H.R.3515 - Telecommunications Act of 1991102nd Congress (1991-1992)
|Sponsor:||Rep. Cooper, Jim [D-TN-4] (Introduced 10/08/1991)|
|Committees:||House - Energy and Commerce; Judiciary|
|Latest Action:||House - 05/27/1992 Subcommittee Hearings Held. (All Actions)|
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Summary: H.R.3515 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)
Introduced in House (10/08/1991)
Telecommunications Act of 1991 - Title I: Infrastructure Development - Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for the establishment of a Federal-State Joint Board to impose and enforce network quality standards upon common carriers (CC) to ensure the continued maintenance and evolution of CC facilities and services. Directs the Board to initiate a rulemaking proceeding to establish standards, to be enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the State commissions as to matters within their respective jurisdictions, for measuring CC network quality.
Requires each CC to submit to the Board a quarterly data report regarding compliance with the prescribed standards. Authorizes the Board to require periodic independent audits of CC compliance with such standards. Directs the FCC to establish enforcement penalties and procedures, including expedited customer complaint mechanisms, to ensure CC compliance with such standards.
Requires each local exchange carrier (LEC) to provide interconnection, on a reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis, to CCs and other providers of telecommunications and information services who request it, and to provide the interconnecting party with physical colocation, unless it demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that physical colocation is not technically practicable, in which case virtual colocation is required. Specifies that a rural exchange carrier (REC) shall not be required to provide interconnection to another LEC.
Directs the FCC to: (1) adopt and make effective rules to enforce the obligations imposed by such Act; and (2) initiate a rulemaking to require that the interconnection offered by an LEC pursuant to such Act provide for the portability of telephone numbers.
Requires the FCC to revise its order entitled "Filing and Review of Open Network Architecture Plans" to require that: (1) the plans for compliance with such order offer unbundled features and functions; (2) such features and functions are made available on a reasonably uniform basis by all of the CCs subject to such order, and are accessible throughout the service territory of each such carrier; (3) such plans include a schedule for timely offering of new features and functions; and (4) CCs subject to such order not unreasonably discriminate between affiliated and unaffiliated providers of information services in offering tariffed and non-tariffed features, functions, and capabilities.
Directs the FCC, at least once every three years, to: (1) conduct a proceeding in which interested parties shall have an opportunity to comment on whether the order, as further revised, and the plans filed pursuant to it, have opened the networks of the carriers subject to such order to reasonable and non-discriminatory access by providers of telecommunications and information services; and (2) revise such order as necessary or appropriate and require the CCs subject to the order to file new plans consistent with such revisions, which shall also be subject to public comment and FCC review prior to their becoming effective.
Restricts the release of personally identifiable customer information obtained or collected by an LEC in the course of providing telephone exchange information.
Requires: (1) an LEC to prepare and file tariffs in accordance with such Act with respect to the interconnection and network access services required under such Act; (2) the costs that an LEC incurs in providing such services to be borne solely by the users of the features and functions comprising such services; and (3) the FCC to review such tariffs to ensure that the charges for such services are cost-based and the terms and conditions contained in such tariffs do not bundle together any separable elements, features, or functions.
Requires: (1) an LEC to submit supporting information with its tariffs for interconnection and network access services that is sufficient to enable the FCC and the public to determine the relationship between the proposed changes and the costs of providing such services; and (2) the submission of such information to be pursuant to rules adopted by the FCC to ensure that similarly situated carriers provide such information in a uniform fashion.
Authorizes an LEC to include in its tariffs for interconnection services an element intended to recover the amount necessary to preclude any substantial increases in the rates for telephone exchange service (service) that would otherwise result from the offering of interconnection services, subject to specified requirements. Directs the FCC to adopt and make effective rules governing the calculating of such element. Specifies that any amounts recovered by the LEC through the imposition of this additional element shall be used to defray the costs of providing service.
Specifies that the resale of service in conjunction with the furnishing of an interstate telecommunications or any information service shall not be prohibited or subject to unreasonable conditions by the FCC, any State, or any LEC.
Requires the FCC to: (1) adopt and make effective rules for the conduct of coordinated network planning by CCs; and (2) initiate an inquiry to examine the effects of competition in the provision of telephone exchange access and service on the availability and rates for service furnished by RECs.
Directs the FCC to provide for expedited: (1) review of complaints alleging violations of service, quality, network access, and interconnection rules; and (2) licensing of new technologies or services related to the furnishing of telecommunications or information services determined to be in the public interest.
Title II: Provisions Affecting Divested Operating Companies - Authorizes a divested operating company or affiliate (DOC) to provide information services, subject to specified requirements.
Bars a DOC from offering electronic publishing services in any State in which it provides service until the FCC, after notice and opportunity for public comment, determines that: (1) at least 50 percent of all businesses and residences within the areas in each State in which such DOC provides service have access to transmission and switching facilities (other than those owned or controlled by a DOC) that are comparable to those offered by the DOC for the delivery of electronic publishing services; (2) at least ten percent of all businesses and residences within the areas in each State in which such DOC provides service subscribe to services delivered over such alternative facilities; and (3) the DOC seeking to provide such services has demonstrated that there is no substantial possibility that the DOC could use its position as an LEC to impede competition in the provision of electronic publishing services or impose additional costs upon service subscribers.
