The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently updated their fact sheet on consumers understanding their telephone bills.  There are federal, state and local taxes, various fees and charges on phone bills and many consumers have been confused how to interpret their phone bill. Many consumers also do not know what the Universal Service Charge on their phone bills are or where they come from. Telecommunications companies pay nearly $10 billion into the Universal Service Fund (USF) each year and often times pass some of the costs onto consumers. There are four programs that fall under the Universal Service Fund which provides for those “…living in rural and high-cost areas, income-eligible consumers, rural health care facilities, and schools and libraries to access to telecommunications services at reasonable rates through programs and initiatives such as the Connect America Fund, Lifeline and E-rate…”
 
Funds For Learning provides counsel, guidance and support to schools and libraries and other stakeholders in order for them to understand and maintain compliance with the E-rate rules and regulations. The regulators recently capped the E-rate portion of the Universal Service Fund at $3.99 billion. The FCC sets the overall policy direction for the four important USF programs while the  Universal Service Administrative Company oversees administering the $10 billion fund.
 
Further information from the FCC on their consumers telephone bill guide can be viewed here.