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The USF is a government administered fund to support the provision of telecommunications services in rural and high cost areas, low income consumers and to schools, libraries and healthcare facilities nationwide. All telecommunications providers contribute to the USF on an equal basis. The contribution factor changes quarterly and is approximately 11% of end user revenues. In addition to USF, with the new regulations, a few other funds now apply to telecommunications services. These funds ensure service to the hearing and speech impaired and also guarantee that you can keep your phone number when changing carriers.
What Governmental agency is responsible for USF?
The United States Congress authorized the FCC to implement the Universal Service Fund. The USF is mandated by Section 254 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The USF is administered by USAC.
USAC is the Universal Service Administrative Company that was created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to administer the federal USF. USAC is responsible for collecting contributions owed by contributors and for making support payments to entities eligible for reimbursement from the USF. USAC also provides information from the forms to the administrators of the other related funds (Telecommunications Relay Service, Number Administration and Local Number Portability Funds).
Why is Conference Calls Unlimited collecting these fees on audio calls?
A recent decision by the FCC dictates that all telecommunication service providers track all telecommunications revenue. To remain in compliance and in good standing, Conference Calls Unlimited must file forms with USAC and pay the fees assessed by the FCC on the telecommunications revenue.
Will Conference Calls Unlimited's competitors also charge these fees on audio conferencing calls?
Yes. The June 30, 2008 FCC order clearly states that all providers of telecommunications which includes conferencing must comply with the order. The FCC has directed USAC to ensure that all conferencing service providers abide by the order.
What states and countries are impacted by these fees?
The USF applies to services billed to US customers, including both interstate and international services. Details regarding which international calls will be subject to USF are still being worked out. Generally, however, calls initiated from overseas that terminate in the United States will be subject to USF.
When will the fees be collected?
The June 30 and July 17, 2008 FCC orders require USAC and other fund administrators to collect the fee from Conference Calls Unlimited beginning on October 1, 2008. The charge for all funds will first appear as a separate line item, on customer invoices for conference calls made on or after October 1, 2008. Most customers will see the charge on their October invoices or sales receipts.
Will Conference Calls Unlimited charge these fees to audio conference calls initiated in other countries?
If the call both originates and terminates outside of the United States, these fees will not apply.
Are these fees based on where the company is headquartered?
No. They are based on end-user revenues for calls subject to FCC jurisdiction. Federal USF fees apply to interstate telecommunications and calls between the United States and foreign countries. The FCC order clarified that conferencing is telecommunications. Therefore, if the conference involves a call from one state terminating in another state or calls between a foreign country and the United States, the USF fee will apply.
Are all of my services subject to USF fees?
No. Web conferencing services are not subject to USF fees. Only audio conferencing services are subject to USF fees.
What if I start a conference call from a cell phone?
The USF fee applies to all interstate and international telecommunications in and out of the U.S. regardless of the device used.
Do these fees apply to audio calls made on VOIP?
Yes. These fees apply to all interstate and international telecommunications into or out of the U.S. regardless of the device used.
Will Conference Calls Unlimited issue a credit for the USF fee if a credit was issued on a call?
Yes. When a credit is issued, the applicable fees assessed on the portion subject to the credit are also credited.
How much are these fees imposed by USAC?
All telecommunications providers contribute to the USF on an equal basis. The contribution factor changes quarterly as determined by the FCC.
Are non-profit groups exempt from these fees?
No. The FCC regulations state that these fees apply to all end users including not-for-profit entities. If you feel that your organization should be exempt, contact the FCC as below. If exempt status is verified, please provide supporting documentation to Conference Calls Unlimited.
Where do I find additional information about the USF?