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Comments on news posted 2004-10-05 15:14:17: Critics have long complained that telco's have become masters of obscurity, skillfully crafting inflated fees and other bogus charges to ramp up the cost of simple copper. ..

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Canadian, eh?

Valencia, CA
reply to raydog1

Re: Sometimes I wonder. . .

Marketers and bean counters will work their magic.

What is a 'fee' now will most likely absorbed into the cost - with fee increases, then there will be 'new' fees and the cycle will start over.

Think of consumer goods like peanut butter...
the container gets bigger with a bonus amount (for a while). Eventually the bonus amount is standard (and not free anymore), and the smaller item is removed from shelving so that the consumer forgets about the smaller cheaper item for a while, and prices slowly rise. Eventually, a small container makes its comeback (in different shape though), as the large container is now too expensive for many tastes. The small container is more expensive than it was, and more expensive/size that the large container, but there is a shift back. This happens over and over and over.

Infidels Won

Deep River, CT
reply to navalpatel

Re: Stop Already!

I would refuse to pay these superfluous fees and send them money only for the valid service charges. Then, I'd figure out how long it took me to weed through their b/s charges and then send them a bill for my time.


Montebello, CA
reply to raydog1

Re: Sometimes I wonder. . .

The truth is that 99.9% of people won't do a damn thing about these fees and charges. Oooohwelll, long live corporate greed.

Schenectady, NY
reply to justin

Re: What's the solution?? Is there one???

Complain to the Public Service commission they set or allow the rates that you were charged. The rates you are quoting are for a business install not residence. The 18.21 is for a network interface. All business accounts need the tech to go out to ensure dial tone works at the premise as unlike residences there is no left in dial tone. You should only pay for a jack if the tech came inside and did wiring, in which case you would have been charged 13.71 for the wire and 144.00 for the first hour of time.


reply to navalpatel

Re: Stop Already!

On my phone bill:

FCC Charge for Network Access - $6.50
A charge to recover costs associated with connecting to a telecommunications service provider's interstate network.



Miami Beach, FL

1 edit

Not to be the devils advocate.... (but)

Although the bells may be abusing this privilege, it seems that the idea of itemizing these charges on your bill is well intentioned. Best I can tell, these fees come about from the actions of the government, be it state federal or local. It would seem the original intention of itemizing these on your bill would be to add some degree of regulatory/legal transparency. When these charges come up as separate items on your bill, the bells are basically trying to say, "we didn't want to raise your bill but the government is now requiring to do xxx." There remains much to be said about how the bells are managing the USF or regulatory service fees though. At this point it's almost certain that the regulatory recovery fees are padded for the profit of the bells.

One outcome is quite certain, you're not going to get rid of random regulatory fees by complaining to the bells; doing that will more than likely prompt them to absorb said cost into your standard monthly fee. As long as these remain itemized charges on our bills, we can write to our elected officials or relevant government agencies questioning said fees and/or requesting that they be dissolved all together.

All things considered, there ought to be a sunset provisions at which point the bells are required to consider said fees part of their published rates and moreover, they ought to include the actual end cost of services when advertising.

I know this is probably an unpopular point of view, but this is something to consider when some people on this site start complaining about the lack of broadband in rural areas and that the government ought to intervene. I can't imagine what the "regulatory recovery cost" for providing every nowheresville USA, pop. 21 with broadband internet access would be. Furthermore, I would have preferred that FCC have transferring wireless subscribers pay the actual cost of local number portability. This would have been more effective at actually representing the cost of portability and wouldn't have been a free-for-all for wireless companies to tack on additional fees.

Phoenix, AZ

It's got to stop

Unfortunately, this is going to continue as long as the FCC and FTC let companies get away with it. It's not just the phone companies. Hotels are now adding "energy surcharges" or "resort fees" as unadvertised add-ons to their bills.

The government should insist that:
All non-optional fees other than direct taxes (cash forwarded directly to a taxing agency) must be included in advertising. Quotes directly to a customer should include taxes.

I'm letting them off for the advertising as the rates can vary as low as the city level, which would make regional advertising impossible. Since all of their competitors would be subject to the same taxes, omitting them won't be an advantage either way. (They should still note "plus taxes".)

