- Q. What are the Department's requirements for telecom service providers who wish to offer telecommunications services within Massachusetts?
A. Carriers must file a Registration/Statement of Business Operations (SBO) and have an approved MA intrastate tariff on file with the DTC in order to operate in Massachusetts as a telecommunications service provider. Independent payphone providers must file, and have approved by the DTC, a "Payphone Registration" form.
Q. What is the MA law requiring a telecom service provider to file a tariff with the Department?
A. Telecom service providers are required to have an approved tariff on file with the Department before offering intrastate services in Massachusetts pursuant to Massachusetts General Law (MGL) c. 159, secs.19 and 20, and the Department's rules contained in 220 C.M.R. 5.00.
- Q. What can be done to help ensure that a tariff is processed and approved smoothly?
A. If filing an initial SBO and tariff, the transmittal letter should contain a clear description of the filing. The SBO and original version of the proposed tariff should be submitted on three-hole punched paper. The copy of the SBO and the two copies of the proposed tariff are not required to be on three-hole punched paper. If filing tariff revisions, the tariff number and the tariff pages included in the filing should be listed on the transmittal letter, including an explanation of what the proposed revisions accomplish. If providing residential local exchange service, include a reference to D.P.U. 18448 in your "Billing and Termination" section. For example, "The Company will comply with D.P.U. 18448 in regard to residential customer billing and termination."
The tariff must specify in the initial section whether the company is providing service(s) to residential and/or non-residential/commercial customers/accounts.
Tariffs may NOT include: [Legal] choice of forum restrictions (waiver of right to seek redress in MA courts), waiver of personal service, waiver of subject matter jurisdiction, waiver of trial by jury, waiver of objections based on forum non conveniens, waiver of objection to venue, or waiver of right to appeal.
Tariffs may NOT include provisions for the recovery of attorney fees, court costs or collection fees, or minimum/maximum rates, or rate caps. Rates must be specific.
- Q. What are some of the common errors in proposed tariff filings?
A. Offering a promotion that lasts longer than one year (promotions should not exceed one year, but may be renewed), and not including language that all promotions are subject to Department approval.
Incomplete Directory Assistance ("DA") Exemptions - DA exemptions include the following: (1) ten free calls per month for residential main telephone exchange lines; (2) ten free calls per month for each business main telephone exchange or business PBX trunk line; (3) no charge for DA calls placed from payphones; (4) no charge for DA calls placed from exchange lines of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or any of its political subdivisions; (5) main telephone exchange line of a disabled user.
Not specifying in a tariff (e.g., under "Undertaking of Company," or equivalent) whether tariff applies only to business, only to residential, or both.
- Q. What are the fees associated with filing a tariff?
A. All tariff filings, whether an initial tariff, or revisions to an existing tariff, are subject to a $100 filing fee. Company name changes are treated as revisions. Filings should consist of an original copy on three-hole punched paper, and TWO copies (on regular paper) along with any attachments.
Expedited Effective Date for Tariff Revisions $100 filing fee, along with a separate letter explaining why the tariff revisions should be allowed to become effective before the expiration of the 30-day period. The request must include the specific effective date that is being requested. Please Note - By statute (MGL c. 159 sec. 19) the Department has discretion to grant or deny expedited treatment, which is usually reserved for promotions and rate decreases. It is generally not granted on initial tariff filings.
Q. What is the interest to be paid on deposits?
Interest to be paid on security deposits, which must be paid by all telecommunications service providers on non-residential accounts, must be calculated in conformance with 220 CMR 26.09, i.e., the interest rate paid on a two-year US Treasury Note for the preceding twelve months ending December 31 of any year, as published during the 1st week of January in the Federal Reserve Statistical Release, G13(415) Selected Interest Rate.
- Q. What if a company changes its name?
A. Simple name changes that are unrelated to a change in ownership or control require an amended Registration/SBO. A transmittal letter explaining the reason for the name change, and, if applicable, a copy of the amended registration certificate filed with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth must be included.
If a transfer of control or ownership has taken place, a new Registration/SBO should be submitted, along with a cover letter explaining the transaction. A transmittal letter explaining the reason for the name change, and, if applicable, a copy of the amended registration certificate filed with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth should be provided. An initial tariff reflecting the company's new name must also be submitted with the new Registration/SBO.
- Q. Is National Directory Assistance Regulated?
A. The DTC does not have authority to review or approve the offering of National Directory Assistance. e.g. a service that provides a telephone number for a listing outside of Massachusetts. See MGL c. 159, sec. 19A
Carriers are also required to maintain a current address and telephone number on file with the MA DTC. The MA DTC must be notified within seven (7) days of any changes.