This article does a nice job summarizing a debate that has been going on in telecom policy circles over the past month or so (this is another related item). One interesting thing about the universal service fee is that the FCC never required telcos to separately itemize this fee ... they chose to do so. Now, with its elimination for DSL, it becomes obvious to consumers who take the time to look at their bills.
Do you think Verizon's ability to retain the revenues from this fee (basically increase prices by the amount of the fee) is evidence of significant market power? Do you think that Verizon is within their rights to do this, or do you think it is an abuse of regulatory relief? Do you think that the FCC (or another government agency) should take action? If so, what should they do?
Update: On 30 August 2006, Verizon agreed to drop this "surcharge" (see this article, for example). If Verizon claimed to require these revenues to support their network upgrades, where do you think they will find them now? Is there a connection to network neut* here?
Verizon, AT&T, universal service, billing, Internet, DSL, Network Neutrality