New Landline Fee: Pay for Home Phone or Pay a Fine




Mid age woman sitting at table

Mid age woman sitting at tableHome phones were one of the first services hit by what would later be called cord cutting. When I got my first home back in the early 2000s the one thing I never thought of was getting was a home phone. I had a cell phone, and that is all I needed. I was not the only one who thought this way, because home phone subscribers have been slowly declining.

Now it seems that some Internet service providers are fighting back against this trend. According to a report from KCCI, Ogden Telephone Co, a regional Internet, TV, and phone provider is implementing a new fee for not having a home phone line.

Apparently if you do not subscribe to a $30 a month home phone line but subscribe to other services you will have to pay a $80 monthly fee for not having a home phone.

“When I first got this letter, I couldn’t believe I was going to be charged $80 for not having a landline,” Janssen-Solheim told KCCI.

Jim Heckman, the general manager of Ogden Telephone Co, told KCCI, “The rural areas, it’s just quite costly to get the internet to those rural areas.” Heckman went on to say that the FCC had recently imposed a fee on rural providers.

Cord Cutters News called Ogden Telephone Co, the only Internet and cable provider in the area, to find out what cost and fees drove this decision to start to charge $80 for not having a landline. The manager at Ogden Telephone Co told Cord Cutters News that the company won’t be commenting on this anymore and hung up the phone before we could reply.

The only new FCC fee we could find seems to be the fact that the FCC does set the price for home phone, because on July 1, 2016, the FCC said that rural basic voice service will charge at least $18 a month to avoid losing universal service support. That rate is currently set to jump $2 a month on July 1, 2017, and jump $2 again on July 1, 2018. However, we found that the FCC was or may still be in the process of putting a hold on the price increase and freeze the rate at $18 a month.

“After several years of experience with the ‘rate floor’ rule, we now recognize that it imposes high costs on rural consumers without any corresponding federal benefit. A wide array of stakeholders have raised significant and legitimate concerns that the rate floor harms rural consumers and is inconsistent with the direction of section 254(b) of the Communications Act to advance universal service in rural, insular, and high cost areas of the country while ensuring that rates are just, reasonable, and affordable,” said the FCC in a recent statement on the rate floor rule.

Hopefully this new policy of pay for home phone or pay a fee won’t spread to other providers.

Has your provider tried to implement a rule like this in your area? If so please leave us a comment so we can look into it.

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