Scope and purpose.
Essential telecommunications services.
Universal service fund programs.
Eligibility for low-income programs.
Outreach for low-income assistance programs.
Service and equipment pricing for individuals with special telecommunications needs.
Responsibility for pay telephone usability.
Telecommunications customer assistance program.
High rate assistance credits.
Alternative universal service protection plans.
Medical telecommunications equipment program.
Funding to promote access to telecommunications services.
Designation of eligible telecommunications carriers.
Fund budget and assessment rates.
Collection of universal service fund monies.
Universal service fund council.
Chapter PSC 160
is designed to effectuate and implement s. 196.218
, Stats., 47 USC 254
, 47 CFR 54
and parts of other sections of the Wisconsin and federal statutes, authorizing the commission to establish and operate a universal service fund and programs to further the goal of providing a basic set of essential telecommunications services to all customers in the state.
The requirements of ch. PSC 160
shall be observed by the telecommunications providers subject to the jurisdiction of the commission as indicated in this chapter, except insofar as any exemption may be made by the commission. Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, s. 196.218
, Stats., and the requirements of this chapter apply to telecommunications providers certified under s. 196.203 (2)
Nothing in this chapter shall preclude the commission from giving special and individual consideration to exceptional or unusual situations and, upon due investigation of the facts and circumstances involved, from adopting requirements as to individual providers or programs that may be lesser, greater, other or different than those provided in this chapter.
Disputes not resolved between the affected parties regarding assessment or support amounts or the eligibility to receive or the liability to pay under this chapter shall be referred to the commission for resolution.
The commission may issue orders it considers necessary to assist in the implementation or interpretation of this chapter. The commission shall issue orders only after notice and an opportunity for comment by interested parties including the universal service fund council, except in the following circumstances:
The commission receives a
request for a declaratory ruling under s. 227.41
, Stats., which requires the opportunity for a hearing.
PSC 160.01 History
Cr. Register, April, 1996, No. 484
, eff. 5-1-96; am. (2) (a) and (5), Register, April, 2000, No. 532
, eff. 5-1-00; CR 13-068
: am. (1), (2) (b), (4), renum. (5) to (5) (intro.) and am., cr. (5) (a) to (c) Register January 2016 No. 721
, eff. 2-1-16.
PSC 160.02 Definitions.
The definitions in s. 196.01
, Stats., apply in this chapter. In addition, in this chapter:
“Calculated charge" means the charge calculated by converting a per call charge into a per minute charge. The conversion to a per minute charge shall be accomplished by dividing the per call charge by the telecommunications provider's average residential call duration. If there are multiple per call charges within one local calling area, the weighted average shall be used as the per call charge.
“Call blocking" means a service that lets customers elect not to allow the completion of any of the calls specified under s. PSC 160.04 (1)
on the customer's account.
“Call control" means a service that lets a customer specify a certain amount of the calls specified under s. PSC 160.04 (1)
that may be completed per month on the customer's account.
“Call limitation" means either call blocking or call control for providers that are incapable of providing both services and, for providers that are capable of providing both services, it means both call blocking and call control.
“Commission" means the public service commission.
“Contributory provider" means a telecommunications provider that pays monies to the universal service fund.
“Disability" means a physical or sensory impairment that limits or curtails an individual's ability to use telecommunications services or equipment, or both.
“Eligible telecommunications carrier" or “ETC" means a telecommunications provider that the commission has so designated and includes federal-only ETCs, full ETCs, and low-income ETCs.
“Emergency service numbers" mean 9-1-1 where available and fire, emergency medical services, law enforcement, and poison center emergency numbers where 9-1-1 is not available.
“Extended community calling" means a telecommunications service by which a customer in one exchange may call a customer in another exchange or combination of exchanges under an expanded local calling plan based on usage.
“Federal-only eligible telecommunications carrier" or “federal-only ETC" means a telecommunications provider that the commission has so designated under s. 196.218 (4) (b)
, Stats., or so designated before June 9, 2011.
“Federal subscriber line charge" means a monthly per line federal charge that is assessed directly on a local exchange telephone service customer as allowed by the federal communications commission.
