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LOCAL COMPETITION

Definitions of Terms

Telecommunications carriers in Florida are primarily regulated under Chapter 364, Florida Statutes. During the 2011 legislative session House Bill CS/CS/HB 1231, the “Regulatory Reform Act” (Act), was passed and signed into law by the Governor, effective July 1, 2011. Under the Act, the Legislature eliminated most of the Commission’s retail oversight authority over the telecommunications wireline companies, yet maintained the PSC’s authority over wholesale intercarrier issues. The Act eliminated most of the retail regulation of local exchange telecommunications services by the PSC, including the elimination of rate caps on all retail telecommunications services; elimination of telecommunications-related consumer protection and assistance duties of the PSC; and elimination of the PSC’s remaining oversight of telecommunications service quality.

Incumbent local exchange companies and competitive local exchange companies enter into inter-carrier contracts, which are generally called interconnection agreements. These contracts may include provisions regarding interconnection of networks, unbundling of network elements, resale of services, and collocation of facilities. Parties to interconnection agreements are expected to negotiate rates, terms, and conditions wherever possible, and to petition the Commission in the event an agreement cannot be reached.

To search for interconnection agreements, use the Negotiated and Arbitrated Agreement Tracking System.

ROLE OF THE OFFICE OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS

The Office of Telecommunications is responsible for providing information and making recommendations to the Commissioners on matters concerning telecommunications. In addition, the Office provides telecommunications information and assistance to members of the general public as well as other governmental bodies. Telecommunications companies currently regulated by the Florida Public Service Commission can be viewed by using the Master Commission Directory.

Types of Regulated Telecommunications Companies

INCUMBENT LOCAL EXCHANGE COMPANIES (ILECs)

Local exchange telecommunications companies, otherwise known as “incumbent” local exchange companies, are defined as telephone companies that were historically granted exclusive franchises to build, maintain, and provide local telephone service. Incumbent local exchange companies were certificated by the Commission to provide local exchange telecommunications service in this state on or before June 30, 1995. Ten incumbent providers of local exchange telecommunications service are operating in the state of Florida. Use the Master Commission Directory to view a list of the incumbent local exchange companies, their mailing addresses, locations, contact information, regulation information (company code and number of certificates), current dockets, and links to the company home pages (if available):

COMPETITIVE LOCAL EXCHANGE COMPANIES (CLECs) Competitive local exchange telecommunications companies are defined as any company, other than incumbent local exchange companies, certificated by the Commission to provide local exchange telecommunications services in this state on or after July 1, 1995. Competitive local exchange companies providing services in the State of Florida after July 1, 1995, must be certificated by the Florida Public Service Commission. The Master Commission Directory contains a listing of the competitive local exchange companies, their mailing addresses, locations, contact information, regulation information (company code and number of certificates), current dockets, and links to the company home pages (if available).

RATES

The Commission no longer regulates retail rates for telecommunications services. Providers are required to make their rates available to the public:

Every telecommunications company shall publish through electronic or physical media schedules showing the rates, tolls, rentals, and charges of that company for service to be offered within the state. The commission shall have no jurisdiction over the content or form or format of such published schedules. A telecommunications company may, as an option, file the published schedules with the commission or publish its schedules through other reasonably publicly accessible means, including on a website. A telecommunications company that does not file its schedules with the commission shall inform its customers where a customer may view the telecommunications company’s schedules. [Section 364.04(1), Florida Statutes]

MONITORING THE COMPETITIVE MARKET

Each August, the Commission publishes its annual Report on the Status of Competition in the Telecommunications Industry. In its report, the Commission discusses a wide variety of factors, including access line trends, market share, intermodal competition, and general economic conditions. The report also includes information on the ability of competitive providers to make functionally equivalent local exchange services available to both residential and business customers at competitive rates, terms, and conditions, the ability of consumers to obtain these services, and the overall impact of competition on the maintenance of reasonably affordable and reliable high-quality telecommunications services.

The publication of this report requires data from each certificated carrier. Section 364.386(1)(b), Florida Statutes, requires all providers of local exchange telecommunications services to submit this information on or before April 15th of each year. Instructions for filing this information can be found here.

Last updated January 2014



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