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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
Friday, February 11, 2000; 10:00 A.M.
State Capitol Building, PUC Cactus Conference Room
Pierre, South Dakota
NOTE: If you wish to join this meeting by conference call, please contact the Commission at 605- 773-3201 by 5:00 p.m. on February 10, 2000. Please keep in mind that a limited number of telephone lines are available. Every effort should be made for parties in the same city to be on the same line when calling in.
NOTE: Notice is further given to persons with disabilities that this Commission meeting is being held in a physically accessible place. If you have special needs, please notify the Commission and we will make all necessary arrangements.
AGENDA OF THE AD HOC MEETING
1. TC99-113 IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION OF MCLEODUSA TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES, INC. FOR A DECLARATORY RULING ON WHETHER THE DISCONTINUANCE OF THE RETAIL SALE OF VOICE MESSAGING SERVICE BY U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. TO MCLEODUSA VIOLATES SDCL 49-31-11. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
On December 2, 1999, the Commission received a Petition from McLeodUSA Telecommunications Services, Inc. for a Declaratory Ruling on whether the discontinuance of the retail sale of voice messaging service by U S WEST Communications, Inc. to McLeodUSA violates SDCL 49-31-11. The petition by McLeodUSA as summarized states: U S WEST Communications (U S WEST) offers Voice Messaging Service (VMS) pursuant to its South Dakota Exchange and Network Services Catalog. There is nothing in the catalog that restricts the selling of VMS to residential or business customers either to individual customers, in bulk or in large numbers, or for any customer to then resell to others. McLeodUSA, as a service to its customers, buys VMS from U S WEST under the terms and conditions of U S WEST's catalog and at the retail prices published by U S WEST in the catalog. McLeodUSA then resells the VMS to its customers at the same rate, and under the same terms and conditions, as in the catalog. The purchase and resale of VMS is not done pursuant to a resale agreement or pursuant to any wholesale discount required by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. On September 22, 1999, McLeodUSA became aware for the first time that the sale of VMS by U S WEST in South Dakota to McLeodUSA would be discontinued. The only reason stated for this action by U S WEST is that it is not required to sell VMS for resale by companies. Despite attempts to have the decision concerning the retail provisioning of VMS to McLeodUSA changed, U S WEST is now prepared to disconnect over 400 VMS customers in South Dakota because they are also customers of a competitor, McLeodUSA. McLeodUSA may be successful in keeping these customers on a VMS platform provided by McLeodUSA or another vendor, but at a cost for local transport, much of which is controlled by and must be purchased from U S WEST. There is no good or justifiable business reason to single out the purchase at retail of VMS by a competitor, who then resells the service, as a target for making the service not available as described in the catalog. This is just another attempt by U S WEST to inhibit competition in its South Dakota local exchange market in violation of explicit state law prohibiting such discriminatory conduct. The discontinuance of the retail sale of VMS by U S WEST to McLeodUSA for purposes of resale is an unjust and unreasonably discriminatory action by U S WEST in violation of SDCL 49-31-11.
TODAY, what is the Commission's decision?
Deputy Executive Director
February 9, 2000