Permits a DOC to petition the FCC for a waiver of restrictions on electronic publishing imposed under such Act. Requires such petition to be granted if the DOC can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that: (1) electronic publishing service would not exist unless offered by such DOC; and (2) the provision of such DOC would not impose additional costs upon service subscribers. Sets forth additional requirements.
Permits a DOC to provide information services after October 1, 1991, only through a subsidiary that is separated from the service operations of the divested company, with exceptions. Provides for a minimum number of outside directors. Specifies that any transaction between a DOC and any other affiliate of such DOC (including the subsidiary): (1) shall not be based upon any preference or discrimination arising out of the affiliation, or have the effect of permitting any violation of the requirements of such Act; and (2) shall be carried out in the same manner as such company or affiliate conducts such business with unaffiliated persons, shall be pursuant to contract or tariff reported to the FCC and made available for public inspection, and shall be fully auditable and reflect all costs associated with the conduct of such business.
Bars such subsidiary from: (1) entering into any joint venture or partnership with the DOC; (2) having employees or a financial structure in common with the DOC, except as provided in such Act; (3) owning any property in common with a DOC; or (4) establishing any other subsidiary or affiliate except after notice to the FCC in such form and containing such information as the FCC may require.
Requires such subsidiary to: (1) carry out directly its own marketing, sales, accounting, hiring and training of personnel, purchasing, and maintenance; and (2) maintain books, records, and accounts, prepare its own financial statements, and prepare and file with the FCC the annual and periodic reports required of publicly traded companies by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Sets forth additional provisions with respect to: (1) advertising; (2) securities information; (3) outside ownership; (4) transmission capacity; (5) preservation of separate subsidiary requirements for grandfathered functions; (6) provision of services and information to others on the same terms and conditions as provided to the subsidiary; and (7) a cost allocation system requirement to prohibit any cost of providing information services from being subsidized by revenue from service or access services.
Requires the FCC to establish cost assignment and allocation regulations, under which joint and common costs shall be allocated to unregulated services under a formula that ensures that the rates for service are no greater than they would have been in the absence of such investment, or based upon the highest forecast unregulated usage of the investment over the life of the investment, whichever method results in the lesser allocation of such costs to service.
Directs the FCC, by regulation, to ensure that the economic risks associated with the provision of information services by DOCs are not borne by service customers in the event of a business loss or failure. Prohibits: (1) investments or other expenditures assigned to information services from being reassigned to service or access service; and (2) any DOC affiliate which is providing information services and is required to be, or is, structurally separate from an affiliate engaged in the provision of service from obtaining credit under any arrangement that would permit a creditor, upon default, to have recourse to the assets of the DOC, or would induce a creditor to rely on the tangible or intangible assets of the DOC in extending credit.
Requires the FCC to prescribe regulations governing the accounting for the transfer of assets between a DOC and its affiliates which protect the interests of service ratepayers and meet specified requirements.
Establishes an annual auditing requirement for each DOC that engages in, or has a financial or management interest in an entity that provides, information services. Sets forth provisions with respect to the conduct of the audit, submission and certification of audit results, and access to documents.
Requires the FCC and a State commission, within their respective jurisdictions, to require a DOC to assess any affiliate providing information services a charge for the reasonable value of any intangible assets used in the provision of such services and to credit the amount of such charge to the provision of service.
Bars a DOC from providing electronic publishing services, other than those it provided on or before October 1, 1991, in any State in which such DOC provides service, unless and until all entry barriers to the competitive provision of telecommunications services imposed by each State or State commission in which such DOC service have been removed with respect to such DOC.
Requires any DOC that offers a gateway service to make such service available concurrently to all of its subscribers at the same rates, terms, and conditions.
Sets forth enforcement provisions with respect to persons injured by a violation of requirements under such Act.
Directs the FCC to take such actions as necessary to: (1) prevent anticompetitive practices between a DOC and any affiliate of the DOC; (2) protect ratepayers of DOCs from subsidizing the provision of information services by such DOCs; and (3) prevent any DOC from imposing any unjust or unreasonable rates or charges for any CC services provided in connection with the provision of information services.
Title III: Miscellaneous Provisions - Authorizes a State to regulate the rates, terms, or conditions for the offering of information services, subject to specified requirements.
Bars a State from imposing regulations upon an LEC with respect to the intrastate provision of information services by such carrier or affiliate if such regulations: (1) are necessary and appropriate to separate the provision of information services from the provision of service by such carrier or affiliate; (2) are intended to protect the privacy rights of service customers; (3) do not affect the rates, terms, or conditions for the provision of such information services or the types of such services offered by such carrier or affiliate; and (4) are not inconsistent with the purposes, or do not significantly impede the enforcement, of this Act or any regulation or order prescribed by the FCC pursuant to this Act.
Specifies that: (1) nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit State authority to take actions, consistent with this Act, to ensure the availability of service at reasonable rates in areas served by RECs, to relieve a DOC of any obligations, limitations, or responsibilities imposed by any other provision of such Act, or to create any antitrust immunity to any civil or criminal action under Federal or State antitrust law, or alter or restrict the applicability of any Federal or State law to the actions of a DOC; and (2) a DOC shall remain fully subject to the order entered on August 24, 1982, in United States v. Western Electric Company.