The FCC today made an effective change in their Safe Harbor rules that will result in Service providers having to pay higher fees for their customers calls. This will likely be passed onto consumers, who will likely see an increase in the tax portion of their phone bills.

The FCC will require for the first time that VOIP carriers contribute to the Safe Harbor fund. The carriers must calculate that 64.9% of all VOIP calls are to be considered interstate or international thus requiring a payment into the fund.

Wireless Carriers also received bad news as their Base Calculation rate was increased from 28.5 to 37.1%. This means that the base of wireless or cellular calls will be taxed more. For example, in the past if a user made $100 worth of calls the base established that $28.50 of those calls were likely to be interestate or international and thus subject to the fee. That base is now increased to 37.1% or $37.10 for every $100 in service.

This is the equivalent of increasing a property tax assessment. The rates have not increased just the base that the rates are multiplied against. The FCC states that consumer trends in wireless and in VOIP indicate that more consumers are making long distance calls, which justify this increase.

FCC Adds VOIP to Universal Service Fund