Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 56. Public Service Companies
Chapter 15. Telegraph and Telephone Companies
5/14/2021

Chapter 15. Telegraph and Telephone Companies.

Article 1. Erection of Lines; Rights-of-Way; Eminent Domain, Etc.

§ 56-458. Right to erect lines parallel to railroads; occupation of roads, streets, etc.; location of same.

A. Every telegraph company and every telephone company incorporated by this or any other state, or by the United States, may construct, maintain and operate its line along and parallel to any of the railroads of the Commonwealth, and shall have authority to occupy and use the public parks, roads, works, turnpikes, streets, avenues and alleys in any of the counties, with the consent of the board of supervisors or other governing authority thereof, or in any incorporated city or town, with the consent of the council thereof, and the waterways within this Commonwealth, for the erection of poles and wires, or cables, or the laying of underground conduits, portions of which they may lease, rent, or hire to other like companies; provided, however, that if the road or street be in the State Highway System or the secondary system of state highways, the consent of the board of supervisors or other governing authority of any county shall not be necessary, but a permit for such occupation and use shall first be obtained from the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

B. No locality or the Commonwealth Transportation Board shall impose any fees on a certificated provider of telecommunications service for the use of public rights-of-way except in the manner prescribed in § 56-468.1; provided, however, the provisions of § 56-468.1 shall not apply to providers of commercial mobile radio services.

C. No locality or the Commonwealth Transportation Board shall impose on certificated providers of telecommunications service, whether by franchise, ordinance or other means, any restrictions or requirements concerning the use of the public rights-of-way (including but not limited to the permitting process; notice, time and location of excavations and repair work; enforcement of the statewide building code; and inspections), which are (i) unfair or unreasonable or (ii) any greater than those imposed on the following users of the public rights-of-way: all providers of telecommunications services and nonpublic providers of cable television, electric, natural gas, water and sanitary sewer services. For purposes of this subsection, "restrictions or requirements concerning the use of the public rights-of-way" shall not include any existing franchise fee or the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee.

D. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any permit or other permission required by a locality pursuant to a franchise, ordinance, or other permission to use the public rights-of-way or by the Commonwealth Transportation Board of a certificated provider of telecommunications services to use the public rights-of-way shall be granted or denied within forty-five days from submission and, if denied, accompanied by a written explanation of the reasons the permit was denied and the actions required to cure the denial.

E. No locality receiving directly or indirectly a Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee or the Commonwealth Transportation Board shall require a certificated provider of telecommunications services to provide in-kind services or physical assets as a condition of consent to use public rights-of-way or easements, or in lieu of the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee. This shall not limit the ability of localities, their authorities or commissions which provide utility services, or the Commonwealth Transportation Board to enter into voluntary pole attachment, conduit occupancy or conduit construction agreements with certificated providers of telecommunications service. Any locality, other than a city or town electing to continue to enforce an existing franchise, ordinance or other form of consent under subsection J of § 56-468.1, or the Commonwealth Transportation Board may continue to use pole attachments and conduits utilized as of December 31, 1997. Any pole attachment or conduit occupancy fees charged by certificated providers of telecommunications services for this use shall be waived for facilities in place as of December 31, 1997, and shall be waived for future extensions in cities with populations between 60,000 and 70,000, so long as the locality or the Commonwealth Transportation Board continues to use these facilities on such poles or in such conduits solely for their internal communications needs. The fee waiver is for the occupancy fees only, does not cover any relocation, rearrangement or other make-ready costs, and does not apply to any county, city or town that has obtained a certificate pursuant to § 56-265.4:4.

Code 1919, § 4035; 1926, p. 907; 1997, cc. 474, 515; 1998, cc. 742, 758; 2002, cc. 479, 489; 2006, c. 780.

§ 56-458.1. Relocation of lines or works of certain public utilities acquired by Commonwealth Transportation Board.

Whenever a telegraph or telephone company, or any company mentioned in Chapter 10 (§ 56-232 et seq.) of this title, shall be required by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Commissioner of Highways, to remove any part of its lines or works off of the right-of-way of a road now or hereafter included in either state highway system, or if any right-of-way, property or interest therein used and occupied by such company with its lines or works, or part thereof, is acquired by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Commissioner of Highways, for the uses of either such highway system, or if such company is notified by such Board or Commissioner of the desire of such Board or Commissioner to acquire such right-of-way, property, or interest therein, used and occupied by such company with its lines or works, or part thereof, for the uses of either such highway system, such company may relocate its lines or works, or the part or parts thereof affected. If unable to agree with the owner or owners for the right-of-way, or property, or interest therein for such relocation, such company, in addition to its other powers, shall have the right to acquire such rights-of-way, or property, or interest therein for the purpose of such relocation of its lines or works, or part or parts thereof in the manner provided by the laws of this Commonwealth for the exercise of the right of eminent domain.

1926, p. 507; Michie Code 1942, § 4384a.

§ 56-459. Removal of old line not required by this chapter.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as authorizing the Commonwealth Transportation Board to require the removal of the lines and works of any telegraph or telephone company from any street or road in either state highway system which such company is occupying by consent of the appropriate board of supervisors or other governing authority obtained under Chapter 159 of the Code of 1919 prior to June 22, 1926, without permitting such company to occupy some other part of the right-of-way existing or acquired for such street or road.

1926, p. 909; Michie Code 1942, § 4038.

§ 56-460. How consent of appropriate authorities obtained; terms of use.

The consent required under § 56-458, when given, shall be by ordinance regularly adopted by the council or other governing body of the city or town, or by resolution regularly adopted and spread upon the minutes by the board of supervisors or other governing authority of the county, in which such line is to be located, or, if such consent is to be given by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, by an order spread upon the minutes of the Board. Such use of the public parks, roads, turnpikes, streets, avenues, and alleys in any of the cities or towns or counties of this Commonwealth shall be subject to such terms, regulations and restrictions as may be imposed by the corporate authorities of any such city or town, or the board of supervisors or other governing authority of any such county, except that if the road or street be in either state highway system, as now or hereafter established, any occupation and use thereof under the provisions of this chapter, whether by consent heretofore or hereafter obtained, shall be subject to such terms, regulations and restrictions as may be imposed by the Commonwealth Transportation Board not in conflict in incorporated cities and towns with any vested contractual rights of such company with such city or town.

Code 1919, § 4037; 1926, p. 908.

§ 56-461. Cost to Commonwealth in connection with construction of line to be paid by company.

The actual costs and expenses of the Commonwealth in the investigation by the Commonwealth Transportation Board of the application of any company for a permit, and in the supervision of the construction or installation of any of the works of the company, under the provisions of this chapter, shall be borne by such company, and paid before commencing the use of any road or street in either state highway system, under any permit of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, under the provisions of this chapter, which sum shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the state highway fund.

Code 1919, § 4037; 1926, p. 909.

§ 56-462. Franchise to occupy parks, streets, etc.; imposition of terms, conditions, etc., as to use of streets, etc., and construction thereon.

A. No incorporated city or town shall grant to any such telegraph or telephone corporation the right to erect its poles, wires, or cables, or to lay its conduits upon or beneath its parks, streets, avenues, or alleys until such company shall have first obtained, in the manner prescribed by the laws of this Commonwealth, the franchise to occupy the same. Any city or town may impose upon any such corporation any terms and conditions consistent herewith and supplemental hereto, as to the occupation and use of its parks, streets, avenues, and alleys, and as to the construction and maintenance of the facilities of such company along, over, or under the same, that the city or town may deem expedient and proper. The Department of Transportation may also impose upon any such company any terms, rules, regulations, requirements, restrictions and conditions consistent herewith and supplemental hereto, as to the occupation and use of roads and streets in either state highway system, and as to the construction, operation or maintenance of the works along, over, or under the same, which the Department may deem expedient and proper, but not in conflict, in incorporated cities and towns, with any vested contractual rights of any such company with such city or town.

B. No locality or the Department of Transportation shall impose any fees on a certificated provider of telecommunications service for the use of public rights-of-way except in the manner prescribed in § 56-468.1; however, the provisions of § 56-468.1 shall not apply to providers of commercial mobile radio services.

C. No locality or the Department of Transportation shall impose on certificated providers of telecommunications service, whether by franchise, ordinance or other means, any restrictions or requirements concerning the use of the public rights-of-way (including but not limited to the permitting process; notice, time and location of excavations and repair work; enforcement of the statewide building code; and inspections), which are (i) unfair or unreasonable or (ii) any greater than those imposed on the following users of the public rights-of-way: all providers of telecommunications services and nonpublic providers of cable television, electric, natural gas, water and sanitary sewer services. For purposes of this subsection, "restrictions or requirements concerning the use of the public rights-of-way" shall not include any existing franchise fee or the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee.

D. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any permit or other permission required by a locality pursuant to a franchise, ordinance, or other permission to use the public rights-of-way or by the Department of Transportation of a certificated provider of telecommunications services to use the public rights-of-way shall be granted or denied within 45 days from submission and, if denied, accompanied by a written explanation of the reasons the permit was denied and the actions required to cure the denial.

E. No locality receiving directly or indirectly a Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee or the Department of Transportation shall require a certificated provider of telecommunications services to provide in-kind services or physical assets as a condition of consent to use public rights-of-way or easements, or in lieu of the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee. This shall not limit the ability of localities, their authorities or commissions which provide utility services, or the Department of Transportation to enter into voluntary pole attachment, conduit occupancy or conduit construction agreements with certificated providers of telecommunications service. Any locality, other than a city or town electing to continue to enforce an existing franchise, ordinance or other form of consent under subsection J of § 56-468.1, or the Department of Transportation may continue to use pole attachments and conduits utilized as of December 31, 1997. Any pole attachment or conduit occupancy fees for this use shall be waived for facilities in place as of December 31, 1997, and shall be waived for future extensions in cities with populations between 60,000 and 70,000, so long as the locality or the Department of Transportation continues to use these facilities on such poles or in such conduits solely for their internal communications needs. The fee waiver is for the occupancy fees only, does not cover any relocation, rearrangement or other make-ready costs, and does not apply to any county, city or town that has obtained a certificate pursuant to § 56-265.4:4.

Code 1919, § 4038; 1926, p. 909; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 40; 1997, cc. 474, 515; 1998, cc. 742, 758; 2002, cc. 479, 489; 2006, c. 780; 2013, cc. 585, 646.

§ 56-463. Company may contract for right-of-way, etc.

