Charge for Network Access, also known as the Subscriber Line Charge, FCC charge, Interstate Access Charge, Federal Access Charge or a few other varieties, is a charge that covers the cost and maintenance of the local phone network. It’s a charge that every carrier charges, but it’s not a government charge and no money goes to the Federal government. The only involvement the government has with this fee is that it determines the maximum a carrier can charge.
Universal Connectivity Fee is a contribution to the Universal Service Fund. The fund was established by the Federal government in an attempt to make phone service affordable and available to all Americans. All phone companies providing interstate service must contribute to the Universal Service Fund. Some carriers have decided to pass this charge on to their customers.
Local Number Portability, or LNP, is a fee established by carriers, and permitted by the Federal government, to recover the cost of making phone numbers portable – the ability to move a phone number from one provider to another. Number portability is essential for open competition in the phone service industry, especially for business phone service, and is mandated by the Federal government. A carrier is only allowed to charge this fee for five years from the date the charge was first established on a customer’s phone bill.
Emergency 911 is a fee collected by phone companies, like Qwest, AT&T & Verizon, and passed on to local governments to help pay for emergency services.
Telecommunications Relay (TRS) is a fee that is collected to help pay for the relay center that translates calls for the hearing and speech impaired.
Federal Excise Tax is a three percent surcharge applied to local phone service charges that are billed separately from long distance service.