UTILITIES CODE


TITLE 2. PUBLIC UTILITY REGULATORY ACT


SUBTITLE C. TELECOMMUNICATIONS UTILITIES


CHAPTER 55. REGULATION OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES


SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS


Sec. 55.001. GENERAL STANDARD. A public utility shall furnish service, instrumentalities, and facilities that are safe, adequate, efficient, and reasonable.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.002. COMMISSION AUTHORITY CONCERNING STANDARDS. The commission, on its own motion or on complaint and after reasonable notice and hearing, may:

(1) adopt just and reasonable standards, classifications, rules, or practices a public utility must follow in furnishing a service;

(2) adopt adequate and reasonable standards for measuring a condition, including quantity and quality, relating to the furnishing of a service;

(3) adopt reasonable rules for examining, testing, and measuring a service; and

(4) adopt or approve reasonable rules, specifications, and standards to ensure the accuracy of equipment, including meters and instruments, used to measure a service.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.003. RULE OR STANDARD. (a) A public utility may not impose a rule except as provided by this title.

(b) A public utility may file with the commission a standard, classification, rule, or practice the utility follows.

(c) The standard, classification, rule, or practice continues in force until:

(1) amended by the utility; or

(2) changed by the commission as provided by this subtitle.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.004. LOCAL EXCHANGE COMPANY RULE OR PRACTICE CHANGE. (a) To make a change in an incumbent local exchange company's tariffed rules or practices that does not affect the company's charges or rates, the company must file the proposed change with the commission at least 35 days before the effective date of the change. The commission may require the incumbent local exchange company to provide to ratepayers appropriate notice as determined by the commission.

(b) The commission, on complaint by an affected person or on its own motion and after reasonable notice, may hold a hearing to determine the propriety of a change proposed under this section. Pending the hearing and decision, the commission may suspend the change for not longer than 120 days after the date the change would otherwise be effective. The commission shall approve, deny, or modify the change before the period of suspension expires.

(c) In a proceeding under this section, the incumbent local exchange company has the burden of proving the proposed change:

(1) is in the public interest; and

(2) complies with this title.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.005. UNREASONABLE PREFERENCE OR PREJUDICE CONCERNING SERVICE PROHIBITED. In providing a service to persons in a classification, a public utility may not:

(1) grant an unreasonable preference or advantage to a person in the classification; or

(2) subject a person in the classification to an unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.006. DISCRIMINATION AND RESTRICTION ON COMPETITION. A public utility may not:

(1) discriminate against a person who sells or leases equipment or performs services in competition with the public utility; or

(2) engage in a practice that tends to restrict or impair that competition.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.007. MINIMUM SERVICES. (a) The commission shall require a holder of a certificate of convenience and necessity or a certificate of operating authority to provide at the applicable tariff rate, if any, to each customer, regardless of race, national origin, income, or residence in an urban or rural area:

(1) single-party service;

(2) tone-dialing service;

(3) basic custom calling features;

(4) equal access for an interLATA interexchange carrier on a bona fide request; and

(5) digital switching capability in an exchange on customer request, provided by a digital switch in the exchange or by connection to a digital switch in another exchange.

(b) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), an electing incumbent local exchange company serving more than 175,000 but fewer than 1,500,000 access lines on January 1, 1995, shall install a digital switch in each central office that serves an exchange of fewer than 20,000 access lines.

(c) The commission may temporarily waive a requirement imposed by Subsection (a) or (b) on a showing of good cause.

(d) The commission may not consider the cost of implementing this section in determining whether an electing company is entitled to:

(1) a rate increase under Chapter 58 or 59; or

(2) increased universal service funds under Subchapter B, Chapter 56.

(e) Expired.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.008. IMPROVEMENTS IN SERVICE; INTERCONNECTING SERVICE. The commission, after notice and hearing, may:

(1) order a public utility to provide specified improvements in its service in a specified area if:

(A) service in the area is inadequate or substantially inferior to service in a comparable area; and

(B) requiring the company to provide the improved service is reasonable; or

(2) order two or more utilities to establish specified facilities for interconnecting service.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.009. INTRALATA CALLS. (a) If federal law prohibits a local exchange company in this state from providing interLATA telecommunications services, the local exchange companies in this state designated or de facto authorized to receive a "0-plus" or "1-plus" dialed intraLATA call are exclusively designated or authorized to receive such a call.

(b) A telecommunications utility operating under a certificate of operating authority or a service provider certificate of operating authority is de facto authorized to receive a "0-plus" or "1-plus" dialed intraLATA call on the date the utility receives its certificate, to the extent the utility is not restricted by Section 54.159.

(c) If federal law allows all local exchange companies to provide interLATA telecommunications services, the commission shall ensure that:

(1) a customer may designate a provider of the customer's choice to carry the customer's "0-plus" and "1-plus" dialed intraLATA calls; and

(2) equal access in the public network is implemented to allow the provider to carry those calls.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.010. BILLING FOR SERVICE TO THE STATE. A telecommunications utility providing service to the state, including service to an agency in any branch of state government, may not impose a fee, a penalty, interest, or any other charge for delinquent payment of a bill for that service.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.011. NOTICE OF IDENTITY OF INTEREXCHANGE CARRIER. (a) A local exchange company shall print on the first page of each bill sent to a customer of the local exchange company the name of the customer's primary interexchange carrier if the company provides billing services for that carrier.

(b) The bill must contain instructions on how the customer can contact the commission if the customer believes that the named carrier is not the customer's primary interexchange carrier.

(c) The commission may, for good cause, waive the billing requirement prescribed by this section in exchanges served by local exchange companies serving not more than 31,000 access lines.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.04(b), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 55.013. LIMITATIONS ON DISCONTINUANCE OF BASIC LOCAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE. (a) A provider of basic local telecommunications service may not discontinue that service because of nonpayment by a residential customer of charges for long distance service. Payment shall first be allocated to basic local telecommunications service.

(b) For purposes of allocating payment in this section, if the provider of basic local telecommunications service bundles its basic local telecommunications service with long distance service or any other service and provides a discount for the basic local telecommunications service because of that bundling, the rate of basic local telecommunications service shall be the rate the provider charges for stand-alone basic local telecommunications service.

