Subscriber Line Charges ( SLC )

WHEREAS, affordable telecommunications services are a necessity of modern life; and

WHEREAS, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was passed to secure lower prices and higher quality services for American telecommunications consumers, and to preserve and advance universal service; and

WHEREAS, millions of Americans already connected to the public switched telephone network, especially low-income Americans and Americans on fixed incomes, restrict their use of the network in order to save money, and are known as “low-volume consumers;” and

WHEREAS, actions of telecommunications providers and the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) have resulted in more of the costs of the public switched telephone network being shifted to unvoidable, fixed monthly charges, thereby increasing costs to low-volume consumers and reducing costs to high-volume consumers; and

WHEREAS, current state and federal low-income protection programs are not sufficient to offset the adverse impact of these increased fixed monthly charges on low-volume consumers; and

WHEREAS, the Subscriber Line Charge (SLC) was instituted by the FCC in 1986 as a fixed monthly surcharge in order to recover approximately 50% of non-traffic sensitive interstate access costs from end users; and

WHEREAS, the SLC on residential and business single lines reached its current level of $3.50 per month on January 1, 1989; and

WHEREAS, other rate elements for the recovery of interstate access costs have been reduced since 1989, while the SLC for non-primary residential and business lines has been raised; and

WHEREAS, the SLC currently recovers approximately 70% of non-traffic sensitive interstate access costs; and
WHEREAS, the costs of interstate access should appropriately be recovered through the prices of telecommunications services available in the marketplace, and should be subject to competitive pressures; and

WHEREAS, the SLC constitutes an unavoidable fixed charge on consumers which must be paid each month regardless of usage, and which is immune to competitive pressures; and

WHEREAS, the SLC adds to the financial burden on low volume customers, especially the elderly and those on fixed incomes;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) encourages the FCC to embrace pro-competitive policies by reducing or eliminating the SLC; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NASUCA encourages the FCC to avoid imposing or increasing other fixed, unavoidable monthly surcharges on end users of telecommunications services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NASUCA authorizes its Executive Committee to develop specific positions and to take appropriate actions consistent with the terms of this resolution. The Executive Committee shall notify the membership of any action taken pursuant to this resolution.

Approved by NASUCA:

November, 1999, San Antonio, Texas

Submitted by:

NASUCA Telecommunications Committee

Michael J. Travieso, MD, Chairman
Alice Hyde, IA
Angela Acree, D.C.
B. Robert Piller, PULP NY
Carl Wolf Billek, Esq., NJ
Charlie Beck, FL
Douglas W. Elfner, NY
Elliott Elam, SC
Garth Morrisette, MN
Gene Lafitte, WV
Heikki Leesment, NJ
Karen Hardie, OH
Kelly McQueen, AR
Kevin Anderson, NC
Laurie Pappas, TX
Letitia Wiggins McKoy, D.C.
Martha S. Hogerty, MO
Michael McNamara, CA
Mike Eckert, IN
Phil Bullock, UT
Philip McClelland, PA
Regina Costa, TURN CA
Richard Weiner, NM
Simon ffitch, WA
Steve Welch, NV
Theresa Czarski, MD
Thorvald Nelson, CO
Timothy Seat, IN
Wayne Jortner, ME
William Homeyer, NH
William Vallee, Jr., CT