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S.F. No. 736 - Telecommunications Regulation
Author: Senator Dan Sparks
Prepared By: Carlon D. Fontaine, Senate Counsel (651/296-4395)
Date: April 28, 2015


Section 1 [Voice-over- Internet protocol] provides a definition.

Section 2 [Internet protocol-enabled service] provides a definition.  

Section 3 (Competitive market regulation) subdivision 1 [Definitions] provides definitions for terms used including “competitive service provider,” exchange service area,” “over-the-top VOIP provider,” and “VOIP.”

Subd. 2 [Petition] lists the information that must be included in a petition to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) by a local exchange carrier seeking to be regulated under this section in a local calling area.

Subd. 3 [Process; objection; review] provides that a petition is deemed approved if no objections are filed within 20 days of its filing with the PUC. Requires the PUC to make a final determination on the petition’s merits within 120 days of its filing.

Subd. 4 [Competitive criteria] specifies market criteria that must be met in a local calling area in order for the PUC to approve a local exchange carrier regulated under this section, including the local exchange carrier’s market share, the number and type of competitors present, the absence of significant barriers to entry, and the inability of a single provider to deter competition.

Subd. 5 [Market regulation] specifies the regulatory provisions to which a local exchange carrier approved to be regulated under this section is subject. Provides that any existing regulatory plans, price, or service provisions to which the local exchange carrier is subject terminate on the day regulation under this section is effective.

Subd. 6 [Relation to other law] provides that the provisions of this section do not affect the commission’s jurisdiction over intrastate access rates and terms, dispute resolution with respect to intercarrier compensation, and authority with respect to public rights-of-way.

Subd. 7 [Re-examining applicability of competitive criteria] authorizes the PUC, on its own motion or upon petition, to examine whether the competitive criteria continue to be met in an exchange service area in which a petition was previously approved. Allows the PUC to determine the appropriate level of regulation if the competitive criteria are no longer being met.

Section 4 (Voice-over-Internet protocol service and Internet protocol-enabled service), subdivision 1 [Regulation prohibited] prohibits any regulation by a state agency of any aspect of VoIP or IP-enabled service, except as provided in this section.

Subd. 2 [VoIP regulation] specifies that, to the extent allowed under federal law, VoIP service is subject to Minnesota’s surcharges for 911 emergency service, telecommunications access Minnesota (TAM, which provides devices to persons with communication disabilities to enable them to use a telecommunications service), and the telephone assistance plan (TAP, which subsidizes the phone bills of low-income persons). Requires VoIP providers to comply with federal requirements to provide access to 911 service and to report annually to the commission how that is accomplished.

Subd. 3 [Relation to other law] specifies that nothing in this section affects provisions of federal law that allow state Public Utilities Commissions jurisdiction over intrastate access rates and terms, dispute resolutions with respect to intercarrier compensation, wholesale telecommunications services, or rights with respect to use and regulation of public rights-of-way.

Section 5 [Municipal telecommunications services] eliminates the requirement that a municipality receive a supermajority (65 percent) voter approval on a referendum to provide telephone service.

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