(1) APPLICATION TO LOCAL EXCHANGE TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANIES.—Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, all local exchange telecommunications companies are subject to the price regulation described in this section. Each company subject to this section is exempt from the requirements of s. 364.19.
(2) BASIC LOCAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE.—There shall be a flat-rate pricing option for basic local telecommunications service, and mandatory measured service for basic local telecommunications service shall not be imposed.
(3) If it is determined that the level of competition justifies the elimination of price caps in an exchange served by a local exchange telecommunications company with less than 3 million basic local telecommunications service access lines in service, or at the end of 5 years for any local exchange telecommunications company, the local exchange telecommunications company may thereafter on 30 days’ notice adjust its basic service revenues once in any 12-month period in an amount not to exceed the change in inflation less 1 percent. Inflation shall be measured by the changes in the Gross Domestic Product Fixed 1987 Weights Price Index, or successor fixed weight price index, published in the Survey of Current Business or a publication, by the United States Department of Commerce. In the event any local exchange telecommunications company, after January 1, 2001, believes that the level of competition justifies the elimination of any form of price regulation, the company may petition the Legislature.
(4)(a) Notwithstanding subsection (2), any local exchange telecommunications company that believes circumstances have changed substantially to justify any increase in the rates for basic local telecommunications services may petition the commission for a rate increase, but the commission shall grant the petition only after an opportunity for a hearing and a compelling showing of changed circumstances. The costs and expenses of any government program or project required in part II may not be recovered under this subsection unless the costs and expenses are incurred in the absence of a bid and subject to carrier-of-last-resort obligations as provided for in part II. The commission shall act upon the petition within 120 days after its filing.
(b) For purposes of this section, evidence of damage occurring to the lines, plants, or facilities of a local exchange telecommunications company, which damage is the result of a tropical system occurring after June 1, 2005, and named by the National Hurricane Center, constitutes a compelling showing of changed circumstances.
1. A company may file a petition to recover its intrastate costs and expenses relating to repairing, restoring, or replacing the lines, plants, or facilities damaged by a named tropical system.
2. The commission shall verify the intrastate costs and expenses submitted by the company in support of its petition.
3. The company must show and the commission shall determine whether the intrastate costs and expenses are reasonable under the circumstances for the named tropical system.
4. A company having a storm-reserve fund may recover tropical-system-related costs and expenses from its customers only in excess of any amount available in the storm-reserve fund.
5. The commission may determine the amount of any increase that the company may charge its customers, but the charge per line item may not exceed 50 cents per month per customer line for a period of not more than 12 months.
6. The commission may order the company to add an equal line-item charge per access line to the billing statement of the company’s retail basic local telecommunications service customers, its retail nonbasic telecommunications service customers, and, to the extent the commission determines appropriate, its wholesale loop unbundled network element customers. At the end of the collection period, the commission shall verify that the collected amount does not exceed the amount authorized by the order. If collections exceed the ordered amount, the commission shall order the company to refund the excess.
7. In order to qualify for filing a petition under this paragraph, a company with 1 million or more access lines, but fewer than 3 million access lines, must have tropical-system-related costs and expenses exceeding $1.5 million, and a company with 3 million or more access lines must have tropical-system-related costs and expenses of $5 million or more. A company with fewer than 1 million access lines is not required to meet a minimum damage threshold in order to qualify to file a petition under this paragraph.
8. A company may file only one petition for storm recovery in any 12-month period for the previous storm season, but the application may cover damages from more than one named tropical system.
(5) NONBASIC SERVICES.—Price regulation of nonbasic services shall consist of the following:
(a) Each company subject to this section may set or change, on 1 day’s notice, the rate for each of its nonbasic services. The price increase for any nonbasic service category shall not exceed 6 percent within a 12-month period until there is another provider providing local telecommunications service in an exchange area at which time the price for any nonbasic service category may be increased in an amount not to exceed 10 percent within a 12-month period, and the rate shall be presumptively valid. However, the price for any service that was treated as basic service before July 1, 2009, may not be increased by more than the amount allowed for basic service as provided in subsections (2) and (3). There shall be a flat-rate pricing option for multi-line business local exchange service, and mandatory measured service for multi-line business local exchange service shall not be imposed. This chapter does not prevent the local exchange telecommunications company from meeting offerings by any competitive provider of the same, or functionally equivalent, nonbasic services in a specific geographic market or to a specific customer by deaveraging the price of any nonbasic service, packaging nonbasic services together or with basic services, using volume discounts and term discounts, and offering individual contracts. However, the local exchange telecommunications company may not engage in any anticompetitive act or practice or unreasonably discriminate among similarly situated customers.
(b) The commission has continuing regulatory oversight of nonbasic services for purposes of preventing cross-subsidization of nonbasic services with revenues from basic services, and ensuring that all providers are treated fairly in the telecommunications market. The price charged to a consumer for a nonbasic service shall cover the direct costs of providing the service. The cost standard for determining cross-subsidization is whether the total revenue from a nonbasic service is less than the total long-run incremental cost of the service. Total long-run incremental cost means service-specific volume and nonvolume-sensitive costs.
History.—s. 9, ch. 95-403; s. 8, ch. 98-277; s. 3, ch. 2000-334; s. 6, ch. 2003-32; s. 28, ch. 2005-132; s. 1, ch. 2006-80; s. 10, ch. 2007-29; s. 34, ch. 2009-21; s. 6, ch. 2009-226; s. 3, ch. 2010-38.