HB 2128, the state telecommunications deregulation bill, was passed by the 74th Texas Legislature and enacted on September 1, 1995 as the Public Utility Regulatory Act of 1995. The bill was a part of the nationwide trend in state telecommunications deregulation. Lawmakers envisioned three goals for HB 2128: a) allow for a competitive telecommunications market, b) encourage investment in the state, and c) provide a world-class telecommunications infrastructure in Texas.
Provisions implementing the primary goal of HB 2128 in Texas were designed to open competition for local service in order to both keep rates down and generate new services, such as high-speed Internet access. The legislature took special care to ensure that a telecommunications infrastructure that connects public entities such as schools, libraries, institutions of higher education, non-profit telemedicine centers, and public hospitals was established at a reasonable rate.
To that end, several discounts were established under Chapters 58, and 59, of the Texas Utilities Code for the benefit of these entities. In particular, a discount on contracts for private network services (i.e. customer specific contracts that include T1, T2, and T3 lines/trunks) was set to expire in 2005, but SB 5 (second called Session of the 79th Regular Session) extended these discounts through January, 2012. SB 773, in the 82d Regular Legislative Session, extended these discounts again until January, 2016.
These discounts allow libraries, schools, and hospitals to purchase high-speed services from local exchange carriers at 110% of long run incremental costs (LRIC).
The following carriers are currently required to extend these discounts to Texas schools, libraries and hospitals:
Central Telephone Company (Centel) d/b/a CenturyLink f/k/a Embarq CenturyTel of San Marcos CenturyTel of Port Aransas CenturyTel of Lake Dallas Consolidated Communications f/k/a TXU Communications Consolidated Communications f/k/a Fort Bend Telephone Southwestern Bell Telephone Company d/b/a AT&T Texas United d/b/a CenturyLink f/k/a Embarg Verizon TXC – (Continental Telephone) Verizon TXG – GTE Southwest, Inc. Texas Windstream f/k/a Texas Alltel Windstream Sugar Land, formerly Sugar Land Telephone Company Windstream Comm. SW f/k/a Valor Telecom Windstream Kerrville f/k/a Kerrville Telephone Co. (KTC)
Questions regarding Advocacy: Jennifer Bergland 512 450 5448