(c) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), the commission shall adopt and implement rules, not later than January 1, 2000, to prevent customer abuse of the protections afforded by this section. The rules must include:

(1) provisions requiring a provider of basic local telecommunications service to offer and implement toll blocking capability to limit a customer's ability to incur additional charges for long distance services after nonpayment for long distance services; and

(2) provisions regarding fraudulent activity in response to which a provider may discontinue a residential customer's basic local telecommunications service.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the commission has all jurisdiction necessary to establish a maximum price that an incumbent local exchange company may charge a long distance service provider to initiate the toll blocking capability required to be offered under the rules adopted under Subsection (c). The maximum price established under this subsection shall be observed by all providers of basic local telecommunications service in the incumbent local exchange company's certificated service area. Notwithstanding Sections 52.102 and 52.152, the commission has all jurisdiction necessary to enforce this section.

(e) A provider of basic local exchange telecommunications service shall comply with the requirements of this section not later than March 1, 2000.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1212, Sec. 19, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 55.014. PROVISION OF ADVANCED TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES. (a) In this section, "advanced service" means any telecommunications service other than residential or business basic local exchange telephone service, caller identification service, and customer calling features.

(b) This section applies to a company electing under Chapter 58 or a company that holds a certificate of operating authority or service provider certificate of operating authority.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, beginning September 1, 2001, a company to which this section applies that provides advanced telecommunications services within the company's urban service areas, shall, on a bona fide retail request for those services, provide in rural areas of this state served by the company advanced telecommunications services that are reasonably comparable to the advanced services provided in urban areas. The company shall offer the advanced telecommunications services:

(1) at prices, terms, and conditions that are reasonably comparable to the prices, terms, and conditions for similar advanced services provided by the company in urban areas; and

(2) within 15 months after the bona fide request for those advanced services.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a company to which this section applies shall, on a bona fide retail request for those services, offer caller identification service and custom calling features in rural areas served by the company. The company shall offer the services:

(1) at prices, terms, and conditions reasonably comparable to the company's prices, terms, and conditions for similar services in urban areas; and

(2) within 15 months after the bona fide request for those services.

(e) This section may not be construed to require a company to:

(1) begin providing services in a rural area in which the company does not provide local exchange telephone service; or

(2) provide a service in a rural area of this state unless the company provides the service in urban areas of this state.

(f) For purposes of this section, a company to which this section applies is considered to provide services in urban areas of this state if the company provides services in a municipality with a population of more than 190,000.

(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the commission has all jurisdiction necessary to enforce this section.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1212, Sec. 20, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 55.015. LIFELINE SERVICE. (a) The commission shall adopt rules prohibiting a certificated provider of local exchange telephone service from discontinuing basic network services listed in Section 58.051 to a consumer who receives lifeline service because of nonpayment by the consumer of charges for other services billed by the provider, including interexchange telecommunications service.

(b) The commission shall adopt rules providing for automatic enrollment to receive lifeline service for eligible consumers. The Texas Department of Human Services, on request of the commission, shall assist in the adoption and implementation of those rules. The commission and the Texas Department of Human Services shall enter into a memorandum of understanding establishing the respective duties of the commission and department in relation to the automatic enrollment.

(b-1) The commission shall adopt rules requiring certificated providers of local exchange telephone service to implement procedures to ensure that all consumers are clearly informed both orally and in writing of the existence of the lifeline service program when they request or initiate service or change service locations or providers. On or before June 1, 2006, the commission shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Health and Human Services Commission, and, to the maximum extent feasible, housing authorities in the principal cities of each metropolitan statistical area, to improve enrollment rates in the lifeline service program.

(c) A certificated provider of local exchange telephone service may block a lifeline service participant's access to all interexchange telecommunications service except toll-free numbers when the participant owes an outstanding amount for that service. The provider shall remove the block without additional cost to the participant on payment of the outstanding amount.

(d) A certificated provider of local exchange telephone service shall offer a consumer who applies for or receives lifeline service the option of blocking all toll calls or, if technically capable, placing a limit on the amount of toll calls. The provider may not charge the consumer an administrative charge or other additional amount for the blocking service.

(d-1) A certificated provider of local exchange telephone service shall provide access to lifeline service to a customer whose income is not more than 150 percent of the applicable income level established by the federal poverty guidelines or in whose household resides a person who receives or has a child who receives:

(1) Medicaid;

(2) food stamps;

(3) Supplemental Security Income;

(4) federal public housing assistance;

(5) Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assistance; or

(6) health benefits coverage under the state child health plan under Chapter 62, Health and Safety Code.

(d-2) A certificated provider of local exchange telephone service shall provide consumers who apply for or receive lifeline service access to available vertical services or custom calling features, including caller ID, call waiting, and call blocking, at the same price as other consumers. Lifeline discounts shall only apply to that portion of the bill that is for basic network service.

(e) In this section, "lifeline service" means a retail local service offering described by 47 C.F.R. Section 54.401(a), as amended.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1212, Sec. 21, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 2 (S.B. 5), Sec. 9, eff. September 7, 2005.

Sec. 55.016. TELECOMMUNICATIONS BILLING. (a) The proliferation of charges for separate services, products, surcharges, fees, and taxes on a bill for telecommunications products or services has increased the complexity of those bills to such an extent that in some cases the bills have become difficult for customers to understand.

(b) A bill from a local exchange company for telecommunications products or services should be consistent with providing customers sufficient information about the charges included in the bill to understand the basis and source of the charges.

(c) To the extent permitted by law, a monthly bill from a local exchange company for local exchange telephone service shall clearly identify all charges including basic local service charges, fees, carrier's charges, assessments, surcharges, optional services, and taxes.

(d) Local exchange carriers shall annually file a copy of that portion of their bill that has not been previously approved by the commission for compliance review with this section.

(e) The commission shall have all necessary authority to enforce this section.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1212, Sec. 18, eff. Mar. 1, 2000. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 963, Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2001. Renumbered from Sec. 55.012 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 21.001(110), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 55.017. IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED. (a) A representative of a telecommunications provider or a video or cable service provider that has an easement in or a right-of-way over or through real property must show proof of identification to the owner of the real property when entering the property if requested by the owner.

