FCC rules AT&T must pay federal fees

[JURIST] In a ruling against AT&T Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] determined that the company must pay fees associated with its pre-paid calling cards. The fees go to local telephone companies to cover costs to connect the call and to federal programs that subsidize rural telephone and Internet service. AT&T tried to avoid the fees by characterizing the calling cards as an "information service" by adding audio advertisements when a user placed a call. The FCC disagreed and determined the advertising was incidental [order text, PDF] to the main purpose of the cards. AT&T owes approximately $160 million in back fees to the federal government. An additional $340 million is due to local companies, who will have to file individual suits to recover the money. AP has more.

 

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