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Verizon and BellSouth shamefully retract USF "replacement" fees

Evan Blass
08.31.06
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In case you haven't been following the exciting world of telecom regulation lately (and really, why would you?), the FCC recently mandated that DSL providers no longer have to pay into the Universal Service Fund that's meant to subsidize rural and low-income phone service (and that may induce all kinds of pork-barrel spending, but that's a whole other story right there). Anyway, the elimination of this surcharge was supposed to be passed along to consumers in the form of lower monthly bills -- and many companies, including AT&T and Qwest, did just that -- but the sneaky suits over at Verizon and BellSouth decided to keep charging customers almost the exact same fee, though for different reasons. Verizon claimed that it had "developed new operating costs" in the previous year, justifying this so-called "supplier surcharge," while BellSouth began calling theirs a "regulatory cost recovery fee" -- even though the USF contribution regulation no longer existed. Both companies offered up some confusing doublespeak as to why these new, identical fees came into play at the exact same time that the USF fee was withdrawn; ultimately, however, pressure from consumers, the media, and the FCC forced them to retract the charges from customers' bills and issue credits where applicable. So in conclusion, we're really starting to see an encouraging trend here: first Dell implements a massive battery recall following tons of negative publicity, then Foxconn stops picking on those "slanderous" journalists in the wake of a massive public outcry, and now the telcos have been forced to mend their greedy ways after everyone got wise to their shenanigans. Therefore, that old adage actually seems to be true: a lot of the time, it's the squeaky wheel that really does get the grease.

Read- Verizon's fee
Read- BellSouth's fee
Read- BellSouth caves
Read- Verizon caves

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