Telcos respond as FCC pushes for increase in local service rates

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced in March a new “rate floor” for rural telecommunications services that, if enacted in full, could raise local phone service rates by 40 percent for some rural consumers.

This increase is intended to bring rates across the country into better balance. To comply with the new minimum, some telecommunications providers would be forced to raise their rates for local phone service by as much as $6 per month.

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association filed a notice with the FCC expressing concern on behalf of the nation’s rural telecommunications companies. “The strict implementation of this rule presents real challenges for rural consumers and could put at risk access to both quality voice and broadband services in many rural communities,” wrote NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield in the notice.

Suggestions to the FCC include phasing in the rate increase amounts over time as well as delaying the dates for the increases to be implemented.

As your telecommunications provider, we will continue working through NTCA to present the concerns of rural consumers to the FCC. Please see the July/August issue of this magazine for an update.