Nebraska Revised Statute 86-324
Nebraska Telecommunications Universal Service Fund; created; use; investment; commission; powers; administrative fine.
(1) The Nebraska Telecommunications Universal Service Fund is hereby created. The fund shall provide the assistance necessary to make universal access to telecommunications services available to all persons in the state consistent with the policies set forth in the Nebraska Telecommunications Universal Service Fund Act. Only eligible telecommunications companies designated by the commission shall be eligible to receive support to serve high-cost areas from the fund. A telecommunications company that receives such support shall use that support only for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of facilities and services for which the support is intended. Any such support should be explicit and sufficient to achieve the purpose of the act.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 86-124, in addition to other provisions of the act, and to the extent not prohibited by federal law, the commission:
(a) Shall have authority and power to subject eligible telecommunications companies to service quality, customer service, and billing regulations. Such regulations shall apply only to the extent of any telecommunications services or offerings made by an eligible telecommunications company which are eligible for support by the fund. The commission shall be reimbursed from the fund for all costs related to drafting, implementing, and enforcing the regulations and any other services provided on behalf of customers pursuant to this subdivision;
(b) Shall have authority and power to issue orders carrying out its responsibilities and to review the compliance of any eligible telecommunications company receiving support for continued compliance with any such orders or regulations adopted pursuant to the act;
(c) May withhold all or a portion of the funds to be distributed from any telecommunications company failing to continue compliance with the commission's orders or regulations;
(d) Shall require every telecommunications company to contribute to any universal service mechanism established by the commission pursuant to state law. The commission shall require, as reasonably necessary, an annual audit of any telecommunications company to be performed by a third-party certified public accountant to insure the billing, collection, and remittance of a surcharge for universal service. The costs of any audit required pursuant to this subdivision shall be paid by the telecommunications company being audited;
(e) Shall require an audit of information provided by a telecommunications company to be performed by a third-party certified public accountant for purposes of calculating universal service fund payments to such telecommunications company. The costs of any audit required pursuant to this subdivision shall be paid by the telecommunications company being audited; and
(f) May administratively fine pursuant to section 75-156 any person who violates the Nebraska Telecommunications Universal Service Fund Act.
(3) Any money in the fund available for investment shall be invested by the state investment officer pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act.
(4) Transfers may be made from earnings on the Nebraska Telecommunications Universal Service Fund to the 211 Cash Fund at the direction of the Legislature. The State Treasurer shall annually transfer three hundred thousand dollars on July 1 beginning in 2021 from the earnings on the Nebraska Telecommunications Universal Service Fund to the 211 Cash Fund.
The Nebraska Telecommunications Universal Service Fund Act is not an unconstitutional delegation of authority to the Public Service Commission. Schumacher v. Johanns, 272 Neb. 346, 722 N.W.2d 37 (2006).
The surcharge assessed by the Public Service Commission based on the Nebraska Telecommunications Universal Service Fund Act is not a tax. Schumacher v. Johanns, 272 Neb. 346, 722 N.W.2d 37 (2006).