20.45.04.13

.13 Discontinuance of Local Service.

A. Notice to Commission Required.

(1) If a utility providing local residential or business telephone service intends to discontinue, reduce, or impair its local residential or business telephone services to a customer, or is in jeopardy of discontinuing, reducing, or impairing local telephone service to a customer under §B of this regulation, the utility shall provide written notice to the Commission by first class mail not later than 30 days before the date on which service may be discontinued.

(2) The utility shall also simultaneously give the written notice required by §A(1) of this regulation to the:

(a) Affected utility customers;

(b) Underlying provider of the utility; and

(c) Administrator.

B. Utility in Jeopardy of Discontinuing Local Telephone Service.

(1) The Commission may find that a utility is in jeopardy of discontinuing local telephone service based on receipt of the notice required under Regulation .14 of this chapter.

(2) A utility is deemed in jeopardy of discontinuing local telephone service if it:

(a) Files a plan for reorganization in a court of jurisdiction in which the utility proposes:

(i) The acquisition of its customers by another utility; or

(ii) The liquidation of its assets;

(b) Adopts a plan to discontinue telephone service; or

(c) Notifies the Federal Communications Commission of an intent to discontinue, reduce, or impair telecommunication service in Maryland under 47 U.S.C. §214(a) and 47 CFR §63.71, as amended, which are incorporated by reference.

C. Notice to Customer of Discontinuance, Reduction, or Impairment of Service.

(1) No Acquiring Utility. If the customers of a utility subject to the requirements of §A of this regulation are not acquired by another utility, the utility's notice to the customer of discontinuing, reducing, or impairing service shall contain:

(a) The date of service discontinuance, reduction, or impairment;

(b) A telephone number for customer assistance from the utility;

(c) A statement that the customer is required to select a new local service provider before the date of service termination; and

(d) A description of the process for a customer to choose another utility.

(2) Acquiring Utility. If the customers of a utility are acquired by another utility, the utility's notice to the customer required under §A of this regulation shall contain:

(a) The name of the acquiring utility;

(b) The date the acquiring utility will provide service;

(c) The rates, terms, and conditions of service to be provided by the acquiring utility and a description of the means by which the acquiring utility shall notify the customer of any change to rates, terms, and conditions;

(d) A statement that the acquiring utility shall be solely responsible for any charges associated with the migration of the customer to the acquiring utility's network;

(e) A statement explaining that the customer may choose a utility other than the acquiring utility;

(f) A description of the process to choose another utility; and

(g) A telephone number for customer assistance from the utility and the acquiring utility.

D. Acquired Customer's Rights.

(1) For a period of 90 days after acquisition, an acquiring utility may not impose a penalty on an acquired customer for choosing a utility other than the acquiring utility.

(2) Number Porting Required. If an acquired customer chooses a utility other than the acquiring utility, the acquiring utility shall port the telephone number of the customer to the customer's utility of choice within 48 hours of the receipt of a valid local service request.

E. Content of Notice to Underlying Provider.

(1) The notice from the utility to the underlying provider required in §A of this regulation shall be delivered to the underlying provider's designated representative for regulatory affairs and designated representative for wholesale accounts.

(2) The utility notice under §E(1) of this regulation shall contain:

(a) The date of service termination;

(b) The name of the utility acquiring the affected customers, if applicable;

(c) The date service will be provided by the acquiring utility, if applicable; and

(d) The contact information for the account representative of the acquiring utility.

F. Content of Notice to Administrator. The notice from the utility to the Administrator, required by §A of this regulation, shall contain:

(1) The date of service termination;

(2) An authorization to release all assigned telephone numbers to other utilities; and

(3) The release of all unassigned telephone numbers to the Administrator.

G. Content of Notice to Commission.

(1) The notice from the utility to the Commission required under §A of this regulation shall include copies of the notices delivered to:

(a) An affected customer;

(b) An underlying provider, if applicable; and

(c) The Administrator.

(2) The utility notice under §G(1) of this regulation shall contain:

(a) The date of service termination;

(b) The telephone number for the exiting utility's regulatory representative;

(c) The name of the acquiring utility and the date by which the acquiring utility will provide service, if applicable;

(d) The number of affected customers;

(e) The location of the affected customers;

(f) A description of the services provided to the affected customers;

(g) A copy of the notice filed with the Federal Communications Commission under 47 U.S.C. §214(a) and 47 CFR §63.71, as amended, which are incorporated by reference;

(h) The identity of the underlying provider and the nature of the facilities and services used by the utility, if applicable; and

(i) A description of how the facilities provided by the underlying provider are used in provision of service to the utility, if applicable.

H. Access to Customer Service Records.

(1) If a utility is in jeopardy of discontinuing, reducing, or impairing local telephone service under §B of this regulation, the utility shall ensure that alternative utilities may obtain:

(a) Access to its customer list;

(b) The CSRs associated with the affected accounts; and

(c) Any network records necessary for the continued provision of service.

(2) If a third party administers the CSRs for the utility, the utility shall direct the third party to allow access to the CSRs of its customers by an alternative utility.

(3) If a utility discontinues telephone service before complying with the provisions of §H(1) of this regulation, the utility is deemed to have authorized access to the CSRs by the third party.