92-e. Telephone service; changes in providers. 1. Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(a) "Hold order or freeze" shall mean a directive to retain the provider of telephone service selected by a customer until the customer provides express authorization for a change to another provider of telephone service.
(b) "Provider of telephone service" shall mean a telephone corporation that provides intrastate interLATA, intraLATA, or local exchange telephone service to end-use customers.
(c) "Service for which there are multiple providers" shall mean a service for which customers have the ability to subscribe or select from more than one provider of telephone service.
2. Unauthorized changes prohibited. No telephone corporation or any person, firm or corporation acting as an agent or representative of a telephone corporation shall on behalf of a customer make any change or direct a different telephone corporation to make any change in a provider of a telephone service for which there are multiple providers, unless such corporation, agent or representative complies with authorization and confirmation procedures established by the commission and by federal law and rules. In construing and enforcing the provisions of this section, the act of any person, firm or corporation acting as an agent or representative of a telephone corporation shall be deemed to be the act of such telephone corporation.
3. Rules and regulations. The commission may adopt rules and regulations relating to unauthorized changes in providers of telephone service that are consistent with federal law which, among other requirements, establish procedures for a customer to confirm a change in a provider of telephone service made by another telephone corporation on behalf of the customer and set forth methods for enforcing such rules and regulations.
4. Hold order or freeze. The commission may, if it determines it to be necessary, require any telephone corporation that owns or operates the network facilities that control routing, selection, or billing functions necessary to implement a hold order or freeze to offer it to end-use customers as a method of reducing incidents of unauthorized changes in providers of telephone service. Such corporation shall perform any hold order or freeze procedure in a non-discriminatory and competitively neutral manner that does not give such corporation an advantage over its competitors in the telecommunications market.
5. Billing information. When a customer or a new provider of telephone service on behalf of a customer makes a change in a provider of a telephone service, the new provider of telephone service shall be responsible for insertion of a conspicuous notice on or with the customer's first bill for which the change is effective or shall send a separate notice within sixty days informing the customer that such change was made. Any bill for intrastate interLATA, intraLATA, and/or local exchange service shall contain the name of each provider of telephone service for which billing is provided.
6. Penalties. (a) A violation of federal law or rules applicable to intrastate service or of this subdivision relating to changes in providers of telephone service is subject either to the judicial penalty authorized in section twenty-five of this chapter for the failure or neglect to obey or comply with a provision of this chapter or the administrative penalty established in this subdivision. In seeking such judicial penalty or assessing such administrative penalty, the commission shall take into account the nature, circumstances, extent, gravity and number of the violations, and with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior offenses and repeated violations, and such other matters as may be appropriate and relevant. The remedies provided by this subdivision are in addition to any other remedies provided in law.
(b) The commission shall have the authority to assess directly, after an opportunity for hearing, an administrative penalty not to exceed five thousand dollars for each violation associated with a specific access line within the state of federal law and rules applicable to intrastate service or of this subdivision relating to changes in providers of telephone service. All moneys recovered from any administrative penalty shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the general fund.
Last modified: September 11, 2016