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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - TELEPHONE
INDEX:

Taxes

Special Municipal Charge

911 Service Charge

Telecommunications Relay Service Charge (TRS)

TRS Equipment Charge

Federal End User Common Line Charge

Federal Universal Service Fee

Arkansas High Cost Fund Charge

Number Portability Service Charge

Local Toll

LATAs

Telemarketing

Consumer Information

Area Codes


What are the taxes on my bill?

Federal Taxes

Currently set at 3%. The federal excise tax is established by the U.S. Congress and collected by the Internal Revenue Service as part of the general tax revenue.

State Taxes

The state tax is established by the Arkansas General Assembly and collected by the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) as part of the general tax revenue. The current tax rate can be obtained from the DFA web site at www.arkansas.gov/dfa/excise_tax_v2/et_su_rates_state.html.

County Taxes

The county tax is established by popular vote and collected by the state. It is disbursed to the county monthly. The current tax rate can be obtained from the DFA web site at www.arkansas.gov/dfa/excise_tax_v2/et_su_rates_co.html.

City (Local) Taxes

The city tax is established by popular vote and collected by the state. It is disbursed to the city monthly. The current tax rate can be obtained from the DFA web site at www.arkansas.gov/dfa/excise_tax_v2/et_su_rates_ct.html.

What is the special municipal charge on my bill?

Many local governments require telecommunications service providers to pay a franchise fee to operate within the local government boundaries. The fee is established by a local ordinance and collected by the local government. The fee may be different for different telecommunications providers. Contact your local government or telecommunications provider for additional information.

What is the 911 service charge on my bill?

911 is the telephone number designated for the reporting of emergencies. Arkansas Code Annotated Section 12-10-300 et seq. encourages political subdivisions, for example a city or county, to implement 911 public safety communications centers. The governing body of the political subdivision may levy a 911 service charge to be used to operate a center. The 911 service charge is collected by the local telephone company and remitted to the political subdivision quarterly.

What is the telecommunications relay service (TRS) charge on my bill?

TRS allows persons who have difficulty hearing or speaking on the telephone to talk with other persons. All telephone companies are required to provide free relay service under Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Arkansas Code Annotated Section 25-29-101 et seq. provides for the operation of the Arkansas Deaf and Hearing Impaired Telecommunications Services Corporation. The Corporation arranges for TRS in Arkansas and determines an assessment to be levied on each local telephone company. The Corporation may adjust the assessment no more than once in a calendar year quarter. The assessment may be collected by the telephone company and transmitted to the Corporation monthly. Contact the Corporation at 501-375-0086 for more information.

What is the telecommunications relay service equipment charge on my bill?

Arkansas Code Annotated Section 20-79-401 et seq. provided for the Arkansas Rehabilitation Services to establish a program to provide access to public telecommunication services by residents who are certified as deaf, hard of hearing, deaf and blind, or severely speech-impaired. The program includes the purchase and distribution of telecommunications devices. Rehabilitation Services determines a monthly surcharge not to exceed $0.02. The surcharge is collected by the telephone company and deposited in the State Treasury as special revenues.

What is the Federal end user common line charge on my bill?

It is a charge instituted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after the break-up of AT&T in 1984. It was designed so that business and residential customers would more directly contribute toward the cost of providing long distance service. The charge may appear on your bill as "Federal Subscriber Line Charge", "FCC Charge for Network Access", "Federal Line Cost Charge", "Interstate Access Charge", "Interstate Single Line Charge", or "Customer Line Charge". This charge is regulated and capped by the FCC. Local telephone companies recover some of the costs of telephone lines connected to your business or home through this monthly charge.

What is the Federal universal service fee on my bill?

This is a fund established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help promote telecommunications service nationwide as directed by the U.S. Congress. The fund contains programs to support low-income consumers, providers operating in high-cost areas, schools and libraries needing telecommunications services, and rural health care centers needing access to advanced medical services via telecommunications. Telecommunication service providers contribute directly to the fund. Their contribution rate is determined quarterly by the FCC and is applied to their prior period revenues. The FCC does not specify how or if a provider should collect a universal service charge from its customer. The FCC initiated a proceeding in 2002 to consider new rules for determining the provider's contribution and how the provider passes the charge to customers.

What is the Arkansas high cost charge on my bill?

Arkansas Code Annotated Section 23-17-404 established the High Cost Fund (ARHCF) to promote and assure the availability of universal service at rates that are reasonable and affordable, and to provide for reasonably comparable service and rates between rural and urban areas. Pursuant to law the Arkansas Public Service Commission established rules and procedures for the ARHCF and delegated its operation to a trustee. The trustee bills and collects charges from all telecommunications providers and makes payments to qualifying telecommunications providers. Telecommunications providers are allowed by law to surcharge their customers to recover the ARHCF charges they pay. This charge is not a tax.

What is the number portability service charge on my bill?

With changes to the Telecommunications Act in 1996 Congress directed local telephone companies to offer telephone number portability. Portability is a service that provides customers with the ability to retain, at the same location, their existing telephone number when switching from one local telephone service provider to another. In 1998 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) determined that local telephone companies were allowed, but not required, to recover its costs of providing number portability through two kinds of charges: (1) charges to other telephone companies; and (2) a fixed monthly charge to telephone customers. Companies can only charge customers in areas where telephone number portability is available to all customers. Once the number portability charge is started it can be collected for only five years. All customers pay the charge whether they have requested number portability service or not.

What is local toll?

Local toll is toll calling between points located in the same LATA.

What are LATAs?

Local Access and Transport Areas (LATAs) are service areas created as a result of the Modification of Final Judgement issued by the U.S. District Court concerning the breakup of the former Bell System. LATAs provided a method for determining the area within which the Bell operating companies (BOCs) such as Southwestern Bell Telephone were allowed to offer services and provided a basis to determine how assets were divided by the BOCs and AT&T at divestiture. Most local telephone companies have recognized the LATAs as the boundaries of their service area. There are 6 LATAs in Arkansas. The primary LATAs are Fort Smith, Little Rock, and Pine Bluff. The Longview, Texas, Shreveport, Louisiana, and Springfield, Missouri LATAs extend into Arkansas.

How can I control calls from telemarketers?

Rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prohibit telephone solicitation calls to your home between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. When you receive a live telephone solicitation to your home you can make a do-not-call request to the marketer. The FCC’s rules require the marketer to maintain your request for 10 years. Additional information is available from the FCC web site at www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/tcpa.html or by calling 1-888-225-5322. The Office of the Arkansas Attorney General provides a "Do Not Call" service for residential customers. Visit the "Do Not Call" home page at www.donotcall.gov or call 501-682-1334 or 1-877-866-8225 for information.

Can I obtain consumer information concerning telecommunications from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)?

Consumer information can be obtained from the FCC web site at: www.fcc.gov/cgb/information_directory.html.

What is an area code?

An area code is part of the ten digit telephone number assigned to each residential and business telephone line. The ten digit number is used to route toll and sometimes local calls. The number includes in order the area code, the central office code, and the line code in the format of NXX+NXX+XXXX where N is any number from 2 through 9 and X is any number from 0 through 9. The formal name for the area code is the number plan area (NPA). Area codes are assigned by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator. The three area codes in Arkansas are 479, 501, and 870. 501 was introduced January 1, 1947. 870 was introduced April 14, 1997. 479 was introduced January 19, 2002. A map indicating the area codes in the U.S. can be found by using the following link:

US Area Code Map


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Revised: Thursday, November 27, 2014