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Thaler
Premium
join:2004-02-02
Los Angeles, CA
kudos:3
reply to only me

Re: SBC DSL and the FUSF

Isn't the FUSF illegal in the sense of the acts passed during the Clinton administration? I believed this "taxing the internet" idea came up back during dial-up, where an act was passed making tax on the internet illegal.

Did this get repealed, or something?



gdm
Premium,MVM
join:2001-06-15
Mchenry, IL
kudos:3

This isn't tax on the internet. You are referring to buying some thing off the internet.

The FUSF has always been around it's just most ISP's have never passed on to there customers or included in the monthly price.



DrTCP
Yours truly
Premium,ExMod 1999-04
join:1999-11-09
Round Rock, TX
reply to Thaler

said by Thaler:
Isn't the FUSF illegal in the sense of the acts passed during the Clinton administration? I believed this "taxing the internet" idea came up back during dial-up, where an act was passed making tax on the internet illegal.

Did this get repealed, or something?

First it is not a tax. It is a fund charged by FCC to the Carriers (ILEC/CLEC) and Carriers pass it down to ISP and ISP pass it down to the consumer. There is not a requirement to pass to the consumer but for providers it is a convenient way to recover (actually make some money on it as well)

The money is not actually passed to federal goverment. The Telco keeps it in a fund which provides free service to underserved communities and to people that cannot afford basic service (so they say) and to shools and libraries.

The collection of funds varies from Telco to telco. It is based on some perfectage of their revenue or something though they can perfectly collect more.

There is very little oversight by FCC on how the funds are used. It has been claimed that while Telcos blame federal government for it they make good money from the funds collected.


d_l
Barsoom
Premium,MVM
join:2002-12-08
Reno, NV
kudos:7

said by DrTCP:
First it is not a tax.
A cow flop by any other name smells just the same.

Any money involuntarily collected from one group by the government or its agents and redistributed to another select group for their exclusive benefit is a tax whether it is called a fee, a service charge, an assessment, a duty, an impost, a levy, or an investment. No semantic quibbling, euphemism, or defining what is is here will make it any different.


DrTCP
Yours truly
Premium,ExMod 1999-04
join:1999-11-09
Round Rock, TX

said by d_l:
A cow flop by any other name smells just the same.
You are probably right. To us, it is the same. However, a tax is created by the congress. So, this is an administrative fee. Also, the money collected does not go back to the treasury. It stays with telco in a fund to provide services. So, technically government is not collecting it. I wish it was a tax so there could be better oversight over the use of those funds. It is a private fund as it is within the telco.


lakino
Premium
join:2003-04-03
Campbell, CA

said by DrTCP:
said by d_l:
A cow flop by any other name smells just the same.
You are probably right. To us, it is the same. However, a tax is created by the congress. So, this is an administrative fee. Also, the money collected does not go back to the treasury. It stays with telco in a fund to provide services. So, technically government is not collecting it. I wish it was a tax so there could be better oversight over the use of those funds. It is a private fund as it is within the telco.

And what is annoying me is that they are NOT required to pass the cost of this fee to the customers. Sonnet.net--a very small DSL provider I'll concede--does not seem to assess any such fee. Their version of the Expert Plus plan is a simple $44.95 period. No other fees.

That's the way it should be. I'm happy with my current SBC plan, but I do not like the way they are assessing this FUSF fee. It should be included in the advertised fee for monthly access.
--

Why do people like .sig files so much? Baffling to me...


tymfdc

join:2003-06-19
San Leandro, CA

I agree.

I remember AT&T has this connectivity charge. Every LD carrier is different. They said the same thing. It is required by federal laws. Eventually, I just dropped AT&T as LD carrier. Now I don't even carry a LD carrier.


succotash
Premium
join:2002-12-14
Monterey Park, CA
reply to lakino

said by lakino:
And what is annoying me is that they are NOT required to pass the cost of this fee to the customers. Sonnet.net--a very small DSL provider I'll concede--does not seem to assess any such fee. Their version of the Expert Plus plan is a simple $44.95 period. No other fees.

