If you think your wireless or internet bill is too high already and you live in the U.S. then you really won’t like what could happen. The FCC is looking at a move that will require internet phone companies, like Vonage, to contribute a portion of their revenue to the Universal Service Fund. Wireless carriers already contribute to the fund, but their portion would also be increased. That increase would be passed along to the good old consumers.
The USF subsidizes phone service to rural and low income areas, along with communications and Internet for schools, libraries and hospitals. The move comes as the FCC is facing a shortfall in the $7.3 billion fund as soon as August. Companies that offer long distance and international service must currently pay 10.9% of revenues into the fund. Currently 28.5% of wireless carriers’ revenue is subject to that rate, but that would increase to 37% under the proposal.
Not surprisingly, wireless carriers and telephone companies aren’t happy about it. Some argue that the increased funding would just be a band-aid on a system that needs overhauling. The funding, they argue, would just delay needed reform.