Toll free numbers charge the business or individual receiving the
call, not the caller. The toll free subscriber instead of the person
making the call pays the charge for the call.
How a carrier will round the call time for billing.
60 second increments
Calls rounded to the nearest minute. A 1 minute 25 second call is
rounded to 2 minutes.
6 second increments
A 1 minute 25 second call is rounded to 1 minute 30 seconds.
FCC (Federal Communications Commission)
The FCC is an independent United States government agency, directly
responsible to Congress. The FCC was established by the Communications
Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international
communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.
The FCC's jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia,
and U.S. possessions. Regulates interstate communications such as
licenses, rates, tariffs, standards and limitations.
Dial Around Service
Typically used with your primary telephone. Provides an access code
to dial around your PIC. This can be a 10-10XXX, a toll free access
number, or a calling card.
Federal Tax (Federal Excise Tax)
Appears on both your local and long distance phone bills. Charged
as a percentage of your total bill regardless of your telephone
carrier. It is 3% of long distance calls and 2.7% of local calls.
Federal Subscriber Line Charge (Subscriber
Line Charge, SLC)
Similar to the PICC. Regulated and capped by the FCC. It is not
a charge by the government, it is not a tax. The number of calls
you place or receive does not affect it. The money is paid to local
telephone companies and will be charged to your local phone bill.
The SLC fee pays local phone companies some of the costs of telephone
lines connected to your home or business. The current charge for
primary residence lines and single-line business customers increased
to $5.00 on July 1, 2001. The second and additional lines for residential
service are considered non-primary lines and are subject to a higher
line charge cap, even if the bill is in a second name at the same
address. The Subscriber Line Charge for non-primary lines is capped
at $7.00 per month thru June 30, 2005. For multi-line businesses
the maximum charge is the telephone company's average cost of providing
a line in that state, or $9.20 per line per month, whichever is
Another name for long distance carrier. Provides long distance between
LEC (Local Exchange Carrier) and LATA. Examples include AT&T, MCI
Rate for state-to-state calls.
Rate for calls made within the state.
LATA (Local Access Transport Area)
Division of telephone service into geographic regions. Used by regional
phone service provider to determine which areas are considered "long
distance" or "local." This is not represented by area codes or exchange
prefixes. Calls outside your LATA ( interlata) are long distance.
Calls inside your LATA (intralata) may or may not be toll free,
depending on the local phone company. Switching long distance providers
switches the calls made outside your LATA. To encourage competition
and give consumers more choices, the FCC has ruled that intralata
calls can be switched to the provider of your choice. You will be
charged the in-state rate for intralata local calls.
LEC (Local Exchange Carrier)
Local or regional company that owns and operates lines to consumer
Calls within your local calling area.
Long Distance Toll Service
Calls outside your local calling area. "1" + area code + 7-digit
Minimum Billing Increment
Minimum amount of time you will be billed for a call.
Minimum Usage Requirements
Some plans specify a dollar minimum for your total bill. If you
don't reach this minimum, you will be charged a set minimum usage
fee. Some programs will charge you the difference as a fee. Monthly
Fee (Monthly Service Fee, Monthly Access Fee)- Some companies charge
a fixed monthly fee paid to your carrier regardless of your usage.
This fee is paid in addition to the cost of your calls.
Charged by your local municipality to offset the costs of community
services such as 911.
Number Portability Service Charge (Local
Number Portability, LNP)
FCC approved fee that pays local telephone companies for the expenses
of allowing a consumer or business to retain their existing telephone
number when switching long distance carriers. This is not a tax
and the fee goes to the local telephone company. It is up to the
local companies to pass the cost thru to the consumer. Most companies
Off Peak Rate
The non-peak calling period, typically between 7 pm and 7 am.
Prime calling hours, typically between 7 am and 7 pm.
PIC Switching Fee
Charged by the local provider when you change long distance carriers.
The fee is normally $5-$10 and charged on your local phone bill.
After your service is switched, some carriers will reimburse the
switching fee. To credit the fee, the carrier will probably request
a copy of the phone bill with the switching fee.
PIC (Primary Interexchange Carrier)
The primary long distance carrier through which all interstate long
distance calls are made (1+ dialing).
Consumer arranges with local carrier to prevent changing the user's
PIC without permission ("slamming").
PICC (Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier
Charge, National Access Fee or Carrier Line Charge)
Long distance companies pay local phone companies a flat fee for
access to their local phone network. The FCC regulates the price,
but this is not a tax and the commission does not require long distance
companies to pass these charges to consumers. Each long distance
company pays the same flat rate per line and it is up to the company
how to distribute this charge. Pay attention the PICC because each
company charges differently. Some companies do not charge for the
PICC. The PICC charge appears on your long distance bill.
RBOC (Regional Bell Operating Company)
One of the original seven local telephone companies (Baby Bells)
created as part of the breakup of AT&T. Ameritech, Bell Atlantic,
Bell South, NYNEX, Pacific Telesis Group, Southwestern Bell and
Regional Toll Service (Local Long distance,
This calling area includes calls to places outside your local calling
area but not as far away as those covered by long distance toll
service. Usually itemized on your bill and billed at a per minute
Unauthorized switching of your phone service from one your long
distance carrier to another without your consent. This practice
may involve misleading marketing or outright fraud. Prohibited by
Federal law and the FCC. The FCC requires a long distance company
to obtain your authorization before changing your long distance
USF (Universal Service Fund, Universal Service
A national policy to promote telephone service to all households.
Telephone service is a vital link to emergency services, government
agencies and surrounding communities and the USF is a subsidy to
make phone service available for all Americans. This includes consumers
with low incomes, schools and libraries and rural health care providers.
All carriers are charged the same USF%. However, pay attention to
this fee because companies have flexibility in passing this fee
to customers. The charge ranges from no charge at all, a flat fee,
% of interstate and international usage or % of entire bill. The
company keeps the difference between the fees they receive and the
charge they pay.