You must be thinking of Sonic.net. They ain't *that* small. Around 33,000 customers. Somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 of them on DSL (that's a guess, based on knowing that the capacity of their Santa Rosa Redback SMS is 5,000 and that they're putting new DSL customers on their San Francisco SMS).

You're right that they don't assess any additional fees to their DSL prices. But that may change soon. This came up in the Sonic newsgroups, and Dane said they were discussing what to do about this, because SBC-ASI started passing the FUSF fee on to them a few months ago.

thebboss

join:2004-02-20
Modesto, CA

come on guys and gals... its 6 bucks, cheer up. We got a kick ass ISP. It would have been easy for SBC not mention the fee to us and have our service fee 50.82 (Expert Plus) and I am sure 99% of us would still have opted for the upgrade...

after all 'only me' said "Most carriers recover their Universal Service Fund charges from their customers in some form."

Just take a look at the Comcast forum to see how bad it really is out there.


tonydi
Premium,MVM
join:2001-05-11
San Jose, CA
reply to DrTCP

said by DrTCP:
First it is not a tax. It is a fund charged by FCC to the Carriers (ILEC/CLEC) and Carriers pass it down to ISP and ISP pass it down to the consumer. There is not a requirement to pass to the consumer but for providers it is a convenient way to recover (actually make some money on it as well)

The money is not actually passed to federal goverment. The Telco keeps it in a fund which provides free service to underserved communities and to people that cannot afford basic service (so they say) and to shools and libraries.

The collection of funds varies from Telco to telco. It is based on some perfectage of their revenue or something though they can perfectly collect more.

There is very little oversight by FCC on how the funds are used. It has been claimed that while Telcos blame federal government for it they make good money from the funds collected.
I'd like to see some references for where you're getting this information. From looking at the FCC site it appears to me that the telcos may not collect more than they contribute to the fund.
»www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/un···ice.html

In addition, the telcos do not retain the funds collected, they are turned over to an entity that the FCC set up for this purpose, the Universal Service Administrative Company. »www.fcc.gov/eb/usfc/

Look, I don't like paying it any more than the next guy, but it seems to me like many people are blaming SBC for this fee. Some people seem to forget that SBC has been eating the fee since it had to begin paying into the fund in 1996. So economic times are tough and they finally decided they could no longer do that. Ok, I can understand that. I suppose they could have buried the fee in the prices of the service but from a competitive standpoint that isn't a good idea.

For those that are really unhappy with this fee, stop whining about SBC and start lobbying your congresscritters to change the law!


tymfdc

join:2003-06-19
San Leandro, CA

1 edit

I rather they bury the fee in the price. At least we don't end up paying 10 to 20% more.


thebboss

join:2004-02-20
Modesto, CA
reply to tonydi

Its on SBC's services page...all the way down, first *

»www01.sbc.com/DSL_new/content/1,,90,00.html?


tonydi
Premium,MVM
join:2001-05-11
San Jose, CA
reply to tymfdc

said by tymfdc:
I rather they bury the fee in the price. At least we don't end up paying 10 to 20% more.

Say huh? I'm saying they're charging $29.95 and the fee is $1.84, but they could have just charged $31.79 by burying the fee in the price of the service. You pay the same amount either way!

tonydi
Premium,MVM
join:2001-05-11
San Jose, CA
reply to thebboss

said by thebboss:
Its on SBC's services page...all the way down, first *

»www01.sbc.com/DSL_new/content/1,,90,00.html?

I see what you're referring to but I don't get your point. Sorry.

thebboss

join:2004-02-20
Modesto, CA
reply to tonydi

said by tonydi:

I'd like to see some references for where you're getting this information.
my bad tonydi....

