Telecommunication Certification Process (TCU) Certificate of Public Convenience & Necessity

 

A utility must receive a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Board before it can provide land-line local telephone service in Iowa. Iowa Code § 476.29(1).

The proceedings to approve an application for a telephone certificate are Board dockets identified with the initials TCU. In addition to the certificate requirement, a utility cannot provide local service until it has received Board approval for its tariffs (a TF filing) and for maps and other documentation showing its service territory (a TF filing). The utility must also make a statement that it will provide 2-PIC dialing parity.

There is no prescribed order for satisfying these requirements. Some companies choose to address all the requirements simultaneously. Others prefer a sequential approach. The Board has permitted companies to choose the strategy most acceptable to them to get the necessary regulatory approvals.

Finally, while the Board's rules do not require interconnection agreements with other local service providers in the service territory, in most circumstances interconnection agreements will be necessary to provide satisfactory service.

You may call the Telecommunications Section for additional information at 515.725.7344.


To Whom Does Certification Apply?

Local Exchange Telephone Service Requires Certification:

Local exchange telephone service, either wire-line facilities or resale, requires a Board issued certificate of public convenience and necessity. After September 30, 1992, a utility must have a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by the Board before furnishing land-line local telephone service in Iowa.

Long Distance Telephone Services DO NOT Require Certification:

Most, not all, long distance telecommunications services are deregulated in Iowa and a certificate is not required to provide any long distance services.

The Application Process

The Iowa Utilities Board has prepared this information as a service to assist you in applying for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to provide telecommunications services in Iowa. The purpose of this web page is to provide the basic information required to complete the application process. Staff is available to answer questions that may arise. If you have questions, call the Telecommunications section at 515.725.7344.

Review Iowa Code:

To find information on how to obtain Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) status, please review Iowa Code § 476.29, "Certificates for Providing Local Telecommunications Services," which details the requirements for the provision of these services.

Review Iowa Administrative Code:

You may obtain the Iowa Administrative Code for the Utilities Division on the Internet. Not all of the chapters pertain to telecommunications. A list of the chapters that pertain to telecommunications matters may be found under the Iowa Admin Code information on this page.

Notify All Affected Carriers Prior to Filing:

The statute, Iowa Code § 476.29, requires that your company notify all companies in the intended service area prior to filing with the Board. Each applicant must determine the affected carriers entitled to notice under Iowa Code § 476.29(2). As a convenience, the Board has made an electronic copy of the company contact data in MS Excel (.xls) format available for your use with various mail merge technologies and/or label formats.

Sample Filing:

Prior to filing you may find it helpful to review the initial filing of a company in Iowa which is similar to your organization’s operations for the format and content. You may call the Records Center to obtain a copy of an initial filing by another company. The Records Center number is 515.725.7337. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday. There is a charge for the copies.

Alternatively, since 2009, the Board has maintained an Electronic Filing System (EFS). To review a filing concerning a similarly situated company, click the Search button on the top navigation bar, select docket search and type "TCU" in the docket number field. This will bring up a list of all TCU dockets in the EFS. Only dockets created in 2009 and after (TCU-2009-xxxx or newer) will contain links to the actual documents contained in the filing. To see the most recent TCU filings, click the Docket Number heading to change the sort order to most recent on top.

Dialing Parity:

As a condition of the Certificate process, a statement must be made concerning dialing parity. You must provide a 2-PIC methodology statement for both intraLATA and interLATA dialing parity.

The term ‘Dialing Parity’ means a local exchange carrier is able to provide telecommunications services in such a manner that customers have the ability to route automatically, without the use of any access code, their long distance telecommunications to the telecommunications services provider of their choice.

Having to use a ‘dial around’ such as 10-10-XXX and then dial the phone number is not dialing parity. Under a 2-PIC methodology, the customer must be able to separately choose their intraLATA and interLATA toll providers on a 1+ basis.

