(1) Advanced telecommunications services shall be provided to eligible facilities in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(2) In order to be eligible under this act, an eligible facility, or a group of eligible facilities based on geographic proximity, shall submit a technology-needs request to the Department of Management Services. The department shall review the technology-needs request to determine if it conforms to the standards outlined in the State Education Technology Committee’s plan. If the technology-needs request does not conform to the plan, then the department shall return the request to the eligible facility or group for modifications. After modification of a technology-needs request it can then be resubmitted by the eligible facility or a group of eligible facilities. A technology-needs request shall be submitted to the department no later than July 1, 1997. Nothing in this section shall prevent the Department of Management Services from grouping eligible facilities technology requests when such grouping would result in the most efficient method to deliver advanced telecommunications services.
(3) Once a technology-needs request or group request has been received and has been determined to meet the standards outlined in the plan, the Department of Management Services shall acquire advanced telecommunications services requested by an eligible facility or group of eligible facilities pursuant to chapter 287. The Department of Management Services shall establish specifications to acquire the advanced telecommunications infrastructure needed to provide advanced telecommunications services. The advanced telecommunications infrastructure used to provide such connections to the eligible facilities shall be provided at no cost in an amount not to exceed $20,000 per eligible facility. In those instances in which a competitive bid is not received, advanced telecommunications services to be provided over this communication infrastructure shall be priced below commercially available rates for comparable service and less than the statewide average of such services.
(4) Notwithstanding the requirements in subsection (3), in geographic areas where interconnection between entities is the most efficient method of providing advanced telecommunications services, the Department of Management Services may suggest, along with the commission, such interconnection arrangements.
(5) Any entity may submit a bid or proposal in response to the solicitation for services by the Department of Management Services. The Department of Management Services shall award a bid in conformity with chapter 287, and under no circumstances shall the bidder be required to install facilities until the eligible facility is ready to utilize the services. If no bids or proposals are received in response to a solicitation issued by the Department of Management Services, the Department of Management Services shall obtain the name and address from the commission of the carrier of last resort in the territory of the eligible facility and provide that carrier of last resort with a description of the advanced telecommunications services that must be provided. If no bids or proposals are submitted for the provision of advanced telecommunications services to an eligible facility, the telecommunications company serving as the carrier of last resort to such eligible facility shall provide the advanced telecommunications services.
(6) Advanced telecommunications services to be provided by the entity awarded the contract or, if no bid or proposal is received, the carrier of last resort shall be provided within 6 months or at such later date as the eligible facility may specify. In the event that a technology-needs request is received by July 1, 1997, but is requested not to be completed until after January 1, 1999, the Department of Management Services shall then issue a solicitation closer to the time the advanced telecommunications services are requested. The entities providing advanced telecommunications services pursuant to this chapter shall abide by the same terms and conditions as those eligible facilities requesting such services by January 1, 1999.
(7) Advanced telecommunications services provided pursuant to this part shall not be sold, resold, or otherwise transferred to an ineligible facility.
(8) Nothing in this part shall have an effect on advanced telecommunications services in operation as of the date this part is enacted.
(9) Nothing in this part shall preclude the Department of Management Services from combining an eligible facility with any grouping of qualified subscribers as defined in chapter 282, to create the most cost-effective and efficient access to network services.