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I. GENERAL INFORMATION

Under Maine law (35-A M.R.S.A. § 2102), you must obtain approval from the Maine Public Utilities Commission before you provide local or interexchange service in Maine, whether through your own facilities or through resale. The purpose of this package is to describe the application process to apply for authority to provide telecommunications services in Maine. This package includes several attachments:

 

Attachment 1 is a checklist of the documents you will need to file before the Commission can consider your application. Please return the checklist itself (Attachment 1) along with your application and the other documents required by the checklist. Attachment 2 contains several questions about your activities in other states and the services you propose to provide in Maine.

Pursuant to 35-A M.R.S.A. §2102(1)(A), as of July 17, 2008, the Commission may not grant approval to a telephone utility unless the telephone utility submits evidence that it has at least $250,000 in fixed assets in Maine or the telephone utility purchases and maintains a surety bond in the amount of $250,000. The documentation satisfying this requirement must be submitted with the application.

Pursuant to Chapter 214 , competitive telephone utilities are detariffed as of March 14, 2008. As of that date all CLECs and IXCs must post on a web page, retain paper copies in its offices and provide upon request, rates terms and conditions for all services. The information shall be sufficiently clear and complete that the Commission and customers can understand the price and terms and conditions of service.

 

With respect to competitive services, the Commission takes the position that competitive alternatives exist and that this competition will assure that providers will charge reasonable rates. Therefore the Commission does not review rates for local or interexchange service offered by competitive carriers. In the event of a conflict between any provision of the terms and conditions and Maine Law or Commission Rules the law or rule will govern. We recommend that you review the Commission Rules and Emergency Communication Services Bureau Rules before you begin offering services. In particular we draw your attention to:

Chapter 214, Detariffing

Chapter 280, Provision of Competitive Telecommunications Services

Chapter 285, Maine Telecommunications Education Access Fund

Chapter 288, Maine Universal Service Fund

Chapter 291, Standards for Billing, Credit and Collection, and Customer Information for Non-Eligible Telecommunications Carriers

Chapter 292, Standards for Billing, Credit and Collection, and Customer Information for Interexchange Carriers

Chapter 296, Selection of Primary Interexchange And Local Exchange Carriers

Chapter 297, Anti-Cramming Rule

Chapter 870, Late Payment Charges, Interest Rates on Customer Deposits, and Charges for Returned Checks

35-A M.R.S.A. §7302, 70% rate reduction for intrastate toll calls for residential deaf customers who rely on teletypewriters for telecommunications service.

Applicants may either file an original and two copies, or an original and a CD containing an electronic copy of your application to: Administrative Director, Maine Public Utilities Commission, 18 State House Station, 242 State Street, Augusta, ME 04333-0018, OR use the PUC e-filing Financial materials may be filed under seal. If you have any questions or need further information, please contact us at the address shown above or call (207) 287-3831.

II. SPECIFIC INFORMATION APPLICABLE TO INTEREXCHANGE SERVICE

The Commission recognizes an important distinction between interexchange facilities-based carriers and switchless interexchange resellers with regard to the interexchange access charge structure in Maine. Facilities-based carriers must pay access charges to local exchange carriers. Switchless interexchange resellers do not pay access charges because the facilities-based carrier that actually carries its traffic (the "underlying carrier") will be paying those charges.

We define a switchless interexchange reseller as an entity that does not own, lease, or control any switching facilities or private lines that will be used to provide interexchange services in Maine. A reseller who owns a switch in another state, and plans to use that switch to carry traffic between Maine points, is a facilities-based carrier. A reseller that does not own facilities in Maine or any other state, or that owns a switch in another state but does not use that switch to carry traffic between Maine points, is a switchless reseller. In addition, A reseller (whether self-described as "switchless" or not) that purchases interstate service from another carrier and then resells that service as intrastate Maine service (because the calls originate and terminate in Maine) must pay Maine intrastate access charges and must notify the Commission and all local exchange carriers on which it terminates calls that it is engaging in this practice.

 

Many applicants request authority to provide both facilities-based and resold interexchange service. For their own facilities-based service, they must pay access charges. For service that they resell, and that is carried by some other facilities-based carrier, the Commission must be satisfied that the facilities-based that carries the traffic is authorized to provide such service in Maine and pays access charges.

