The commission shall promulgate rules to determine whether a telecommunications provider, the customers of a telecommunications provider or another person shall be assisted by the universal service fund for any use under par. (a)
The commission shall consider all of the following in establishing the services and equipment which may be assisted by the universal service fund:
The impact of the assistance on all members of the public and the telecommunications industry.
Telecommunications plans and requirements established by the federal rural electrification administration.
The extent to which the fund preserves and promotes an available and affordable basic set of essential telecommunications services, encourages access to the advanced service capabilities of a modern telecommunications infrastructure throughout the state and promotes economic development.
(5m) Rule review.
At least biennially, the commission shall review and revise as appropriate rules promulgated under this section.
Annually, the commission shall submit a universal service fund report to the joint committee on information policy. The report shall include information about all of the following:
The affordability of and accessibility to a basic set of essential telecommunications services and of advanced service capabilities throughout this state.
The affordability of and accessability to high-quality education, library and health care information services.
Financial assistance provided under the universal service fund.
An assessment of how successful investments identified in s. 196.196 (5) (f)
, assistance provided by the universal service fund or the Wisconsin advanced telecommunications foundation and price regulation and other alternative incentive regulations of telecommunications utilities designed to promote competition have been in advancing the public interest goals identified under s. 196.03 (6)
, and recommendations for further advancing those goals.
The commission shall prepare a report to determine if public access broadcast channels may receive funding from the universal service fund as an advanced telecommunications service or other service and the effect of federal law on public access broadcast channel funding eligibility. The results of the report shall be included in the 2nd annual report submitted by the commission under par. (a)
The commission shall appoint a universal service fund council under s. 15.04 (1) (c)
consisting of representatives of telecommunications providers and consumers of telecommunications services, including this state. The majority of the members of the council shall be representatives of consumers of telecommunications services.
The universal service fund council shall advise the commission concerning the administration of this section and the content of rules promulgated under this section.
The commission may require a telecommunications provider to undertake reasonable public notification and education efforts to inform eligible customers of the availability and requirements of universal and basic service programs, including any offerings of lifeline or other supported services established under state or federal law.
Any person who fails or refuses to pay the contribution required under sub. (3)
may be required to forfeit not less than $100 nor more than $10,000. Each day of continued violation constitutes a separate offense.
A court imposing a forfeiture under par. (a)
shall consider all of the following in determining the amount of the forfeiture:
The appropriateness of the forfeiture to the volume of business of the person.
Any good faith attempt to achieve compliance after the person or an officer, agent or employe of the person receives notice of the violation.
The financial gain sought by the person by not paying the contribution required under sub. (3)
(9) Emergency telephone service study.
The commission shall conduct a study to determine if emergency telephone services should be supported by the universal service fund. The commission shall report its findings and recommendations, including any recommendations for statutory changes no later than January 1, 1997, to the joint committee on information policy.
History: 1993 a. 496
Protection of telecommunications consumers. 196.219(1)(1)
In this section, "consumer" means any person, including a telecommunications provider, that uses the services, products or facilities provided by a telecommunications utility.
Notwithstanding any exemptions identified in this chapter except s. 196.202
, a telecommunications utility shall provide protection to its consumers under this section unless exempted in whole or in part by rule or order of the commission under this section. The commission shall promulgate rules that identify the conditions under which provisions of this section may be suspended.
On petition, the commission may grant an exemption from a requirement under this section upon a showing that the exemption is reasonable and not in conflict with the factors under s. 196.03 (6)
On petition, the commission may grant an exemption from a requirement under this section retroactively if the application of the requirement would be unjust and unreasonable considering the factors under s. 196.03 (6)
or other relevant factors.
If the commission grants an exemption under this subsection, it may require the telecommunications utility to comply with any condition necessary to protect the public interest.
A telecommunications utility shall provide access services under tariff under the same rates, terms and conditions to all telecommunications providers.
(b) Paragraph (a)
does not apply to cellular telephone interconnection arrangements authorized or required by the federal communications commission.
(3) Prohibited practices.
