About Bill -- Links
HOUSE BILL NO. 306
INTRODUCED BY S. ANDERSON
AN ACT EXTENDING THE STATE UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS; AMENDING SECTIONS 69-3-843, 69-3-844, AND 69-3-845, MCA; AMENDING SECTION 41, CHAPTER 349, LAWS OF 1997; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE AND A TERMINATION DATE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 69-3-843, MCA, is amended to read:
"69-3-843. (Temporary) Fund administrator. (1) A fiscal agent and daily administrator must be selected to receive and distribute funds under 69-3-841, 69-3-842, 69-3-844, 69-3-845, and this section.
(2) The fiscal agent must be selected by the commission based upon a competitive bidding process after an opportunity
for public comment on the specific qualifications required of the fiscal agent. A telecommunications carrier is not eligible to
be the fiscal agent. The duties of the fiscal agent must be determined by a contract consistent with 69-3-841, 69-3-842,
69-3-844, 69-3-845, and this section. The contract term of the fiscal agent must expire December 31,
(3) The fiscal agent shall provide
quarterly monthly reports of fund activities to the commission and shall provide audits
annually by a certified public accountant in a manner determined by and under the direction of the commission.
(4) The fund financial accounts of the fiscal agent must be available at reasonable times to any telecommunications
carrier in the state and to the public. The commission may investigate the accounts and practices of the fiscal agent and enter
orders concerning the accounts and practices. (Terminates December 31,
1999 2001 --sec. 41, Ch. 349, L. 1997.)"
Section 2. Section 69-3-844, MCA, is amended to read:
"69-3-844. (Temporary) Contributions to fund. (1) The fiscal agent shall collect contributions from all
telecommunications carriers on a
quarterly monthly basis, based on a July 1 to June 30 fiscal year. Initial contributions to the
fund may only be collected for the 2-month period prior to the effective date of distributions from the fund and must be
calculated as follows:
(a) determine the total retail revenue for all telecommunications carriers for the immediately preceding calendar year;
(b) determine the total funds needed for distributions in the next fiscal year as authorized pursuant to 69-3-845;
(c) compute a uniform percentage of the amount determined in subsection (1)(a) that will produce an amount equal to the fund total calculated in subsection (1)(b);
(d) adjust the percentage multiplier computed in subsection (1)(c) to recover or reimburse any fund shortfalls or excesses in the previous fiscal year, including uncollectibles, new providers seeking support, cost of administration, and auditing; and
(e) send notice of the current uniform percentage and appropriate remittance forms to each telecommunications carrier at least 2 months prior to the effective date of the application of the percentage.
(2) The commission shall adopt procedural rules to govern collection of the contributions required by this section, as well as rules allowing the fiscal agent and daily administrator to assess late fees and interest on delinquent payments from telecommunications carriers. The fiscal agent is specifically authorized to enforce the contribution requirements of this section through suit in the district courts of Montana.
(3) Any reduction in telecommunications carrier access expenses because of the removal of implicit subsidies inherent in
telecommunications carrier access rates must be passed through to Montana end-user customer retail rates. (Terminates
1999 2001 --sec. 41, Ch. 349, L. 1997.)"
Section 3. Section 69-3-845, MCA, is amended to read:
"69-3-845. (Temporary) Distributions from fund -- calculation of costs. (1) Subject to the requirements of this section, payments from the fund must be made from collected contributions by the fiscal agent to qualifying eligible telecommunications carriers, on a monthly basis, pursuant to rules adopted by the commission.
(2) Only eligible telecommunications carriers that offer the telecommunications services described in 69-3-842(1) to all customers in a designated support area and that advertise the availability of the telecommunications services and the charges for the telecommunications services using media of general distribution may receive support from the fund for the designated support area.
(3) Distributions must be calculated for the designated support areas established by the commission. In the case of an area served by a rural telephone company, the term "designated support area" means the rural telephone company's Montana service area unless the rural telephone company voluntarily adopts a proxy model for the calculation of the rural telephone company's cost of telecommunications services under subsection (6). After adoption of a proxy model, the rural telephone company's designated support area must be an area designated by the commission, which may be smaller than a wire center. The term designated support area for all other telecommunications carriers means a geographic area as established by the commission, which must be smaller than a wire center.
