About the Division of Telecommunications
The Division of Telecommunications oversees the performance of the telephone companies, under the Board's jurisdiction. It is responsible for developing a framework for competition while also investigating the prices and conditions of company offerings to the public. The Division regularly deals with issues concerning the prices to be paid by competitive telecommunications companies that need to lease portions of the existing telephone network to provide service to their customers. Monitoring the need for new area codes, investigating ways to conserve the use of telephone numbers and overseeing the level of service quality are additional areas of responsibility. The Division will also assist in resolving disputes when companies cannot agree on rates, terms and conditions of service.
The Division is comprised of two Bureaus: Market Structure and Engineering and Rates.
Bureau of Market Structure
The Bureau of Market Structure is responsible for policy development, implementation and oversight of local telephone competition and competitive issues, federal Universal Service Fund and telephone lifeline issues, as well as alternative regulation issues. The Bureau reviews, conducts analysis and advises the Board on a wide range of competitive issues such as intercarrier operations, wholesale carrier performance, mergers and transfers of control, divestitures, and acquisitions. Intercarrier operations include issues that arise between competing carriers such as, review and arbitration of interconnection agreements, transfers of customers to other carriers, maintenance of carrier database for the Board’s website, administration of wholesale performance measurements and access to poles and conduits. It also provides assistance to the office of the Economist on financing matters, the Division of Audits on certification matters and the annual assessment, and the Division of Customer Assistance on enforcement matters to facilitate the work activities of these sections. The issues faced are constantly changing and regulatory operations need to be fluid in order to manage the transition to a fully competitive market.
Bureau of Engineering and Rates
The Bureau of Engineering and Rates develops regulatory practices and rules, including monitoring carrier activities to open markets to competitive forces. The Bureau also analyzes wholesale and retail service quality standards and service outages, property sales, tariff interpretation and revisions, and complex service quality complaints. It examines the acceleration of advanced facilities deployment into the telecommunications network to ensure that the upgrades benefit schools and libraries. The Bureau examines how carriers utilize telephone numbers in the state and assesses the optimal use of area codes. The Bureau is also responsible for the administration of the Telecommunications Relay System for the deaf and hearing-impaired and reviews requests by carriers to provide wireless lifeline telephone service.