(b) This section does not apply to regularly scheduled service readings or examinations.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 2 (S.B. 5), Sec. 10, eff. September 7, 2005.

SUBCHAPTER B. EXTENDED AREA SERVICE


Sec. 55.021. EXTENDED AREA SERVICE. After notice and a hearing, the commission may order one or more local exchange companies that are dominant carriers to provide:

(1) mandatory extended area service in accordance with Section 55.022; or

(2) optional extended area service in accordance with Section 55.023.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.022. MANDATORY SERVICE. The commission may order mandatory extended area service in a specified metropolitan area if:

(1) there is a sufficient community of interest in the area; and

(2) the company can reasonably provide the service.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.023. OPTIONAL EXTENDED AREA SERVICE. (a) The commission may order optional extended area service in a specified calling area if:

(1) each affected company and the representatives of at least one political subdivision in the proposed calling area agree to the service; and

(2) the proposed common calling area has a single, continuous boundary.

(b) The commission may not adopt rules that diminish in any manner the ability of an affected company or a political subdivision to enter into joint agreements for optional extended area service under this section.

(c) In this section, "political subdivision" means:

(1) a county;

(2) a municipality; or

(3) an unincorporated town or village that has 275 or more access lines.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.024. CHARGE FOR EXTENDED AREA SERVICE. (a) An incumbent local exchange company that provides mandatory two-way extended area service to customers shall impose for that service a separately stated monthly charge of $3.50 a line for a residential customer and $7 a line for a business customer if, on September 1, 1995, the company:

(1) served more than 1,000,000 access lines in this state; and

(2) imposed a separately stated monthly charge for mandatory two-way extended area service of more than $3.50 a line for a residential customer and more than $7 a line for a business customer.

(b) The company shall recover all costs incurred and all loss of revenue that results from imposition of the rates prescribed by Subsection (a) in the manner prescribed by Section 55.048(c).

(c) The rate limitation prescribed by Subsection (a) does not apply to a separately stated monthly charge for:

(1) extended area service in or into a metropolitan exchange; or

(2) extended metropolitan service.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.025. HUNTING SERVICE. (a) A local exchange company shall make available, at a reasonable tariffed rate, hunting service from local exchange lines to extended metropolitan service lines.

(b) The company may not require a customer to purchase additional extended metropolitan service to obtain the hunting service.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.026. NEW ORDERS PROHIBITED AFTER CERTAIN DATE. On or after September 1, 2011, the commission may not require a telecommunications provider to provide mandatory or optional extended area service to additional metropolitan areas or calling areas.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 98 (S.B. 980), Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2011.

SUBCHAPTER C. EXPANDED TOLL-FREE LOCAL CALLING AREAS


Sec. 55.041. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter, "metropolitan exchange," "local calling area of a metropolitan exchange," and "exchange" have the meanings and boundaries assigned by the commission on September 1, 1993.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.042. CONTIGUOUS EXCHANGE. The commission may expand a toll-free local calling area into an exchange that is not in a metropolitan exchange but is in a local calling area that is contiguous to a metropolitan exchange that the commission determines has a community of interest with the exchange for which a petition is filed under this subchapter.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.043. SPLITTING EXCHANGES PROHIBITED. Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, the commission may not split a petitioning or requested exchange in establishing a toll-free local calling area.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.044. EXEMPTION. (a) The commission may not require an incumbent local exchange company serving the petitioning or requested exchange to expand the company's toll-free local calling area under this subchapter if:

(1) the incumbent local exchange company has fewer than 10,000 access lines;

(2) the petitioning or requested exchange is served by a telephone cooperative corporation;

(3) extended area service or extended metropolitan service is available between the exchanges;

(4) the petitioning or requested exchange is a metropolitan exchange; or

(5) the commission determines that the company has shown that to serve the area is not geographically or technologically feasible.

(b) To promote the wide dispersion of pay telephones, the commission may:

(1) exempt pay telephones from this subchapter; or

(2) change the rates charged for calls from pay telephones.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.045. ELIGIBILITY TO PETITION. The telephone subscribers of an incumbent local exchange company exchange that serves not more than 10,000 access lines may petition the commission for expansion of the company's toll-free local calling area if:

(1) the petitioning exchange's central switching office is located within 22 miles, using vertical and horizontal geographic coordinates, of the central switching office of the exchange requested for expanded local calling service; or

(2) the petitioning exchange's central office is not more than 50 miles from the central office of the exchange requested for expanded local calling service and the exchanges share a community of interest.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.046. PETITION REQUIREMENTS. (a) A petition under this subchapter must be signed by a number of the exchange's subscribers equal at least to the lesser of 100 of the exchange's subscribers or five percent of the exchange's subscribers.

(b) An exchange that petitions under Section 55.045(2) must demonstrate in the petition that the exchange shares a community of interest with the requested exchange.

(c) For purposes of this section, the relationships between exchanges that create a community of interest include:

(1) a relationship because of schools, hospitals, local governments, or business centers; or

(2) other relationships that would make the unavailability of expanded local calling service a hardship for the residents of the area.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.047. BALLOTING AND CONSIDERATION. (a) If the commission receives a petition that complies with this subchapter, the commission shall order the incumbent local exchange company to provide ballots to the subscribers in the petitioning exchange.

(b) The commission shall consider the request for expansion of the toll-free local calling area if at least 70 percent of the subscribers who vote do so in favor of the expansion.

(c) The commission by rule shall provide for an expedited hearing on the issue of expansion.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.048. CHARGES. (a) The incumbent local exchange company shall recover all costs incurred and all loss of revenue from an expansion of a toll-free local calling area under this subchapter through a request other than a revenue requirement showing by imposing a monthly fee under Subsection (b) or (c), or both.

