Universal Service Fund (USF) Explained

Helps keep local service rates affordable to all residents of the state and provides discounts to low-income families.

Who put it on the bill?

State Legislature

What is it?

This surcharge is a funding mechanism for your state's Universal Service Fund (USF), which helps fund telecommunications services to the rural, high-cost areas of the state to help keep local exchange service reasonably priced for all residents.

It also provides financial support for specialized telecommunications programs like Relay and Specialized Telecommunications Device Assistance programs for the speech- and hearing-impaired and physically disabled. Universal Service Fund fees also provide assistance to income eligible customers that qualify for discount service programs.

Who gets the money?

The largest part of the universal service funding helps make it possible for telephone companies to provide service in the rural, high-cost areas of the state. Funding is also provided for the Relay System and reimbursement program to purchase specialized equipment for the hearing-impaired. Local telephone companies are also reimbursed through this fund for discount service programs provided to income eligible customers.

Also known as:

  • State Universal Service Fund Surcharge (USF)
  • Universal Service-Local
  • Universal Svc
  • Universal Svc:Local Toll
  • Universal Service
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