It is unlawful for any carrier, whether it is facilities-based or a switchless reseller, to provide intrastate service in Maine, either at wholesale or retail, unless it has obtained authority from the Maine PUC. We therefore must know that the carrier(s) from which the applicant will purchase its services have that authority. Some switchless interexchange resellers purchase service from other switchless interexchange resellers. Ultimately, however, there must be a facilities-based carrier that actually carries the applicant's traffic. For all switchless reseller applicants, we need to know the identity of, and the authority to provide service, of the carrier that will be selling service directly to the applicant; and if that carrier is a switchless interexchange reseller, the identity and authority of the ultimate underlying facilities-based carrier that will actually carry the applicant's traffic and be responsible for the payment of access charges.

Attachments 3, 4 and 5 address these issues. Attachment 3 applies to applicants who wish to obtain authority to provide switchless resold services (even if they also request authority to provide facilities-based service). In that attachment the applicant for resale authority must identify the carrier from which it will purchase service. If that carrier is not a facilities-based carrier, but is another switchless reseller, the applicant must also identify the ultimate facilities-based carrier that carries its traffic. The applicant must also establish that the carrier(s) named in the attachment have authority from the Maine PUC to provide intrastate interexchange service in Maine by providing the docket number and date of that authority. That information is normally available at a list of interexchange carriers located at the Commission's web site. Go to http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/regulated_utilities/telecom.html and then to "Competitive Telecommunications Companies." Please note: if the facilities-based carrier is AT&T, MCI/Verizon, Sprint or Qwest, you need to provide only the name of that company. You do not need to provide the docket number or date of its authority.

Attachment 4 also applies to applicants for switchless resale authority. In that form the ultimate underlying facilities-based carrier that will be carrying the applicant's traffic (unless it is AT&T, MCI/Verizon, Sprint or Qwest) must certify that it actually provides facilities-based interexchange service in Maine and that will pay access charges on behalf of the applicant's traffic. If the underlying facilities-based carrier is AT&T, MCI/Verizon, Sprint or Qwest, the applicant does not need to provide Attachment 4 .

Attachment 5 applies only to applicants who with to obtain authority to provide facilities-based service (whether or not they also seek switchless resale authority). In that form the applicant must certify that it will pay access charges.

Inquiries related any matter concerning interexchange service should be directed to Joel Shifman of the Commission staff.

III. SPECIFIC INFORMATION APPLICABLE TO LOCAL SERVICE

Provision of local exchange service is governed by the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TelAct) as well as by Maine law and Public Utilities Commission rules. Sections 251-252 of the TelAct establish a process whereby entities wishing to provide competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) services may request negotiation of interconnection and access from incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs). CLECs may also obtain ILEC services from ILEC Statements of Generally Available Terms, but at this time no such statement has been approved by the Commission.

As a practical matter, each new CLEC will need, in most cases, an interconnection agreement with one or more ILECs. Otherwise, CLEC customers will not be able to call ILEC customers, and vice-versa. The Interconnection Agreement must also be filed with the Commission for approval.

The Commission also recognizes an important distinction between facilities-based and reseller local exchange carriers (LECs). The Commission approves service territory areas for facilities-based LECs only for those where the LEC actually intends and is able to provide local service within a six-month period. A facilities-based LEC may establish that is able to provide service by showing that is has (or will have within six months) switching and loop facilities (including those obtained as unbundled network elements (UNEs) from an ILEC) that are capable of providing local service to the proposed service area. A commitment to obtain collocation from an ILEC serving the area will also be considered in determining whether a CLEC is ready to provide facilities-based service. Neither the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) nor the National Pooling Administrator will assign phone numbers unless a LEC is authorized to provide local service in the location requested.

The service territory limitations described above applies only to local exchange carriers that are granted the authority to provide facilities-based service. It does not apply to local exchange resale authority. The Commission defines local exchange resale as the sale of local services purchased at a wholesale discount from an ILEC pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 251(c)(4).

After the initial order granting authority to provide resold service or facilities-base service to a limited area, a utility may seek to expand its authority to provide facilities-based service or facilities-based service to additional areas. Upon the kind of showing described above that establishes a readiness to serve, the Commission will act expeditiously to amend the order granting authority.

The Commission strongly recommends that all local exchange carriers define their service territories by reference to the exchange boundaries of incumbent local exchange carriers. In the absence of such conformity, there could be substantial confusion for both ILEC and CLEC customers concerning whether calls to certain locations are local (within a Basic Service Calling Area, as defined pursuant to Commission rule) or toll.

Attachment 6 applies only to applicants that have reviewed the CLEC to CLEC migration guidelines and have determined that they can not or will not follow the guidelines. In this form applicants must advise the Commission of its position and the reasons for it. Applicants that do not file an Attachment 6 will be assumed to have read the CLEC to CLEC migration guidelines.

Inquiries related to local exchange service should be directed to Rich Kania of the Commission staff.

 

Last updated: August 6, 2008