(b) The company may impose a monthly fee against each residential and business customer in the petitioning exchange. The fee may not exceed $3.50 a line for a residential customer and $7 a line for a business customer unless the customer's toll-free local calling area includes more than five exchanges. The company may impose an additional monthly fee of $1.50 for each exchange in excess of five. This subsection applies regardless of the number of petitions required to obtain access to the exchanges. A company may impose a fee under this subsection only until the company's next general rate case.

(c) The company may impose a monthly fee against each of the company's local exchange service customers in this state. This fee is in addition to the company's local exchange rates.

(d) The company may not recover regulatory case expenses under this subchapter by imposing a surcharge on the subscribers of the petitioning exchange.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.049. EXPANSION PROHIBITED AFTER CERTAIN DATE. On or after September 1, 2011, the commission may not order an expansion of a toll-free local calling area.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 98 (S.B. 980), Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2011.

SUBCHAPTER D. OPERATOR SERVICE PROVIDERS


Sec. 55.081. DEFINITION. In this subchapter, "operator service" means a service using live operator or automated operator functions to handle telephone service such as toll calling using collect, third-number billing, and calling card services. The term does not include a call for which the called party has arranged to be billed (800 service).

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.082. APPLICABILITY. Except as provided by Section 55.088, this subchapter applies only to a telecommunications utility that is not a dominant carrier.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.083. RULES AND PROCEDURES. (a) The commission may adopt rules and establish procedures to enforce and implement this subchapter.

(b) A rule adopted under this subchapter must be nondiscriminatory and designed to promote competition that facilitates consumer choice.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.084. INFORMATION DISPLAYED ON PUBLIC USE TELEPHONE. (a) An operator service provider shall furnish each entity with which it contracts to provide operator service a sticker, card, or other form of information approved by the commission for each telephone that:

(1) has access to the service; and

(2) is intended for use by the public.

(b) The commission may grant the owner of a telephone approval for an alternative form of information.

(c) The information must state:

(1) the provider's name;

(2) that the operator service provider will provide rate information on a caller's request;

(3) that a caller, on the caller's request, will be informed of the method of access to the local exchange carrier operator; and

(4) that a complaint about the service may be made to the provider or to the commission at the designated telephone number.

(d) The operator service provider shall by contract require an entity receiving information to display the information on or near each telephone for which the operator service provider is required to furnish the information.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.085. CONNECTION ANNOUNCEMENT. Before connecting a call, the operator service provider shall:

(1) announce the provider's name; and

(2) at the caller's request, quote the rate and any other fee or surcharge that applies to the call and is charged by the provider.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.086. INFORMATION REQUIRED ON ACCESS TO LOCAL EXCHANGE COMPANY OPERATOR. (a) An operator service provider, on a caller's request, shall inform the caller of the method of access to the local exchange carrier operator serving the exchange from which the call is made.

(b) A charge may not be made for information provided under this section.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.087. ACCESS TO LOCAL EXCHANGE COMPANY AND OTHER UTILITIES REQUIRED. (a) The commission by rule shall require an operator service provider to include in its contract with each entity through which it provides operator service a provision that requires each telephone subscribed to its service to allow access to:

(1) the local exchange carrier operator serving the exchange from which the call is made; and

(2) other telecommunications utilities.

(b) To prevent fraudulent use of its service, an operator service provider or an entity through which it provides operator service may block the access described by Subsection (a) by obtaining a waiver for this purpose from the commission or the Federal Communications Commission. The commission by rule shall establish the procedure and criteria for obtaining a waiver from the commission.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.088. ACCESS TO LIVE OPERATOR REQUIRED. (a) A dominant or nondominant telecommunications utility that provides operator service shall ensure that a caller has access to a live operator at the beginning of a live or mechanized operator-assisted call through a method designed to be easily and clearly understandable and accessible to the caller.

(b) A telecommunications utility described by Subsection (a) shall submit to the commission for review the method by which the utility will provide access to a live operator.

(c) This section applies regardless of the method by which the telecommunications utility provides operator service.

(d) This section does not apply to a telephone located in a prison or jail facility.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.089. COMMISSION MAY INVESTIGATE AND ACT ON VIOLATION. (a) If the commission determines that an operator service provider has violated or is about to violate this subchapter, the commission, after notice and evidentiary hearing, may take action to stop, correct, or prevent the violation.

(b) The commission may investigate a complaint that it receives concerning an operator service.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

SUBCHAPTER E. CALLER IDENTIFICATION SERVICE


Sec. 55.101. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

(1) "Caller identification information" means any information that may be used to identify the specific originating number or originating location of a wire or electronic communication transmitted by a telephone, including the telephone listing number or the name of the customer from whose telephone a telephone number is dialed.

(2) "Caller identification service" means a service that provides caller identification information to a device that can display the information.

(3) "Per-call blocking" means a telecommunications service that prevents caller identification information from being transmitted to a called party on an individual call when the calling party affirmatively acts to prevent the transmission.

(4) "Per-line blocking" means a telecommunications service that prevents caller identification information from being transmitted to a called party on each call unless the calling party affirmatively acts to permit the transmission.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.102. APPLICABILITY. (a) This subchapter applies only to the provision of caller identification service.

(b) This subchapter does not apply to:

(1) an identification service that is used in a limited system, including a central office based PBX-type system;

(2) information that is used on a public agency's emergency telephone line or on a line that receives the primary emergency telephone number (911);

(3) information exchanged between telecommunications utilities, enhanced service providers, or other entities that is necessary for the setting up, processing, transmission, or billing of telecommunications or related services;

(4) information provided in compliance with applicable law or legal process; or

(5) an identification service provided in connection with a 700, 800, or 900 access code telecommunications service.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.103. PROVISION OF SERVICE. (a) A telecommunications utility may offer caller identification services under this subchapter only if the utility obtains written authorization from the commission.

(b) A commercial mobile service provider may offer caller identification services in accordance with Sections 55.104, 55.105, 55.106, 55.1065, and 55.107.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.05(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 55.104. USE OF INFORMATION. (a) A person may not use a caller identification service to compile and sell specific local call information without the affirmative approval of the originating telephone customer.