Every telegraph or telephone company and every cable operator that has a franchise to use the public rights-of-way in a locality may contract with any person, the owner of lands, or of any interest, franchise, privilege, or easement therein or in respect thereto, over which such line is proposed to be constructed, for the right-of-way for erecting, repairing, and preserving its poles and other structures necessary for operating its line, and in the case of telegraph or telephone companies, for sufficient land for the erection and occupation of offices at suitable distances along its line for the public accommodation. No such company or operator may be required by the Commission or other governmental regulatory entity to accept any such interest, franchise, privilege, or easement that restricts the services that may legally be offered by the company or operator.

Code 1919, § 4039; 2009, c. 331.

§ 56-464. Right of eminent domain.

If the company and such owner cannot agree on the terms of such contract, the company may acquire such right-of-way in the manner provided by the laws of this Commonwealth for the exercise of the right of eminent domain. The title which may be acquired by a telegraph or telephone company under this section shall be only to a right-of-way for the purpose stated in § 56-463; and no right-of-way acquired by any such company under this or the preceding sections of this chapter shall be to the exclusion of other like companies from having or acquiring a like right-of-way over the same lands.

Code 1919, § 4040.

§ 56-465. Preceding sections subject to repeal or change at pleasure.

The preceding sections of this chapter and also §§ 56-466, 56-467 and 56-484 shall be subject to repeal, alteration, or modification, and the rights and privileges acquired thereunder shall be subject to revocation or modification by the General Assembly at its pleasure.

Code 1919, § 4041.

§ 56-466. Location of posts, poles, cables and conduits; height of wires, etc.

All posts, poles, wires, cables and conduits which shall be erected by any authority in the preceding sections of this chapter conferred shall be so located as in no way to obstruct or interfere with public travel or the ordinary use of, or the safety and convenience of persons traveling through, on, or over, the public parks, roads, turnpikes, streets, avenues, alleys, railroads, or waters in or upon which the same may be erected, and all wires fastened upon posts or poles erected as aforesaid shall be placed at a height of not less than eighteen feet above all road crossings, and twenty-three feet above railroad crossings, and no conduits shall be laid nor posts or poles erected upon the soil or property of any person without first obtaining the consent of the owner thereof, nor shall any such wires or cables be strung across the soil, property, or premises of any person, or attached to or connected with any shade or ornamental tree, or any private building, without the consent of the owner thereof.

Such poles, wires, cables and conduits shall not in anywise damage private property without compensation therefor, nor in any way obstruct the navigation of any stream, or impair or endanger the use thereof by the public, or by any person or corporation entitled to the use of the same. Such conduits shall be laid at such distance below the surface of any public park, road, turnpike, street, avenue, or alley, and at such distance from the outside of any gas or water main or other conduit already laid under such public park, road, turnpike, street, avenue, or alley, as may be prescribed by the proper municipal, county, or state authorities.

Code 1919, §§ 4035, 4038; 1926, pp. 908, 909; 1976, c. 268.

§ 56-466.1. Pole attachments; cable television systems and telecommunications service providers.

A. As used in this section:

"Cable television system" means any system licensed, franchised or certificated pursuant to Article 1.2 (§ 15.2-2108.19 et seq.) of Chapter 21 of Title 15.2 that transmits television signals, for distribution to subscribers of its services for a fee, by means of wires or cables connecting its distribution facilities with its subscriber's television receiver or other equipment connecting to the subscriber's television receiver, and not by transmission of television signals through the air.

"Electric cooperative" means a utility services cooperative formed under or subject to Article 1 (§ 56-231.15 et seq.) of Chapter 9.1.

"Pole attachment" means any attachment by a cable television system or provider of telecommunications service to a pole, duct, conduit, right-of-way or similar facility owned or controlled by a public utility.

"Public utility" has the same meaning ascribed thereto in § 56-232.

"Rearrangement" means work performed at the request of a telecommunications service provider or cable television system to, on or in an existing pole, duct, conduit, right-of-way or similar facility owned or controlled by a public utility that is necessary to make such pole, duct, conduit, right-of-way, or similar facility usable for a pole attachment. "Rearrangement" shall include replacement, at the request of a telecommunications service provider or cable television system, of the existing pole, duct, conduit, right-of-way, or similar facility if the existing pole, duct, conduit, right-of-way, or similar facility does not contain adequate surplus space or excess capacity and cannot be rearranged so as to create the adequate surplus space or excess capacity required for a pole attachment.

"Telecommunications service provider" means any public service corporation or public service company that holds a certificate of public convenience and necessity to furnish local exchange telephone service or interexchange telephone service.

B. Upon request by a telecommunications service provider or cable television system to a public utility, both the public utility and the telecommunications service provider or cable television system shall negotiate in good faith to arrive at a mutually agreeable contract for attachments to the public utility's poles by the telecommunications service provider or cable television system.

C. After entering into a contract for attachments to its poles by any telecommunications service provider or cable television system, a public utility shall permit, upon reasonable terms and conditions and the payment of reasonable annual charges and the cost of any required rearrangement, the attachment of any wire, cable, facility or apparatus to its poles or pedestals, or the placement of any wire, cable, facility or apparatus in conduit or duct space owned or controlled by it, by such telecommunications service provider or cable television system that is authorized by law, to construct and maintain the attachment, provided that the attachment does not interfere, obstruct or delay the service and operation of the public utility or create a safety hazard.

D. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection C, a public utility providing electric utility service may deny access by a telecommunications service provider or cable television system to any pole, duct, conduit, right-of-way, or similar facility owned or controlled, in whole or in part, by such public utility, provided such denial is made on a nondiscriminatory basis on grounds of insufficient capacity or reasons of safety, reliability, or generally applicable engineering principles.

E. This section shall not apply to any pole attachments regulated pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 224.

F. The Commission is authorized to determine just and reasonable rates, and terms and conditions of service, excluding safety and debt collection, for attachments to electric cooperative poles by telecommunications service providers or cable television systems if, following good faith negotiations to do so, the parties cannot reach agreement thereon; however, the Commission shall not determine rates or terms and conditions for any existing agreement until it expires or is terminated pursuant to its own terms. The terms of an expired or terminated agreement shall continue to govern while good faith negotiations or Commission review pursuant to this section are pending. Such determinations shall be made in accordance with the following:

1. Just and reasonable pole attachment rates and terms and conditions of service to be determined by the Commission shall include, without limitation, rearrangement and make-ready costs, pole replacement costs, and all other costs directly related to pole attachments and maintenance, replacement, and inspection of poles or pole attachments, and right of way maintenance essential to pole attachments, provided however, that cost recovery for rearrangement, make-ready and pole replacement shall be addressed in terms and conditions, and shall not be included in annual rental rates;

2. In determining pole attachment rates, the Commission shall consider (i) any effect of such rates on the deployment or utilization, or both, of broadband and other telecommunications services, (ii) the interests of electric cooperatives' members, and (iii) the overall public interest;

3. The Commission may develop and utilize alternative forms of dispute resolution for purposes of addressing disputes (i) arising under this subsection and (ii) falling within the scope of the Commission's authority established hereunder;

4. The Commission is authorized to assess reasonable application fees to recover appropriate Commission costs of proceedings arising under this subsection; and

5. The Commission is authorized to develop, if necessary, rules and regulations, including a definition of good faith negotiations, to implement this section.

2001, c. 76; 2006, cc. 73, 76; 2012, cc. 545, 674.

§ 56-466.2. Undergrounding existing overhead distribution lines; relocation of facilities of cable operator.

When an investor-owned incumbent electric utility proposes to improve electric service reliability pursuant to clause (iv) of subdivision A 6 of § 56-585.1 by installing new underground facilities to replace the utility's existing overhead distribution tap lines, if the utility owns the poles from which the existing overhead distribution tap lines are to be relocated and any cable operator of a cable television system, as those terms are defined in § 15.2-2108.19, has also attached its facilities to such poles, the utility shall provide written notice to the cable operator of the utility's intention to relocate the overhead distribution tap lines not less than 90 days prior to relocating the utility's overhead distribution lines. The cable operator shall notify the utility within 45 days of the notice of relocation whether the cable operator will relocate its facilities underground or request to remain overhead in accordance with the provisions set forth herein. If the cable operator elects to relocate its facilities underground, in such notice the cable operator may request that the utility use commercially reasonable efforts to negotiate a common shared underground easement for the facilities to be located underground of the utility and the cable operator. The cable operator shall be responsible to negotiate any additional easements that it may require. If the cable operator elects to relocate its facilities underground, the cable operator may participate with the utility in a joint relocation of the overhead lines to underground or may engage its own contractors to undertake its relocation work if it deems it appropriate to do so. The utility shall not abandon or remove the poles that the utility owns until the cable operator completes the relocation or removal of its facilities or 90 days after the completion of the relocation of the utility overhead distribution lines, whichever first occurs. If the cable operator does not elect to relocate its facilities underground and requests to maintain its facilities overhead, the utility may either (i) convey such poles "as-is" and "where-is" to the cable operator at its depreciated cost less the estimated cost of removal, provided that the cable operator may legally retain the poles that the utility intends to abandon and assumes all liability for the poles conveyed or (ii) retain ownership of its poles and allow the cable operator's existing overhead facilities to remain attached, in which case the utility shall maintain the pole in accordance with prudent utility standards, provided that the cable operator shall continue to pay its pole attachment fees and otherwise comply with its contractual obligations pursuant to the applicable pole attachment agreement. In all cases, the cable operator shall be responsible for all costs related to the relocation or maintenance of its facilities.

In instances in which an investor-owned incumbent electric utility continues to own and maintain its utility poles after the overhead distribution lines of the utility formerly on such poles have been placed underground pursuant to the foregoing provisions, then for purposes of any agreement or ordinance with respect to a cable franchise under § 15.2-2108.20 or 15.2-2108.21, the utility shall not be deemed to have converted to underground.

2017, c. 583; 2018, c. 296.

§ 56-467. Restoring condition of ground.

The portions of the surface of the parks, roads, turnpikes, streets, avenues, or alleys, or of any pavements opened up or disturbed in erecting, repairing, laying or replacing poles, wires, or cables, or in repairing conduits under the provisions of this chapter shall be immediately restored to and maintained in good condition by the company doing such work; and in case of the failure of such company to restore and maintain the same, the corporate authorities of the city or town, or the board of supervisors or other governing authority of the county, or the chairman of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, as the case may be, may properly restore and maintain the same, and the costs thereof may be recovered by the city or town, or county, or Commonwealth, from such company, in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Code 1919, § 4037; 1926, p. 908.

§ 56-468. Endangering life or limb by stringing wires across other works.

Whoever shall hereafter erect, string, or maintain wires for any telephone or telegraph lines, over or across the works, in this Commonwealth, of any company chartered as a work of internal improvement in any manner so as to endanger the lives or limbs of the employees of such company, or other person, shall, for each offense, be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500.

Code 1919, § 4049.

