"The Universal Service Fund program is not a tax paid by U.S. taxpayers. The Universal Service Fund program is funded from contributions by telecommunications carriers collected in part from the Universal Service Charge applicable to all forms of interstate telecommunication services." View Here
The part they leave out is that it is not called the Universal Service Fund. The title is the FEDERAL Universal Service Fund. This is a "prescribed charge" that the FCC passes along to telecommunication companies.
There are four components to the Federal Universal Service Fund. They are:
- Low-Income. This program provides telephone service discounts to consumers with qualifying low-incomes.
- High-Cost. This program provides financial support to companies that provide telecommunications services in areas of America where the cost of providing service is high.
- Schools and Libraries. This program helps to ensure that the nation's classrooms and libraries receive access to the vast array of educational resources that are accessible through the telecommunications network.
- Rural Health Care. This program helps to link health care providers located in rural areas to urban medical centers so that patients living in rural America will have access to the same advanced diagnostic and other medical services that are enjoyed in urban communities.
Not to worry this is not a tax! Well it isn't... is it?
Currently, all telecommunications companies that provide service between states, including long distance companies, local telephone companies, wireless telephone companies, paging companies, and payphone providers, are required to contribute to the Federal Universal Service Fund. This includes carriers providing international services.