(b) This section does not prohibit a provider of caller identification service from:

(1) verifying network performance or testing the caller identification service;

(2) compiling, using, and disclosing aggregate caller identification information; or

(3) complying with applicable law or legal process.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.105. PER-CALL BLOCKING. Except as provided by Section 55.1065, the commission shall require that a provider of caller identification service offer free per-call blocking to each telephone subscriber in the specific area in which the service is offered.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.05(b), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 55.106. PER-LINE BLOCKING. (a) Except as provided by Section 55.1065, the commission shall require that a provider of caller identification service offer free per-line blocking to a particular customer if the commission receives from the customer written certification that the customer has a compelling need for per-line blocking.

(b) A provider who is ordered to offer per-line blocking under this section shall notify the customer by mail of the date the blocking will begin.

(c) If a customer removes and later reinstates the per-line block, the provider may assess a service order charge in an amount approved by the commission for the provider's administrative expenses relating to the reinstatement.

(d) The commission may impose a fee or assessment on a provider in an amount sufficient to cover the additional expenses the commission incurs in implementing the customer certification provisions of this section.

(e) Information received under this section by the commission or by a provider is confidential and may be used only to administer this section.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.05(c), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 55.107. LIMITATION ON COMMISSION AUTHORITY. The commission may prescribe in relation to blocking only a requirement authorized by Sections 55.105, 55.106, and 55.1065.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.05(e), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 55.109. IMPLEMENTATION OF PANEL RECOMMENDATIONS. The commission may implement the recommendations of the Caller ID Consumer Education Panel and interested parties to the extent consistent with the public interest.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.110. REPORT OF BLOCKING FAILURE. (a) A provider of caller ID services who becomes aware of the failure of per-call or per-line blocking to block identification of a customer shall report that failure to the commission, the Caller ID Consumer Education Panel, and the customer whose identification was not blocked.

(b) The provider shall make a reasonable effort to notify the customer within 24 hours after the provider becomes aware of the failure. The provider is not required to notify the customer if the customer reported the failure.

(c) In this section, "caller ID service" means a service that permits the called party to determine the identity, telephone number, or address of the calling party. The term does not include 911 services.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

SUBCHAPTER F. AUTOMATIC DIAL ANNOUNCING DEVICES


Sec. 55.121. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

(1) "Automated dial announcing device" means automated equipment used for telephone solicitation or collection that can:

(A) store telephone numbers to be called or produce numbers to be called through use of a random or sequential number generator; and

(B) convey, alone or in conjunction with other equipment, a prerecorded or synthesized voice message to the number called without the use of a live operator.

(2) "Telephone solicitation" means an unsolicited call.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 600 (S.B. 1040), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 55.122. EXEMPTIONS. This subchapter does not apply to the use of an automated dial announcing device:

(1) to make a call relating to an emergency or a public service under a program developed or approved by the emergency management coordinator of the county in which the call is received;

(2) by a public or private primary or secondary school system to locate or account for a truant student;

(3) by a municipality or a person calling on behalf of a municipality to deliver information to citizens of the municipality regarding a public health, safety, or welfare issue; or

(4) by an organization to a member of the organization.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 600 (S.B. 1040), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 55.1225. APPLICABILITY. This subchapter applies to an automated dial announcing device used to make a telephone call that originates or terminates in this state.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 600 (S.B. 1040), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 55.123. NOTICE OF USE OF DEVICE TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS UTILITY. A person may not use an automated dial announcing device to make a telephone call in which the device plays a recorded message when the connection is completed unless the person gives to each telecommunications utility over whose system the device is to be used written notice specifying the type of device to be used.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.124. RANDOM OR SEQUENTIAL NUMBER CALLING. A person may not use an automated dial announcing device for random number dialing or to dial numbers determined by successively increasing or decreasing integers if the person uses the device to make a telephone call in which the device plays a recorded message when the connection is completed.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.125. HOURS WHEN USE PROHIBITED. (a) A person may not use an automated dial announcing device to make a telephone solicitation call terminating in this state in which the device plays a recorded message when the connection is completed if the call is made:

(1) before noon or after 9 p.m. on a Sunday; or

(2) before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. on a weekday or a Saturday.

(b) A person may not use an automated dial announcing device to make a telephone collection call terminating in this state in which the device plays a recorded message when the connection is completed if the call is made at an hour at which collection calls are prohibited under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. Section 1692 et seq.).

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.126. DEVICE DISCONNECTION. A person may not use an automated dial announcing device to make a telephone call in which the device plays a recorded message when the connection is completed unless the device disconnects from the called person's line not later than five seconds after the call is terminated by either party. If the device cannot disconnect during that period, a live operator must introduce the call and receive the called person's oral consent before beginning a prerecorded or synthesized voice message.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 667, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 55.127. CONTENTS OF RECORDED MESSAGE. (a) A person may not use an automated dial announcing device to make a telephone call in which the device plays a recorded message when the connection is completed unless the recorded message states during the first 30 seconds of the call:

(1) the nature of the call;

(2) the identity of the person, company, or organization making the call; and

(3) the telephone number from which the call is made.

(b) In addition to the requirements prescribed by Subsection (a), a call during which a cross-promotion or reference to a pay-per-call information service is made must include a statement of:

(1) the fact that a caller who makes a call to a pay-per-call information service's telephone number will be charged for that call;

(2) the amount of the flat-rate or cost-per-minute charge the caller will incur or the amount of both if both charges will be incurred; and

(3) the estimated amount of time required to receive all the information offered by the service during a call.

(c) Subsection (a) does not apply to the use of a device if the device is used:

(1) for debt collection purposes in compliance with applicable federal law and regulations; and

(2) by a live operator for automated dialing or hold announcement purposes.

(d) In this section, "pay-per-call information service" means a service that routinely delivers, for a predetermined and sometimes time-sensitive fee, a prerecorded or live message or interactive program after the caller dials a specified 900 or 976 number.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.128. DURATION OF RECORDED MESSAGE. A person may not use an automated dial announcing device to make for solicitation purposes a telephone call in which the device plays a recorded message when the connection is completed unless:

(1) the recorded message is shorter than 30 seconds; or

(2) the device has the technical capacity to:

(A) recognize a telephone answering device on the called person's line; and

(B) terminate the call within 30 seconds.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.05(f), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 55.129. PERMIT REQUIRED. A person may not use an automated dial announcing device to make a telephone call in which the device plays a recorded message when the connection is completed unless the person has a permit under Section 55.130.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.130. PERMIT. (a) A person may not use an automated dial announcing device without a permit issued by the commission.