(4) Support for the services listed in 69-3-842(1) must be calculated as the difference between the costs determined in each designated support area and the affordability benchmark in that support area. The commission shall adopt rules to determine affordability benchmarks.
(5) Except as provided in subsection (6), for rural telephone companies and other eligible telecommunications carriers offering services in a designated support area served by a rural telephone company, the average cost for each line must be calculated and submitted, based on the preceding calendar year, to the fiscal agent as follows:
(a) If an additional eligible telecommunications carrier has not been designated pursuant to 69-3-840(3), the rural telephone company's total unseparated loop cost, as defined by federal separation rule methodology in effect on December 31, 1996, must be added to the switching costs, local transport costs, and customer operations costs assigned to the telecommunications services set forth in 69-3-842(1), which must be calculated using the methodology set forth in federal communications commission jurisdictional separation rules in effect as of December 31 of each calendar year. This total cost must be reduced by any federal universal service support, interstate allocation of loop costs, and loop costs recovered through intrastate telecommunications carrier common line charges to long-distance companies.
(b) Upon the designation of an additional eligible telecommunications carrier pursuant to 69-3-840(3) in a designated support area served by a rural telephone company, the additional eligible telecommunications carrier has access to the fund on the same basis as the rural telephone company. Upon the designation of the additional eligible telecommunications carrier, both the carrier and the rural telephone company must receive distributions from the fund based upon the rural telephone company's average cost for each line disaggregated to geographic areas smaller than a wire center. The support for each line for each geographic area must be based upon the rural telephone company's costs, as determined in subsection (5)(a), distributed to each of the geographic areas on the basis of relative distribution factors established by a cost proxy model adopted by the commission.
(6) Except as provided in subsection (5)(b), for companies that are not rural telephone companies and for rural telephone companies voluntarily electing to use a cost proxy model, the average cost for each line in designated support areas must be calculated based on the cost proxy model adopted by the commission. This total per-line cost must be reduced by any federal universal service support, interstate allocation of loop costs, and loop costs recovered through intrastate telecommunications carrier common line charges to long-distance companies.
(7) In determining any proxy mechanism under this section, the commission shall use a model that:
(a) targets support to a geographic area smaller than a wire center;
(b) uses acceptable outside plant design and costing principles;
(c) uses reasonable switch design and costing principles;
(d) includes a reasonable share of the joint and common costs of the telecommunications carrier;
(e) meets standards for documenting model logic and the sources of cost data input; and
(f) meets reasonableness tests to ensure that model outputs are representative of costs that can be reasonably expected in the construction of a network and that the network is capable of providing telecommunications services that meet the telecommunications services quality standards of the commission and federal regulators.
(8) An eligible telecommunications carrier providing telecommunications services through resale of another telecommunications carrier's telecommunications services or facilities may not receive support for those telecommunications services or facilities if the rates charged to an eligible telecommunications carrier by the other telecommunications carrier have been reduced by a contribution from universal service funds under this section.
(9) Costs of administering the fund must be paid from the fund. (Terminates December 31,
1999 2001 --sec. 41, Ch. 349,
Section 4. Section 41, Chapter 349, Laws of 1997, is amended to read:
"Section 41. Termination. [Sections 11 through 15] terminate December 31,
Section 5. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.
Section 6. Termination. [This act] terminates December 31, 2001.
- END -
Latest Version of HB 306 (HB0306.ENR)
Processed for the Web on March 31, 1999 (1:53PM)
New language in a bill appears underlined, deleted material appears stricken.
Sponsor names are handwritten on introduced bills, hence do not appear on the bill until it is reprinted. See the status of the bill for the bill's primary sponsor.
Status of this Bill | 1999 Session | Leg. Branch Home
This bill in WP 5.1 | All versions of all bills in WP 5.1
Prepared by Montana Legislative Services