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Posted Jan 15, 2014
11:18:32 AM
Federal Universal Service Charge is 10% of bill

My monthly FUSF charge on my first Uverse bill is $3.53 (over 10% on a $35.00 bill for unlimited voice).  For reference, my total uverse bill (with internet & TV) was around $190 (which I had reduced to $140 after catching the $50 "activiation fee" that I asked to be waived).  Having just switched from Optimum (cablevision) where I paid $0.70/month for many years, this looks high.  The ATT website itself here clearly states USF charge is "based on a percentage of each customer's telecommunications charges" and that the rate is currently 3.32%.  https://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=52266&cv=820#fbid=SWxozHFVnbR 

Can someone explain why ATT is charging over 10%?  After over an hour on the phone with ATT customer service (who basically googled and read the definition of USF from Wikipedia), they told me to call my state utilities commission to figure out why they charge over 10%.  I'm serious.  That was what came as the final answer from the manager in client service.  They don't know and claim they have no way of finding the answer... I'm supposed to do a detailed analysis of ATT's internal operations and legal department to determine why they charge a fee at a certain rate?  What am I missing?

My monthly FUSF charge on my first Uverse bill is $3.53 (over 10% on a $35.00 bill for unlimited voice).  For reference, my total uverse bill (with internet & TV) was around $190 (which I had reduced to $140 after catching the $50 "activiation fee" that I asked to be waived).  Having just switched from Optimum (cablevision) where I paid $0.70/month for many years, this looks high.  The ATT website itself here clearly states USF charge is "based on a percentage of each customer's telecommunications charges" and that the rate is currently 3.32%.  https://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=52266&cv=820#fbid=SWxozHFVnbR 

Can someone explain why ATT is charging over 10%?  After over an hour on the phone with ATT customer service (who basically googled and read the definition of USF from Wikipedia), they told me to call my state utilities commission to figure out why they charge over 10%.  I'm serious.  That was what came as the final answer from the manager in client service.  They don't know and claim they have no way of finding the answer... I'm supposed to do a detailed analysis of ATT's internal operations and legal department to determine why they charge a fee at a certain rate?  What am I missing?

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Jan 15, 2014 2:57:22 PM
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Edited by JefferMC on Jan 15, 2014 at 2:58:10 PM

They are billed by the FCC based on their income from Long Distance and International Calling.  However, they don't necessarily have to recover it from Long Distance calling charges.  They can pass on the USF any way they want, so long as they don't collect more than they pay in total.

 

AT&T still makes a big of money from long line business. And if they only put the USF on the Long Distance call charges, it would make the percentage even higher, and then people may be more likely to switch the way they make long distance calls to someone other than AT&T.

 

Optimum probably has very little LD revenue, thus less of a fee to pass on.

 

 

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
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Federal Universal Service Charge is 10% of bill

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Jan 15, 2014 11:56:03 AM
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 Since this is account specific I would recommend that you send a Private Message to the AT&TCustomerCare customer service team. They will reply back with a PM (blue envelope in the top right of the page). Their normal business hours are from 7am to 10pm Central Time.

 

They should be able to get to the bottom of it for you.

"If you find this post helpful and it solved your issue please mark it as a solution.  This will help other forum members locate it and will also let everyone know that it corrected your problem. If they have the same issue they will know how to solve theirs"

 Since this is account specific I would recommend that you send a Private Message to the AT&TCustomerCare customer service team. They will reply back with a PM (blue envelope in the top right of the page). Their normal business hours are from 7am to 10pm Central Time.

 

They should be able to get to the bottom of it for you.

"If you find this post helpful and it solved your issue please mark it as a solution.  This will help other forum members locate it and will also let everyone know that it corrected your problem. If they have the same issue they will know how to solve theirs"

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Federal Universal Service Charge is 10% of bill

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Jan 15, 2014 12:29:47 PM
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To clarify, I did not mean to sound like the person helping me was useless... I had no intention of belittling the efforts of the client service person on this...She was very polite and very determined to help... but she had no access to the answer after doing everything she possibly could, which is disturbing

To clarify, I did not mean to sound like the person helping me was useless... I had no intention of belittling the efforts of the client service person on this...She was very polite and very determined to help... but she had no access to the answer after doing everything she possibly could, which is disturbing

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Jan 15, 2014 1:01:18 PM
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Please PM the CustomerCare team with the link I provided above for assistance resolving your issue.

"If you find this post helpful and it solved your issue please mark it as a solution.  This will help other forum members locate it and will also let everyone know that it corrected your problem. If they have the same issue they will know how to solve theirs"

Please PM the CustomerCare team with the link I provided above for assistance resolving your issue.

"If you find this post helpful and it solved your issue please mark it as a solution.  This will help other forum members locate it and will also let everyone know that it corrected your problem. If they have the same issue they will know how to solve theirs"

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Federal Universal Service Charge is 10% of bill

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Jan 15, 2014 1:15:38 PM
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Edited by JefferMC on Jan 15, 2014 at 1:16:31 PM

mcqnmark wrote:

... The ATT website itself here clearly states USF charge is "based on a percentage of each customer's telecommunications charges" and that the rate is currently 3.32%.  https://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=52266&cv=820#fbid=SWxozHFVnbR 

...


Here's a quote:

  


https://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=52266& wrote:

As of April 1, 2007, the USF rate was changed from 2.91% to 3.32%.

So, nearly 4 years ago, the USF fee increased over 10% to a 3.32%. I'm sure it has changed since then, as it states a few lines later that it will be adjusted on a quarterly basis.