I thought you were wondering where this fee was stated.


tymfdc

join:2003-06-19
San Leandro, CA
reply to tonydi

I wouldn't call this consumer friendly marketing strategy.



en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

I definately wouldn't call this consumer friendly...
Especially if the following is true:

It is unclear to us how customers on faster speeds should be required by SBC to "contribute" more to USF than the slow speed customers, when the back-end USF cost is fixed per circuit.

This would state that since I have one line into my house, I pay one price, regardless of DSL speed. I would obviously pay more for say a physical T1, as it is physically considered to be multiple lines.



DrTCP
Yours truly
Premium,ExMod 1999-04
join:1999-11-09
Round Rock, TX
reply to thebboss

said by thebboss:
It would have been easy for SBC not mention the fee to us and have our service fee 50.82 (Expert Plus) and I am sure 99% of us would still have opted for the upgrade...
It should really be called $50.82 plan. It is actually tricking the user to believe it costs less. I do not see why it should be a seperate item. Do they have a seperate item for the electricity they have to pay?

tonydi
Premium,MVM
join:2001-05-11
San Jose, CA

said by DrTCP:
It should really be called $50.82 plan. It is actually tricking the user to believe it costs less. I do not see why it should be a seperate item. Do they have a seperate item for the electricity they have to pay?
I'm guessing that it's a separate fee to make it easier to break out the actual amount charged. The telcos have to fill out forms detailing the fees collected. Look at your phone bill, your cell bill or your power bill, all sorts of fees and taxes are itemized. Since all of those things get paid to various govt depts, it's gotta be easier to keep track that way.


DrTCP
Yours truly
Premium,ExMod 1999-04
join:1999-11-09
Round Rock, TX

said by tonydi:
Since all of those things get paid to various govt depts, it's gotta be easier to keep track that way.
But FUSF is not paid to government. It stays with the Telco to provide the services sactioned by the government. They can easily do the accounting internally. User does not need to know. This is added seperately as a way of jacking up the price. Many Telco actually collecting more than they need to collect.


KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
reply to DrTCP

said by DrTCP:
There is very little oversight by FCC on how the funds are used. It has been claimed that while Telcos blame federal government for it they make good money from the funds collected.

EXACTLY.

This is mega profitable handout program to Telcos.

It works like this.

FCC: "You must provide service BUT you can pass the costs back to your customers if you wish."

Telcos: "Woohoo! Let's give this school here a T1. Let's figure out how much profit er, costs will be. Ok, it will cost us ummmm... what number sounds goood... 10 million dollars! Yes, perfect. 10 million, a nice easy, round number. Let's just 'upgrade' our Consumer's bill with this 10 million USF charge. Yeah baby!"

Telco: "Dear consumer, much wringing on hands, hanging of heads, tales of woe, your Government has once again foisted a new charge onto thee, there's nothing we can do, we're just 'passing on the costs'. Here's your new USF fee!

Telcos: WOOOHOOO!!!! $$$$$ WE'RE IN THE MONEY, WE'RE IN THE MONEY $$$$$ Profits soar! This Government handout stuff rocks! Money, Money, Money.... MONEY! All ours Muhahahha!

- - -

This is a simplied example of pretty much exactly how "Universal Service" and the USF fee is working out.

A big, fat, RIP-OFF SCAM.
--
"Regulatory capitalism is when companies invest in lawyers, lobbyists, and politicians, instead of plant, people, and customer service." - former FCC Chairman William Kennard (A real FCC Chairman, unlike the current Corporate Spokesperson in the job!)

tonydi
Premium,MVM
join:2001-05-11
San Jose, CA
reply to DrTCP

said by DrTCP:
said by tonydi:
Since all of those things get paid to various govt depts, it's gotta be easier to keep track that way.
But FUSF is not paid to government. It stays with the Telco to provide the services sactioned by the government. They can easily do the accounting internally. User does not need to know. This is added seperately as a way of jacking up the price. Many Telco actually collecting more than they need to collect.
You keep saying this and apparently you missed where I asked you for a reference. I gave you references that refute what you're claiming....yet you keep claiming it. Saying it over and over again doesn't make it true, show us some proof.

tonydi
Premium,MVM
join:2001-05-11
San Jose, CA
reply to KrK

said by KrK:

This is mega profitable handout program to Telcos.

