IPcentral Weblog
  The DACA Blog

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

(previous | next)

Verizon has announced that it will join SBC and Bell South in imposing an additional monthly regulatory (read, USF) fee on DSL service. As these companies previously "absorbed" these costs in an effort to close the broadband gap with cable providers, the new fees are probably not the most politically savvy way to pass along a rate hike.

Viewing truth-in-billing across the telecom industry as a whole, there's plenty of shenanigans and blame to go around. Last month, NASUCA filed a petition for a declaratory ruling requesting that the FCC prohibit, in essence, carriers from including any line item charges above and beyond those imposed by regulators. Beginning in April 2003, the FCC has allowed carriers to recover administrative and other non-regulatorily prescribed costs through line item charges. NASUCA's brief describes how wireless and long-distance carriers have taken the bait and are assessing "regulatory assessment fees" or "carrier cost recovery charges" for anything ranging from property taxes to court proceeding costs. According to the brief, "carriers can hide their inefficiencies in line item charges while maintaining and advertising monthly and usage rates that are as low as, or even lower than, their competitors."

I agree, but line item charges should be limited to taxes such as USF for reasons that depart from those advanced by NASUCA. Explicit surcharges will not allow regulators to hide the ball as USF demand continues to grow, leaving open the possibility that public pressure will be brought to bear on reforming the system before it collapses on itself.

Ultimately, real truth-in-billing can occur only when there is truth-in-regulating. Seven dollars for caller ID service on top of a regulated basic phone line belies any claim that consumers can make informed choices once these billing issues are clarified (assuming, of course, that alert customers don't just jump ship for VoIP or full wireless substitution instead).

posted by @ 11:58 PM | General

Share |

Link to this Entry | Printer-Friendly

Post a Comment:

Blog Main
RSS Feed  
Recent Posts
  EFF-PFF Amicus Brief in Schwarzenegger v. EMA Supreme Court Videogame Violence Case
New OECD Study Finds That Improved IPR Protections Benefit Developing Countries
Hubris, Cowardice, File-sharing, and TechDirt
iPhones, DRM, and Doom-Mongers
"Rogue Archivist" Carl Malamud On How to Fix Gov2.0
Coping with Information Overload: Thoughts on Hamlet's BlackBerry by William Powers
How Many Times Has Michael "Dr. Doom" Copps Forecast an Internet Apocalypse?
Google / Verizon Proposal May Be Important Compromise, But Regulatory Trajectory Concerns Many
Two Schools of Internet Pessimism
GAO: Wireless Prices Plummeting; Public Knowledge: We Must Regulate!
Archives by Month
  September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
  - (see all)
Archives by Topic
  - A La Carte
- Add category
- Advertising & Marketing
- Antitrust & Competition Policy
- Appleplectics
- Books & Book Reviews
- Broadband
- Cable
- Campaign Finance Law
- Capitalism
- Capitol Hill
- China
- Commons
- Communications
- Copyright
- Cutting the Video Cord
- Cyber-Security
- Digital Americas
- Digital Europe
- Digital Europe 2006
- Digital TV
- E-commerce
- e-Government & Transparency
- Economics
- Education
- Electricity
- Energy
- Events
- Exaflood
- Free Speech
- Gambling
- General
- Generic Rant
- Global Innovation
- Googlephobia
- Googlephobia
- Human Capital
- Innovation
- Intermediary Deputization & Section 230
- Internet
- Internet Governance
- Internet TV
- Interoperability
- IP
- Local Franchising
- Mass Media
- Media Regulation
- Monetary Policy
- Municipal Ownership
- Net Neutrality
- Neutrality
- Non-PFF Podcasts
- Ongoing Series
- Online Safety & Parental Controls
- Open Source
- PFF Podcasts
- Philosophy / Cyber-Libertarianism
- Privacy
- Privacy Solutions
- Regulation
- Search
- Security
- Software
- Space
- Spectrum
- Sports
- State Policy
- Supreme Court
- Taxes
- The FCC
- The FTC
- The News Frontier
- Think Tanks
- Trade
- Trademark
- Universal Service
- Video Games & Virtual Worlds
- VoIP
- What We're Reading
- Wireless
- Wireline
Archives by Author
PFF Blogosphere Archives
We welcome comments by email - look for a link to the author's email address in the byline of each post. Please let us know if we may publish your remarks.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation