Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Phone Companies' $100 Billion Rip-off -- Where Is That Hidden $6 a Month Going in Our Phone Bills?

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU
 
marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 08:33 AM
Original message
Phone Companies' $100 Billion Rip-off -- Where Is That Hidden $6 a Month Going in Our Phone Bills?
from AlterNet:



Next time you open your phone bill, check out the numerous anonymous charges listed on it. In particular, note the one identified as the "FCC Line Charge" or the "Federal Subscriber Line Charge" (SLC). Ask yourself two questions: What is it for and why am I paying it?

If you look at your bill, you'll likely have a hard time finding the SLC. Each state's phone billing method is different and the SLC is often hidden in what is labeled the "taxes and surcharges" section or the "monthly service" section -- or completely missing but added to the bill.

The SLC is a monthly fee imposed on every residential and business wireline phone customer. The FCC permits telephone companies to charge subscribers a fee which was originally intended to help them recoup part of the cost of having phone lines connect from the customer's home and office to a long distance service provider. It is currently capped at $6.50 a month for residential and businesses; multi-line businesses fees are up to $9.20 per month.

At the end of 2010, the U.S. will have an estimated 160 million business and residential telephone lines. Since 2000, it is estimated that the phone companies have pocketed about $100 billion or an estimated $750.00 per line through the SLC and have done little to benefit the customer. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/media/149145/phone_companies%27... /





Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Tuesday Afternoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 08:38 AM
Response to Original message
1. I want my money back.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
NV Whino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 08:45 AM
Response to Original message
2. I called the phone company once to ask
what all those mysterious taxes and surcharges were. They couldn't explain them other than to say they were surcharges required by the government.

But it's pointless to demand that they disappear. The phone companies would simply raise the rates. Again.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
4dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 08:58 AM
Response to Original message
3. here's the info you seek
Edited on Sat Dec-11-10 09:00 AM by 4dsc
What is the Subscriber Line Charge and why do I have to pay this charge?
The Subscriber Line Charge is a fee that you pay to your local phone company that connects you to the telephone network. Local telephone companies recover some of the costs of telephone lines connected to your home or business through this monthly charge on your local telephone bill. Sometimes called the federal subscriber line charge, this fee is regulated and capped by the FCC, not by state Public Utility Commissions. It is not a tax or a fee charged by the government. The money received from the subscriber line charge goes directly to local telephone companies. To ensure that all Americans can afford at least a minimal level of basic telephone service, the FCC will not allow phone companies to charge more than $6.50 for a single line.

http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/telephone.html#slc

I am researching whether or not this charge is optional..

The maximum allowable access charges per telephone line are set by the FCC, but local telephone companies are free to charge less or nothing at all.

http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/understanding.html
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 09:41 AM
Response to Original message
4. I hate corporations....
they offer pathetic customer service...'dis-service,' really. They gouge and gouge and gouge.

I actually miss Ma Bell...she was civil and regulated.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Lucky Luciano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. ...and considerably more expensive! nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
enlightenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. That was true at the time.
But it stopped being true within a decade after divestiture. All those new companies found plenty of ways to hike up their rates.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. I think this dude is
working from a cubicle over at the Heritage Foundation.

They search for the word, 'Corporation,' and then pop in to say how wonderful they are. Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Pharma....he loves them all.

He likes deregulation...you know, unmitigated Greed.

I bet he is completely in favor of the merger between NBC and Comcast...yippee! More monopolies and less competition!!! Let's fee the little people until they it hurts.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Lucky Luciano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #9
15. LOL..I just remember paying 36 cents a minute to call California
in the late 1980s. Nights and weekends were cheaper and only 24 cents a minute or something like that. It is definitely cheaper now.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. You're right.....life is cheap now. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
enlightenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. If it was the late 1980s, it was after the divestiture of AT&T
so you probably should be looking at those 'other' companies . . .
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
howaboutme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #4
11. Reagan's bust up of the Bell System
was an early microcosm of what our leaders have and will do to the country. They gradually chip away at relatively small groups to destroy security, jobs and the country. We should have been on the streets with pitchforks and torches 25 years ago.

ATT/Bell System had hundreds of thousands of good paying US jobs that went off shore. The Bell Labs went from world innovator and leader in basic research to a has-been organization owned by the French and now in India. http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/wps/portal/!ut/p/kcxml/04...

There was one CEO of ATT Bell System, once the largest company in the USA with almost a million employees, and he earned only about 1 million dollars in the early 80s. After the bust up the one regulated Bell System CEO earning 1 million became 5 or 6 CEOs each earning at least 20+ million.

