FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - TELEPHONE
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
What are the taxes on my bill?
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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:
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