§ 56-468.1. (Contingent expiration -- see Editor's note) Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee.

A. As used in this article:

"Access lines" are defined to include residence and business telephone lines and other switched (packet or circuit) lines connecting the customer premises to the public switched telephone network for the transmission of outgoing voice-grade telecommunications services. Centrex, PBX, or other multistation telecommunications services will incur a Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee on every line or trunk (Network Access Registrar or PBX trunk) that allows simultaneous unrestricted outward dialing to the public switched network. ISDN Primary Rate Interface services will be charged five Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees for every ISDN Primary Rate Interface network facility established by the customer. Other channelized services in which each voice-grade channel is controlled by the telecommunications service provider shall be charged one fee for each line that allows simultaneous unrestricted outward dialing to the public switched telephone network. Access lines do not include local, state, and federal government lines; access lines used to provide service to users as part of the Virginia Universal Service Plan; interstate and intrastate dedicated WATS lines; special access lines; off-premises extensions; official lines internally provided and used by providers of telecommunications service for administrative, testing, intercept, and verification purposes; and commercial mobile radio service.

"Cable operator" and "cable system" have the same meanings as contained in subsection A of § 15.2-2108.1:1.

"Centrex" means a business telephone service offered by a local exchange company from a local central office; a normal single line telephone service with added custom calling features including but not limited to intercom, call forwarding, and call transfer.

"ISDN Primary Rate Interface" means digital communications service containing 24 bearer channels, each of which is a full 64,000 bits-per-second.

"Locality" has the same meaning as contained in § 15.2-102.

"Network Access Register" means a central office register associated with Centrex service that is required in order to complete a call involving access to the public switched telephone network outside the confines of that Centrex company. Network Access Register may be incoming, outgoing, or two-way.

"New installation of telecommunications facilities" or "new installation" includes the construction of new pole lines and new conduit systems, and the burying of new cables in existing public rights-of-way. New installation does not include adding new cables to existing pole lines and conduit systems.

"PBX" means public branch exchange and is telephone switching equipment owned by the customer and located on the customer's premises.

"PBX trunk" means a connection of the customer's PBX switch to the central office.

"Provider of local telecommunications service" means a public service corporation or locality holding a certificate issued by the State Corporation Commission to provide local exchange telephone service and any other person who provides local telephone services to the public for a fee, other than a CMRS provider as that term is defined in § 56-484.12.

"Provider of telecommunications service" means a public service corporation or locality holding a certificate issued by the State Corporation Commission to provide local exchange or interexchange telephone service to the public for a fee and any other person who provides local or long distance telephone services to the public for a fee, other than a CMRS provider as that term is defined in § 56-484.12.

"Public highway" means, for purposes of computing the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee, the centerline mileage of highways and streets which are part of the primary state highway system as defined in § 33.2-100, the secondary state highway system as defined in §§ 33.2-100 and 33.2-324, the highways of those cities and certain towns defined in § 33.2-319 and the highways and streets maintained and operated by counties which have withdrawn or elect to withdraw from the secondary system of state highways under the provisions of § 11 of Chapter 415 of the Acts of Assembly of 1932 and which have not elected to return.

"Subscriber" means a person who receives video programming, as defined in 47 U.S.C. § 522(20), distributed by a cable operator, as defined in subsection A of § 15.2-2108.1:1, and does not further distribute it.

B. 1. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, there is hereby established a Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee to replace any and all fees of general application (except for zoning, subdivision, site plan and comprehensive plan fees of general application) otherwise chargeable to a provider of telecommunications service by the Commonwealth Transportation Board or a locality in connection with a permit for such occupation and use granted in accordance with § 56-458 or § 56-462. Cities and towns whose public streets and roads are not maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, and any county that has withdrawn or elects to withdraw from the secondary system of state highways under the provisions of § 11 of Chapter 415 of the Acts of Assembly of 1932, may impose the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee on the ultimate end-users of local telecommunications service only by local ordinance. Localities, their authorities or commissions, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board may allow providers of telecommunications services and cable operators to use their electric poles or electric conduits in exchange for payment of a fee.

2. The Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee established by this section is hereby imposed on all cable operators that use the public rights-of-way.

C. The amount of the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee shall be calculated annually by the Department of Transportation (VDOT), based on the calculations described in subsection D of this section. In no year shall the amount of the fee be less than $0.50 per access line per month.

D. The annual rate of the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee shall be calculated by multiplying the number of public highway miles in the Commonwealth by a highway mileage rate (as defined in subsection E of this section), and by adding the number of feet of new installations in the Commonwealth (multiplied by $1 per foot), and dividing this sum by the total number of access lines in the Commonwealth. The monthly rate shall be this annual rate divided by 12.

E. The annual multiplier per mile is $425 per mile beginning July 1, 2001 and thereafter.

F. The data used for the calculation in subsection D shall be based on the following information and schedule: (i) all providers of telecommunications services shall remit to VDOT by December 1 of each year data indicating the number of feet of new installations made during the one-year period ending September 30 of that year, which shall be auditable by affected localities, and the number of access lines as of September 30 of that year, which shall be auditable by affected localities; and (ii) the public highway mileage from the most recently published VDOT report. By the following January 15, VDOT shall calculate the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee to be used in the fiscal year beginning the next ensuing July 1 and report it to all affected localities and providers of local telecommunications services.

G. A provider of local telecommunications service shall collect the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee on a per access line basis and the cable operator shall collect the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee on a per subscriber basis by adding the fee to each ultimate end user's monthly bill for local telecommunications service or cable service. A company providing both local telecommunications service and cable service to the same ultimate end user may collect only one Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee from that ultimate end user based on (i) the local telecommunications service if the locality in which the ultimate end user resides has imposed a Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee on local telecommunications service or (ii) cable service if the locality in which the subscriber resides has not imposed a Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee on local telecommunications service. The Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee shall, when billed, be stated as a distinct item separate and apart from the monthly charge for local telecommunications service and cable service. Until the ultimate end user pays the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee to the local telecommunications service provider or cable operator, the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee shall constitute a debt of the consumer to the locality, VDOT, or the Department of Taxation, as may be applicable. If any ultimate end user or subscriber refuses to pay the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee, the local telecommunications service provider or cable operator shall notify the locality, VDOT, or the Department of Taxation, as appropriate. All fees collected in accordance with the provisions of this section shall be deemed to be held in trust by the local telecommunications service provider and the cable operator until remitted to the locality, VDOT, or the Department of Taxation, as applicable.

H. Within two months after the end of each calendar quarter, each provider of local telecommunications service shall remit the amount of Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees it has billed to ultimate end users during such preceding quarter, as follows:

1. The provider of local telecommunications service shall remit directly to the applicable locality all Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees billed in (i) cities; (ii) towns whose public streets and roads are not maintained by VDOT; and (iii) any county that has withdrawn or elects to withdraw from the secondary system of state highways under the provisions of § 11 of Chapter 415 of the Acts of Assembly of 1932 and that has elected not to return, provided, however, that such counties shall use a minimum of 10% of the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees they receive for transportation construction or maintenance purposes. Any city currently subject to § 15.2-3530 shall use a minimum of 90% of the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees it receives for transportation construction or maintenance purposes.

2. The Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees billed in all other counties shall be remitted by each provider of local telecommunications service to VDOT. VDOT shall allocate the total amount received from providers to the construction improvement program of the secondary system of state highways. Within such allocation to the secondary system, VDOT shall apportion the amounts so received among the several counties, other than those described in clause (iii) of subdivision 1, on the basis of population, with each county being credited a share of the total equal to the proportion that its population bears to the total population of all such counties. For purposes of this section the term "population" shall mean either population according to the latest United States census or the latest population estimate of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service of the University of Virginia, whichever is more recent. Such allocation and apportionment of Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other allocation of funds to such secondary system and apportionment to counties thereof provided by law.

I. The Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee billed by a cable operator shall be remitted to the Department of Taxation for deposit into the Communication Sales and Use Tax Trust Fund by the twentieth day of the month following the billing of the fee.

J. Any locality with a franchise agreement, ordinance implementing a franchise agreement or other form of consent allowing the use of the public rights-of-way by a provider of local telecommunications service, existing prior to July 1, 1998, or any city or town with an ordinance or code section imposing a franchise fee or charge on a provider of local telecommunications service in effect as of February 1, 1997, may elect to continue enforcing such existing franchise, ordinance or code section or other form of consent in lieu of receiving the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee; provided, however, that such city or town does not (i) discriminate among telecommunications service providers and (ii) adopt any additional rights-of-way management practices that do not comply with §§ 56-458 C and 56-462 C. The Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee shall not be imposed in any such locality.

Any locality electing to adopt the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee by ordinance shall notify all affected providers of local telecommunications service no later than March 15 preceding the fiscal year. Such notice shall be in writing and sent by certified mail from such locality to the registered agent of the affected provider or providers of local telecommunications service.

1998, cc. 742, 758; 2002, cc. 479, 489; 2006, c. 780.

§ 56-468.2. Reimbursement for relocation costs.

A. After July 1, 1998, certificated providers of telecommunications services shall receive reimbursement for eligible relocation costs incurred at the direction of a locality that imposes by ordinance the Public Rights-of-Way Use Fee or the Department of Transportation for new installations as defined in § 56-468.1 in any public rights-of-way in accordance with §§ 56-458 and 56-462 on the basis of age and according to the following schedule. Such reimbursement shall be received from either (i) the locality that granted the permit or franchise to use such right-of-way or (ii) the Commonwealth Transportation Board if the road or street is in the primary or secondary state highway system:

1. For the first three years after the completion of the installation, the certificated provider of telecommunications service shall be reimbursed 100 percent of the eligible cost for the relocation of facilities installed in the public rights-of-way.

2. For the fourth through sixth year after the completion of the installation, the certificated provider of telecommunications service shall be reimbursed 50 percent of the eligible cost for the relocation of facilities installed in the public rights-of-way.

3. Beginning in the seventh year, the certificated provider of telecommunications service shall be responsible for the cost of relocating facilities installed in the public rights-of-way.

Such reimbursement shall be received from either (i) the locality that granted the permit or franchise to use such right-of-way or (ii) the Commonwealth Transportation Board if the road or street is in the primary or secondary state highway system.

B. The amount of relocation reimbursement in any fiscal year to be reimbursed under this section shall not exceed the amount of Public Rights-of-Way Use Fees received by that locality either directly or through its secondary highway fund apportionment in the preceding fiscal year. For facilities relocated in 1998 and 1999 at the direction of the locality or the Commonwealth Transportation Board, this limit on relocation reimbursement shall be the estimated annualized fees to be collected in that locality in 1998 for 1998 relocations and in 1999 for 1999 relocations. If the relocation reimbursement limit will be exhausted on a relocation project where two or more certificated providers of telecommunications service are eligible for relocation reimbursement, then the moneys available under the cap shall be shared by those eligible providers by prorating the reimbursement based on the reimbursement to which each provider would be entitled absent the limit.