Including the "regulatory surcharges" should be a wash, as their competitors have to comply with the same regulations. If the competition is more efficient in complying and can provide a lower price, that's the way the market works.

With the current game, anyone who doesn't play is at a disadvantage. Take two equivalent hotels, one quotes $60 and one quotes $65. You'd go to the $60 hotel, right? Well, they add a $10 "resort fee" when you check out, but the $65 hotel doesn't. The $65 hotel will lose business for being honest.

FIOS is Awesome
Fresh Meadows, NY
reply to mrtommassi

Re: Here's how I look at it..

collection agents are worse
Final Fantasy

Scotch Plains, NJ
·Verizon FiOS

Dumped Cingular

I got tired of Cingular pulling this crap so I dumped my service. $15 of taxes and fees added to a $50 plan!

I don't use a lot of minutes so I switched to Virgin Mobile which charges a flat rate per minute - with no extra taxes or fees. Most of the other pre-paid plans work this way.



SBC in CA (Sonoma County)

Phone fees (haven't been home to use the phone during the time period):
Monthly Service - Sep 16 thru Oct 15

1-03 Residence Flat Rate Serv 10.69
Line Sharing Basis
1-04 Caller ID Selective Blocking .00
1-05 Your Listing Is Not Published .28
Total Monthly Service 10.97

Surcharges and Other Fees

1-06 Federal Subscriber Line Charge 4.42
1-07 Number Portability Svc Charge .33
1-08 9-1-1 Emergency System .08
1-09 CA High Cost Fund Surcharge - A: .02
1-10 CA High Cost Fund Surcharge - B: .24
1-11 California Teleconnect Fund Surcharge .02
1-12 Universal Lifeline Telephone Service Surcharge .12
1-13 Rate Surcharge .15-
1-14 State Regulatory Fee .01
1-15 CA Relay Service and Communications Devices Fund .03
1-16 Federal Universal Service Fee .42
Total Surcharges and Other Fees 5.54


1-17 Federal at 3.00% .51

Total SBC Local Services 17.02

Broadband fees:
Monthly Service

Internet Services

No. Description Quantity
Charges for 8943185
2-01 SBC Yahoo! DSL Starter 1 39.95
Service Date: 08/18/04 - 09/17/04
Charlie J Eidem
DSL No. 707 584-8820
2-02 Service Discount 1 10.00-
Service Date: 08/18/04 - 09/17/04
2-03 FUSF Pass-Through Fee 1 1.84
Service Date: 08/18/04 - 09/17/04
Total Charges for 8943185 31.79
Total Internet Services 31.79
Total Monthly Service(s) 31.79

Total SBC Internet Services $31.79


reply to CylonRed

Re: well

How hard is it to tell the 911 operator the location of the emergency along with its nature? It wasn't that long ago that none of the 911 service centers could locate a caller based upon the calling number. It wasn't so long before that when every phone had a sticker on it with the Police Department and Fire Department phone numbers on it.

Your Police Department will gladly tell you their POTS number for their 911 center if you call their non-emergency number (in your phone book) and ask them for it. Then, you can program your VoIP dialer to call that number whenever you dial 911. You can also store that number in your cell phone for when you need it!

Jacksonville, FL
reply to MxxCon

Re: Follow the money

Mxxcon sez; "why don't YOU do it?"

I have. I know where the USF mandate money goes. I don't like how its spent, but thats not a telco problem. Some of the other funds are collected to pay for their regulatory expenses with the FCC. Most of that goes to the lobbying effort. However some of those other "fees" are new to me or I haven't seen them in my market.

Mxxcon sez; "how do you know that caller id cost 1c"

I negotiated a telco contract years ago. It's a software module in the switch. The cost of the module from Lucent was negligible then, since the E911 mandate, it has to be a standard now. They are standard on cell phones, the most competitive and cost sensitive telco service going. No extra charge there!

Everyone puts alot of energy into standing on the podium about the fees, but rarely does anyone actually analyze where it goes. I would be interested in seeing how the fees are spent today. Is it really mark up? Or are they just passing on their unregulated costs?


