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Monday, June 17, 2019

But what about me?

Yesterday's post look at the question, "Why is the contribution factor so high?"

Today's question: "What will it do to my phone bill?"

I pay 3 phone bills, one for my business, one for my home, and one for cell phones.  The office is my cable company, home is my ILEC (Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier, aka "Baby Bell," aka "the local phone company").

How much does the USF cost me?  On my business bill, it's 2.29% of the voice portion of my bill. On my home bill, 2.75%.  Cell phones, 3.27% of the line charge.  So how much the current jump in the Contribution Factor from 18.8%  to 24.4% actually make those bills increase?

Office: 0.68%
Home: 0.82%
Cell phone*: 0.97%

Mind you, the percent increase on the total bill will be much smaller; those percent increases are only on the portion that's affected by the USF (voice service on landlines, line charges on my cell phone bill).  Most of my bill (charges for Internet/data, equipment, etc.) is not affected by changes in the USF.

So while the Contribution Factor is jumping almost 30%, consumers will see their bills go up less than 1%.  Because the vast majority of what you buy from phone companies is not considered interstate, and so not subject to USF fees.

*The grammar curmudgeon in me does not like the inclusion of "phone" in the last item, but not the previous two.  Originally, I had just "Cell" instead of "Cell phone," but I thought that looked too much like I was talking about phone service to my jail cell.

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