This August, BBT will pay the 21% increase in the Texas Universal Service Fund for their customers — The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) recently approved a rate increase in the Texas Universal Service Fund (TUSF) surcharge from 3.3% to 24%, effective August 1, 2022. BBT residential customers could potentially see an increase in their monthly bills of approximately $4.61 per month and $6.21 for business customers. However, BBT will pay the increase on behalf of their customers for the August billing.
The Texas Universal Service Fund was created to keep rural phone bills affordable by making the rates of rural service comparable to rates in urban areas. This was accomplished through funding from the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Two years ago, the PUC stopped providing financial support to this fund. As a result, it created a burden on rural telecommunications providers to continue providing comparable rates.
The PUC was recently ordered to take steps to fully fund the Texas Universal Service Fund. In response, the PUC increased the TUSF contribution rate from 3.3% to 24%.
BBT is committed to working with the PUC to consider an alternative plan to reduce the surcharge and resulting impact on our customers. We will continue to monitor PUC developments.
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What is the TUSF? The TUSF (Texas Universal Service Fund) program supports affordable rates for telecommunications services in the most rural and high-cost areas of the State. The TUSF program supports Relay Texas and Specialized Telecommunications Assistance Programs, the Tel-Assistance, Lifeline and Link Up programs, and the Small Local Exchange Carriers Universal Service Fund, and the Texas High-Cost Universal Service Plan.