It works like this.

FCC: "You must provide service BUT you can pass the costs back to your customers if you wish."

Telcos: "Woohoo! Let's give this school here a T1. Let's figure out how much profit er, costs will be. Ok, it will cost us ummmm... what number sounds goood... 10 million dollars! Yes, perfect. 10 million, a nice easy, round number. Let's just 'upgrade' our Consumer's bill with this 10 million USF charge. Yeah baby!"

Telco: "Dear consumer, much wringing on hands, hanging of heads, tales of woe, your Government has once again foisted a new charge onto thee, there's nothing we can do, we're just 'passing on the costs'. Here's your new USF fee!

Telcos: WOOOHOOO!!!! $$$$$ WE'RE IN THE MONEY, WE'RE IN THE MONEY $$$$$ Profits soar! This Government handout stuff rocks! Money, Money, Money.... MONEY! All ours Muhahahha!

- - -

This is a simplied example of pretty much exactly how "Universal Service" and the USF fee is working out.

A big, fat, RIP-OFF SCAM.

It's a simplified example of something, I'm just not sure what.

Perhaps you can also provide some sort of proof for your scenario.

succotash
Premium
join:2002-12-14
Monterey Park, CA

I'm with tonydi here. Ideological rants don't amount to much if there are no facts to back them up. Citing some sources for your assertions would be a good start.


Goldman

join:2002-06-21
Maumelle, AR
reply to DrTCP

said by DrTCP:
said by d_l:
A cow flop by any other name smells just the same.
You are probably right. To us, it is the same. However, a tax is created by the congress. So, this is an administrative fee.

So,in other words, this is really taxation without representation.

These kind of back-door tax schemes are standard operating procedure with utilities and telcos. I just hate to see them start scaming us on DSL.


toddbs98

join:2000-07-08
North Little Rock, AR

You don't think its a coincident either that SBC started this new promo after 2/1 when they knew a lot of people would be changing. I never heard of this fee till after people started changing to the expert plus plan. I also don't think its fair that your charged the fee according to what your lines provisioned at and not the package you ordered.
--
If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thru' chinks of his cavern.- Blake



scavio
Premium
join:2001-07-14
Melmac
reply to tonydi

said by tonydi:
said by DrTCP:
said by tonydi:
Since all of those things get paid to various govt depts, it's gotta be easier to keep track that way.
But FUSF is not paid to government. It stays with the Telco to provide the services sactioned by the government. They can easily do the accounting internally. User does not need to know. This is added seperately as a way of jacking up the price. Many Telco actually collecting more than they need to collect.
You keep saying this and apparently you missed where I asked you for a reference. I gave you references that refute what you're claiming....yet you keep claiming it. Saying it over and over again doesn't make it true, show us some proof.

I'm guessing that is because he is wrong and chooses to ignore your question. We dump all this money into the federal USF, and last year three states, Mississippi, Alabama, and West Virginia, got 85% of the money (Mississippi got well over half of it!). A total of eight states got money, and this year it goes all the way up to ten.

The whole FUSF stinks, and they are out to increase it as much as possible. The closed door debates never include those who actually have to pay the taxes (yes, it is a tax) and I feel like we have no say in it.


DonChicago
Copper-Free Last-Mile

join:2002-02-10
Lincolnshire, IL
reply to tonydi

said by tonydi:
said by tymfdc:
I rather they bury the fee in the price. At least we don't end up paying 10 to 20% more.

Say huh? I'm saying they're charging $29.95 and the fee is $1.84, but they could have just charged $31.79 by burying the fee in the price of the service. You pay the same amount either way!