For many this is ancient history contained only in Congressional and corporate archives but it illustrates clearly how our own elected officials (both R & D) are responsible for the decline of the USA.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. I remember all the
deregulation...then all the 'Baby Bells' decided to 're-merge.' Remember that?

I came to the conclusion that the only thing the US of A could do was pass pieces of paper around. Seriously. That's when the Financial Industry started to boom in this nation.

Companies would go public, then go private again, or be bought out or have a 'hostile takeover.' It was just passing pieces of paper around. It really didn't create a damn thing, except DOWNSIZING. Now we have OUTSOURCING AND OFF-SHORING. All so the Rich can get Richer.

We no longer manufacture anything. We have nothing to trade...except for grains and animals....and porn. One long drought or flood and that ends.

Now all of our physicists, statisticians, etc. work on Wall Street designing trading algorithms.

It's a joke. We're so done. It was fun while it lasted.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
howaboutme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. The American dream
Edited on Sat Dec-11-10 12:34 PM by howaboutme
Well said and I remember well the baby bells.

The smartest brains in the country instead of becoming engineers or scientists designing and making real things, now scheme to make products that will take our money through the financial casino of Wall St, while the heads of these organizations control our politicians and policy. I'm not sure but I'm fairly convinced that the USA GDP that is used as the baseline to determine the nation's growth and relative strength is a fraud because it is distorted by the "products" of the financial industry.

There are too many that get paid the big bucks for doing little of real worth, and that actually operate counter to the general interest of and for the purposes of manipulating most Americans, and I put Wall Street financier/banksters, corporate mainstream media, Hollywood, Chamber of Commerce at the top of the list. While these organizations work to take money from the public they use their profits to buy off our politicians.

Balance in the USA was lost once the offsetting political power of private sector organized labor was lost. The Democratic Party is now almost as corporate as the GOP.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q Now 1,045,500 views and climbing - let's get it to 2 million!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. I love that video....
that must be where I got the phrase, 'Willfully Ignorant.'

I think I remember Obama saying that the Financial Field is close to a 1/3rd of the nation's output. It's just pieces of paper going from one place to another. Creates nothing.

I was a stockbroker back in the '80's. When 'Derivatives' came out, I read the 'Instruction Manual' so to pass the test. Finally, I asked a couple of co-workers if I was missing something, because this is just crap. And they both said, 'I'm glad you said that....I thought I was going nuts or just stupid.' None of us took the test. I saw this mess coming. I'm really glad I worked in the financial industry...what a bunch of CROOKS! I can imagine to what levels they have taken it to today. And no one is going to jail today. Just rotten to the core...both parties, imho.

And if Obama thinks this Financial Disaster is over, he is sorely mistaken. Those derivatives are still out there as well as the crappy mortgages...Fancy Accounting doesn't change the FACTS.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
prairierose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
7. At least one of those surcharges is specifically for...
upgrading infrastructure and what have the telcos done with the billions they have collected since 1996? Put that money in their pockets. Has your service improved since then. Are phone calls clearer or faster? Is your internet connection fast and capable of downloading anything you want when you want? My services are at about the same level as they were but all of those telcos have managed to pocket billions that they have NOT spent on making sure that our services are as fast and efficient as those available in the rest of the world. Since so few Americans travel overseas, few know that Europe has much better internet service than we do. That their wireless services are better, faster, and cheaper.

American corps have got this greed thing whipped. I really do think they are the best in the world at ripping off their customers and convincing them that they are getting fabulous service.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
X_Digger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 10:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
18. From 1995-2000, subscriber lines went up by 16%
Then it steadied off a bit til 2005, and then it jumped up again with the housing bubble, with a 12% jump in some states to as much as 17%.

All those new subdivisions, McMansions, and new strip malls? They all have phone lines (or at least the trunk to the CO- central office). Telco infrastructure follows housing. For every 80 houses, a new circuit has to be laid. For every 300-500 houses, a new office has to be built (you've seen them- small brick buildings with no windows, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.)

Broadband penetration has followed closely behind. My very rural parents can now get DSL, and have cable internet access (which uses telco data lines upstream.) Fiber is being laid across our footprint, check out both Verizon and AT&T's fiber offerings. The telephone company I work for is required to hump lines for our competitors, so that Joe's Phone Company can offer you service.

That's where your SLC goes.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
toddwv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
10. If you have broadband internet go with Vonage.
I pay a little of $30.00 a month, no hidden charges, lots of features and can call anywhere in the US toll-free. In addition, I also don't have to pay to call my sister in England.

Very reliable, it's only down if the internet is down which happens rarely.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Tue Sep 23rd 2014, 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC