Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hidden Fees and Unjust Charges

“All Universal Service high-cost support recipients are reminded that support must be used for its intended purpose,” stated the FCC notice. It seems that the rural carriers under CAF, ETC, legacy high-cost and rate-of-return carriers are taking liberties with rates and expenses.

"Just as carriers must not use USF funds for inappropriate expenses, we remind rate-of-return carriers that section 65.450 of our rules prohibits them from including expenses in their revenue requirements unless such expenses are “recognized by the Commission as necessary to the provision” of interstate telecommunications services.7 [FCC notice]

This is what consumers dislike about these programs: ABUSE.

The FCC is probing the special access charges of 4 carriers for being potentially unjust - AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink and Frontier.

Competify - representing Ad Hoc Telecommunications Users Committee, Comptel, and Public Knowledge - issued a statement praising the FCC action: “The FCC’s efforts will help treat the incumbent broadband gatekeeper’s chronic illness, an illness that has left Americans paying the price – often in the form of hidden fees.”

The fees are getting ridiculous. Charter adds a $5.19 Local Broadcast TV surcharge, according to a DSLR reader.

With consumer wages, income and spending flat, ARPU can't go up. Consumers want to spend less, but the big guys want them to spend more. So advertise low rates then tax, fee, surcharge up the ass to get the money they need to keep thier Wall Street masters at bay.

Frontier bought 3 states from Verizon- CA, TX, FL. The $10B debt is costing the carrier between 8.75 and 11 points. Yet they all keep piling on the debt. Meanwhile, AT&T was able to sell $17.5 Billion in bonds (for its DTV purchase) at between 2.5 and 3.5 points. And that is just a small portion of AT&T's $114 Billion in debt! They need to add on to pay all that back.

The American Library Association is launching a 5-state LEAP program to assess E-Rate and develop of vision for the future of broadband in learning.

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