(b) An applicant for an original permit must submit to the commission an application on a form that:

(1) is prescribed by the commission; and

(2) contains:

(A) the telephone number of each automated dial announcing device that the person will use; and

(B) the physical address from which each automated dial announcing device will operate.

(c) An original permit is valid for one year and may be renewed annually by filing with the commission the information required by Subsection (b)(2).

(d) An application for an original permit or a filing required for the renewal of the permit must be accompanied by the appropriate fee prescribed by Section 55.131.

(e) In determining whether to deny an application for an original permit or renewal of the permit, the commission shall consider the compliance record of the owner or operator of the automated dial announcing device and may deny the application based on that record.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.131. PERMIT FEE. (a) The commission shall prescribe a fee for an original permit or renewal of a permit.

(b) The amount of the original permit fee must be reasonable and cover the enforcement cost to the commission but may not exceed $500.

(c) The fee for renewal of a permit may not exceed $100.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.132. NOTIFICATION OF CHANGE. (a) The owner or operator of an automated dial announcing device shall notify the commission if the telephone number of the device or the physical address from which the device operates changes.

(b) The owner or operator shall give the notice by certified mail not later than the 48th hour before the hour the device begins operating with the new telephone number or at the new address.

(c) If the owner or operator of a device fails to give notice as required by Subsection (b), the person's permit is invalid.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.133. NOTIFICATION OF LOCAL EXCHANGE COMPANY. The commission shall provide to a local exchange company on request a copy of a permit issued under this subchapter and of any change relating to the permit.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.134. COMPLAINTS AND ENFORCEMENT. (a) The commission shall:

(1) investigate complaints relating to the use of an automated dial announcing device; and

(2) enforce this subchapter.

(b) A local exchange company that receives a complaint relating to the use of an automated dial announcing device shall send the complaint to the commission. The commission by rule shall prescribe the procedures and requirements for sending a complaint to the commission.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.135. REVOCATION OF PERMIT. The commission may revoke a person's permit if the person fails to comply with this subchapter.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.136. DISCONNECTION OF SERVICE. (a) If the commission or a court determines that a person has violated this subchapter, the commission or court shall require a telecommunications utility to disconnect service to the person.

(b) The telecommunications utility may reconnect service to the person only on a determination by the commission that the person will comply with this subchapter.

(c) Not later than the third day before the date of the disconnection, the telecommunications utility shall give notice to the person using the device of its intent to disconnect service. However, if the device is causing network congestion or blockage, the notice may be given on the day before the date of disconnection.

(d) A telecommunications utility, without an order by the commission or a court, may disconnect or refuse to connect service to a person using or intending to use an automated dial announcing device if the utility determines that the device would cause or is causing network harm.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.137. ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY. (a) The commission may impose an administrative penalty against a person who owns or operates an automated dial announcing device in violation of this subchapter or a commission rule or order.

(b) The penalty for a violation may be in an amount not to exceed $1,000 for each day or portion of a day during which the device operates in violation of this subchapter or a commission rule or order.

(c) The administrative penalty is civil in nature and is in addition to any other penalty provided by law.

(d) The commission by rule shall prescribe the procedures for assessing an administrative penalty under this section. The procedures must require proper notice and hearing in accordance with Chapter 2001, Government Code.

(e) A person may appeal the final order of the commission under Chapter 2001, Government Code. The substantial evidence rule applies on appeal.

(f) The proceeds of administrative penalties collected under this section shall be deposited to the credit of the commission. The commission shall use the proceeds to enforce this subchapter.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.05(g), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 55.138. CRIMINAL PENALTY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person owns or operates an automated dial announcing device that the person knows is operating in violation of this subchapter.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

SUBCHAPTER H. PAY TELEPHONES


Sec. 55.171. DEFINITION. In this subchapter, "provider" means an entity that provides pay telephone service, including:

(1) an incumbent local exchange company; and

(2) a subscriber to a customer-owned pay telephone service.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.172. LIMITATION. This subchapter prescribes the limits of:

(1) the right of a provider to set the provider's rates and charges for pay telephone services; and

(2) the commission's authority over the pay telephone service rates of an incumbent local exchange company.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.173. REGISTRATION. (a) A person may not provide pay telephone service in this state unless the person is registered with the commission.

(b) This section does not apply to a provider who holds a certificate of convenience and necessity.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.1735. CHARGE FOR PAY PHONE ACCESS LINE. The charge or surcharge a local exchange company imposes for an access line used to provide pay telephone service in an exchange may not exceed the amount of the charge or surcharge the company imposes for an access line used for regular business purposes in that exchange.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 2 (S.B. 5), Sec. 11, eff. September 7, 2005.

Sec. 55.174. PROHIBITION ON CHARGE FOR CERTAIN CALLS. A provider may not charge a person making a call on a pay telephone for:

(1) local directory assistance; or

(2) a call made under Chapter 771 or 772, Health and Safety Code.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.175. CHARGE FOR LOCAL CALLS. (a) The commission shall establish the limit on the amount a provider may charge for a pay telephone coin sent-paid call in the local exchange company's toll-free calling area.

(b) The commission may establish a statewide ceiling on the amount a provider may charge for a local pay telephone call that is:

(1) collect;

(2) operator assisted; or

(3) paid by credit card or calling card.

(c) The commission may not establish the ceiling under Subsection (b) at an amount that is less than the applicable local rates for such a call imposed by any of the four largest interexchange telecommunications carriers operating in this state.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.176. CHARGE FOR 800-TYPE CALLS. (a) A provider may charge at a pay telephone a fee of not more than 25 cents for initiating an 800-type call.

(b) A provider may impose the fee only if:

(1) the pay telephone is registered with the commission; and

(2) the provider certifies that the pay telephone complies with commission rules regarding the provision of pay telephone service.