A telecommunications utility may not do any of the following with respect to regulated services:
Refuse to interconnect within a reasonable time with another person to the same extent that the federal communications commission requires the telecommunications utility to interconnect. The public service commission may require additional interconnection based on a determination, following notice and opportunity for hearing, that additional interconnection is in the public interest and is consistent with the factors under s. 196.03 (6)
Upon request, fail to disclose in a timely and uniform manner information necessary for the design of equipment and services that will meet the specifications for interconnection.
Impair the speed, quality or efficiency of services, products or facilities offered to a consumer under a tariff, contract or price list.
Unreasonably refuse, restrict or delay access by any person to a telecommunications emergency service.
Fail to provide a service, product or facility to a consumer other than a telecommunications provider in accord with the telecommunications utility's applicable tariffs, price lists or contracts and with the commission's rules and orders.
Refuse to provide a service, product or facility to a telecommunications provider in accord with the telecommunications utility's applicable tariffs, price lists or contracts and with the commission's rules and orders.
Refuse to provide basic local exchange service, business access line and usage service within a local calling area and access service on an unbundled basis to the same extent that the federal communications commission requires the telecommunications utility to unbundle the same services provided under its jurisdiction. The public service commission may require additional unbundling of intrastate telecommunications services based on a determination, following notice and opportunity for hearing, that additional unbundling is required in the public interest and is consistent with the factors under s. 196.03 (6)
. The public service commission may order unbundling by a small telecommunications utility.
To the extent prohibited by the federal communications commission, or by the public service commission under rules promulgated consistent with the factors under s. 196.03 (6)
, give preference or discriminate in the provision of services, products or facilities to an affiliate, or to the telecommunications utility's own or an affiliate's retail department that sells to consumers.
Restrict resale or sharing of services, products or facilities, except for basic local exchange service other than extended community calling, unless the commission orders the restriction to be lifted. A telecommunications utility that has 150,000 or less access lines in use in this state may limit the use of extended community calling or business line and usage service within a local calling area as a substitute for access service, unless the commission orders the limitation to be lifted.
Fail to provide, or to terminate, any telecommunications service as necessary to comply with the minimum standards of service established by the commission with respect to technical service quality, deposits, disconnection, billing and collection of amounts owed for services provided or to be provided.
Provide telecommunications service to any person acting as a telecommunications utility, telecommunications provider, alternative telecommunications utility or telecommunications carrier if the commission has ordered the telecommunications utility to discontinue service to that person.
On the commission's own motion or upon complaint filed by the consumer, the commission shall have jurisdiction to take administrative action or to commence civil actions against telecommunications utilities to enforce this section.
The commission may, at its discretion, institute in any court of competent jurisdiction a proceeding against a telecommunications utility for injunctive relief to compel compliance with this section, to compel the accounting and refund of any moneys collected in violation of this section or for any other relief permitted under this chapter.
(4d) Unfair trade practice enforcement.
Upon receipt of a notice issued under s. 100.208
, the commission may order a telecommunications provider to cease offering the telecommunications service that creates the unfair trade practice or method of competition.
(4m) Civil actions.
Upon a finding of a violation of this section by the commission, any person injured because of a violation of this section by a telecommunications utility may commence a civil action to recover damages or to obtain injunctive relief.
(5) Alternate dispute resolution.
The commission shall establish by rule a procedure for alternative dispute resolution to be available for complaints filed against a telecommunications utility.
History: 1993 a. 496
No public utility may charge, demand, collect or receive more or less compensation for any service performed by it within the state, or for any service in connection therewith, than is specified in the schedules for the service filed under s. 196.19
, including schedules of joint rates, as may at the time be in force, or demand, collect or receive any rate, toll or charge not specified in the schedule.
History: 1983 a. 53
Agents of commission; powers. 196.24(1)
For the purpose of making any investigation with regard to any public utility the commission may appoint, by an order in writing, an agent whose duties shall be prescribed in the order.
In the discharge of his or her duties, an agent appointed under sub. (1)
shall have any inquisitional power granted to the commission and the power of a court commissioner to take depositions under s. 757.69 (3) (b)
The commission may conduct any number of investigations contemporaneously through different agents, and may delegate to any agent the authority to take testimony bearing upon any investigation or at any hearing. The decision of the commission shall comply with s. 227.46
and shall be based upon its records and upon the evidence before it.