1998, cc. 742, 758; 2015, c. 256.

Article 2. Duties in Regard to Messages; Negligence; Damages.

§ 56-469. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2011, cc. 738 and 740, cl. 2.

Article 3. Supervision by Commission.

§ 56-478. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1973, c. 376.

§ 56-478.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2011, cc. 738 and 740, cl. 2.

§ 56-479. Commission to make rules; require connection between companies; inspect lines and buildings.

The Commission shall keep itself fully informed of the condition of all the telephone companies of this Commonwealth as to the manner in which they are operated with reference to the accommodation of the public and shall, from time to time, make and enforce such requirements, rules and regulations as in its judgment will promote the efficiency of the service to be rendered, and to that end may require physical connection to be made between two or more lines at such place and in such manner as in its judgment the public service requires, having due regard to the interest of the companies to be affected thereby, as well as the effect upon their ability to render the best service to the public. The Commission may inspect and regulate the character of lines, buildings and other equipment used in the reception and transmission of messages, and may prohibit the paralleling of the lines of one company by those of another if in its judgment the efficiency of the service by either company or the public convenience will be injuriously affected.

Code 1919, § 4055.

§ 56-479.1. Long distance service; change of carriers; prior authorization.

No telephone company shall cause the long distance carrier designation of any telephone customer to be changed following such customer's initial selection thereof when establishing or reestablishing telephone service, without having first received a statement from the long distance carrier that such carrier has received a letter of agency or letter of authorization or an electronic authorization by use of an 800 number or an oral authorization verified by an independent third party, or any other means of authorization that is approved by the Federal Communications Commission.

1996, c. 476.

§ 56-479.2. Anti-competitive acts; injunctive relief.

A. No telecommunications service provider shall engage in anti-competitive acts or practices in connection with its provision of telecommunications services including price discrimination, predatory pricing or tying arrangements, as such terms are commonly applied in antitrust law.

B. Any telecommunications service provider injured or threatened with injury by a violation of any of the provisions of this section or § 15.2-2160 may maintain a cause of action for injunctive relief, damages, or both, and for reasonable costs and attorney's fees before the circuit court for the locality in which the injury occurs.

2002, cc. 479, 489.

§ 56-479.3. Authorization and verification for products, goods, and services to be billed on a telephone bill.

A. As used in this section, unless the context requires otherwise:

"Billing agent" means any entity that submits charges for products, goods, or services to the billing carrier on behalf of itself or any service provider.

"Billing carrier" means any telephone company that issues a telephone bill directly to customers.

"Service provider" means any entity that offers products, goods, and services to a customer and that directly or indirectly charges to or collects from a customer's bill received from a billing carrier an amount for such products, goods, or services.

B. This section does not apply to (i) products, goods, or services offered by or bundled with the services of a telephone company or its affiliates; (ii) telephone calls that are customer initiated by dialing 1+, 0+, 0-, or 1010XXX or that a customer accepts as collect; or (iii) commercial mobile radio services.

C. No service provider or billing agent shall willfully (i) add products, goods, or services not authorized by any customer or (ii) charge or attempt to collect charges from any customer for any such products, goods, or services without the customer's authorization. A customer is not liable for an amount charged through a billing carrier by a service provider or a billing agent without the authorization of the customer.

D. A service provider or billing agent shall obtain verification of a customer's authorization before submitting charges for products, goods, or services directly or indirectly to the billing carrier. The verification may be in written, oral, or electronic form and shall be verified by an independent third party. The service provider shall retain the verification for a minimum of two years.

E. A billing carrier shall not enter into an agreement to bill for any charges for products, goods, or services for a service provider or billing agent unless that agreement requires the service provider or billing agent to comply with subsection D.

2010, c. 322.

§ 56-480. Rates, etc., on file with Commission not to be questioned in courts; revision; proof.

The reasonableness, justice and validity of any rate, charge, rule, regulation or requirement on file with the Commission for any telephone company shall not be questioned in any suit brought by any person in the courts of this Commonwealth against any such telephone company, wherein is involved the charges of such company for the transmission of messages, or the efficiency of the public service and in all the courts of this Commonwealth they shall be conclusively presumed to be reasonable, just and valid.

All such schedules, rules, regulations and requirements shall be received and held in all such suits as prima facie the schedules, rules, regulations and requirements of the Commission without further proof than the production of the schedules desired to be used as evidence, with a certificate of the clerk of the Commission that the same is a true copy of the schedule, rule, regulation or requirement on file with the Commission and so offered in evidence.

Code 1919, § 4056; 1973, c. 378.

§ 56-480.1. Time limit on institution of approved rates.

No telephone company shall institute a rate for service contained within the official tariff of the company more than three years from the date such rate is approved by the State Corporation Commission.

1975, c. 550.

§ 56-480.2. Operator assistance at pay stations.

No telephone company shall require the deposit of money in any pay station as a prerequisite to reaching the operator from such station.

1979, c. 71.

§ 56-481. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2011, cc. 738 and 740, cl. 2.

§ 56-481.1. Rates, charges, and regulations for interexchange telephone service.

If under Chapter 10.1 (§ 56-265.1 et seq.) a certificate of public convenience and necessity is issued to a telephone company to provide interexchange service, the Commission may, if it determines that such service will be provided on a competitive basis, approve rates, charges, and regulations as it may deem appropriate for the telephone company furnishing the competitive service, provided such rates, charges, and regulations are nondiscriminatory and in the public interest. In making such determination, the Commission may consider (i) the number of companies providing the service; (ii) the geographic availability of the service from other companies; (iii) the quality of service available from other companies; and (iv) any other factors the Commission considers relevant to the public interest. The Commission is authorized to promulgate any rules necessary to implement this provision; provided that any such rules so promulgated shall be uniformly applicable to all telephone companies that are subject to the provisions of this section. The Commission shall permit the detariffing of interexchange service.

1984, c. 721; 2011, cc. 738, 740.

§ 56-481.2. Rates, charges and regulations for local exchange telephone services provided by new entrants.

If, under subsection B of § 56-265.4:4, a certificate of public convenience and necessity is issued to a new entrant to provide local exchange telephone service, the Commission shall at the same time adopt a form of regulation for the new entrant's local exchange services and, upon application pursuant to § 56-235.5, for the incumbent local exchange telephone company, that does not regulate the earnings of either. In approving the form of regulation of the new entrant's local exchange services, the Commission shall do so in a manner that is equitable to the new entrant and the incumbent local exchange telephone company and in the public interest. In determining the appropriate form of regulation for the new entrant, the Commission shall: (i) consider whether the form of regulation reasonably protects the affordability of basic local exchange telephone service, as such service is defined by the Commission, and reasonably assures the continuation of quality local exchange telephone service; and (ii) find that such action will not unreasonably prejudice or disadvantage any class of telephone company customers or telephone service providers, including the new entrant and incumbent local exchange telephone company, and is in the public interest. In approving the appropriate form of regulation for the new entrant, the Commission may take such action as it deems appropriate in the public interest, with due consideration being given to the competitiveness of the services, including deregulation and detariffing the services. Nothing in this section shall be construed to deprive the Commission of its power to modify the form of regulation, after notice and an opportunity for hearing, if it finds that competition or the potential for competition no longer effectively regulates the price of a service. Except as provided for in this section and in subsection B of § 56-265.4:4, no other provision of law relating to the regulation of rates, charges, and regulation of local exchange telephone services shall apply to the provision of such services by new entrants.

1995, cc. 22, 35, 187; 2001, c. 75.

§ 56-482. Agreements between telephone companies to be submitted to Commission.

Upon demand of either party thereto or any person affected thereby all arrangements and agreements whatever between two or more telephone companies doing business in this Commonwealth, affecting or regulating the division of charges, earnings, or the manner of transmission of messages over their respective lines, or the physical connection between the lines of such companies, shall be submitted to the Commission for inspection insofar as they may affect the efficiency of the public service and the ability of the respective companies to best serve the public and be subject to its approval.

Code 1919, § 4053.

§ 56-482.1. Reports required of interexchange telephone companies.

Each interexchange telephone company shall provide to the Commission in a timely manner any report or information concerning its usage of local exchange telephone services and facilities required under the effective access charge tariffs or schedules of a local exchange telephone company. The Commission shall prescribe rules and regulations to effectuate the purpose of this section. The requirement to provide any reports pursuant to such rules and regulations, other than reports required by the Commission to calculate the special revenue tax imposed under § 58.1-2660, shall expire on December 31 of each year unless extended by an order of the Commission issued after notice and an opportunity for a hearing.

1984, c. 721; 2011, cc. 738, 740.

§ 56-482.2. Penalties.

Any interexchange company which willfully and knowingly fails to provide on time a report required by § 56-482.1 or willfully and knowingly understates the volume or type of use of service or facilities in such report shall be liable to the local exchange telephone company covered by such report. In the case of an unprovided report, the liability shall be two times the amount of the charges for the services and facilities as actually used. In the case of an understated report, the liability shall be for two times the difference between the charges for the services and facilities as actually used and the charges as computed on the basis of an understated report.

1984, c. 721.

§ 56-483. Refusal or neglect to make reports; obstructing Commission in discharge of duties; violations in general.

Every officer, agent or employee of any telephone company, who shall willfully neglect or refuse to make and furnish any report lawfully required by the Commission for the purposes of this chapter or who shall willfully or unlawfully delay or obstruct the Commission in the discharge of the duties imposed upon it by the Constitution or laws of this Commonwealth, or the rules, regulations and requirements of the Commission, connected with the objects and purposes of this chapter, shall be fined not exceeding $500 for each offense; and any telephone company which violates any of the provisions of this chapter or refuses to conform to or obey any lawful rule, order, regulation, or requirement of the Commission relating to the provisions of this chapter may, when not otherwise provided by law, be fined by the Commission in its discretion, in a sum not exceeding $10,000 for each offense and each day such company or corporation continues to violate any lawful rule, order or regulation prescribed by the Commission shall be a separate offense. Such penalty shall be imposed and enforced upon like proceedings and in like manner as are those prescribed for the violation of law or the rules and regulations of the Commission by transportation companies.

Code 1919, § 4057; 2000, c. 986.

§ 56-484. Foreign companies to obtain license.

Every telephone or telegraph company, not incorporated by the laws of this Commonwealth, shall, as a condition precedent to the enjoyment of any right or privilege granted by this chapter, first obtain from the Commission a license to do business in this Commonwealth, and pay the fees and taxes imposed by law for such license.

