility on the effective date of the bill,
the prohibition does not apply until five years after the effective date. In addition,
the bill's prohibition does not apply to certain telecommunications facilities that are
leased to other state and local governmental entities for the purpose of sharing
facilities or intergovernmental cooperation.
Restrictions on telecommunications providers in initiating service and
restrictions on contracts
This bill provides that a telecommunications provider may not provide a
telecommunications service that is not always provided during each billing period
to a person unless the telecommunications provider reasonably believes that the
person knowingly consented to receive the service. The telecommunications
provider must also confirm, before providing the telecommunications service, that
the person knowingly consented to receive the service. The bill also requires that the
telecommunications provider inform the person that he or she may, before the service
is activated, withdraw consent to receive the service and requires that the
telecommunications provider inform the person of the manner by which that consent
may be withdrawn.
This bill also prohibits a telecommunications provider from placing in a
contract to provide telecommunications services a clause that provides that the laws
of any state other than this state apply to the parties or terms of the contract or to
any right or remedy under the contract.
Restrictions on telecommunications providers in billing other services
This bill provides that a telecommunications provider may not bill a customer
for goods or services that are not telecommunications services provided by that
telecommunications provider unless the telecommunications provider reasonably
believes that the customer knowingly consents to receive the bill and the provider
confirms that consent with the customer. If a customer consents, the bill requires
that the telecommunications provider distinguish on the bill between the billing for
telecommunication services and the billing for the other goods or services. Finally,
if requested to do so by a customer who has consented to being billed for the other
goods or services, the telecommunications provider shall provide a detailed itemized
listing of the charges for those goods or services.
Wireless number portability
Under current federal law, with certain exceptions, telecommunications
providers are required to provide number portability in the 100 largest metropolitan
statistical areas (MSAs) of the country. "Number portability" is defined as the ability
of a customer to retain existing telephone numbers at the same location when
switching telecommunications providers. Milwaukee is the only area in Wisconsin
that is in the 100 largest MSAs. Current federal law also requires, with certain
exceptions, a telecommunications provider to provide number portability in an area
outside the 100 largest MSAs within six months after another telecommunications
provider requests number portability.
One of the exceptions to the above requirements applies to wireless
telecommunications providers, which are referred to under federal and state law as
commercial mobile radio service providers. Under current federal law, wireless
telecommunications providers must begin providing number portability in the 100
largest MSAs by November 24, 2002. After that date, a wireless telecommunications
provider must provide number portability in an area outside the 100 largest MSAs
within the same six-month deadline described above.
Under this bill, a wireless telecommunications provider must begin providing
number portability in all areas of the state on November 24, 2002. The duty applies
only if a customer of a wireless telecommunications provider switches to another
telecommunications provider in the same area code. In addition, number portability
must be provided in a manner that does not impair the quality or reliability of
The bill makes other changes to the regulation of telecommunications
providers, including all of the following:
1. The bill provides that, to the extent authorized under federal law, the PSC
has jurisdiction to supervise and regulate telephone numbers and area codes used
by any telecommunications provider.
2. The bill allows the PSC to require telecommunications providers and
providers of cable television service to provide information that the PSC determines
is necessary for the PSC to prepare a biennial report regarding the status of
investments in advanced telecommunications infrastructure that the PSC must
submit to the joint committee on information policy and technology under current
3. The bill allows the PSC to approve basic local exchange rates of a
telecommunications utility subject to incentive regulation that match a competitor's
rates, even if the result is that the utility's rates do not exceed its total service
long-run incremental costs. Under current law, a telecommunications utility's rates
must exceed such costs, unless other exceptions apply.
4. The bill request the joint legislative council to study the appropriate level of
regulation of retail and wholesale telecommunications services, the quality of such
services, and related enforcement issues, with a focus on making the transition
toward deregulated markets for such services. If the council undertakes such a
study, the bill requires the council to submit a report to the 2003 legislature when
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB889, s. 1
15.795 (title) of the statutes is amended to read:
(title) Same; attached board and office.
AB889, s. 2
15.795 (2) of the statutes is created to read:
15.795 (2) Wireless 911 board.
(a) There is created a wireless 911 board 4
attached to the public service commission under s. 15.03 consisting of the following 5
1. One representative to the assembly, appointed by the speaker of the 7
2. One representative to the assembly, appointed by the assembly minority 9
3. One senator, appointed by the president of the senate.
4. One senator, appointed by the senate minority leader.
5. Four persons who represent the interests of commercial mobile radio service 13
providers, as defined in s. 196.01 (2g), appointed by the governor.