The "FCC Line Charge" Scandal

According to this Forbes article, the Bells stole so much money from the American people that, even after an unprecedented audit, the FCC was afraid to go after them. Instead, they struck a deal with the Bells allowing them to charge consumers more for their phone lines.

Auditors spot checked 25% of the telephone buildings across the country. 5 billion dollars worth of equipment was missing, and another 5 billion, un-auditable. Instead of fining Verizon, SBC and the rest, the FCC dismantled the audit commission. Amidst it all, the "FCC line charge" started appearing on rising phone bills. Since then, the average annual phone bill for a Verizon customer has gone up $30.

The list of accounting inconsistencies on the second page of the Forbes article is just mind boggling. It harkens back to stories of $1,000 toilet seats and hammers. But this scandal hits ISPs particular hard as we have hundreds of phone lines. We've watched in dismay over the past few years as those bills have gone through the roof. Now, we find out, not only was the FCC not looking out for us, but they may be responsible for the current state of affairs.

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