(c) Subsection (b) does not apply to a local exchange company pay telephone.

(d) A provider may not impose the fee if imposition is inconsistent with federal law.

(e) A provider may not impose the fee for a:

(1) local call;

(2) 911 call;

(3) local directory assistance call; or

(4) call that is covered by the Telephone Operator Consumer Services Improvement Act of 1990 (47 U.S.C. Section 226).

(f) A provider who imposes the fee must post on each pay telephone notice that the fee will be charged. The provider must post the notice:

(1) in plain sight of the user; and

(2) in a manner consistent with existing commission requirements for posting information.

(g) The commission may not impose on a local exchange company the duty or obligation to:

(1) record the use of pay telephone service;

(2) bill or collect for the use of the pay telephone; or

(3) remit to the provider the fee authorized by this section.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.177. CHARGE FOR CREDIT CARD, CALLING CARD, OR OPERATOR-ASSISTED CALLS. (a) A provider may not impose for a credit card, calling card, or live or automated operator-assisted call a rate or charge that is greater than the authorized rates and charges published on March 18, 1995, in the eight newspapers having the largest circulation in this state.

(b) The published rates may not be changed.

(c) This section does not apply to a local exchange company. Chapter 58 governs the pay telephone rates of an incumbent local exchange company that elects incentive regulation under that chapter.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.178. NOTICE OF INABILITY TO RECEIVE CALLS. (a) A provider may not display the telephone number of a pay telephone that cannot receive telephone calls.

(b) A provider shall place in a conspicuous location on each pay telephone that cannot receive telephone calls a notice stating in letters one-fourth inch high: "THIS TELEPHONE CANNOT RECEIVE TELEPHONE CALLS."

(c) A provider that violates this section or a rule or order adopted by the commission under this section is subject to a civil penalty as provided by Section 15.028 unless the provider takes corrective action to comply with this section or the rule or order not later than the 14th day after the date the provider receives written notice of the violation.

(d) The commission has jurisdiction over a provider to the extent necessary to enforce this section regardless of whether a provider is a telecommunications utility regulated under this title.

(e) The commission may establish procedures to enforce this section.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.179. INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS. (a) The commission by rule may prescribe the information that must be posted on a pay telephone.

(b) A commission rule may not require a provider or an affiliate of a provider to police compliance by another provider with the commission's rules.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.180. VIOLATIONS. The commission may order the disconnection of pay telephone service for not more than one year for repeat violations of commission rules.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

SUBCHAPTER I. DIRECTORY LISTINGS AND ASSISTANCE


Sec. 55.201. TERMS OF DIRECTORY LISTINGS AND ASSISTANCE. (a) Each company that provides local exchange telephone service in overlapping certificated areas shall negotiate the terms of printed directory listings and directory assistance in those areas.

(b) On complaint by the incumbent local exchange company or the holder of a certificate of convenience and necessity, a certificate of operating authority, or a service provider certificate of operating authority, the commission may:

(1) resolve a dispute between the parties; and

(2) issue an order setting the terms of the directory listings or directory assistance, if necessary.

(c) This section does not affect the authority of an incumbent local exchange company to voluntarily conduct negotiations with an applicant for a certificate of convenience and necessity, a certificate of operating authority, or a service provider certificate of operating authority.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.202. DIRECTORY PUBLISHED BY TELECOMMUNICATIONS UTILITY. A telecommunications utility or an affiliate of that utility that publishes a residential or business telephone directory that is distributed to the public shall publish in the directory the name of each state senator or representative who represents all or part of the geographical area for which the directory contains listings.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.203. DIRECTORY PUBLISHED BY PRIVATE PUBLISHER. (a) A private for-profit publisher of a residential telephone directory that is distributed to the public at minimal or no cost shall include in the directory:

(1) a listing of any toll-free and local telephone numbers of:

(A) state agencies;

(B) state public services; and

(C) each state elected official who represents all or part of the geographical area for which the directory contains listings; and

(2) the Internet address of the state electronic Internet portal and a statement that Internet sites for state agencies may be accessed through the state electronic Internet portal.

(b) The listing required by this section must be:

(1) clearly identified; and

(2) located or clearly referenced at the front of the directory before the main listing of residential and business telephone numbers.

(c) The commission by rule may specify:

(1) the format of the listing; and

(2) criteria for inclusion of agencies, services, and officials.

(d) The commission's rules must require a publisher to list:

(1) the telephone number for state government information; and

(2) telephone numbers alphabetically by:

(A) the subject matter of agency programs; and

(B) agency name.

(e) The commission, with the cooperation of other state agencies, shall:

(1) compile relevant information to ensure accuracy of information in the listing; and

(2) provide the information to a telecommunications utility or telephone directory publisher within a reasonable time after a request by the utility or publisher.

(f) The Department of Information Resources shall cooperate with the commission and with publishers to ensure that the subject matter listing of programs and telephone numbers in the telephone directories are consistent with the categorization developed by the Records Management Interagency Coordinating Council under Section 441.203(j), Government Code.

(g) The rules adopted under Subsection (d) must provide that a telecommunications utility that publishes and distributes to the public a residential or business telephone directory shall list prominently in the directory the contact information for the specialized telecommunications assistance program established under Subchapter E, Chapter 56.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.06(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 424, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 20.002, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 937 (H.B. 3560), Sec. 2.08, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 973 (H.B. 1504), Sec. 32, eff. June 17, 2011.

Sec. 55.204. ELECTRONIC TELEPHONE DIRECTORY. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, a telecommunications provider or telecommunications utility, to further the recycling goals, may publish on the provider's or the utility's Internet website a telephone directory or directory listing instead of providing for general distribution to the public of printed directories or listings.

(b) A provider or utility that publishes a telephone directory or directory listing as described by Subsection (a) shall provide a print or digital copy of the directory or listing to a customer on request. If a provider or utility exercises this option, it shall notify its customers that the provider or utility shall provide the first print or digital copy requested by a customer in each calendar year at no charge to the customer.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1180 (H.B. 3395), Sec. 4, eff. June 17, 2011.

