If you pay any attention to your phone bill you know that buried within the “other charges” section is something called the Universal Service Fund Fee. Of course, there are lots of such “other charges”, so much so that for me, at least, they amount to 39% of my phone bill, excluding any long distance charges.
The Obama administration, through the Federal Communications Commission, will now be tacking on another fee, though it will be claimed that your phone company, not the federal government is doing so.
Here’s the plan. The Universal Service Fund was designed to subsidize bringing telephone service to all Americans. The FCC now says, mission accomplished. But, rather than canceling that fee, the government will now use it to bring high-speed internet service to all Americans.
However, under the new rules, while diverting $4.5 billion annually to the high-speed internet subsidy, and tinkering with some other fees, some phone companies may end up losing money. So the FCC will allow them to add an additional fifty cents a month to your phone bill, which, over 5 years can rise to an additional $2.50 per month. The good news though is that the federal government really doesn’t think they will charge that much.
And, there is even better news. The FCC estimates that the shift to subsidizing high-speed internet will create (are you are sitting down) 500,000 jobs over six years.
We can only hope that this won’t be like the last government subsidy of internet projects (via the Stimulus Act) that we told you about where the cost was $160,000 per job.