New MPSC telecom rules protect customers in provider disputes

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today adopted formal rules that wholesale and retail telecommunications providers will have to follow if there is a dispute that could lead to an interruption in phone service for customers.

The Responsibilities of Providers of Basic Local Exchange Service That Cease to Provide the Service rules (Case No. U-18360) are intended to give landline customers enough time to find a new carrier should they face losing phone access due to the dispute.

Under the new rules, the two companies first must work to resolve issues between them. If that is unsuccessful, the wholesale provider must notify the MPSC and the retail carrier at least 45 days ahead of its deadline to end service to the retail provider. Within 10 days of receiving the notification, the retail carrier must notify its customers, the Commission and the Governor about an anticipated stoppage of service, in accordance with federal rules, as well as provide to the Commission information about its customers.

The rules under Section 202 of the Michigan Telecommunications Act also address transferring a service provider’s customers to another company and reclaiming telephone numbers.

Other Commission rulings today

Electric safety in Detroit: DTE Electric Co. must inform the Commission how it plans to address electrical equipment safety associated with its electrical equipment potentially coming into contact with out-of-service arc wire owned by the City of Detroit (Case No. U-18484). The Commission in December ordered DTE to work with the Detroit Public Lighting Department on an independent analysis of arc wire throughout the city. DTE must notify the Commission by March 30 whether it will do the analysis or provide an alternate plan.

Lifeline provider OK’d: North American Local, LLC, was approved as an eligible telecommunications carrier that offers Lifeline phone service in Michigan (Case No. U-20053). Among the customers North American Local will serve are those in the state’s tribal areas. Lifeline is a federal program that lowers the monthly cost of phone and internet for qualifying customers. North American offers local and Lifeline services in five other states.

Local phone service requests: Temporary licenses were approved for two companies to provide service under the Michigan Telecommunications Act. Vero Fiber Networks LLC (Case No. U-20048) and Campus Communications Group, Inc. (Case No. U-20096) filed with the MPSC to offer basic local service.

For more information about the MPSC, please visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc or sign up for one of its listservs to keep up to date on MPSC matters.

DISCLAIMER: This document was prepared to aid the public’s understanding of certain matters before the Commission and is not intended to modify, supplement, or be a substitute for the Commission’s orders. The Commission’s orders are the official action of the Commission.

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