Filing Your Request for a Certificate with the Iowa Utilities Board:

Filings must be made electronically through the Board's EFS.  To submit a filing or to register for a user account, please visit the EFS home page. In addition to the technical documents, the filing should contain a transmittal (cover) letter which contains the name of the entity on whose behalf the filing is made, the subject matter of the filing, and the name and address of the contact person. For more information on filing requirements of the EFS, please review the Standards for Electronic Information or Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

The Board will make a determination of the applicant’s technical, financial, and managerial ability to provide service within 90 days of the applicant’s filed request for certification, unless the Board determines additional time is necessary, which allows another 60 days.

Finally, a certificate number will be issued by Board order upon Board’s approval of the company’s proper tariffs, map documentation, and dialing parity methodology.

 

 

How to File a TCU

Filings must be made electronically through the Board's EFS.  To submit a filing or to register for a user account, please visit the EFS home page. In addition to the technical documents, the filing should contain a transmittal (cover) letter which contains the name of the entity on whose behalf the filing is made, the subject matter of the filing, and the name and address of the contact person. For more information on filing requirements of the EFS, please review the Standards for Electronic Information or Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

The Board's complete rules on electronic filing may be found at 199 IAC 14.

For more details on filing documents in the IUB's EFS, please review the How to Make a Filing - Electronic Filing Procedures on this web site.

 

How to File Confidential Materials

You may request material to be held confidential in a TCU filing according to board rule 199 IAC 1.9(6). If a request for confidentially complies with the requirements below, the materials in your filing will be temporarily withheld from public inspection until the Board approves or denies the request.

Documents which the filer asserts contain confidential information will not be electronically served by the board's electronic filing system, as provided in 199 IAC 14.16(4). When electronically filing a document containing confidential information, a person shall file one public version of the document with the confidential information redacted according to the board's standards for electronic information and one version of the document containing the confidential information. The two versions of the document shall be named according to the following convention: "Document Title - Public" and "Document Title - Confidential."

It is the responsibility of the person submitting a public version of the electronic document to take appropriate measures to ensure that any embedded information for which confidential treatment is sought is non-viewable, non-searchable, and nonreversible. Each page of the confidential version of the document shall be marked in a way that identifies it as belonging to the confidential version of the document. The confidential material itself shall be highlighted or otherwise distinguished on the page to identify what specific information is confidential.

A filing including a document the filer asserts contains confidential information shall also include a separate document containing the request for confidential treatment

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How do I obtain Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) Status?
A1. Please review this web site under "To Whom Does Certification Apply? ", "How to File" and "The Application Process."

Q2. Do I just fill out a form to apply?
A2. No. There is no simple form by which to apply. Please refer to "The Application Process" on this web site.

Q3. Can we serve the entire state of Iowa?
A3. Each certificate shall define the service territory in which land-line local telephone service will be provided. Each local exchange utility has an obligation to serve all eligible customers within the utility’s service territory.

Q4. What is appropriate map documentation? Will a photocopy of the state be adequate?
A4. Appropriate map documentation is defined in 199 IAC 22.20(3) entitled Map Specifications. Photocopies of any kind are not appropriate and the applicant will be required to meet one of two methods for providing map documentation.

  1. Language adopting the maps of another utility on file with Iowa Utilities Board is acceptable. (One caveat: other utilities’ maps are subject to change.) In addition, the applicant must list, by name, the exchanges in which service is to be offered in the tariff.
  2. The map documentation conditions in 199 IAC 22.20(3) are listed below.

22.20(3) Map Specifications. All Utilities shall have on file with the board maps which identify their exchanges and both internal exchange boundaries where the utility’s own exchanges abut and ultimate boundaries where the utility’s exchanges abut other utilities.

a. Each utility’s maps shall be on a scale of one inch to the mile. They shall include information equivalent to the county maps which are available from the Iowa department of transportation, showing all roads, railroads, waterways, plus township and range lines outside the municipalities. A larger scale shall be used where necessary to clarify areas. All map details shall be clean-cut and readable.

(1) Each filed map shall clearly show the ultimate utility boundary line; this line shall be periodically marked with the letter "U." Exchange boundaries where the utility’s own exchange abut shall be periodically marked with the letter "E." Ultimate and exchange boundary lines shall be drawn on a section, half-section, or quarter-section line. If not, the distance from a section line or other fixed reference point shall be clearly noted. When using a fixed reference point, measurement shall always be from the center of the fixed point.