PSC 160.02 Note
This is also known federally as the end-user common line charge. See 47 CFR 69.104
“Full eligible telecommunications carrier" or “full ETC" means a telecommunications provider that the commission has so designated under s. PSC 160.13
for participation in all universal service programs.
PSC 160.02 Note
As of April 2015, 47 CFR 54.400
(h) read as follows: A “household" is any individual or group of individuals who are living together at the same address as one economic unit. A household may include related and unrelated persons. An “economic unit" consists of all adult individuals contributing to and sharing in the income and expenses of a household. An adult is any person 18 years or older. If an adult has no or minimal income, and lives with someone who provides financial support to him/her, both people shall be considered part of the same household. Children under the age of 18 living with their parents or guardians are considered to be part of the same household as their parents or guardians.
“Incumbent local exchange carrier" means a telecommunications provider, and its successors and assigns, authorized under law or by the commission before September 1, 1994, to place facilities and provide basic local service in a particular geographic area.
“Lifeline" means the program that provides reduced monthly service rates for low-income customers.
“Line" means an access line or service to an activated wireless handset.
“Link-up" means a program that waives some or all service connection charges for low-income customers.
“Local exchange service provider" means any wireless provider that has been designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier under s. PSC 160.13
, or a telecommunications utility or any other provider of basic local exchange service or standard business lines and usage.
“Low-income" means a household that meets one of the following criteria:
PSC 160.02 Note
Note: This includes all programs, including financial and employment assistance, child care subsidy, etc.
PSC 160.02 Note
Note: As of April 2015, the generic term “food stamps" refers to programs currently known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Food Share.
As approved by the commission, other state or federally administered programs for households with income levels less than or equal to 200% of the poverty line as defined in 42 USC 9902
PSC 160.02 Note
Note: See sub. 160.06 (1) (c) concerning other households that may be considered low-income.
Eligible under any other federal low-income eligibility criteria.
“Low-income eligible telecommunications carrier" or “low-income ETC" means a telecommunications provider that the commission has so designated under s. PSC 160.13
for participation only in the lifeline or link-up program, or both.
“Non-profit group" means an organization described in s. 501 (c) (3) of the internal revenue code that is exempt from federal income tax under s. 501 (a) of the internal revenue code.
“Nonrecurring charge" means the charge for those activities and materials necessary to connect network services to the customer's premises, up to and including the network interface device but not including customer premises wiring or customer premises equipment, and not including construction charges.
“Two line hearing carryover" means the technique of using 3-way calling and 2 telephone lines, one for hearing and one for text, to connect a hearing caller who is speech impaired with another caller via the telecommunications relay service.
“Two line voice carryover" means the technique of using 3-way calling and 2 telephone lines, one for voice and one for text, to connect a caller who is deaf or hard of hearing but can speak, with another caller via the telecommunications relay service.
“Universal service" means a statewide rapid, efficient, communications network with adequate, economically placed facilities to ensure that a basic set of essential telecommunications services is available to all persons in this state within a reasonable time and at affordable prices.
PSC 160.02 History
Cr. Register, April, 1996, No. 484
, eff. 5-1-96; renum. (1) and (4) to be (1m) and (4m) and am. (4m) (a), renum. (9) to be (13), cr. (1g), (4g), (8) (g), (h), (9) to (12), am. (7), (8) (a), (e), Register, April, 2000, No. 532
, eff. 5-1-00; correction in (8) (e) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register April 2007 No. 616
; CR 13-068
: renum. (1g), (1m), (2) to (1), (7), (8) and am. (8), cr. (2), renum. (3) to (10), cr. (3), (4), r. (4g), (4m), renum. (5), (6) to (17), (19) and am. (19), cr. (6), renum. (7) to (20) and am., r. (8), renum. (9) to (23), cr. (9), renum. (10), (11) to (24), (27), cr. (11), renum. (12) to (29) and am., cr. (12), renum. (13) to (30) and am., cr. (13) to (16), (18), (21), (22), (25), (26), (28), (31) Register January 2016 No. 721
, eff. 2-1-16; correction in (21) (a) 7. made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register April 2016 No. 724
PSC 160.03 Essential telecommunications services. PSC 160.03(1)(a)
“911" means a service that permits a telecommunications user to use the three-digit code `911,' to access emergency services through a public safety answering point operated by a local government.