Code 1919, § 4036.

Article 4. Extension and Reduction of Telephone Service.

§ 56-484.1. Definitions.

The following terms, whenever used or referred to in this article, shall have the following meanings, unless a different meaning appears from the context:

A. "Commission" shall mean the State Corporation Commission.

B. "Exchange" shall mean a geographical area established for the administration of communication services and consisting of one or more central offices together with associated facilities used in providing telephone exchange service. Exchanges are identified in the tariffs of the telephone companies as filed with the Commission.

C. "Local service area" shall mean the entire area composed of an exchange or exchanges within which are located the telephones which a customer may call at the rates and charges specified for local exchange service in the tariffs of the telephone companies as filed with the Commission.

1976, c. 265.

§ 56-484.2. Extension or reduction upon poll of certain subscribers.

A. Upon petition of five percent but in no case less than twenty-five of the subscribers in an established telephone exchange for an extension or reduction of their local service area to include or exclude a contiguous local exchange or exchanges, or upon resolution of the governing body of a county for a countywide local service area, the Commission shall estimate the approximate change in the monthly rate for service which will result from such extension or reduction. In the case of a governing body resolution for countywide calling, the Commission, prior to estimating the approximate rate change, shall determine which exchanges within the county have a community of interest calling percentage that is fifty percent or greater in at least one direction to at least one other exchange within the county. The Commission shall then undertake to estimate the approximate change in the monthly rate for service that will result from such expanded local calling area for each such exchange. The Commission shall order the affected company or companies to poll those subscribers whose monthly rate for service would change if the proposed changes were adopted. However, polls shall not be required in the exchange or exchanges to which the petitioners desire an extension of local service if (i) any resulting rate increases in any twelve-month period do not, in the aggregate, exceed five percent of the existing monthly one-party residential flat rate service for the affected exchange to which the petitioners desire an extension of local service or (ii) any resulting rate increases in any twelve-month period, in the aggregate, exceed five percent solely due to rate regrouping. No more than one petition for a poll from the same group of subscribers or resolution from the governing body of a county shall be considered by the Commission during any three-year period. For purposes of determining the exchanges that will be polled pursuant to this subsection, "community of interest calling percentage" means the percentage of customers in an exchange that make one or more calls per month to another exchange within the county.

B. If a poll is required pursuant to subsection A and a majority of the subscribers are in favor of the proposed change, or if the Commission determines that a majority of subscribers voting are in favor of the proposed change, the Commission shall order the extension or reduction of their local service area. For the purposes of this section, the number of subscribers in an established telephone exchange shall be deemed to be the number of subscribers in an exchange as of January 1 of the calendar year when the petition is submitted to the Commission. Telephone subscribers shall be given thirty-five days from the day ballots are placed in the U.S. mail to return their survey form. Upon completion of the poll, results shall be duly certified to the Commission.

C. If a poll is not required pursuant to subsection A, the Commission shall require notice to customers in exchanges in which polls are not required and shall convene a hearing on the proposed extension or reduction of the local calling area if the lesser of five percent or 150 of the customers within such exchanges request a hearing. The Commission may convene a hearing under this subsection on its own motion without regard to the number of customers who request a hearing.

D. Where the governing body of a county passes a resolution for a countywide local service area under subsection A and the poll for such service is defeated, the governing body shall reimburse the affected company or companies for the costs of the poll.

E. The Commission shall give the highest priority to petitions or resolutions presented under subsection A that involve exchanges in rural areas.

1976, c. 265; 1978, c. 232; 1985, c. 382; 1990, c. 339; 1993, c. 974; 1994, cc. 180, 347; 1995, c. 466; 1996, c. 272.

§ 56-484.3. Powers of Commission not restricted; rules and regulations.

Nothing in this article shall restrict or alter the power of the Commission to change service areas on its own, on petition of any telephone company, or on petition of any subscriber. The Commission shall promulgate all rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter.

1976, c. 265.

Article 5. Telecommunications Relay Service.

§ 56-484.4. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2006, c. 780, cl. 2, effective January 1, 2007. For expiration of repeal, see Editor's notes.

§ 56-484.7. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, c. 68.

Article 5.1. Provision of Certain Communications Services.

§ 56-484.7:1. Offering of communications services.

A. A county, city, town, electric commission or board, industrial development authority, or economic development authority, other than one in a locality that (i) is eligible to provide telecommunications services pursuant to § 15.2-2160 and (ii) has a population in excess of 30,000, may offer qualifying communications services, or enter into public-private partnerships to offer such qualifying communications services, in accordance with the provisions of this article. For purposes of this article, a "qualifying communications service" is a communications service, which shall include but is not limited to, high-speed data service and Internet access service, of general application, but excluding any cable television or other multi-channel video programming services. The county, city, town, electric commission or board, industrial development authority, or economic development authority shall demonstrate in its petition that the qualifying communications services do not meet the standard set forth in § 56-484.7:2 within the geographic area specified in the petition. No such services shall be offered unless, prior to offering such services: (i) the county, city, town, electric commission or board, industrial development authority or economic development authority petitions the Commission to approve the offering of such qualifying communications services within a specified geographic area and (ii) the Commission, after notice and an opportunity for hearing in the affected area, issues a written order approving the petition or fails to approve or disapprove the petition within 60 days after notice. The 60-day period may be extended by Commission order for a period not to exceed an additional 60 days. The petition shall be deemed approved if the Commission fails to act within 60 days after notice or any extended period ordered by the Commission.

B. Each county, city, town, electric commission or board, industrial development authority, or economic development authority that provides communications services pursuant to this article shall provide nondiscriminatory access to for-profit providers of communications services on a first-come, first-served basis to rights-of-way, poles, conduits or other permanent distribution facilities owned, leased or operated by the county, city, town, electric commission or board, industrial development authority, or economic development authority unless the facilities have insufficient capacity for such access and additional capacity cannot reasonably be added to the facilities.

C. The prices charged by a county, city, town, electric commission or board, industrial development authority, or economic development authority for providing communications services shall not be set at a price for the service lower than the prices charged by any incumbent provider for a functionally equivalent service that is as generally available from such incumbent as it is from such governmental entity.

D. No county, city, town, electric commission or board, industrial development authority, or economic development authority providing such qualifying communications services shall acquire by eminent domain the facilities or other property of any communications service provider to offer cable, telephone, data transmission or other information or online programming services.

E. The Commission may promulgate rules necessary to implement this section.

1999, c. 916; 2002, cc. 479, 489; 2003, cc. 677, 711.

§ 56-484.7:2. Approval.

The Commission shall find that it is in the public interest to approve the offering of qualifying communications services as defined in § 56-484.7:1 unless it shall be demonstrated to the Commission and found that, within the geographic area specified in the petition: (i) the qualifying communications service specified in the petition as provided for in § 56-484.7:1 is readily and generally in the specified geographic area available from each of three or more nonaffiliated companies and is functionally equivalent for consumers in that specified geographic area to one or more services offered by each of the three or more competitors; (ii) the petition is not in compliance with the requirements of § 56-484.7:1; or (iii) the offering of the proposed qualifying communications services will not benefit consumers.

1999, c. 916; 2002, cc. 479, 489; 2003, c. 711.

§ 56-484.7:3. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2002, cc. 479 and 489.

§ 56-484.7:4. Revocation of Commission approval.

The Commission may revoke its approval of a petition under § 56-484.7:1 no earlier than five years after such approval if it finds (i) that the factors described in § 56-484.7:2 on which the approval was based no longer exist or are no longer being satisfied, or (ii) that the petitioner has not made satisfactory progress toward making generally available the qualifying communications services specified in the petition. If the Commission finds that such approval should be revoked, it shall determine a date by which the county, city, town, electric commission or board, or authority shall cease to offer such qualifying communications services. In determining such date the Commission shall allow a reasonable time for the entity to offer its equipment, infrastructure and other assets related to such qualifying communications services for sale at fair market value, which shall be deemed to be no less than the amount of the indebtedness, for such equipment, infrastructure and other assets related to such qualifying communications services. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the use of telecommunications equipment and services for intragovernmental purposes as specified in § 15.2-1500.

2002, cc. 479, 489; 2003, c. 711.

Article 6. Wireless Enhanced Public Safety Telephone Service Act.

§ 56-484.8. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2000, c. 1064.

Article 7. Enhanced Public Safety Telephone Services Act.

§ 56-484.12. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Automatic location identification" or "ALI" means a telecommunications network capability that enables the automatic display of information defining the geographical location of the telephone used to place a wireless enhanced 9-1-1 call.

"Automatic number identification" or "ANI" means a telecommunications network capability that enables the automatic display of the telephone number used to place a wireless Enhanced 9-1-1 call.

"Board" means the 9-1-1 Services Board created pursuant to this article.

"Chief Information Officer" or "CIO" means the Chief Information Officer appointed pursuant to § 2.2-2005.

"Coordinator" means the Virginia Public Safety Communications Systems Coordinator employed by the Division.

"CMRS" means mobile telecommunications service as defined in the federal Mobile Telecommunications Sourcing Act, 4 U.S.C. § 124, as amended.

"CMRS provider" means an entity authorized by the Federal Communications Commission to provide CMRS within the Commonwealth.

"Division" means the Division of Public Safety Communications created in § 44-146.18:5.

"Emergency services IP network" or "ESInet" means a shared public safety agency-managed Internet protocol (IP) network that (i) is used for emergency services communications, (ii) provides an IP transport infrastructure that is capable of carrying voice and data and that supports next generation 9-1-1 service core functions such as routing and location validation of emergency service requests, and (iii) is engineered, managed, and intended to support emergency public safety communications and 9-1-1 service.

"Enhanced 9-1-1 service" or "E-911" means a service consisting of telephone network features and PSAPs provided for users of telephone systems enabling such users to reach a PSAP by dialing the digits "9-1-1." Such service automatically directs 9-1-1 emergency telephone calls to the appropriate PSAPs by selective routing based on the geographical location from which the emergency call originated and provides the capability for ANI and ALI features.

"ESInet point of interconnection" means the demarcation point at which the NG9-1-1 Service Provider receives and assumes responsibility for 9-1-1 call traffic from originating service providers.

"Local exchange carrier" means any public service company granted a certificate to furnish public utility service for the provision of local exchange telephone service pursuant to Chapter 10.1 (§ 56-265.1 et seq.) of Title 56.

"Next generation 9-1-1 service" or "NG9-1-1" means a service that (i) consists of coordinated intrastate 9-1-1 IP networks serving residents of the Commonwealth with the routing of emergency service requests, by voice or data, across public safety ESInets; (ii) automatically directs 9-1-1 emergency telephone calls and other emergency service requests in data formats to the appropriate PSAPs by routing using geographical information system data; (iii) provides for ANI and ALI features; and (iv) interconnects with enhanced 9-1-1 service.

