SECTION 1. Chapter 25C of the General Laws, as most recently amended by Chapter 287 of the acts of 2014, is hereby amended by inserting after section 8 thereof the following section.
Section 9. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary but subject to the provisions of subsection (d), no provision of this chapter, Chapter 25 or Chapter 159, and no regulation, order or settlement or portion thereof adopted pursuant to any such provision, shall apply to any common carrier offering telephone service in any competitive municipality or to such service. “Competitive municipality” as used herein shall mean all municipalities in the Commonwealth other than those listed in subsection (b), as well as any municipality listed in subsection (b) for which the department finds, after hearing upon a petition brought by a common carrier after July 1, 2017, that at least two unaffiliated providers offer voice telephone service to retail residential customers in that municipality using any technology, including but not limited to wireless voice service and VoIP service.
(b) Alford, Ashfield, Becket, Blandford, Charlemont, Chesterfield, Colrain, Cummington, Egremont, Florida, Goshen, Gosnold, Hancock, Hawley, Heath, Leverett, Leyden, Middlefield, Monroe, Monterey, Montgomery, Mount Washington, New Ashford, New Braintree, New Marlborough, New Salem, Otis, Peru, Petersham, Plainfield, Princeton, Rowe, Royalston, Sandisfield, Savoy, Shutesbury, Tolland, Tyringham, Warwick, Washington, Wendell, Windsor and Worthington.
(c) With respect to municipalities other than competitive municipalities, the department shall not impose on any telephone company any retail rate lower than rates that were in effect on January 1, 2015, or any other regulation of retail rates more restrictive or burdensome than regulation in effect on January 1, 2015. The terms of any retail service quality plan or regulation promulgated by the department with respect to such municipalities shall reflect the relative size of the customer base and historical service quality performance in such municipalities.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect or modify:
(i) the authority of the attorney general to apply and enforce chapter 93A or other consumer protection laws of general applicability;
(ii)the authority of the department under sections 18B and 18H of Chapter 6A, concerning enhanced 911 service, under section 3 of chapter 40A, under section 15E of Chapter 166, concerning telephone relay service and under 25A of chapter 166, concerning pole attachments;
(iii)the rights and obligations of any carrier under 47 U.S.C. § 251 or 47 U.S.C. § 252; or
(iv)the authority of the department to administer federal programs supported by the federal Universal Service Fund, including Lifeline and Link-up programs, the E-rate program or Connect America Fund; or
(v)the authority of the department to receive and refer consumer complaints or to perform consumer education activities.
SECTION 2. Sections 11, 12, 12A, 13, 14 and 15 of Chapter 166 are hereby repealed.
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