History: 1975 c. 414
; 1983 a. 53
; 1985 a. 182
If a public utility receives from the commission any questionnaire, the public utility shall respond fully, specifically and correctly to each question. If a public utility is unable to answer any question, the public utility shall give a good and sufficient reason for its failure. Every answer by a public utility under this section shall be verified under oath by the president, secretary, superintendent or general manager of the public utility and returned to the commission at its office within the period fixed by the commission.
If required by the commission, a public utility shall deliver to the commission the original or a copy of any map, profile, contract or engineer's report and any other document, book, account, paper or record with a complete inventory of all its property, in such form as the commission directs.
If a telecommunications provider receives a questionnaire from the commission, the telecommunications provider shall respond specifically, correctly and fully to each question. If a telecommunications provider is unable to answer any question, the telecommunications provider shall give a good and sufficient reason for its failure. Answers shall be verified under oath by the president, secretary, superintendent or general manager of the telecommunications provider. A completed questionnaire shall be returned to the commission within the time period specified by the commission.
History: 1983 a. 53
; 1993 a. 496
Complaint by consumers; hearing; notice; order; costs. 196.26(1)(1)
In this section "complaint" means a complaint filed with the commission that any rate, toll, charge or schedule, joint rate, regulation, measurement, act or practice relating to the provision of heat, light, water, power or telecommunications service is unreasonable, inadequate, unjustly discriminatory or cannot be obtained.
(1m) Complaint and investigation.
If any mercantile, agricultural or manufacturing society, body politic, municipal organization or 25 persons file a complaint against a public utility, the commission, with or without notice, may investigate the complaint as it deems necessary. The commission may not issue an order based on the investigation without a public hearing.
Prior to a hearing under this section, the commission shall notify the public utility complained of that a complaint has been made, and 10 days after the notice has been given the commission may proceed to set a time and place for a hearing and an investigation.
The commission shall give the public utility which is the subject of a complaint filed under sub. (1)
and the complainant 10 days' notice of the time and place of the hearing and the matter to be considered and determined at the hearing. The complainant and the public utility may be heard. The commission may subpoena any witness at the request of the public utility or complainant.
Notice under pars. (a)
may be combined. The combined notice may not be less than 10 days prior to hearing.
(3) Separate hearings.
If a complaint is made under sub. (1m)
of more than one rate or charge, the commission may order separate hearings on each rate and charge, and may consider and determine the complaint on each rate and charge separately and at such times as the commission prescribes. The commission may not dismiss a complaint because of the absence of direct damage to the complainant.
This section does not apply to any rate, toll, charge or schedule of any telecommunications cooperative except as provided under s. 196.205
or unless at least 5% of the customers of the telecommunications cooperative file a complaint with the commission that the rate, toll, charge or schedule is in any respect unreasonable, insufficient or unjustly discriminatory.
This section does not apply to any rate, toll, charge or schedule of any small telecommunications utility except as provided under s. 196.215 (2)
Summary investigations. 196.28(1)
If the commission believes that any rate or charge is unreasonable or unjustly discriminatory or that any service is inadequate or cannot be obtained or that an investigation of any matter relating to any public utility should for any reason be made, the commission on its own motion summarily may investigate with or without notice.
If, after an investigation under sub. (1)
, the commission determines that sufficient grounds exist to warrant a hearing on the matters investigated, the commission shall set a time and place for a hearing. A hearing under this section shall be conducted as a hearing under s. 196.26
Notice of the time and place for a hearing under sub. (2)
shall be given to the public utility, and to such other interested persons as the commission deems necessary. After the notice has been given, proceedings shall be had and conducted in reference to the matter investigated as if a complaint had been filed with the commission under s. 196.26 (1)
relative to the matter investigated. The same order or orders may be made in reference to the matter as if the investigation had been made on complaint under s. 196.26
This section does not apply to rates, tolls or charges of a telecommunications cooperative or small telecommunications utility except as provided in s. 196.205
or 196.215 (2)