Friday, March 25, 2005

Access Charges

In Light Reading's story on Level 3 withdrawing its forbearance petition, they make the statement that carrier access charges "make up the subsidies used for programs such as Universal Lifeline and E911."

I've seen statements to this effect before, but they're wrong.

Universal Service is funded by carriers paying a percentage of their interstate and international revenue directly into the Universal Service Fund. (Before the CALLS plan was adopted in June, 2000, access charges did contribute to the USF.)

Many (most?) carriers levy a E911 surcharge that ostensibly funds the E911 system, though it's not clear all the money goes to E911. But the E911 surcharge is a user charge, and has nothing to do with carrier access charges.

Access charges are local exchange carrier revenue, plain and simple.