Understanding Your Phone Bill

A typical telephone bill can have more than a dozen different line-item charges for fees, taxes and funds. Visit the FCC Understanding Your Telephone Bill page to learn more about Federal charges that may appear on your bill.

This is a list of the most common charges, taxes and fees allowed on your typical Maine telephone bill. If you see a new fee that you do not recognize, please contact the telephone company to verify that it is a legitimate charge. Note: Charges for cable or wireless telephone providers may vary slightly from the list below.


Federal Access Recovery Charge – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates this charge, but the money collected goes to the local telephone company to cover costs of maintaining the telephone line between the network and your home. This charge may also be labeled “Access charges,” “Federal Access Charge,” “Customer or Subscriber Line Charge,” “Interstate Access Charge,” or something similar.

Federal Excise Tax – This is a 3% tax assessed by the IRS on local-only telephone service.

Local Number Portability – For keeping your current local telephone numbers when switching from one service provider to another at the same location. Fees may vary by company; some may not charge any fees. These fees are not taxes.

Federal Universal Service Fund – This fund is administered by the FCC and supports telephone and broadband networks in rural and high-cost areas. It also ensures that schools, libraries and rural hospitals have reliable broadband. The charge is a percentage of all long-distance charges on your monthly bill and the FCC can change the percentage quarterly.


ConnectME Fund – The Maine Legislature approved this fund to support broadband projects in unserved and underserved areas in Maine. Support for this fund comes from an assessment of 0.25% of the revenue collected from in-state phone service toward this fund, as well as a ConnectMaine surcharge of 10 cents per line or number, which must be collected from the customer on a monthly basis. 

Maine School and Library Fund (MTEAF) – This fund is used to provide schools and libraries with access to telephone service, internet access and technology. Under statute, this monthly fee can be no higher than 21 cents per telephone number.

Maine Universal Service Fund – The Maine Legislature established this fund to ensure telephone service is available in rural and high-cost areas. In addition, the MUSF provides support for other uses and services such as the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS), Communications Equipment Fund (CEF), Blind and Visually Impaired News Access Fund, and the Public Interest Payphone (PIP) program.. The current monthly amount charged is 44 cents per telephone number.  

Service Provider Tax – This is the Maine sales tax for telecom services. In January 2016, the rate increased to 6% of instate charges.

State E-9-1-1 Surcharge – This fund supports the upgrade and maintenance of the statewide Enhanced 9-1-1 system. The amount charged is set by the State Legislature at 35 cents per telephone number, per month, as of January 2020.


Long Distance Access Fee – Consolidated assesses this $8 surcharge per long distance line, helps to cover costs including the cost of access charges and fees that Local Exchange Carriers assess on interexchange carriers.  This is a Company surcharge, not a tax, is not mandated by the FCC, and is subject to change. The Long Distance Access Fee will be billed at 50% of the applicable rate when the line is seasonally suspended. 


Updated - July 2023