"9-1-1 service" includes E-911 and NG9-1-1.

"Originating service provider" means the local exchange carrier, VoIP provider, or CMRS provider that serves the end user over which a 9-1-1 call is made.

"Place of primary use" has the meaning as defined in the federal Mobile Telecommunications Sourcing Act, 4 U.S.C. § 124, as amended.

"Postpaid CMRS" means CMRS that is not prepaid CMRS, as defined in § 56-484.17:1.

"Public safety answering point" or "PSAP" means a facility (i) equipped and staffed on a 24-hour basis to receive and process 9-1-1 calls or (ii) that intends to receive and process 9-1-1 calls and has notified CMRS providers in its jurisdiction of its intention to receive and process such calls.

"VoIP service" means interconnected voice over Internet protocol service as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47, Part 9, section 9.3, as amended.

"Wireless E-911 Fund" means a dedicated fund consisting of all moneys collected pursuant to the wireless E-911 surcharge, all prepaid wireless E-911 charges collected pursuant to § 56-484.17:1, and any additional funds otherwise allocated or donated to the Wireless E-911 Fund.

"Wireless E-911 surcharge" means a monthly fee of $0.75 billed with respect to postpaid CMRS customers by each CMRS provider and CMRS reseller on each CMRS device capable of two-way interactive voice communication.

2000, c. 1064; 2001, c. 529; 2002, c. 68; 2003, cc. 160, 341, 981, 1021; 2005, c. 942; 2006, cc. 739, 780; 2010, cc. 466, 566; 2011, cc. 120, 138; 2016, c. 361; 2018, cc. 532, 533; 2020, c. 423.

§ 56-484.12:1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2018, cc. 532 and 533, cl. 2.

§ 56-484.13. 9-1-1 Services Board; membership; terms; compensation.

A. The E-911 Services Board, formerly the Wireless E-911 Services Board, is hereby continued as the 9-1-1 Services Board. The Board shall exercise the powers and duties conferred in this article.

B. The 9-1-1 Services Board shall:

1. Support and assist PSAPs in the provision of 9-1-1 operations and services, including through provision of funding and development of best practices;

2. Plan, promote, and assist in the statewide development, deployment, and maintenance of an emergency services IP network that will support future 9-1-1 and other public safety applications and technologies; and

3. Consult and coordinate with PSAPs, state and local public bodies in the Commonwealth, public bodies in other states, CMRS providers, VoIP service providers affiliated with cable companies, and other entities as needed in the exercise of the Board's powers and duties.

C. The Board shall consist of 16 members as follows: the Director of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, who shall serve as chairman of the Board; the Comptroller, who shall serve as the treasurer of the Board; the Chief Information Officer; and the following 13 members to be appointed by the Governor: one member representing the Virginia State Police; one member representing a local exchange carrier providing E-911 service in Virginia; one member representing VoIP service providers affiliated with cable companies and authorized to transact business in Virginia; two members representing wireless service providers authorized to do business in Virginia; three county, city, or town PSAP directors or managers representing diverse regions of Virginia; one Virginia sheriff; one chief of police; one fire chief; one emergency medical services manager; and one finance officer of a county, city, or town.

D. The Commonwealth Interoperability Coordinator shall serve as an advisor to the Board in the exercise of the powers and duties conferred in this article so as to ensure, among other matters, that enhanced wireless emergency telecommunications services and technologies are compliant with the statewide interoperability strategic plan.

E. All members appointed by the Governor shall serve five-year terms. The CIO and the Comptroller shall serve terms coincident with their terms of office. No gubernatorial appointee shall serve more than two consecutive terms.

F. A majority of the Board shall constitute a quorum. The Board shall meet at least quarterly or at the call of its chairman.

G. Members of the Board shall serve without compensation; however, members of the Board shall be reimbursed for expenses as provided in §§ 2.2-2813 through 2.2-2826.

H. The Division shall provide staff support to the Board. The Division of Public Safety Communications created in § 44-146.18:5 and the Virginia Department of Transportation shall provide such technical advice as the Board requires.

2000, c. 1064; 2003, cc. 981, 1021; 2006, c. 739; 2009, c. 613; 2011, c. 138; 2012, c. 36; 2016, c. 361; 2020, c. 423.

§ 56-484.14. Powers and duties of the 9-1-1 Services Board.

The 9-1-1 Services Board shall have the power and duty to:

1. Make and enter into all contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers, including purchase agreements payable from (i) the Wireless E-911 Fund and (ii) other moneys appropriated for the provision of 9-1-1 services.

2. Pursue all legal remedies to enforce any provision of this article, or any contract entered into pursuant to this article.

3. Develop a comprehensive, statewide enhanced 9-1-1 plan for wireless E-911, VoIP E-911, and any other future communications technologies accessing 9-1-1 for emergency purposes. In constructing and periodically updating this plan as appropriate, the Board shall monitor trends and advances in enhanced wireless, VoIP, and other emergency telecommunications technologies, plan and forecast future needs for these enhanced technologies, and formulate strategies for the efficient and effective delivery of 9-1-1 services in the future.

4. Grant such extensions of time for compliance with the provisions of § 56-484.16 as the Board deems appropriate.

5. Take all steps necessary to inform the public of the use of the digits "9-1-1" as the designated emergency telephone number and the use of the digits "#-7-7" as a designated non-emergency telephone number.

6. Report annually to the Governor, the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Appropriations, and the Virginia State Crime Commission on (i) the state of enhanced 9-1-1 services in the Commonwealth, (ii) the impact of, or need for, legislation affecting enhanced 9-1-1 services in the Commonwealth, and (iii) the need for changes in the E-911 funding mechanism provided to the Board, as appropriate.

7. Provide advisory technical assistance to PSAPs and state and local law enforcement, and fire and emergency medical services agencies, upon request.

8. Collect, distribute, and withhold moneys from the Wireless E-911 Fund as provided in this article.

9. Develop a comprehensive single, statewide electronic addressing database to support geographic data and statewide base map data programs pursuant to subsection D of § 44-146.18:6.

10. Receive such funds as may be appropriated for purposes consistent with this article and such gifts, donations, grants, bequests, or other funds as may be received from, applied for or offered by either public or private sources.

11. Manage other moneys appropriated for the provision of enhanced emergency telecommunications services.

12. Perform all acts necessary, convenient, or desirable to carrying out the purposes of this article.

13. Drawing from the work of 9-1-1 professional organizations, in its sole discretion, publish best practices for PSAPs. These best practices shall be voluntary and recommended by a subcommittee composed of PSAP representatives.

14. Develop or adopt and publish standards for an emergency services IP network and core NG9-1-1 services on that network to ensure that enhanced public safety telephone services seamlessly interoperate within the Commonwealth and with surrounding states.

15. Monitor developments in 9-1-1 service and multiline telephone systems and the impact of such technologies upon the implementation of Article 8 (§ 56-484.19 et seq.). The Board shall include its assessment of such impact in the annual report filed pursuant to subdivision 6.

2000, c. 1064; 2005, c. 942; 2006, c. 739; 2007, c. 427; 2011, c. 138; 2015, cc. 502, 503; 2016, c. 361; 2020, c. 423.

§ 56-484.15. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2018, cc. 532 and 533, cl. 2.

§ 56-484.16. Local emergency telecommunications requirements; text messages; use of digits "9-1-1.".

A. On or before July 1, 2003, every county, city or town in the Commonwealth shall be served by an E-911 system, unless an extension of time has been granted by the Board.

B. On or before July 1, 2020, each PSAP in the Commonwealth shall deploy equipment, products, and services necessary or appropriate to enable the PSAP to receive and process calls for emergency assistance sent via Short Message Service (SMS) text messages in a manner consistent with FCC Order 14-118 and any other FCC order that affects the deployment of SMS text-to-9-1-1. Upon such deployment, the PSAP shall notify the FCC's PSAP Text-to-911 Readiness and Certification Registry.

C. The digits "9-1-1" shall be the designated emergency telephone number in Virginia. No public safety agency shall advertise or otherwise promote the use of any number for emergency response service other than "9-1-1."

D. All originating service providers required to provide access to 9-1-1 service shall route the 9-1-1 calls of their subscribers to ESInet points of interconnection designated by the Board. The Board shall establish points of interconnection at or within the local access and transport area and in proximity of each selective router central office providing E-911 service as of July 1, 2018. Additionally, the Board shall establish a minimum of one pair (two) and a maximum of three pair (six) geographically diverse from their designated pair point of session initiation protocol (SIP) interconnection within the Commonwealth. The Board shall establish ESInet points of interconnection in a manner that minimizes cost to the originating service providers to the extent practicable while still achieving necessary 9-1-1 service and ESInet objectives.

E. The NG9-1-1 service provider shall receive the 9-1-1 calls delivered by the originating service provider at the designated ESInet points of interconnection and deliver the calls to the appropriate PSAP. The NG9-1-1 service provider shall not charge the originating service provider to connect to the ESInet point of interconnection nor for the delivery of the 9-1-1 calls to the PSAP. The originating service provider responsibility for 9-1-1 calls ends and the PSAP responsibility begins at their respective sides of the ESInet point of interconnection.

F. The PSAP shall validate the location of the originating service provider subscribers as necessary to ensure the location exists and will route to the appropriate PSAP if 9-1-1 is dialed. The PSAP shall not charge the originating service provider for such validation.

G. No later than July 1, 2023, the Board shall develop and fully implement NG9-1-1 transition plans to migrate PSAPs and originating service providers from E-911 to NG9-1-1. To the extent practicable, the migration of PSAPs will be implemented on a sequential region-by-region basis for those PSAPs served by each legacy E-911 selective router pair. With a minimum of six months' written notice to the impacted stakeholders, this date may be extended by the Board for good cause. For purposes of this section, "good cause" means an event or events reasonably beyond the ability of the Board to anticipate or control.

2000, c. 1064; 2001, c. 713; 2005, c. 942; 2018, cc. 532, 533, 673.

§ 56-484.16:1. PSAP dispatchers; training requirements.

A. As used in this section:

"Dispatcher" means an individual employed by a public safety answering point, an emergency medical dispatch service provider, or both, who is qualified to answer incoming emergency telephone calls or provide for the appropriate emergency response either directly or through communication with the appropriate PSAP.

"Emergency Medical Dispatch" means a systematic program of handling medical calls pursuant to which trained dispatchers determine the nature and priority of the call, dispatch the appropriate response, and give the caller instructions to help treat the caller until the arrival of the appropriate responder.

