The nonprofit Keep USF Fair Coalition said today Americans have sent more than half a million e-mails and letters to Washington officials, expressing opposition to proposed Universal Service Fund (USF) changes that would impose $1-$2 more per month on consumers, regardless of how much they use their landlines.
Radical changes in the telecom world, brought on by the convergence of voice and data, are prompting the FCC to re-evaluate how it extracts contributions from phone and cable companies.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin supports the numbers-based system, rather than the current revenue-based system, or the proposal that the government levy charges based on the number of connections whether Internet, landline or cable per household.
If Congress wants to increase federal phone taxes on 43 million people, let them do it in the open with hearings and a vote where they can be held accountable, said Linda Sherry, co-chair of the Keep USF Fair Coalition. Our coalition and the consumers who have joined us see no need for the FCC to abandon the current pay-for-what-you-use USF tax for a system under which 16 million people would face an increase even though they use little or no long-distance.
The Keep Universal Service Fund Fair Coalition maintains the numbers system would result in higher federal phone taxes of as much as $707 million for 43 million low-volume long-distance user households in the United States. The groups members including the Alliance For Retired Americans, the American Association Of People With Disabilities and the Black Leadership Forum especially are concerned about low-income and elderly people on fixed incomes having to pay higher phone bills.