(a) Purpose. This section establishes the guidelines
for financial assistance to ETPs that serve uncertificated areas of
the state where an ETP volunteers to provide basic voice-grade telecommunications
service to permanent residential and single-line business premises.
(b) Definitions. The following words and terms, when
used in this section, shall have the following meaning unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
(1) Eligible line--A residential line and a single-line
business line as defined by §26.403 of this title (relating to
Texas High Cost Universal Service Plan (THCUSP)).
(2) Eligible telecommunications provider (ETP)--A telecommunications
provider designated by the commission pursuant to §26.417 of
this title (relating to Designation as Eligible Telecommunications
Providers to Receive Texas Universal Service Funds (TUSF)).
(3) Permanent residential or business premises--A premise
as defined pursuant to §26.421 of this title (relating to Designation
of Eligible Telecommunications Providers to Provide Service to Uncertificated
(4) Uncertificated areas--An area of the state that
is not included within the certificated area of a holder of a certificate
of convenience and necessity (CCN).
(c) Application. This section applies to telecommunications
providers that have been designated ETPs by the commission pursuant
to §26.417 of this title. This section does not apply to a deregulated
company holding a certificate of operating authority or to an exempt
carrier under Public Utility Act (PURA) §52.154.
(d) Service to be supported by the High Cost Universal
Service Plan for uncertificated areas where an ETP volunteers to provide
basic local telecommunications service. The High Cost Universal Service
Plan for uncertificated areas shall support the provision by ETPs
of basic local telecommunications services as defined in §26.403(d)
of this title.
(e) Support for uncertificated areas where an ETP volunteers
to provide service. The TUSF administrator shall disburse monthly
support payments to ETPs qualified to receive support pursuant to
this section. The amount of support available to each ETP shall be
calculated using the base support amount available as provided under
paragraph (1) of this subsection as adjusted by the requirements of
paragraph (3)(B) of this subsection.
(1) Determining base support amount available to ETPs.
(A) The monthly per-line support available for uncertificated
areas shall be determined by calculating the average of the per-line
support amount approved for all local telephone company exchanges
of CCN holder's that are contiguous to the uncertificated area for
which reimbursement is requested. The per line support amounts used
for this calculation shall include, as appropriate, support amounts
approved for only those exchanges directly contiguous to the uncertificated
area for which support is being requested. The resulting average support
shall apply to a line at a premises in the uncertificated area regardless
of the residential or business status of the line.
(B) Support under this section is portable with the
(2) Proceedings to determine support amount.
(A) Initial determination for uncertificated areas.
(i) Upon petition by an ETP, the commission shall establish
a monthly per-line support amount for an uncertificated area as identified
by the ETP where it has been determined that prospective telecommunications
subscribers exist. The establishment of support for more than one
uncertificated area may be requested within a single petition.
(ii) The review of the petition shall be accomplished
in an administrative or docketed proceeding initiated by the ETP requesting
support for the provision of single-line residential or business service
within an uncertificated area or areas.
(iii) The commission, on its own motion, may initiate
a proceeding to establish monthly per-line support amounts for uncertificated
(B) Subsequent determination of support amount.
(i) The commission shall subsequently review the support
for uncertificated areas consistent with the review provided for under §26.403
and §26.404 of this title (relating to Small and Rural Incumbent
Local Exchange Company (ILEC) Universal Service Plan).
(ii) The commission may initiate review of the support
for uncertificated areas and base support amounts under this section
on its own motion at any time.
(3) Calculating amount of support payments to individual
ETPs. After the monthly per-line amount is determined, the TUSF administrator
shall make the following adjustments each month in order to determine
the actual support payment that each ETP may receive each month.
(A) Payments. The payment to each ETP shall be computed
by multiplying the per-line amount established by paragraph (1) of
this subsection for a given uncertificated area by the number of eligible
lines served by the ETP in such uncertificated area for the month.
(B) Adjustment for federal USF support. The base support
amount an ETP is eligible to receive shall be decreased by the amount
of federal universal service high cost support received by the ETP.
(f) Reporting requirements.
(1) An ETP eligible to receive support under this section
shall provide the TUSF administrator with the following information:
(A) A report of the total number of eligible lines
served by the ETP in a designated uncertificated area to the TUSF
Administrator on a monthly basis;
(B) The telecommunications provider's residential and
single-line business rates on file with the commission, as of the
provisioning date for service;
(C) The average per-line assistance for each local
exchange telephone company exchange contiguous to the area in question;
(D) A calculation of the base support in accordance
with the requirements of this subsection and subsection (e) of this
(2) Upon request by the commission, the telecommunications
provider awarded support under this section shall explain the basis
on which it is establishing rates under this section.
(3) An ETP shall report any other information required
by the commission and the TUSF Administrator, including any information
necessary to assess contributions to and disbursements from the TUSF.
(g) Initial support provided pursuant to this section.
Initial payment of support under this section shall be retroactive
to the latter of the date on which a telecommunications provider either:
(1) Petitions the commission for THCUSP assistance;
(2) Begins providing basic local telephone service
to the residential or business location approved for support.
Source Note: The provisions of this §26.423 adopted to be effective May 23, 2002, 27 TexReg 4329; amended to be effective September 4, 2006, 31 TexReg 7123; amended to be effective April 7, 2014, 39 TexReg 2499