"Emergency Medical Dispatch certification" means certification by an Office of Emergency Medical Services recognized emergency dispatch training organization meeting or exceeding standards by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and accepted and recognized by the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM).

"Emergency Medical Dispatch education program" means an Emergency Medical Dispatch certification education program that meets national criteria set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"High-quality telecommunicator cardiopulmonary resuscitation instruction" or "TCPR" means the delivery by trained 911 telecommunicators of high-quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation instruction for acute events requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation, including out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

"Office" means the Office of Emergency Medical Services within the Department of Health.

B. By July 1, 2021, the Office of Emergency Medical Services shall adopt standards for training and equipment required for the provision of TCPR by dispatchers. The standards shall meet or exceed nationally recognized emergency cardiovascular care guidelines. At a minimum, training standards shall require dispatchers to obtain certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and shall incorporate recognition protocols for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation instructions for callers, and continuing education as appropriate. The Office shall update such standards as frequently as necessary, but not more frequently than biennially, in order to keep the standards current with nationally recognized emergency cardiovascular care guidelines.

C. On or before January 1, 2022, each PSAP shall provide training in TCPR to each dispatcher in its employ and shall provide its dispatchers with equipment necessary for the provision of TCPR. The training and equipment shall comply with the standards adopted by the Office pursuant to subsection B. Following completion of the initial training, each dispatcher's training shall be updated or supplemented in order to reflect updates to the training standards.

D. An operator of a PSAP may enter into a reciprocal agreement with the operator of another PSAP authorizing the initial PSAP to transfer callers to the other PSAP at times that the PSAP does not have a trained dispatcher on duty who is able to provide TCPR to a caller. If a PSAP transfers a caller under the provisions of this subsection, the transferring PSAP shall use an evidence-based protocol for the identification of a person in need of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and ensure that the PSAP to which calls are transferred uses dispatchers who meet the training requirements under subsection B to provide assistance on administering TCPR.

E. The Office of Emergency Medical Services shall identify all public agencies and other persons that provide TCPR training that satisfies the requirements adopted under subsection B and set minimum standards for course approval, instruction, and examination, including online training modules based on nationally recognized guidelines. The Office shall implement a means to ensure that every dispatcher who has satisfactorily completed a training program and his employing PSAP receive a certificate of completion of the required TCPR training.

F. No dispatcher who instructs a caller on TCPR shall be liable for any civil damages arising out of the instruction provided to the caller, except for acts or omissions intentionally designed to harm or for grossly negligent acts or omissions that result in harm to an individual. A caller may decline to receive TCPR. When a caller declines TCPR, the dispatcher has no obligation to provide such instruction.

G. By January 1, 2024, each operator of a PSAP shall implement a requirement that each of its dispatchers shall by July 1, 2024, have completed an Emergency Medical Dispatch education program that complies with minimum standards established by the Office of Emergency Medical Services. The Office shall ensure that every dispatcher who has satisfactorily completed an Emergency Medical Dispatch education program and his employing PSAP receive a certificate of completion of the required education program. Following completion of the initial Emergency Medical Dispatch education program, each dispatcher's training shall be updated or supplemented in order to reflect updates to the education program.

H. Each PSAP shall conduct ongoing quality assurance of its TCPR program.

I. The State Board of Health shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) as are necessary to implement the provisions of this section.

2020, cc. 1068, 1069.

§ 56-484.17. Wireless E-911 Fund; uses of Fund; enforcement; audit required.

A. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Wireless E-911 Fund (the Fund). The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Except as provided in § 44-146.18:5, moneys in the Fund shall be used for the purposes stated in subsections C and D. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Tax Commissioner or the State Coordinator of Emergency Management.

B. Each CMRS provider and each CMRS reseller shall collect a wireless E-911 surcharge from each of its customers whose place of primary use is within the Commonwealth. However, no surcharge shall be imposed on federal, state and local government agencies. A payment equal to all wireless E-911 surcharges shall be remitted within 30 days to the Department of Taxation. The Department of Taxation, after subtracting its direct costs of administration, shall deposit all remitted wireless E-911 surcharges into the state treasury. The Comptroller shall as soon as practicable deposit such moneys into the Fund. Each CMRS provider and CMRS reseller may retain an amount equal to three percent of the wireless E-911 surcharges collected to defray the costs of collecting the surcharges. State and local taxes shall not apply to any wireless E-911 surcharge collected from customers. Surcharges collected from customers shall be subject to the provisions of the federal Mobile Telecommunications Sourcing Act (4 U.S.C. § 116 et seq., as amended).

The CMRS provider and CMRS reseller shall collect the surcharge through regular periodic billing.

C. Sixty percent of the Wireless E-911 Fund shall be distributed on a monthly basis to the PSAPs according to each PSAP's average pro rata distribution from the Wireless E-911 Fund for fiscal years 2007-2012, taking into account any funding adjustments made pursuant to subsection E. On or before July 1, 2018, and every five years thereafter, the Department of Taxation shall recalculate the distribution percentage for each PSAP based on the population and call load data of the PSAP for the previous five fiscal years, which data shall continue to be received by the Board and then reported to the Department of Taxation. The distribution from the Wireless E-911 Fund shall be made on a monthly basis to the PSAPs according to such distribution percentage beginning July 1 of such fiscal year.

D. The remaining 40 percent of the Fund shall be distributed to PSAPs or on behalf of PSAPs based on grant requests received by the Board each fiscal year. The Board shall establish criteria for receiving and making grants from the Fund, including procedures for determining the amount of a grant and payment schedule; however, priority shall be given to grants that support the deployment and sustainment of NG9-1-1. If requested by an originating service provider, the Board shall execute a contract to reimburse that originating service provider for its costs incurred to deliver 9-1-1 calls to the ESInet points of interconnection. The Board shall ensure that cost is minimized while still achieving necessary 9-1-1 service and ESInet objectives. The Board may retain some or all of this uncommitted funding for an identified 9-1-1 funding need or for a reserve balance pursuant to a reserve balance policy adopted by the Board.

E. After the end of each fiscal year, on a schedule adopted by the Board, the Board shall audit the grant funding received by all recipients to ensure it was utilized in accordance with the grant requirements. Each funding recipient shall provide such verification of such costs as may be requested by the Board. Any overpayment shall be refunded to the Board or credited to payments during the then-current fiscal year, on such schedule as the Board shall determine. If payments are less than the actual costs reported, the Board may include the additional funding in the then-current fiscal year.

F. The Auditor of Public Accounts, or his legally authorized representatives, shall audit the Wireless E-911 Fund as determined necessary by the Auditor of Public Accounts. The cost of such audit shall be borne by the Board and be payable from the Wireless E-911 Fund, as appropriate. The Board shall furnish copies of the audits to the Governor, the Public Safety Subcommittees of the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Appropriations, and the Virginia State Crime Commission.

G. The special tax authorized by § 58.1-1730 shall not be imposed on consumers of CMRS.

2000, c. 1064; 2001, c. 529; 2002, c. 68; 2003, c. 341; 2004, c. 167; 2005, c. 942; 2006, cc. 739, 780; 2010, cc. 466, 566; 2011, cc. 162, 630; 2012, cc. 25, 165, 672; 2017, cc. 22, 260; 2018, cc. 57, 307, 532, 533; 2020, c. 423.

§ 56-484.17:1. Collection of prepaid wireless E-911 charge at point of sale; rate established.

A. As used in this section, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Dealer" means a person who sells prepaid CMRS to an end user.

"Department" means the Department of Taxation.

"End user" means a person who purchases prepaid CMRS in a retail transaction.

"Prepaid CMRS" means CMRS that allows a caller to dial 911 to access the 911 system, which CMRS service is required to be paid for in advance and is sold in predetermined units or dollars of which the number declines with use in a known amount.

"Prepaid wireless E-911 charge" means the charge that is required to be collected by a dealer from an end user in the amount established under subsection B.

"Retail transaction" means the purchase of prepaid CMRS from a dealer for any purpose other than resale. If more than one item or article of prepaid CMRS is purchased by an end user, then each item or article purchased shall be deemed to be a separate retail transaction.

B. The prepaid wireless E-911 charge:

1. Shall be $0.50 per retail transaction.

2. Shall be collected by the dealer from the end user with respect to each retail transaction occurring in the Commonwealth. The amount of the prepaid wireless E-911 charge shall be either separately stated on an invoice, receipt, or other similar document that is provided to the end user by the dealer or otherwise disclosed by the dealer to the end user. For purposes of this subdivision, a retail transaction that is effected in person by an end user at a business location of the dealer shall be treated as occurring in the Commonwealth if that business location is in the Commonwealth, and any other retail transaction shall be treated as occurring in the Commonwealth if treated as occurring in the Commonwealth for purposes of the Virginia Retail Sales and Use Tax Act (§ 58.1-600 et seq.).

3. Is the liability of the end user and not of the dealer or of any CMRS provider, except that the dealer shall be liable to remit to the Department all prepaid wireless E-911 charges that the dealer collects from end users as provided in subsection E, including all prepaid wireless E-911 charges that the dealer is deemed to have collected in cases in which the charge has not been separately stated on an invoice, receipt, or other similar document provided to the end user by the dealer.

C. The amount of the prepaid wireless E-911 charge that is collected by a dealer from an end user shall not be included in the base for measuring any fee, tax, surcharge, or other charge that is imposed by the Commonwealth, any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or any intergovernmental agency.

D. Except as otherwise expressly provided herein, the charge imposed pursuant to this section shall be collected by the Tax Commissioner and shall be implemented, enforced, and collected in the same manner as retail sales and use taxes are implemented, enforced, and collected under the Virginia Retail Sales and Use Tax Act (§ 58.1-600 et seq.). However, as provided in subdivision B 3, the prepaid wireless E-911 charge shall be the liability of the end user and not of the dealer or of any CMRS provider, except that the dealer shall be liable to remit to the Department all prepaid wireless E-911 charges that the dealer collects from end users. A dealer shall be permitted to deduct and retain five percent of prepaid wireless E-911 charges that are collected by the dealer from end users if such charges were not delinquent at the time of remittance to the Department. Nothing herein shall be construed or interpreted as limiting or restricting the discount provided under § 58.1-622 with regard to prepaid CMRS that is taxable under the Virginia Retail Sales and Use Tax Act.

The Department, after subtracting its direct costs of administration, shall deposit all remitted prepaid wireless E-911 charges into the state treasury. The Comptroller shall as soon as practicable deposit such moneys into the Wireless E-911 Fund for use by the Board in accordance with the purposes permitted by this article.