Sparks, NV

Another stuck with no choice

I've read all these posts and agree with 99% of them.
My solution; we all pool our money and find other people to pool in with us and buy a national commercial during the broadcast of the nightly news and we can all be in it and say "WAKE UP AMERICA..GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR A*S AND LOOK AT THESE COMPANIES RIPPING US OFF." Then give an average sample of your local "basic" telephone service thats supposed to cost you $10.50(USD) but in reality costs twice as much.
Join your local grass roots movement to lobby to have these companies disclose the actual rates in bold letters with their "Low Rates" as an all inclusive price no hidden fees.

I'm including my basic bill too.. (read the bottom)


Monthly Service - Sep 1 thru Sep 30

1-02 Residence Service Flat Rate 10.88
1-03 Your Listing Is Not Published 2.66
Total Monthly Service 13.54
Additions and Changes to Service
Activity on 775 xxx-xxxx
Order # 66666666

Item Partial
No. Description Qty Month
Rate Changed on Aug 31, 2004
1-04 Rate Change 1 .00 .00
NV Universal Service Fee
.02 Per Month
Surcharges and Other Fees

1-05 Federal Subscriber Line Charge 5.25
1-06 Number Portability Svc Charge .41
1-07 NV Universal Service Fee .02
1-08 Federal Universal Service Fee .50
Total Surcharges and Other Fees 6.18

1-09 Federal at 3.00% .60
1-10 Local at 2.00% .40
Total Taxes 1.00

Total SBC Local Services 20.72

Being able to look at your kid and say " I don't know whats for dinner son"

Bloom County
reply to mberlant

Re: well

There have been several cases where a person did nto know where they were because they were not familiar with the town or they were kidnapped and blindfolded.

911 in a town you have never seen and especially in the dark - good luck with knowing where you are....
America's Army Forum Moderator and America's Army Beta Tester

Part Of The Problem

Dayton, OH
reply to Roundboy

said by Roundboy:
We are all outraged..
but what are you going to do? You aren't going to cancel your phone or cable or net service are you?

I did. They are all gone.

No one called me at home except salemen. Not missed.

There is not enough nudity on TV to capture my interest. Not missed.

The Internet's useful bits can be covered in less than 30 minutes. Not missed.

Right now I'm into watching Finding Nemo every day and reading books about Elmo. I don't miss the clutter or the bills.
Guaranteed Fear and Loathing. Abandon all hope. Prepare for the Weirdness. Get familiar with Cannibalism.


Regina, SK

Just out of Curiosity?

What does everyone pay for a phone bill?

I am in Saskatchewan, Canada, and these charges are totally foreign to me. My monthly bill is as follows:

22.00 - Basic line
.59 - 911 service charge
34.95 - DSL + Basic DSL TV (1.5/384 connection)
19.60 - unlimited LD, evenings and weekends across Canada
1.95 - system admin charge (only if you have LD on the line)

All prices are CAD. The only 2 things that resemble what most of you are talking about is the 911 chg, which I understand, and the 1.95 sys admin fee. Never having dealt with any other Telco, it is just a curiosity as to how it compares to everyone else.


Santa Clara, CA


Japan Softbank is offering 1Gbits/sec for under $40.


Tallahassee, FL
reply to CylonRed

Re: well

We are talking about people who want voip in their homes. Not vacationers.

Bloom County

I know - there have been many times where people are attacked and can't tell the operator where they are.... VOIP has to work with 911 or else it is dangerous to have because oyu can't rely on it to give 911 info that may be needed to save someones life.
America's Army Forum Moderator and America's Army Beta Tester

San Jose, CA

My Phone Bill

Well, I got rid of my land line and am only using my Cell Phone now. My home DSL is over a Speakeasy dry line (no dial tone) and it costs me about $6 more a month than DSL over a line with dialtone.. this is far BELOW the cost of the dialtone to begin with.

Government Fees & Taxes
California 911 Tax .22
California Universal Lifeline Tele Service .42
California Teleconnect Fund Surcharge .04
California Relay Service Device Fund.09
California High Cost Fund Surcharge .64
California State Excise Tax Surcharge .07
Federal Tax 1.53

Surcharge & Fees
California P.U.C. Tax Surcharge .04
Federal Universal Service Fund .95
Federal Wireless Number Pooling and Portability .15
Federal E911 .40

Total over my base rate: $4.55/month.

Some quick Googling revealed a link at a law school that explains most of these charges. I highly reccomend people read it to see why most of these charges are happenning in California.

Honestly, most of the charges seem reasonable.