Frequently Asked Questions for Telecommunications Providers

The information below provides answers to some of the frequently asked questions from telecommunications providers.

Please email if you have further questions or need additional information.

The information below is provided as general guidance and is not comprehensive. The full and specific requirements applicable to telephone utilities operating in New Hampshire are set forth in the relevant statutes and in the Puc 400 Rules for Telephone Utilities.

What companies are classified as telephone utilities?

Any company or other non-municipal entity that owns, operates, or manages equipment for the conveyance of telephone messages for the public is a telephone utility, with three exceptions:

  1. Providers of cellular phone service are not public utilities.
  2. VOIP or IP-enabled service providers are not public utilities. See New Hampshire RSA 362:7 for the definition of VOIP and IP-enabled communications.
  3. Providers of wholesale telephone service to other telecommunications providers are not public utilities.

What companies are considered ELECs?

All New Hampshire telephone utilities are classified as Excepted Local Exchange Carriers (ELECs).

How does a company become an ELEC?

Before providing telephone service as a telephone utility, an application to provide voice service must be filed with the Department of Energy. Unless the application is denied, the applicant will be provided with a telephone utility identification number.

When a company stops offering telephone service in New Hampshire, how does it drop its ELEC authorization?

For companies that are ILECs/ELECs:

An ILEC/ELEC needs approval from the NH Department of Energy and the Federal Communications Commission to cease offering telephone service. See New Hampshire RSA 374:22-p, VIII(a) and 47 USC registrt§ 214(a).

For companies that are not ILECs/ELECs:

The company must no longer be providing service to New Hampshire customers. Depending on contractual obligations, this may mean waiting for service agreements to expire or reaching other service termination agreements. Once the company has no current customers, it can file a withdrawal of authorization to operate as a telephone provider. This form is provided as a convenience; the utility could instead withdraw its authorization by sending a letter to the Department that included the information and attestations outlined in that form.

How does a company transfer its customer base to another telecommunications provider?

If an ILEC/ELEC or a non-ILEC/ELEC sells its telephone business to another telecommunications provider, it is transferring its customer base. When all or part of a customer base is acquired by sale or transfer to a telephone utility, the acquiring utility shall file a transfer of customer base report at least 30 days prior to the transfer. When a telephone utility sells or transfers all or part of its customer base to an entity that is not a telephone utility, the telephone utility shall file a transfer of customer base report at least 30 days prior to the transfer. In both cases, the telephone utility shall also file a copy of information submitted to the Federal Communications Commission, as described in Puc 405.03.

What Forms Must an ELEC File Annually?

Each ELEC must file two forms no later than March 31 of each year: a T-1 contact and trade name information form and a T-2 Assessment Report. In addition, an ELEC that operated any payphones in New Hampshire at any time during the previous year must file a payphone location report by March 31.

What forms must a VOIP or IP-enabled service provider file?

Providers of VOIP or IP-enabled services who have voluntarily registered with the Department of Energy must file the VOIP Provider assessment report and the T-1 contact and trade name information form by March 31.

Are there other reports that should be filed?

Telephone utilities are also required to file reports with the Department of Energy when any of the following occurs:

Change in contact information: Whenever there is a change to the information an ELEC has previously reported on a T-1 form, for example, a change in mailing address, telephone number, person listed as a contact for particular functions, or trade name used in New Hampshire, the ELEC shall file a new contact and trade name information form.

Reportable accident: Whenever a reportable accident, as defined in Puc 402.15, has occurred in connection with the utility's property or facilities, the utility shall notify the Department immediately by telephone as described in Puc 404.07, and file a utility accident report within ten days. Fatalities, property damage over $100,000, and closure of a state highway are examples of factors that make an accident reportable under Puc 402.15.

Significant facilities disruption: When a telephone utility experiences a significant outage of its facilities as described in Puc 402.18 (generally an outage that is so significant that it must also be reported to the Federal Communications Commission), the telephone utility shall notify the Department of Energy by e-mail within 120 minutes. The e-mail shall be sent to the address from an address which accepts replies from the Department. The telephone utility shall also file a T-5 facility disruption report within ten days.

Entering an exchange: When a telephone utility first becomes eligible to provide service in an exchange, for example, because it has constructed or leased lines in the exchange, and it requests telephone numbers to serve the exchange, it shall file an exchange eligibility report .

Offering voice service in a new area:  When a telecommunications provider plans to offer voice service as a telephone utility, an application to provide voice service must be filed. The application is only necessary when telephone provider first starts operating as a telephone utility in New Hampshire, or when a telephone utility seeks to expand into areas where it is not yet authorized. No application is required for telephone service delivered using IP as VOIP or IP-enabled service providers are not public utilities.

What are the filing requirements for retail services?

No ELEC is required to file a rate schedule or tariff for retail services that it offers. However, each ELEC must maintain a publicly accessible web site and keep it current with the rates, terms, and conditions of the services it offers.

Each ELEC must offer basic service as defined in RSA 374:22-p throughout its service area. Each ELEC must notify the Department whenever it changes the rates for basic service.

What are the filing requirements for wholesale services?

Telephone utilities that offer wholesale telephone services to other carriers must maintain a tariff with the Commission pursuant to the Puc 1600 rules for three types of service: those required of the utility by 47 USC § 251(c), such as access to unbundled network elements or resale; those referred to as "tariffed" in interconnection agreements; and intrastate access service. See Puc 404.05 for more information.

Where can I learn about additional requirements applying to ILECs/ELECs?

Puc 410 describes additional obligations of ILECs/ELECs, including filing obligations.

Can telecommunications providers that are not public utilities still register as a telecommunications provider in NH?

Providers that are not operating as telephone utilities in New Hampshire, but are offering telecommunications services, are not required to register with the Department. However, those telecommunications providers may choose to register, thereby obtaining an acknowledgement of registration from the Department, which may be useful in asserting rights with third parties. Pursuant to Puc 413, telecommunications providers choosing to register may do so by filing a telecommunications carrier registration form. Pursuant to New Hampshire RSA 363-A:2, III, each entity that is registered as a telecommunications carrier shall be subject to a $1000 annual assessment.

A provider registered as a telecommunications carrier can withdraw its registration by filing a withdrawal of registration form with the Department.

Companies that offer telephone service to the public using only Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) are not considered utilities. Do they have any obligations as telephone providers under state law?

Yes. New Hampshire RSA 362:7, which excludes VOIP providers from the definition of telephone utility, also specifies that this classification shall not "affect, mandate, or prohibit the assessment of taxes or nondiscriminatory 911 fees, telecommunications relay service fees, or other fees of general applicability." The obligation of these companies to pay into the New Hampshire Telecommunications Relay Service and the New Hampshire E911 fund remains in place. Companies with revenue from VOIP services may also be subject to an assessment under New Hampshire RSA 363-A:2, I (d). The VOIP Provider assessment report is available as a convenience in complying with this law.