E. The Department shall develop and publish guidelines implementing the provisions of this section and shall update the guidelines as deemed necessary by the Tax Commissioner. The Tax Commissioner shall notify every dealer holding a certificate of registration under § 58.1-613 when the guidelines and any updates are published. The development and publication of the guidelines shall be exempt from the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

Among other items, the guidelines shall include provisions exempting small dealers, as defined solely by the Department, from the otherwise mandatory requirement under this section to disclose the prepaid wireless E-911 charge to the end user. The guidelines shall define a "small dealer" based, in part or in whole, upon the extent to which the dealer sells prepaid CMRS.

F. The provisions of this section shall apply to retail transactions occurring on or after January 1, 2011.

2010, cc. 466, 566.

§ 56-484.18. Designation of official State Police access number; blocking caller identification prohibited.

A. Telephone number #77 is hereby designated as an official access number for wireless telephone usage in the Commonwealth for access to designated offices of the Department of State Police and shall be used solely for official business.

B. No caller shall block caller identification or other essential information on calls made to telephone number #77. Where technically feasible, wireline and wireless telephone providers shall provide calling party number identification for all wireless #77 calls. Any communications services provider, as defined in § 58.1-647, including mobile service, in this Commonwealth shall not be liable for any civil damages for any act or omission resulting from rendering such service with or without charge related to #77 calls unless such act or omission was the result of such service provider's gross negligence or willful misconduct.

2000, c. 771; 2006, c. 780.

Article 8. Emergency Calls on Multiline Telephone Systems.

§ 56-484.19. Definitions.

As used in this article:

"Alternative method of providing call location information" means a method of maintaining and operating a multiline telephone system that ensures that:

1. Emergency calls from a telephone station provide the PSAP with sufficient location identification information to ensure that emergency responders are dispatched to a location at the facility from which the emergency call was placed, from which location emergency responders will be able to ascertain the telephone station where the emergency call was placed (i) by being able to view all of the telephone stations in the area contiguous to the telephone station from which the emergency call was placed or (ii) by the activation of an alerting system at the facility, which activation is triggered by the placing of the emergency call, and which readily allows arriving emergency responders to determine the physical location of the telephone station from which the emergency call was placed. A light or alarm located near the telephone station is an example of such an alerting system;

2. Emergency calls from a telephone station, in addition to reaching a PSAP, connect to or otherwise notify a switchboard operator, attendant, or other designated on-site individual who is capable of giving the PSAP the location of the telephone station from which the emergency call was placed; or

3. Calls to the digits "9-1-1" from a telephone station connect to a private emergency answering point.

An alternative method of providing call location information shall also be deemed to be provided, as a result of the imputed ability of emergency responders to readily locate all telephone stations from which the emergency call could have been placed, when emergency calls provide calling party information corresponding to a contiguous area containing the telephone from which the emergency call was placed, of fewer than 7,000 square feet, located on one or more floors.

"Automatic location identification" or "ALI" means the automatic display at a PSAP of information defining the emergency call location, which information shall identify the floor name or number, room name or number, building name or number, cubicle name or number, and office name or number, as applicable, or imparts other information that is sufficiently specific to provide the emergency responders with the ability to locate the telephone station from which the emergency call was placed.

"Automatic number identification" or "ANI" means the automatic display at a PSAP of a telephone number that a PSAP may use to call the telephone station from which the emergency call was placed.

"Calling party information" means information that is delivered by the MLTS provider to the PSAP that is used to provide the ANI and ALI function.

"Central office system" means a business telephone service offered by a provider of communications services that provides features similar to a private branch exchange by transmitting data over telecommunications equipment or cable lines.

"Emergency call" means a telephone call that enables the user to reach a PSAP by dialing the digits "9-1-1" and, if applicable, any additional digit or digits that must be dialed in order to permit the user to access the public switched telephone network.

"Emergency call location" means the location of the telephone station on an MLTS from which an emergency call is placed and to which a PSAP may dispatch emergency responders based upon ALI provided via the emergency call.

"Emergency responders" means fire services, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and other public services or agencies that may be dispatched by a PSAP in response to an emergency call.

"Enhanced 9-1-1 service" means a service consisting of telephone network features and PSAPs that (i) enables users of telephone systems to reach a PSAP by making an emergency call; (ii) automatically directs emergency calls to the appropriate PSAPs by selective routing based on the geographical location from which the emergency call originated; and (iii) provides the capability for ANI and ALI features.

"Facility" means real estate and improvements used principally for or as a (i) hotel as defined in § 35.1-1, (ii) dormitory at an institution of higher education, (iii) medical care facility as defined in § 32.1-102.1, (iv) group home or other residential facility licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services or Department of Social Services, (v) assisted living facility as defined in § 63.2-100, (vi) apartment complex or condominium where shared tenant telephone service is provided, (vii) commercial or government office building, (viii) manufacturing, processing, assembly, warehouse, or distribution establishment, or (ix) retail establishment.

"MLTS provider" means a person who operates a facility at which telephone service is provided, with or without compensation, through a multiline telephone system.

"MLTS service provider" means a person offering or operating third party services that combine communications services, private branch exchange or central office systems, and multiline telephone systems where such services are provided to an MLTS provider on a fee-for-service basis.

"Multiline telephone system" or "MLTS" means a telephone system, including network-based or premises-based systems, whether owned or leased by a public or private entity, operated in the Commonwealth, that serves a facility, has more than one telephone station, and is comprised of common control units, telephones, and control hardware and software that share a common interface to the public switched telephone network, whether by a private branch exchange or central office system, without regard to whether the system utilizes VoIP technology.

"Person" includes any individual, corporation, partnership, association, cooperative, limited liability company, trust, joint venture, government, political subdivision, or any other legal or commercial entity and any successor, representative, agent, agency, or instrumentality thereof.

"Portable VoIP services" includes any MLTS utilizing a VoIP service and providing an end user with the capability to use the service at a location independent of the original physical location of telephone stations on the MLTS.

"Private emergency answering point" means an answering point that is equipped and staffed during all hours that the facility is occupied to provide adequate means of responding to calls to the digits "9-1-1" from telephones on a multiline telephone system by reporting incidents to a PSAP in a manner that identifies the emergency response location from which the call to the answering point was placed.

"Public safety answering point" or "PSAP" means a communications operation operated by or on behalf of a governmental entity that is equipped and staffed on a 24-hour basis to receive and process telephone calls for emergency assistance from an individual by dialing, in addition to any digits required to obtain an outside line, the digits "9-1-1."

"Public switched telephone network" means the worldwide, interconnected networks of equipment, lines, and controls assembled to establish circuit-switched voice communication paths between calling and called parties.

"Retail establishment" means any establishment selling goods or services to the ultimate user or consumer of those goods or services, not for the purpose of resale, but for that user's or consumer's personal rather than business use.

"Telephone call" means the use of a telephone to initiate an ordinary voice transmission placed through the public switched telephone network.

"Telephone station" means a telephone on a multiline telephone system, from which a call may be placed to a PSAP by dialing, in addition to any digits required to access the public switched telephone network, the digits "9-1-1." However, in any medical care facility or licensed assisted living facility, "telephone station" includes any telephone on a multiline telephone system located in an administrative office, nursing station, lobby, waiting area, or other area accessible to the general public but does not include a telephone located in the room of a patient or resident.

"VoIP service" has the same meaning ascribed to it in § 56-484.12.

2007, c. 427; 2008, c. 853; 2009, cc. 813, 840.

§ 56-484.20. Charges for emergency calls.

The MLTS provider of any multiline telephone system shall maintain and operate the MLTS in such manner that an individual placing an emergency call from a telephone station on the MLTS is not charged for the call.

2007, c. 427.

§ 56-484.21. Instructions for emergency calling.

Commencing July 1, 2009, the MLTS provider of any multiline telephone system shall either (i) demonstrate or provide written instructions to each new user of the MLTS how to place an emergency call from a telephone station or (ii) provide written instructions at each telephone station that inform an individual how to place an emergency call from the telephone station. Written instructions provided to a new user or provided at a telephone station shall include the telephone station's street address and such additional information regarding the location of the telephone station that is sufficiently specific to permit an emergency responder with the information to locate the telephone station.

2007, c. 427.

§ 56-484.22. Access to PSAPs from telephone stations on MLTS.

Commencing July 1, 2009, the MLTS provider of any multiline telephone system shall maintain and operate the MLTS in such manner that a telephone call made by dialing the digits "9-1-1" and, if applicable, any additional digit or digits that must be dialed in order to permit the user to access the public switched telephone network, from any telephone on the MLTS is routed to a PSAP.

2007, c. 427.

§ 56-484.23. Provision of emergency call information.

A. The MLTS provider of any multiline telephone system that is acquired or installed on or after July 1, 2009, commencing on the date of its installation, shall maintain and operate the MLTS in a manner that ensures that each emergency call placed from any telephone station on the MLTS provides either (i) calling party information to the 9-1-1 network that connects to the PSAP or (ii) an alternative method of providing call location information.

B. Notwithstanding the requirements of subsection A, the MLTS provider of any multiline telephone system using portable VoIP services that is acquired or installed on or after July 1, 2009, commencing on the date of its installation, shall make all reasonable efforts to maintain and operate the MLTS in a manner that ensures that each emergency call placed from any telephone station on the MLTS provides either: (i) calling party information to the 9-1-1 network that connects to the PSAP or (ii) an alternative method of providing call location information.

C. The MLTS provider shall arrange to update the automatic location identification database with appropriate master street address guide, valid address and callback information corresponding to the calling party information for each telephone station. Such updates shall be provided as soon as practicable for new MLTS installations or within one business day of record completion of the actual changes for previously installed systems. When an MLTS provider obtains service through a MLTS service provider, the MLTS service provider shall be responsible for meeting this requirement.

2007, c. 427; 2008, c. 853.

§ 56-484.24. Liability.

A. An MLTS provider, its employees or agents shall not be liable to any person for damages incurred as a result of any act or omission by it, except gross negligence or intentional, willful or wanton misconduct, in connection with maintaining or operating the MLTS in a manner required by this article.

B. A telecommunications service provider, its employees or agents shall not be liable to any person for damages incurred as the result of the release of information not in the public record, including, but not limited to, unpublished or unlisted telephone numbers, to a PSAP, its employees or agents, or to emergency responders, made in connection with an emergency call.

2007, c. 427.

§ 56-484.25. Exemption for certain counties.

Notwithstanding any provision of this article to the contrary, the provisions of §§ 56-484.22 and 56-484.23 shall not apply with respect to any multiline telephone system located in a county that is not served by an enhanced 9-1-1 service system, until the later to occur of (i) 120 days after the date an enhanced 9-1-1 service system for the county commences operating or (ii) July 1, 2009.

2007, c. 427.