Don't forget that the $29.95 packages are for a one-year term only. After that, higher rates apply. Also the $29.95 "Pricing available if SBC Yahoo! DSL is ordered online or if purchased as part of a qualifying SBC bundle that includes available SBC local toll or SBC long distance service(s)"
"You will also be charged a monthly FUSF cost recovery fee to help cover charges from our data transport supplier pursuant to state and federal telecom regulations. This fee is not a tax or government required charge. Must be new subscriber to order online. Offer requires a one-year term agreement. After the expiration of this term agreement, the then-current month-to month or applicable term price will apply. The regular monthly price for the service and a separate activation fee of $50.00 will appear on the first bill along with any corresponding and offsetting credits. Offer is available for a limited period of time and is subject to change without notice. Early termination fee of $200 applies if service is cancelled before expiration of term. Pricing is based on customer self-installation on an existing line. Minimum additional charge of $150-$200 applies if subsequent technician install is required or desired. Further details provided during enrollment and registration. Billing begins on service activation date."

So how much does it really cost after you pay for the required (but probably under-utilized) toll or long distance service packages ???
--
My network is 98% copper-free

caliprince

join:2002-12-12
Riverside, CA
reply to thebboss

Surcharge, special assessments, bonds, etc....are nothing more than ways of collecting revenue without having to call it a "tax". But the effect is the same because it's money coming out of everyone's pockets and filtering back to be spent as if it were tax money...only it may be ear-marked for special use. The sugar coating just makes it easier to swallow and allows everyone to claim..there's no tax on the Internet. The ISP's may have chose to hide it before in the cost, but it's now beneficial for marketing to advertise a lower price then attach the surcharge on later. Just like a $15 mo. single phone line ends up costing $20 mo. when you get the bill. Call it what you want, they're still getting the money out of you.



lakino
Premium
join:2003-04-03
Campbell, CA
reply to tonydi

said by tonydi:
said by tymfdc:
I rather they bury the fee in the price. At least we don't end up paying 10 to 20% more.

Say huh? I'm saying they're charging $29.95 and the fee is $1.84, but they could have just charged $31.79 by burying the fee in the price of the service. You pay the same amount either way!

This is precisely why it's so unacceptable! I am fine with $49.95 or $54.95 or whatever the price. It's not the actual price that bothers me, it's how it's sold to us. I was actually willing to accept $54.95 as the price of the new Expert Plus plan and was very pleasantly surprised when the actual package came out at $44.95. I praised SBC for it. But when you hide this FUSF fee in fine print and fail to disclose exactly how much this FUSF fee is, it's not acceptable. I had gotten use to this plan being $44.95 and you'll have a very hard time changing this perception in my mind now. If you had originally come out and advertised it as $51.95 or $54.95, I'd be fine with it, but since it came out as $44.95, that's what I expect. Anything above that price makes me feel a "bait and switch" is in play, especially since SBC does not charge anything else on their DSL service prior to FEB 2004. My current fee for their basic package is $26.95 and no additional fee of any sort. So this FUSF fee bothers me greatly. They are certainly NOT required to pass this fee onto the customer. The FCC specifically states that they (SBC) are NOT required to pass this fee onto the customers. If SBC wants to pass this fee onto their customers, they should include it in their monthly rate. By including it as a fine print line item charge, it misleads the vast majority of people into believing that this FUSF fee is a mandatory governmental tax that is suppose to be levied directly onto the customer. That is completely false. This FUSF fee is assessed onto the telco companies as a cost of doing business. It's not a tax that was meant to be directly passed to the customers.

Again, I re-iterate, if SBC directly came out and stated in the very beginning that the monthly rate for the Expert Plus plan would be $50.95, I'd be 100% fine with it. But because it was marketed as $44.95, with a hidden fine print of FUSF charge--which the amount isn't even disclosed--I am very disappointed.

Actually, I was planning on upgrading to the Expert Plus package, but when I found out the FUSF was an additional 10%+ to the 44.95 monthly fee, I choose not to. It's not the price itself, but the principle behind how they misleading market the price. I currently pay $26.95 and pay no additional FUSF fee.
--

Why do people like .sig files so much? Baffling to me...