This USF fee is very similar to the one Verizon charges on my mobile bill.  AT&T also charges one on my POTS line; every quarter they post a prorated amount because it has changed (always up), but not a peep about how it is calculated.  There's a component for Long Distance that's much higher a percentage of that part of the bill than the component that's for Local Service.

 

All carriers try to dance around this charge and pretend that they are forced to collect this.  They are not.  However, they are forced by the Feds to pay into the Federal USF fund based on their income.  In this way, the Federal Government can pretend that the free and reduced cost land lines and cell phones are not paid for by the taxpayer, when in fact they are via a slight of hand where the government collects it from the carriers, but the carriers just pass on that loss to their customers.  Some carriers have received some of the USF proceeds to build infrastructure, but I'm not sure how well that money gets accounted for.

 

And, BTW, this link here gives a number much closer to what you're experiencing, which is the rate effective January 1, 2014:

 

http://www.consumer.att.com/connectivity_charge/faqs.html

 

Spoiler
Effective January 1, 2014 the Universal Connectivity Charge will change from 15.6% to 16.4% of your state-to-state and international long distance charges as well as any service charges. 

 


mcqnmark wrote:

... The ATT website itself here clearly states USF charge is "based on a percentage of each customer's telecommunications charges" and that the rate is currently 3.32%.  https://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=52266&cv=820#fbid=SWxozHFVnbR 

...


Here's a quote:

  


https://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=52266& wrote:

As of April 1, 2007, the USF rate was changed from 2.91% to 3.32%.

So, nearly 4 years ago, the USF fee increased over 10% to a 3.32%. I'm sure it has changed since then, as it states a few lines later that it will be adjusted on a quarterly basis.

This USF fee is very similar to the one Verizon charges on my mobile bill.  AT&T also charges one on my POTS line; every quarter they post a prorated amount because it has changed (always up), but not a peep about how it is calculated.  There's a component for Long Distance that's much higher a percentage of that part of the bill than the component that's for Local Service.

 

All carriers try to dance around this charge and pretend that they are forced to collect this.  They are not.  However, they are forced by the Feds to pay into the Federal USF fund based on their income.  In this way, the Federal Government can pretend that the free and reduced cost land lines and cell phones are not paid for by the taxpayer, when in fact they are via a slight of hand where the government collects it from the carriers, but the carriers just pass on that loss to their customers.  Some carriers have received some of the USF proceeds to build infrastructure, but I'm not sure how well that money gets accounted for.

 

And, BTW, this link here gives a number much closer to what you're experiencing, which is the rate effective January 1, 2014:

 

http://www.consumer.att.com/connectivity_charge/faqs.html

 

Spoiler
Effective January 1, 2014 the Universal Connectivity Charge will change from 15.6% to 16.4% of your state-to-state and international long distance charges as well as any service charges. 

 

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Federal Universal Service Charge is 10% of bill

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Jan 15, 2014 2:50:41 PM
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I appreciate your thoughts and your response.  I happen to have a pretty good understanding of the historical background of USF and its purpose and some of its mechanisms, I thought.  I realize AT&T is passing through the cost to the consumer and must pay the FCC.  I thought the16% only applies to what AT&T must pay into USF for long distance calls on its network.  Since I have a bundled package of unlimited voice, how is this LD component determined?  Maybe local calls also have a USF charge.  Regardless, why do the other cable/phone companies charge $0.70 vs. AT&T charging $3.53?  I highly doubt Optimum is absorbing $2-3 for me.

I appreciate your thoughts and your response.  I happen to have a pretty good understanding of the historical background of USF and its purpose and some of its mechanisms, I thought.  I realize AT&T is passing through the cost to the consumer and must pay the FCC.  I thought the16% only applies to what AT&T must pay into USF for long distance calls on its network.  Since I have a bundled package of unlimited voice, how is this LD component determined?  Maybe local calls also have a USF charge.  Regardless, why do the other cable/phone companies charge $0.70 vs. AT&T charging $3.53?  I highly doubt Optimum is absorbing $2-3 for me.

Re: Federal Universal Service Charge is 10% of bill

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Jan 15, 2014 2:57:22 PM
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Edited by JefferMC on Jan 15, 2014 at 2:58:10 PM

They are billed by the FCC based on their income from Long Distance and International Calling.  However, they don't necessarily have to recover it from Long Distance calling charges.  They can pass on the USF any way they want, so long as they don't collect more than they pay in total.

 

AT&T still makes a big of money from long line business. And if they only put the USF on the Long Distance call charges, it would make the percentage even higher, and then people may be more likely to switch the way they make long distance calls to someone other than AT&T.

 

Optimum probably has very little LD revenue, thus less of a fee to pass on.

 

 

They are billed by the FCC based on their income from Long Distance and International Calling.  However, they don't necessarily have to recover it from Long Distance calling charges.  They can pass on the USF any way they want, so long as they don't collect more than they pay in total.

 

AT&T still makes a big of money from long line business. And if they only put the USF on the Long Distance call charges, it would make the percentage even higher, and then people may be more likely to switch the way they make long distance calls to someone other than AT&T.

 

Optimum probably has very little LD revenue, thus less of a fee to pass on.

 

 

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Federal Universal Service Charge is 10% of bill

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Jan 15, 2014 6:57:20 PM
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Great point. ATT's legacy LD biz burdens them with a large USF bill that we pay for as opposed to the "newer" telcos like cable VoIP that have much smaller USF obligations. That's probably the answer. Thanks dude.

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Great point. ATT's legacy LD biz burdens them with a large USF bill that we pay for as opposed to the "newer" telcos like cable VoIP that have much smaller USF obligations. That's probably the answer. Thanks dude.

Sent from my iPad

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