(2) The map shall also identify the utility serving each contiguous exchange. The utility names shall be placed about the exterior of the ultimate boundary. The points at which the adjacent exchange meets the ultimate boundary will be marked with arrows.

(3) Plant facilities shall not be shown on the boundary map. Approximate service locations may be shown but are not required.

(4) The name of the utility filing the map shall be placed in the upper right hand corner of the map. This will be followed by the names of each exchange shown on the map and served by that utility. The last item will be the date the map is filed and the proposed effective date, which will be 30 days after the filing date unless the board sets a different date.

b. If requested by the board, a legal description shall be filed to clarify an ambiguous boundary between utilities. The legal description shall conform with the standards set in Iowa Code section 114A.9.

Q5. Do I need to apply for certification for long distances services?
A5. No. Certificates are required by statute for local exchange service providers only. Most long distance telecommunications services are deregulated in Iowa except for alternative operator services. See Iowa Code § 476.91.

Q6. How do I know that the company has been certified and can begin offering telecommunication services?
A6. In a TCU docket the Board must make a determination of the applicant’s technical, financial, and managerial ability to provide service within 90 days of the applicant’s filed request for certification. In addition, the Board must approve the applicant’s tariffs and maps, and must receive a statement of 2-PIC dialing parity. When all of these requirements are met, the Board will issue a certificate. The actual certificate number is stated on the Board order. No lines or equipment shall be constructed, installed, or operated for the purpose of furnishing the service before a certificate has been issued.

Q7. What does it mean that my ‘application has been approved,’ but I am still not certified to offer local exchange service?
A7. When the Board has made a determination of the applicant’s technical, financial, and managerial ability to provide service it will issue an "Order Granting Application." This is only one step in the process of becoming a local exchange carrier in Iowa. There are three other conditions that need to be met before an applicant becomes certified. The order will state the conditions for map documentation, a tariff, and a dialing parity plan that will need to be met by the applicant before certification is approved.

Q8. Where can I obtain a copy of the list to notify all the local exchange providers in Iowa?
A8. Each applicant must determine the affected carriers entitled to notice under Iowa Code § 476.29(2). There are approximately 300 names currently on the list of local exchange providers in Iowa. As a convenience, the Board has made an electronic copy of the company contact data in MS Excel format available for your use with various mail merge technologies and/or label formats.

 

 

Iowa Code / Iowa Administrative Code

IOWA CODE § 476.29 "CERTIFICATES FOR PROVIDING LOCAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES"

Iowa Administrative Code - Utilities Division 199

These chapters of the Iowa Administrative Code pertain to telecommunications:

Ch. 1 Organization and Operation
Ch. 2 Forms
Ch. 3 Rule Making
Ch. 4 Declaratory Orders
Ch. 5 Procedure for Determining the Competitiveness of a Communications Service or Facility.
Ch. 6 Complaint Procedures
Ch. 7 Practice and Procedure
Ch. 8 Civil Penalties
Ch. 16 Accounting
Ch. 18 Utility Records
Ch. 22 Rates Charged and Service Supplied by Telephone Utilities
Ch. 23 Annual Report
Ch. 32 Reorganization
Ch. 38 Local Exchange Competition
Ch. 39 Universal Service

NRRIC: Inter-company Responsibilities Within the Telecommunications Industry

The Network Routing Resource Information Committee (NRRIC) is a group whose members are drawn from many significant elements within the telecommunications industry.

In light of the growing influx of new service providers, the NRRIC feels there is a need to provide information about the steps and data flows involved with a company becoming integrated within the telecommunications industry.

To address this need, the NRRIC has developed the Inter-company Responsibilities Within the Telecommunications Industry (PDF - 140 kb) document to serve as a reference of the various processes and procedures that a service provider might find helpful. This information is intended to allow new and existing service providers to maintain the network at its current high level of integrity. The Iowa Utilities Board had no input into the content of this document. It is provided for informational purposes only.