Anatomy of a Phone Bill
Local Basic Service (new FairPoint) - $14.69 -- to $19.08 - independent local phone companies). This is the only service subject to rate regulation by the Maine Public Utilities Commission. Every phone company is required to offer standalone basic service that includes unlimited calling within the local calling area.
Bundled Service - rates vary widely depending on services included. Always check the individual rates to see if you are paying more than necessary by choosing a bundle. It may depend on how many toll minutes you actually use. Note that independent companies charge as little as 3 cents per minute for long-distance calls.
Optional Services - Wire maintenance plans, Caller ID, etc - drop the ones you don't really need
Subscriber Line Charge (SLC) - federal portion of the local phone company's rate. Ranges from $6.14 to $6.50.
Maine School and Library Fund (MTEAF) - .6% of instate charges (supports Internet connectivity)
E911 Charge - $.45
ConnectME - (Connect Maine) .25% of instate charges (supports broadband projects in rural areas)
Maine Universal Service Fund (supports high cost phone companies) - 1.51% of instate charges
Maine Service Provider Tax - 5% of instate charges (new name for sales tax on telecom services)
Federal Universal Fund - 17.4% of interstate charges (changes quarterly)
Federal Excise Tax - 3% (still collecting for the Spanish American War)
Note: If you see other charges on a bill from a phone company that you don't understand, please let us know. Unauthorized surcharges by phone companies are not lawful.