Five fees that phone companies ring up

Source: Scott Wilson, Los Angeles Times

Take a close look at your phone bill and you'll find a list of taxes, fees and surcharges going by obscure and slightly mysterious names. Some of these items are government-mandated. Others are devised simply to enrich your provider. Combined they can add 20% or more to your bill. Here are some of the fees you might see (although the exact wording of each item will vary by company): Federal Universal Service Fee (also known as Universal Connectivity Fee). All telecommunications providers are required to pay into the federal Universal Service Fund, a program that subsidizes telephone services for rural and hard-to-reach areas. Providers are not required to pass this cost onto consumers, but they can if they choose.

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