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     49-31-79.   Requirements of rural telephone company. Pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 251(f)(1) as of January 1, 1998, the obligations of an incumbent local exchange carrier, which include the duty to negotiate and provide interconnection, unbundled network elements, resale, notice of changes and collocation, do not apply to a rural telephone company unless the company has received a bona fide request for interconnection, services, or network elements and the commission determines that the rural telephone company shall fulfill the request. The commission may only determine that the rural telephone company shall fulfill the request if, after notice and hearing pursuant to chapter 1-26, the commission finds that the request is not unduly economically burdensome the request is technically feasible, and the request is consistent with the universal service principles and provisions set forth in 47 U.S.C. § 254 as of January 1, 1998. The commission shall make such determination within one hundred twenty days after receiving notice of the request. The person or entity making the request shall have the burden of proof as to whether each of the standards for reviewing the request has been met. Nothing in this section prevents a rural telephone company from voluntarily agreeing to provide any of the services, facilities, or access referenced by this section.

Source: SL 1998, ch 274, § 17; SL 1998, ch 274, § 17; SL 1998, ch 275, § 3.

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