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Billing Questions

Federal Subscriber Line Charge (Subscriber Line Charge, SLC)
Similar to the PICC. Regulated and capped by the FCC. This is not a charge by the government or 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 lower.

Federal Tax (Federal Excise Tax)
This appears on both your local and long distance phone bills. It is 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.

Monthly Fee / Access Fee
A fixed monthly fee paid to your carrier regardless of your usage. Not all carriers charge this fee.

Municipal Charge
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. This fee goes to the local telephone company.

PIC Switching Fee
This fee is charged by the local provider when you change long distance carriers. The fee is typically $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.

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. Each company charges differently some companies do not charge for the PICC. The PICC charge will appear on your long distance bill.

Taxes vary by location. They are the same for all providers. Taxes apply to both local and long distance companies operating within a state. Tax dollars go to the local governing body.

USF (Universal Service Fund, Universal Service Charge)
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%. Companies have flexibility to pass 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.
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