1998 Regular Session
To: Public Utilities
By: Representative Holland
House Bill 897
AN ACT TO REQUIRE TELEPHONE COMPANIES TO RESTRICT ACCESS TO PAY-PER-CALL SERVICES, AS DEFINED IN THE ACT, THROUGH 900 OR SIMILAR TELEPHONE NUMBERS UNLESS A TELEPHONE SUBSCRIBER HAS REQUESTED ACCESS TO THE SERVICES; TO REQUIRE TELEPHONE COMPANIES TO DISCLOSE TO SUBSCRIBERS THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF BOTH PARTIES WITH REGARD TO PAY-PER-CALL SERVICES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) For purposes of this section, the term "pay-per-call service" means any service that is accessed through the use of a 900 telephone number or other prefix or area code designated by the Federal Communications Commission for which the caller pays a per-call or per-time-interval charge that is greater than, or in addition to, the charge for transmission of the call and which, during the call, a person provides or purports to provide the following:
(a) Audio information or audio entertainment produced or packaged by the person;
(b) Access to simultaneous voice conversation services; or
(c) Any other service, including the provision of a product, for which charges are assessed on the basis of the completion of the call.
The term "pay-per-call services" does not include directory assistance services provided by a telephone company.
(2) No company providing exchange telephone service within this state shall provide access to pay-per-call services from the telephone of any subscriber unless that subscriber has requested in writing that the company provide access to pay-per-call services.
(3) Each company providing exchange telephone service shall offer telephone subscribers the option of accessing from their telephone number all or, as designated by the subscriber, certain specific prefixes or area codes used by pay-per-call service providers. The offer shall be at no charge to all subscribers until January 1, 1999, and to any subscriber who subscribes to a new telephone number for a period of sixty (60) days after the date on which the new telephone number is effective. In all other cases, the company may assess a reasonable one-time charge for providing a telephone subscriber access to all or certain specific prefixes or area codes used by pay-per-call service providers.
(4) Each company providing exchange telephone service which provides billing or collection services shall provide a disclosure statement to the company's subscribers which sets forth all rights and obligations of the subscriber and the company with respect to the optional access, use and payment for pay-per-call services.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.