The Vermont Statutes Online
The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
Chapter 005 : State Policy; Plans; Jurisdiction and Regulatory Authority of Commission and Department
Subchapter 001 : General Powers(Cite as: 30 V.S.A. § 227d)
§ 227d. Small eligible telecommunications carriers
(a) A carrier which serves fewer than 10 percent of subscriber lines installed in the aggregate statewide and has been designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier in a service area where a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier has also been designated may, by providing written notice to the Public Utility Commission and to the Department of Public Service, elect to be exempted from one or more of the regulatory requirements under sections 104, 105, 108, 225, 226, 227, 229, and 230 of this title, except for purposes of E-911 services, for switched or dedicated access to the local exchange by providers of long distance telephone service or for rates for utility pole attachments. For the purposes of this subsection, “eligible telecommunications carrier” means a telecommunications carrier designated eligible pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 214(e).
(b) For any carrier that elects exemption under subsection (a) of this section:
(1) The carrier shall provide notice of its election to its existing customers within 30 days of its election and to any new customer at the time the new customer requests service from the carrier.
(2) The carrier shall maintain rate schedules and upon request shall provide notice of any change to such rate schedules to the Commission and the Department for informational purposes only.
(A) Notice of increases of rates for services offered by the carrier on or before June 30, 2005, shall be made at least 30 days in advance to the Commission and Department.
(B) The carrier shall not withdraw any service subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission which it offered on June 30, 2005, without at least 30 days’ advance notice to customers, the Commission, and the Department.
(C) Rate schedules which are exempted from approval by the Commission under this section shall not have the effect of a tariff.
(3) The Commission shall have continuing regulatory authority over any matter under its jurisdiction for which the authority of the Commission is not specifically limited by this section.
(4) The carrier shall not condition the purchase of basic exchange telecommunications service upon the purchase or subscription to bundles of or any combination of telecommunication services other than the one access line required for the provision of such service.
(5) The carrier shall limit its prices as follows:
(A) the carrier shall not increase its price for basic exchange telecommunications service during the first year following such election; during the second and third years following the end of the year in which the carrier has made such election, the carrier shall not increase its price for basic exchange telecommunications service by more than nine percent or by $1.50, whichever is less; and during the fourth and fifth years following the end of the year in which the carrier has made such election, the carrier shall not increase its price for basic exchange telecommunications service by more than 11 percent or by $2.00, whichever is less;
(B) the carrier shall not increase its prices for local measured service during the first two years following such election;
(C) the carrier shall not increase its price for nonbasic telecommunications services by more than nine percent during the first two years following such election; provided that, for the purposes of this section, nonbasic telecommunications services shall mean any optional telecommunications services other than basic exchange telecommunications services and local measured service that were included in the carrier’s intrastate tariff at the time of the election;
(D) the carrier shall not increase its intrastate switched access rates for the three years following the end of the year in which the carrier has made such election.
(6) The maximum prices established under subdivision (5) of this subsection may be exceeded only when it is necessary for the carrier to address an exogenous event. As used in this subsection, the term “exogenous event” means an event beyond the control of the carrier which is limited to:
(A) changes in tax laws that are unique to the telecommunications industry which materially increase the costs or reduce the revenues of local exchange services in excess of 10 percent in a single year, except if costs or revenue changes are less than 10 percent, then as may be approved by the Commission;
(B) changes in generally accepted accounting principles that apply specifically to telecommunications carriers or changes in the Federal Communications Commission’s Uniform System of Accounts which materially increase the costs or reduce the revenues of local exchange services in excess of 10 percent in a single year, except if costs or revenue changes are less than 10 percent, then as may be approved by the Commission;
(C) changes in the Federal Communications Commission’s rules pertaining to jurisdictional separations which materially increase the costs or reduce the revenues of local exchange services in excess of 10 percent in a single year, except if less than 10 percent, then as may be approved by the Commission;
(D) regulatory, judicial, or legislative changes affecting telecommunications carriers, including rules and orders that are necessary to implement such changes, including intercarrier compensation, universal service support, and revenue-neutral restructuring of a regulated intrastate telecommunications product or service which materially increase the costs or reduce the revenues of local exchange services in excess of 10 percent in a single year, except if costs or revenue changes are less than 10 percent, then as may be approved by the Commission; or
(E) changes in inflation, changes in the economy, or the effects of competition that produce an increase in costs or a decrease in revenues in excess of 15 percent in a single year.
(7) If the carrier responds to an exogenous event with a price increase that exceeds the maximum prices defined in subdivision (5) of this subsection, the carrier shall provide notice of such change to the Public Utility Commission and to the Department of Public Service. The Commission, upon its own motion or upon the recommendation of the Department, may initiate an investigation. If the Commission does not initiate an investigation within a 30-day period, the price increase shall take effect. If the Commission determines to initiate an investigation, it shall give notice of that decision to the carrier and to the Department and may suspend the portion of the price that exceeds the cap. The Commission shall conclude its investigation within 120 days of issuance of its notice of investigation or within such shorter period as it deems appropriate. If the Commission fails to issue a decision within that 120-day period, the price increase shall become effective upon the 121st day without retroactive rate adjustments.
(8) Regulated intrastate telecommunications products or services that were not offered under the carrier’s rate schedules effective at the time of the election for exemption under subsection (a) of this section shall constitute new products and services and, as such, shall not be subject to the caps described in subdivision (5) of this subsection. The carrier shall file rate schedules for new products and services and special contracts with the Commission and the Department of Public Service, which shall take effect upon filing. New products and services may include:
(A) services that were not technologically feasible prior to the carrier’s election;
(B) any combination of new or existing products or services;
(C) promotional offerings;
(D) bundles of services, regardless of whether such bundles are comprised of regulated or unregulated services or a combination thereof;
(E) special contracts that are offered to individuals or groups of customers and executed after the carrier elects the exemption provided under subsection (a) of this section.
(c) Upon petition by the Department, the Commission shall and upon its own initiative the Commission may investigate whether it should impose or reimpose any regulatory requirements which the carrier has elected out of pursuant to subsection (a) of this section. If the Commission finds, after notice and an opportunity for hearing, and, after considering the factors identified in subsection 227c(c) of this title, that the public is not sufficiently protected, the Commission may impose or reimpose any of the regulatory provisions listed in subsection (a) of this section. Pending any final order and subject to the provisions of section 12 of this title, the Commission may impose or reimpose any of the regulatory provisions listed in subsection (a) of this section on a temporary basis as it determines is just and reasonable. Upon petition of the carrier and after notice and opportunity for hearing, the Commission may modify, reduce, or suspend any regulatory requirement it has reimposed on the carrier. (Added 2005, No. 73, § 1; amended 2007, No. 79, §§ 17a, 17b, eff. June 9, 2007; 2007, No. 95 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 24, 2008.)