When we moved to our current home I looked over the availability of communications for internet, phone, tv reception etc. We didn't have choices on a few utilities due to the location of our home so in the end I made the best choices (and sometimes the only choices) available to us and got everything hooked up as needed.
One of the companies we use is Windstream. We've been a customer for a couple years now and one of the interesting things about their billing is that signing up for a bundle package that came with a lifetime guarantee price of $59.99 a month regularly costs me $90 a month.
Today I looked over the details of my bill and there are so many fees and charges unrelated to any of our usage, it's almost mind boggling. There are a couple fees listed (and charged twice) like the "federal universal service fee" because they apparently get to charge it for the 'windstream communications' part of the bill as well as the regular 'windstream' part of the bill.
How your 'LIFETIME GUARANTEE BUNDLE PRICE' of $59.99 actually equals almost $100 every month.
Let's look at some of these fees!
1 month of service;
Access charge per FCC order
Access Recovery charge
Federal Universal Service Fee
Dual Party Relay Surcharge
Deregulated Administration Fee
State Utility Tax
Access Recovery Rate Change
Interstate Service Fee
Federal Universal Service Fee
State Utility Tax
Here is an explanation of their fees and surcharges from their website:
Windstream Communications Fee and Surcharge Guide
Below is a listing of all Windstream fees and surcharges. Please note that not all surcharges and fees apply to all customers.Interstate Service Fee - Allows Windstream to recover costs, such as those associated with provisioning and maintaining customer accounts on the Company's network and interstate and international connection charges. Applies per account.
Network Cost Recovery Fee – Assists Windstream in recovering costs associated with routing telephone calls to their destinations. Applies monthly per line/trunk as specified in Windstream’s Tariffs and/or Terms and Conditions.
Federal Subscriber Line Charge Fee – Helps Windstream recoup the costs associated with building, maintaining and connecting telephone lines to your business. Applies monthly per telephone line or trunk.
Federal Universal Service Fund Fee – Designed to recover Windstream’s contribution to federal universal service fund programs, and is determined based upon Windstream’s own contribution to these programs. The Federal Communications Commission establishes a quarterly contribution factor, and Windstream recovers its contribution from its customers.
Local Number Portability Fee – Designed to help Windstream defray the costs of providing number portability. Number portability enables customers to retain their existing telephone numbers when they switch to another service provider. Applies monthly to local telephone lines/trunks.
State Telecommunications Relay Service Fund Surcharge – Assessed by states to assist disabled persons with access to telephone services and equipment. Applies monthly to all local telephone lines/trunks.
State Universal Service Fund Fee – Used to subsidize telephone service for rural health care providers, low-income residences, schools and libraries at the state level. Applies based on local and intrastate telephone usage and/or lines.
State 911 Recovery Surcharge – Assessed to recover the cost of providing 911 access to emergency services. Applies based on local and intrastate telephone usage and/or lines.
Payphone Fee – Assessed each time a Windstream customer uses a Windstream calling card or 1-8XX number at a payphone to help defray the per call compensation assessed to Windstream by the payphone provider for completing such calls.
Regulatory Access Fee – Assessed to help off-set costs associated with maintaining equal access call origination and termination facilities domestically and internationally. Applies per line.
Emergency Services Fee – Assessed to help recover costs of operating Windstream’s emergency systems and equipment that support the availability of emergency services to customers. Applies per line, subject to a per customer cap.
Late Payment Charge and Late Payment Collection Fee – This charge and this Fee recover the costs associated with the administration and collection of unpaid balances and are not government-mandated. The Late Payment Collection Fee may not apply to all customers.
Access Recovery Charge – The FCC permits local telephone companies to assess this charge to recover a portion of the costs incurred in the provision and maintenance of telephone service to connect customer’s homes and businesses to the telephone network.
Regulatory Assessment Surcharge (RAS) - As a telecommunications company, Windstream must make various payments to local, state, and federal departments and agencies, including, but not limited to, administration fees, inspection and supervision fees, and general public utility commission assessments. RAS is designed to help Windstream recover the cost of these payments. Windstream assesses RAS on end‐user customers based on the individual customer’s respective interstate and international services invoiced.
Carrier Infrastructure Fee Charge - Carrier Infrastructure Surcharge is a 1.75% assessment on all services. The assessment is for the administration of services by personnel and systems throughout our network including: network security, infrastructure management, and tax, regulatory and tariff administration.
Property Tax Recovery Charge - The Property Tax Recovery Charge (PTRC) is a 1.5% assessment applied to long distance and local usage. PTRC is assessed based on the customers tax plan.
Paperbill fee - This charge applies to business accounts in certain states who chose to continue to receive a full paper bill. Fee is designed to recover the cost of producing a paper bill. In lieu of a paper invoice customers, may elect to receive a summary invoice at no charge.
Deregulated Administration Fee - The Deregulated Administration Fee recovers costs associated with administration and provision of many products and services such as maintenance and entertainment services. This fee is not a tax or fee required by the government.
Franchise/Right-of-Way Fee - Governmental entities may charge Windstream to use the public rights-of-way to provide service to our customers. This fee collects Windstream’s costs associated with those charges. This fee is not a tax or charge required by the government.