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Base for Texas Universal Service fee ???
RiverCityTX
Member

What base does Verizon uses to calculate the Texas Universal Service fund fee?

Texas recently increased the rate for this fee from 3.3% to 24%. According to online newspaper articles about the increase, the surcharge is based on "long-distance service within the state." According to a PDF I found on Verizon about tariffs, it's "assessed against intrastate telecommunications services receipts." The obvious interpretation of both of those statements is that it applies to long-distance calls made IN TEXAS to other numbers IN TEXAS.

But looking at my bill, that's clearly not how it's calculated. Most of the 5 lines had the fee increase from 15 cents to $1.00, whether they made any Texas long-distance intrastate calls or not. But one line with zero Texas intrastate calls has a fee of $9.56.

So I'm wondering what base Verizon is using to calculate these fees, because it's clearly NOT Texas "intrastate telecommunications services."

1 Solution

Correct Answers
[email address removed per the Verizon Terms of Service]
RiverCityTX
Member

For any other Texas-based Verizon customers who might have this question, here is what I've learned after a ridiculous amount of time on online chats, phone calls, and this forum:

1. The newspaper articles and the Verizon online tariffs page I found seem to be incorrect in stating that this fee is assessed only on intrastate long distance calls within Texas.

2. The fee is calculated on part of your base plan rate determined to be the "voice portion" of your plan as opposed to the "data portion." The number used for determining this voice portion is "kept internal" and not shared with customers. It also appears to fluctuate from line to line and month to month, as the fees charged on my 5 lines over the past 3 months seem to be based on amounts ranging from 7.92% to 15.15% of the monthly plan rate per line.

3. If you travel internationally and use TravelPass, expect fees quite a bit higher. It appears that about 50% of TravelPass charges are considered "voice portion," based on the fees charged on one of my lines.

View solution in original post

Re: Base for Texas Universal Service fee ???
Ann154
Expert
Expert

If the phone numbers are Texas numbers or the service address is based in Texas, you might be obligated to pay the fee regardless if you make any calls to other Texas numbers. 

I'm most definitely NOT a VZW employee. If a post answered your question, please mark it as the answer.

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Re: Base for Texas Universal Service fee ???
RiverCityTX
Member

Maybe, but that's not what the Verizon tariff explanation says, and it wouldn't explain the fee on a line based in Florida that made zero calls to Texas. And it would also not explain why the fee was so high for another line. That line did have a higher bill than usual last month because the owner was traveling and using Travelpass, but his bill wasn't anything like high enough to justify a charge 9-1/2 times that of the other lines.

@vzw_customer_support -- I know this isn't something support staff would normally know the answer to, but I was hoping that posting it here might cause someone to look into it.

Again, the question is: What base is used to calculate the Texas Universal Service fee?

Re: Base for Texas Universal Service fee ???
vzw_customer_support
Customer Support

Hello RiverCityTX,

 

The Texas Universal Service Charge is a cost imposed on Verizon by the Texas Public Utility Commission. All funds imposed by this commission is collected by Verizon and paid to them. This charge is used by the commission to help keep service affordable to high-cost rural customers and for groups like
Texans with hearing impairments —this means Verizon does not keep the money, but instead
pays it over to the Texas Public Utility Commission.

 

-Christopher

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Re: Base for Texas Universal Service fee ???
RiverCityTX
Member

@vzw_customer_support
Thank you for the reply, Christopher, but it doesn't answer my question. I understand what the Texas Public Utility Commission uses the fee for. What I don't understand is the base Verizon uses for calculating the fee.

The new rate is 24%.
Three of my lines were charged $1.00 for this fee, which means it was calculated on $4.17
($4.17 x 24% = $1.00).
One line was charged $0.93, which means it was calculated on $3.88.
And one line was charged $9.56, which means the fee was calculated on $39.83.

Where do these numbers come from?

The document I found at https://www.verizon.com/tariffs/PDFViewer.aspx?doc=189005 says, in section 2.7.2 Texas Universal Service Fund Fee, "That amount is recovered through a percent assessed against intrastate telecommunications services receipts."

Most of the lines, including the one with the super-high fee, made few if any intrastate long-distance calls in Texas. Also, the state's rate increase for the fee didn't take effect until August 1, so only two days of my billing cycle were on the new rate. The friend with the $9.56 fee on his bill had one outgoing call during those two days, from his Georgia phone number in Georgia to a Florida number.

So what is the formula used to calculate this charge?

Re: Base for Texas Universal Service fee ???
vzw_customer_support
Customer Support

We certainly want you to understand how the surcharges work! This link lets you get an estimate of how your taxes and surcharges will bill: http://spr.ly/6602MD7oo

-Nikki

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Re: Base for Texas Universal Service fee ???
RiverCityTX
Member

@vzw_customer_support
That page was surprisingly interesting, although it didn't answer my question and actually raised even more questions. For example, it shows the Texas Universal Service fee rate as 16.5622%, which it has never been as far as I can tell. The rate was 3.3% until August 1, when it increased to 24%.

And of course it gave absolutely no info about WHAT BASE is used for calculating the various fees, regardless of the percentage rate.

So I'll ask again: What BASE is used to calculate the Texas Universal Service fee?

Forget about percents for the moment. Just tell me WHAT BASE you're multiplying by that percent to come up with these charges. It's clearly not the monthly line charge, and it's also clearly not the cost of the Texas intrastate long-distance calls. So what is it? Can somebody in accounting look at this?

Re: Base for Texas Universal Service fee ???
vzw_customer_support
Customer Support

We want all your questions answered.  The charge is calculated by multiplying the basic service portion of the total bill by the percentage rate (24%). The TUSC increase impacts only Texas customers with voice lines of service with a Texas address which have already been incurring the TUSC at the lower rate.  Impacted lines are determined by the PPU (Primary Place of Use) address The Texas Universal Service Charge (TUSC) is a Verizon surcharge, not a tax, that recovers costs of Texas Universal Service Fund (TUSF) assessments imposed on Verizon by the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) to support universal service. These universal service programs keep telephone rates affordable, support services in schools, libraries, and health care facilities as well as assist low-income telephone customers. All funds collected by Verizon from the TUSC are paid to the Texas PUC.  Here is more information:

 

https://www.puc.texas.gov/industry/communications/reports/tusf/default.aspx#:~:text=The%20Texas%20Un....

 

 

-Sean

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[email address removed per the Verizon Terms of Service]
RiverCityTX
Member

For any other Texas-based Verizon customers who might have this question, here is what I've learned after a ridiculous amount of time on online chats, phone calls, and this forum:

1. The newspaper articles and the Verizon online tariffs page I found seem to be incorrect in stating that this fee is assessed only on intrastate long distance calls within Texas.

2. The fee is calculated on part of your base plan rate determined to be the "voice portion" of your plan as opposed to the "data portion." The number used for determining this voice portion is "kept internal" and not shared with customers. It also appears to fluctuate from line to line and month to month, as the fees charged on my 5 lines over the past 3 months seem to be based on amounts ranging from 7.92% to 15.15% of the monthly plan rate per line.

3. If you travel internationally and use TravelPass, expect fees quite a bit higher. It appears that about 50% of TravelPass charges are considered "voice portion," based on the fees charged on one of my lines.

Re: Base for Texas Universal Service fee ???
20YEARCUSTOMER

Why is Nevada Customers being charged this same fee on top of all the other fees?

Fed Universal Service Charge $0.66
Regulatory Charge $0.09
Admin & Telco Recovery Charge $3.30
NV Commerce Tax Surcharge $0.01
NV Universal Service Fund $0.01
Henderson City BUS Lic Surchg $0.36

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