SUBCHAPTER J. TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE BY CERTAIN PROVIDERS


Sec. 55.251. CHARGE FOR HOTEL OR MOTEL CALL. A hotel or motel may not charge more than 50 cents for:

(1) a local telephone call;

(2) a credit card telephone call;

(3) a collect telephone call; or

(4) any other local telephone call for which assistance from the hotel or motel operator is not required.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 55.252. 900 SERVICE USED BY PROBATIONERS OR PAROLEES. (a) This section applies only to a telecommunications utility that transports or provides an intrastate 900 service that is:

(1) covered by a contract authorized by Chapter 76 or 508, Government Code; and

(2) used by a defendant under the supervision of a community supervision and corrections department or the parole division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to:

(A) pay a fee or cost; or

(B) comply with telephone reporting requirements.

(b) A telecommunications utility may adjust or authorize the adjustment of an end-user's bill for 900 service described by Subsection (a) only with the consent of the contracting community supervision and corrections department or the contracting parole division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.07(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87 (S.B. 1969), Sec. 25.155, eff. September 1, 2009.

Sec. 55.253. TELEPHONE PREPAID CALLING SERVICES. (a) In this section:

(1) "Prepaid calling card company" means a company that provides a prepaid calling service to the public using its own network or resold services.

(2) "Prepaid calling service" means a prepaid telecommunications service that allows an end user to originate a call using an access number and authorization code.

(b) The commission by rule may prescribe standards regarding the information a prepaid calling card company shall disclose to customers in relation to the rates and terms of service for prepaid calling services offered in this state.

(c) The commission is granted all necessary jurisdiction to adopt rules under this section and to enforce those rules and this section.

(d) A violation of a rule adopted under this section is subject to enforcement under Subchapter B, Chapter 15.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 411, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 1999.

SUBCHAPTER K. SELECTION OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS UTILITIES


Sec. 55.301. STATE POLICY. It is the policy of this state to ensure that all customers are protected from the unauthorized switching of a telecommunications utility selected by the customer to provide telecommunications service.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1212, Sec. 22, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1579, Sec. 6, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.

Sec. 55.302. COMMISSION RULES. (a) The commission shall adopt nondiscriminatory and competitively neutral rules to implement this subchapter, including rules that:

(1) ensure that customers are protected from deceptive practices in the obtaining of authorizations and verifications required by this subchapter;

(2) are applicable to all local exchange telephone services, interexchange telecommunications service, and other telecommunications service provided by telecommunications utilities in this state;

(3) are consistent with the rules and regulations prescribed by the Federal Communications Commission for the selection of telecommunications utilities;

(4) permit telecommunications utilities to select any method of verification of a change order authorized by Section 55.303;

(5) require the reversal of certain changes in the selection of a customer's telecommunications utility in accordance with Section 55.304(a);

(6) prescribe, in accordance with Section 55.304(b), the duties of a telecommunications utility that initiates an unauthorized customer change; and

(7) provide for corrective action and the imposition of penalties in accordance with Sections 55.305 and 55.306.

(b) The commission is granted all necessary jurisdiction to adopt rules required by this subchapter and to enforce those rules and this subchapter.

(c) The commission may notify customers of their rights under the rules.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1212, Sec. 22, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1579, Sec. 6, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.

Sec. 55.303. VERIFICATION OF CHANGE. A telecommunications utility may verify a change order by:

(1) obtaining written authorization from the customer;

(2) obtaining a toll-free electronic authorization placed from the telephone number that is the subject of the change order; or

(3) an oral authorization obtained by an independent third party.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1212, Sec. 22, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1579, Sec. 6, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.

Sec. 55.304. UNAUTHORIZED CHANGE. (a) If a change in the selection of a customer's telecommunications utility is not made or verified in accordance with this subchapter, the change, on request by the customer, shall be reversed within a period established by commission ruling.

(b) A telecommunications utility that initiates an unauthorized customer change shall:

(1) pay all usual and customary charges associated with returning the customer to its original telecommunications utility;

(2) pay the telecommunications utility from which the customer was changed any amount paid by the customer that would have been paid to that telecommunications utility if the unauthorized change had not been made;

(3) return to the customer any amount paid by the customer that exceeds the charges that would have been imposed for identical services by the telecommunications utility from which the customer was changed if the unauthorized change had not been made; and

(4) provide to the original telecommunications utility from which the customer was changed all billing records to enable that telecommunications utility to comply with this subchapter.

(c) The telecommunications utility from which the customer was changed shall provide to the customer all benefits associated with the service on receipt of payment for service provided during the unauthorized change.

(d) A customer is not liable for charges incurred during the first 30 days after the date of an unauthorized carrier change.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1212, Sec. 22, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1579, Sec. 6, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.

Sec. 55.305. CORRECTIVE ACTION AND PENALTIES. (a) If the commission finds that a telecommunications utility has repeatedly violated the commission's telecommunications utility selection rules, the commission shall order the utility to take corrective action as necessary. In addition, the utility may be subject to administrative penalties under Sections 15.023-15.027.

(b) An administrative penalty collected under this section shall be used to enforce this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1212, Sec. 22, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1579, Sec. 6, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.

Sec. 55.306. REPEATED AND RECKLESS VIOLATION. If the commission finds that a telecommunications utility has repeatedly and recklessly violated the commission's telecommunications utility selection rules, the commission may, if consistent with the public interest, suspend, restrict, deny, or revoke the registration or certificate, including an amended certificate, of the telecommunications utility and, by taking that action, deny the telecommunications utility the right to provide service in this state.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1212, Sec. 22, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1579, Sec. 6, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.

Sec. 55.307. DECEPTIVE OR FRAUDULENT PRACTICE. The commission may prohibit a utility from engaging in a deceptive or fraudulent practice, including a marketing practice, involving the selection of a customer's telecommunications utility. The commission may define deceptive and fraudulent practices to which this section applies.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1212, Sec. 22, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1579, Sec. 6, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.

Sec. 55.308. CONSISTENCY WITH FEDERAL LAW. Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, rules adopted by the commission under this subchapter shall be consistent with applicable federal laws and rules.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1212, Sec. 22, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.