Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 8. Montana Telecommunications Act

Universal Service Fund Established -- Purpose

69-3-842. Universal service fund established -- purpose. (1) Upon petition for good cause by a telecommunications carrier or the consumer counsel or on the commission's own motion, the commission shall investigate the need for a fund to assist eligible telecommunications carriers in providing affordable telecommunications services in high-cost areas. This investigation must take into account the evolving nature of universal service as well as changes in federal and state telecommunications support systems, including but not limited to universal service funds and access reform.

(2) If the commission determines that a state universal service fund is necessary to promote the policies in 69-3-841 and is consistent with the public interest, the commission shall establish a state universal service fund. The fund must provide support for the following services:

(a) voice grade access to the public switched network, including some usage;

(b) dual-tone multifrequency (DTMF or "touch tone") signaling or its equivalent;

(c) single-party service;

(d) access to emergency services, including access to 9-1-1, where available, and access to enhanced 9-1-1 when requested by a telecommunications carrier's local community and when the telecommunications carrier has technical capacity to provide it;

(e) access to operator services;

(f) access to interexchange services; and

(g) access to directory assistance.

(3) The fund must support only access to the services listed in subsections (2)(d) through (2)(g) and not support the services themselves.

(4) The fund must be administered to ensure that its operation is competitively and technologically neutral.

(5) For the purposes of this section, "interexchange services" means telecommunications long-distance services.

History: En. Sec. 12, Ch. 349, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 430, L. 2001.