‘Grave Concerns’: A.G. Hunter Weighs In On Increases To Phone Service Fee

Tuesday, January 21st 2020, 7:54 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Attorney General Mike Hunter is weighing in on the rising Oklahoma Universal Service Fee that's causing our phone bills to go up. The fee has increased about 500% since this summer and Corporation Commissioners are being asked to raise it again.

“Program is out of control,” Commissioner Anthony told us in November.

Related Story: Oklahoma Corporation Commission Says Phone Bills To Go Up Again

The fee pays for, among other things, subsidies for rural telephone companies.

Related Story: Oklahoma Phone Surcharge Goes Up Almost 500%, More Increases Coming

The Corporation Commission is mandated by Oklahoma law to keep the fund solvent. Commissioner Bob Anthony and Attorney General Mike Hunter said the demand on the fund and the fees passed through to us will likely continue to go up, something the AG said in a written position causes "grave concerns."

“In the last year we’ve gone from 1% to over 6% to now we’re in excess of over 9%. So that change I don’t ink was contemplated by policymakers,’ said Hunter.

He said when the law was passed back in 1997 it was to assure all Oklahomans had access to phone service. But the way Oklahomans get their service has obviously changed since then. So, Hunter wants the legislature to allow a review.

“If it’s being provided which I suspect is the case through non-landlines. We should be able to take that into account in determining how much the subsidy is going to be,” said Hunter.

Hunter said there are a couple lawmakers that have expressed interest in taking this up.