Just click on a question from the list below to view the answer.
Why do consumers and businesses have to pay into this fund?
The USF was established to help provide affordable, high quality communications services for everyone. Telecommunications service providers (e.g., companies providing local, long-distance, paging, cellular) are required to contribute to this fund. We simply cannot absorb those costs. So we are recovering them through charges to our customers.
Why is AT&T passing the expense along to customers instead of absorbing it?
While we support the spirit and the principles of universal service, we cannot simply absorb the USF expenses. We believe we are recovering these expenses in as fair and equitable a manner as possible.
What does each customer pay?
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. This is the same percentage that is assessed by the FCC on carriers. This fee will not be waived and customers who choose not to pay the charge will be entered into our normal collections process. AT&T will not provide advance notice of changes to the Universal Connectivity Charge except as required by law.
The Universal Connectivity Charge applies to the Subscriber Line Charge(s) (which in California is called the Network Access for Interstate Calling Charge) and Number Portability Charge(s).
How will I be assessed the Universal Connectivity Charge if my bill contains mutiple months?
The UCC applies to the appropriate charges for each month included in your billing statement.
How does this fee appear on AT&T customers telephone bill?
The USF charge appears as a separate line item called the Universal Connectivity Charge. This charge appears in the "Other Charges and Credits" section of the Long Distance portion of your bill. If you have AT&T for Local service it will also appear in the "Basic service and calls" section of your bill.
Once USF payments are made, where do they go?
The USF payments are collected from telecommunications carriers and administered by the Universal Service Administration Corporation. It is responsible for disbursing funds according to eligibility criteria established by the FCC.
Who actually gets the money?
Beneficiaries of the USF include schools, libraries, low-income consumers, rural healthcare providers and consumers in rural areas.
How much money is AT&T making on this?
The purpose of this charge is intended to simply recover our costs. The money collected from the Universal Connectivity Charge enables AT&T to recover its Universal Service Fund expenses.
How is it determined what amount AT&T has to pay into the Universal Service Fund?
The amount AT&T and other telecommunications carriers are required to pay into the Universal Service Fund is based on a percentage of the carriers' state-to-state and international revenues. This percentage is set by the FCC on a quarterly basis.
Are you applying the Universal Connectivity Charge to Internet service?
No, The FCC exempted revenues from Internet service in its assessment on us; therefore we are not applying the charge to Internet service.
Does the Universal Connectivity Charge count towards my Usage Minimum?
Is the Universal Connectivity Charge percentage assessed on the Usage Minimum?
Is the Universal Connectivity Charge Tax Deductible?
The Universal Connectivity Charge is not considered a tax deductible contribution. This charge should be treated like any other charges for your AT&T long distance service. If you have questions about which of your expenses may be considered a tax deduction, you should contact a tax consultant or the IRS.
Is there an FCC web site I can visit for additional information about the Federal Universal Service Fund?
You can visit fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts