How to File for Telephone Providers

Filing as a Telephone Provider

A telecommunications provider seeking to provide local exchange services (other than as a reseller) shall file a petition with the Commission to obtain certification as an Alternative Telecommunications Utility (ATU). Telecommunications providers that are operating in Wisconsin need to register with the Commission. The process for registering varies by type of provider.

In enacting 2011 Wisconsin Act 22 (Act 22), also known as the Telecommunications Modernization Act, effective June 9, 2011, the Wisconsin legislature significantly modified Wis. Stat. ch. 196 relating to the regulation of telecommunications utilities and telecommunications services in Wisconsin. Act 22 removed geographical limitations for private carrier entrants, and implemented a clear legislative intention to level the regulatory playing field among competitors by imposing similar regulations on competing entities. Act 22 permits traditional utilities to reduce regulatory requirements by converting to ATU certification, or to remain a telecommunications utility but apply to secure a reduced number of statutes governing the carrier’s operations. These certification paths include a “parity provision” to ensure a practical equivalence in the regulatory requirements imposed on traditional telecommunications utilities and competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs).

Specifically, Wis. Stat. § 196.203(3) provides that “[i]f the commission imposes a provision of this chapter specified in sub. (4m)(a) on an [ATU] under this subsection, the commission shall impose the same provision at the same level of regulation on all other alternative telecommunications utilities.”


A telecommunications provider seeking to provide competitive local exchange services (other than as a reseller) shall file a petition with the Commission to obtain certification as an ATU.


Telecommunication seller or "Reseller" mean a telecommunications provider that resells message or wide area telecommunication services or telecommunications services approved for resell pursuant to Wis. Stat. ch.168 or Commission order. This includes Alternative Telecommunication Utility Resellers, Alternative Telecommunications authorized to engage in resell.


Commercial Mobile Radio Services, CMRS is for pure cellular providers.


Interconnected VoIP providers are now permitted to obtain numbering resources directly from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator and/or the Pooling Administrator, (Numbering Administrators), rather than utilizing intermediaries to obtain numbering resources. This was authorized in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Direct Access Report and Order.


An eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) is a telephone service provider that has agreed to offer service to all customers (excluding those who fail to pay for service) in the area for which the carrier is designated as an ETC. In return, the carrier is eligible for state and federal universal service funds.