My local phone company is lost at the frontier [telecom]

I just spent two hours finding out what it would cost to have a POTS line.

I moved to North Carolina last year, and since my cellular bills have been running high, I decided to price a POTS line. That was two hours ago: 120 minutes of my life that I'll never get back.

There is no "telephone company" listing in either or Every listing that is on those sites went to a fast-talking salesman who tried to talk over me, push his "package", and get my credit card number, sometimes all in one breath.

I don't mind someone telling me what's available: that's their job, after all. I *do* mind being interrupted, having someone who is thousands of miles away telling me what my "best option" is, and being lied to. I've been told that I "must" have a modem, that "everything" comes with a "service plan", and that lifeline rates are "only for people on welfare".

Sigh. That was the part that took 100 minutes.

I did, finally, find out the name of the ILEC which serves this area. I also found their website, and got an 800 number to call them with. The person I spoke to told me that the price for a POTS line is $33.98 per month, plus taxes: he wouldn't tell me what the taxes would be, nor the Universal Service, access, or other fees; he did, however, estimate that they would be about "fourteen to eighteen" dollars per month. He also suggested that I look at my neighbor's phone bill to find out the exact figure.

I'm angry about this: getting basic, publicly-available information from a public utility should not be this hard. I suppose that all the fast-buck operators who pay for ads on think that they'll make up for every guy like me by selling a "package" to some twenty- something who just fell off a turnip truck, but I expect the ILEC to be willing to quote me the rates that their tariffs specify.


Reply to
Bill Horne
Loading thread data ...

Nobody under the age of 30 *has* a landline. Nobody under the age of

20, if they grew up in the US, remembers a day when cell phones were not ubiquitous. (Unless they grew up in some place like Adirondack Park or the Green Bank Radio Quiet Zone where cellular service is restricted.)


Reply to
Garrett Wollman


I guess I've been dealing with the LEC's since only the ealry '90's as part of my work, so I've gone through the ILEC in my area being NW Bell, then Qwest, then CenturyLink. I've dealt with every CLEC that has come into my area (and mostly left), as well as the national carriers that dally with providing services, only to figure out it isn't profitable to pull out.

I have *never* been able to get a complete listing of all fees and taxes out of a telco sales person, be it the ILEC, a CLEC, or other data carrier.

I think part of it is that the government has made it soo complex a tax structure. eg. just for sales tax, we have to charge different sales tax depending on the zip code of the customer being shipped to. So if I have a customer that has three locations, almost certainly, the sales tax for them will be different for each of their locations. Ie. Besides the base state tax rate, Downtown has an additional tax levy of 0.5%. Hennepin county has an additional tax levy of

0.15%. There is also a transit tax levy of 0.25% in Hennepin county, but not in Scott county. Thankfully we're not doing any hospitality or entertainment, as those are additional levys ontop of those listed above.

My wife for a time had a side line selling beauty items. When going to a home party, she'd have to lookup the zip code she was going to, and try to figure out what the sales tax rate would be in the city she was travelling to so she could properly count it. I think in the end, she just punted and went with a base sales tax amount and left it at that.

I think in the end, the sales people realize this, and the billing departments haven't extended all the junk they go through in figuring it out into sales, and I've often heard the advice you've gotten, read an existing bill. Over time, we've seen enough examples and our own billing to know what we get billed in our area for existing services, but I'd imagine other areas have totally different billing in fees and taxes. When we get new services, its always a new adventure.

Reply to
Doug McIntyre

While there is variance in sales tax amount by locality, it usually would not significantly affect the amount of the total bill.

Anyway, regarding the original question, the carriers managed to get virtually all of their services deregulated, so they are no longer a "public utility". This applies to both the telephone and cable-TV bill. Both carriers do the same things.

The problems is that carriers can get away with being secretive about their pricing, and do so. Just line airline fares, every customer gets charged a different rate. That rate is dependent on luck, the sales rep, and the negotiating skills of the customer.

Everything is a 'package' now. The price of the package and what it includes varies constantly. Accurate information is not available online.

In my own dealings with the companies, usually what they tell me on the phone is not what shows up on my bill. Sometimes it is lower, sometimes it is higher. It is also very difficult these days to get a knowledgeable competent service representative. Far too often we get a bored overseas agent who is merely reading from a script, and usually gives out inaccurate information. For instance, I've been told contradictory information on whether *69 calls are included in my calling package.

To illustrate, myself and two neighbors have supposedly identical telephone service from Verizon. Yet we all pay three different prices. Further, some of the monthly fees vary every month, such as the "Federal Subscriber Line and Access Recovery Charge".

Reply to

Which is why the audio quality of so many of the business conference calls I am on really, really stinks. Too many participants on cell phones with muddy audio, excessive dropouts (probably due to a marginal connection to a tower), combined with thick heavy accents where English is a second language. Drives me nuts.


73 de N2UBP
Reply to
Steve Fleckenstein Forums website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.