Chapter 06 - Regulations of Local Telecommunications Operations

Chapter 06 - Regulations of Local Telecommunications Operations

12.0601 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the regulations of local telecommunications operations in American Samoa in a manner which serves the public interest. The objectives of such regulations shall be:

A. To promote the rapid development of efficient, modern, and advanced telecommunications facilities and technologies;

B. To provide consumers access to high-quality telecommunications services at reasonable prices; and

C. To facilitate competition in the telecommunications marketplace on reasonable terms and conditions.

12.0602 Definitions.

A. “Telecommunications Regulatory Commissioner” or “Commissioner” means the Governor of American Samoa.

B. “Telecommunications carrier” means any person engaged as a common carrier in providing telecommunications service for hire.

C. “Local” means within the Territory of American Samoa.

12.0603 Duties of Telecommunications Carriers.

It shall be the duty of every telecommunications carrier providing local service in American Samoa:

A. To provide such telecommunications service upon the reasonable request of any party;

B. To establish interconnection with other telecommunications carriers, subject to the orders of the Commissioner;

C. To establish charges, practices, classifications, terms, and conditions for telecommunications services which are just and reasonable;

D. Not to make any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, terms, conditions, facilities, or services, directly or indirectly, by any means or device, nor to give any undue or unreasonable preference, advantage, or disadvantage to any person or class of persons;

E. To publish its rates, terms, and conditions for telecommunications services, including interconnection, in the manner prescribed by the Commissioner; and

F. To cooperate in the proceedings of the Commissioner and to comply with the orders of the Commissioner.

12.0604 Jurisdiction.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commissioner shall have regulatory jurisdiction with respect to the local operations of telecommunications carriers in American Samoa. The Commissioner shall perform the functions of the “state commissioner” for American Samoa under the Federal Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. §153(41).

12.0605 Procedures.

A. Pleadings. Pleadings before the Commissioner shall be informal. Proceedings may be initiated by application, petition, complaint, or other form of pleading as may be appropriate under the circumstances.

B. Proceedings. Proceedings may be initiated by an initial pleading or by the Commissioner. When a proceeding has been initiated, the Commissioner shall give public notice of the proceeding and shall proscribe the time within which responsive pleadings or comments may be filed.

C. Presiding Officers. Where a proceeding involves contested matters, the Commissioner may appoint a Presiding Officer to conduct the proceeding. The Presiding Officer shall convene such meetings, hearings conferences or other sessions as the Presiding Officers deems appropriate. The Presiding Officer shall prescribe the schedule and form for the submission of evidence, briefs, and arguments.

D. Settlement. The Presiding Officer shall encourage parties to negotiate and to resolve contested matters by mutual agreement. Concession and offers of compromise are inadmissible at any such meetings, hearings, conferences, or other sessions.

E. Discovery. Any party may move the Presiding Officer for the production of other evidence in the possession of another party. Discovery shall be granted only upon a showing that material evidence is likely to be obtained. The Presiding Officer may place reasonable limits on any discovery.

F. Recommended Decision. The Presiding Officer shall make a recommended decision to the Commissioner. In the recommended decision the Presiding Officer shall provide an opportunity for the submission of objections to the recommended decision. Any objection not submitted in accordance with the recommended decision shall be waived.

G. Final Decision. The final decision shall be made by the Commissioner. The Commissioner may accept the recommended decision, accept the recommended decision with modifications, or reject the recommended decision. An order by the Commissioner remanding a proceeding to the Presiding Officer for further action shall not be a final decision.

12.0606 Judicial Review.

Any party to a proceeding before the Commissioner which is aggrieved by a final decision of the Commissioner may petition for review of such decision by the High Court of American Samoa pursuant to A.S.C.A 4.1040 through 4.1044, except where preempted by federal law.

12.0607 Declaration of an Emergency.

A. Pursuant to A.S.C.A. 4.1010, if an agency finds that an imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare requires adoption of a rule upon fewer than 20 days notice and states in writing its reasons for that finding it may proceed without prior notice or hearing.

B. The Telecommunications Regulatory Commissioner finds that fact exist which justifies adoption of the foregoing regulation upon fewer than 20 days notice, to wit:

1.The foregoing rules are rules of procedure and do not effect substantive rights.

2.The Telecommunications Act of 1934, as amended in 1996, requires incumbent local communications carriers to allow for interconnection of telecommunications services with communications carriers entering the market. Pursuant to federal law, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commissioner is required to accept or reject such interconnection agreements.

3.The Commissioner has received a request for an interconnection agreement which is presently under consideration. Because of certain time constraints imposed by federal law as regards the consideration of the interconnection agreement, insufficient time exists to give notice as provided by A.S.C.A. 4.1010.

4.Based on the foregoing findings the Commissioner finds that imminent peril to the public health, safety, and welfare requires adoption of the foregoing rule immediately upon filing the same as provided inA.S.C.A. 4.1008 upon fewer than 20 days notice. According to law the foregoing rule will be effective for a period of 120 days from the effective date.