AT&T to Hike Long-Distance Plans in July
NEW YORK (AP) _ AT&T Corp. Friday said it is hiking its monthly rate for long-distance customers who don’t also purchase local service by roughly a dollar starting July 1.
AT&T is blaming the new charges on the government. The extra 99 cents tacked onto each long-distance-only phone bill ``will help AT&T recover the following costs: interstate access charges; regulatory compliance; advocacy costs and property taxes,″ an advisory on customer bills reads.
AT&T’s rate hike will actually amount to $1.08 a month, when adding the 9.1 percent surcharge for the Federal Communications Commission’s Universal Service Fund, which provides discounts on phone service to rural and low-income customers and other programs.
The costs covered by the 99-cent rate hike include fees to the Federal Communications Commission and support for programs like the North American Numbering Plan and the Telecommunications Relay Service for the hearing-impaired, AT&T spokesman Gary Morgernstern said.
He declined to point to any recent increases in the costs, but said that the company can no longer ``absorb″ them. While AT&T’s long-distance revenue continues to slide, ``we still have fixed expenses that we have to cover,″ he said.