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Register as a telecommunications provider

Companies seeking to offer telecom services in Massachusetts must file a Statement of Business Operations and a tariff. The requirement applies to local exchange, long distance, operator services, and resale- or facilities-based services.

Department of Telecommunications and Cable

The Details of Register as a telecommunications provider

What you need for Register as a telecommunications provider

Filing and reporting requirements for local and interexchange telecommunications services providers offering service in Massachusetts.

A. Registration/Statement of Business Operations

All telecommunications service providers proposing to offer telecommunications services (Registrants) must first register with the Department before commencing operations in the Commonwealth.  Registrants must submit a Registration/Statement of Business Operations (Registration/SBO), and certify that they will abide by all applicable administrative rules, policies, and orders of the Department.

The Department will presume that Registrants possess the necessary qualifications to operate, a presumption which is subject to further analysis if a problem is raised by the public, another entity, or by the Department.

When completing the Registration/SBO, please respond fully to each item.  If an item is not applicable, please indicate N/A and explain why.  If more space is needed to respond, use a separate sheet of paper.

There is no filing fee for the Registration/SBO.

B. Tariff filings

Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 159, Section 19 and 207 C.M.R. 12.00, and subject to Chapter 159, Section 19F, Registrants are also required to have an approved tariff on file with the Department before offering intrastate services in Massachusetts.  All tariff filings are subject to Department approval.  Tariff filing fees (effective July 1, 2003):

Initial tariff or proposed revisions: $100.00/per tariff/per filing, regardless of page length.

Multiple revisions to the same tariff (e.g. DTC Tariff No. 1) are considered one filing. A revision to multiple tariffs (e.g DTC Tariff Nos. 1, 5, and 9) is considered three separate filings.

Tariff transmittal and explanation letter

Pursuant to the Department's regulations, all tariff filings must be accompanied by a transmittal letter that indicates the tariff number, the specific pages being filed, and a clear explanation of the proposed filing.

Effective date of tariffs

When filing a tariff with the Department, sufficient time should be allowed to cover transmittal of the filing, i.e., 3 days if by First Class U.S. Mail, so that tariffs may become effective on the proposed effective date.  Pursuant to MGL Chapter 159, Section 19, common carrier tariffs become effective 30 days after the date of filing with the Department, unless otherwise ordered by the Department.

Request for expedited effective date of tariffs

MGL Chapter 159, Section 19 also provides the Department with the discretion to allow tariffs to take effect before the expiration of the statutory 30 days, i.e., "expedited effective date."  Requests for an expedited effective date must be made in a separate letter and accompany the tariff transmittal letter, and tariff pages reflecting the statutory 30-day issued/effective dates.  Such a request must: (1) specify the reason the company is requesting effectiveness of the tariff in less than the statutory 30-day time frame; (2) specify the requested effective date; and (3) include the necessary filing fee of $100.00 per request (in addition to the tariff filing fee).

Tariff filings will be reviewed for compliance with statutes and Department policies.  If the Department has any questions regarding a filing, a staff person will contact the party responsible for the filing.

All service providers must maintain a copy of their tariff(s) to be made available for public inspection, both at the Department's office and at the carrier's local office.

Fees for Register as a telecommunications provider

Name Fee Unit
Filing fee for initial telecommunications tariff or proposed tariff revision. $100 each

How to register Register as a telecommunications provider

Submit an original and 2 copies of the completed SBO, along with any attachments, to the following:

Department of Telecommunications and Cable
1000 Washington Street, Suite 600
Boston, MA 02118

Next steps for Register as a telecommunications provider

  1. Annual return

    By March 31 of each year, registrant will be required to file an annual return and revenue statement with the Department for the preceding calendar year.

  2. Transfers of control, mergers, and name changes

    Prior Department approval of a transfer of control or merger of an existing registered carrier is not required. Companies only need to notify the Department within 30 days of the date of the transaction, including within 30 days of the consummation of the transaction.

    The notice can be in the form of an advise letter that explains the transaction in full, and in particular, whether the transaction will result in a change in the manner in which the acquired company provides service to its Massachusetts customers, e.g., will the acquired company continue to provide service under the rates, terms, and conditions it currently offers to its Massachusetts customers?

    Also, if there is to be a company name change, you should submit an amended tariff reflecting the name change, an amended SBO, and a copy of the Amended Foreign Corporation Certificate filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A cover letter should be included specifying that the name change is the only change being made. Use the same form that you would for an initial SBO but indicate that it is an amended and not initial filing on the first page.

    We note that although prior approval is not required, the Department retains the authority to investigate any issue, including transfers of control of carriers or the transfer of certain segments of a carrier's market.

    DPU/DTE 93-98, June 18, 1993 and May 11, 1994

More info for Register as a telecommunications provider

This Tariff FAQ page contains answers to commonly asked questions. To ensure timely processing of a tariff, please also read through the information contained in the "General Information and Filing "Instructions" and "Checklist for Filings."

  1. 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 Department in order to operate in Massachusetts as a telecommunications service provider.  Independent payphone providers must file, and have approved by the Department, a payphone registration form.

  2. 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.  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 DPU 18448 in your "Billing and Termination" section.  For example, "The company will comply with DPU 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: 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, collection fees, minimum/maximum rates, or rate caps. Rates must be specific.

  3. Q. What are some of the common errors in proposed tariff filings?

    A. Offering a promotion that lasts longer than 1 year (promotions should not exceed 1 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) 10 free calls per month for residential main telephone exchange lines; (2) 10 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.

  4. 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 and 1 copy 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 that according to 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.

  5. 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 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.  An amended tariff reflecting the company's new name must also be submitted. 

    If a transfer of control or ownership has taken place, a new 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 SBO.

  6. Q. Is National Directory Assistance regulated?

    A. The Department 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 Department.  The Department must be notified within 7 days of any changes.

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