About the Federal Universal Service Fund

The Federal Universal Service Fund (FUSF) is a U.S. government-administered program to subsidize telecommunications services and broadband in rural and high-cost areas, for low-income consumers, and for schools, libraries and healthcare facilities. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires all telecommunications providers, including audio conferencing providers, to contribute into the fund based on a percentage of collected revenues.

Each quarter, the FCC updates the percentage revenue contribution factor, which ranged from 17.9% to 25.0% during 2018 and 2019, averaging 20.5%. The current contribution factor can be found here.

All per-minute usage charges associated with telephone dial-in access (both domestic and international) are subject to FUSF fees, which are added to your TurboBridge invoice. TurboBridge does not keep nor profit from any portion of the FUSF fee you pay, nor does it receive any FUSF subsidies for the services it provides.

For more information on the Federal Universal Service Fund, visit the Universal Service Administrative Company website.

Frequently-Asked Questions on FUSF

Are all TurboBridge charges subject to FUSF?

No. Only charges associated with Toll Access and Toll-Free Access are subject to FUSF fees. Direct connections via the Internet are exempt, so the FUSF surcharge does not apply to any charges for TurboBridge WebCall Access, SIP Access, or Skype Access.

Do non-U.S. customers have to pay FUSF fees?

Yes. FUSF obligations are not based on the location of the subscriber, but rather on TurboBridge's designation as a U.S. telecommunications provider.

Are charitable or religious groups exempt from FUSF fees?

No. These are defined as "government fees", not "taxes", and therefore are not subject to exemptions. FUSF fees apply to all subscribers regardless of non-profit or group status.

Are all conference providers required to charge FUSF fees?

All conference providers offering dial-in audio conferencing using U.S. telecommunications networks must pay into the Federal Universal Service Fund based on a percentage of collected revenues. No phone company is required to collect FUSF fees from their subscribers, though in practice, nearly all conference providers and phone companies charge FUSF fees to their paying subscribers, as they do for most taxes and other government-mandated fees.

Why is the FUSF Rate much higher than most government taxes and fees?

FUSF was originally designed to subsidize phone service in rural areas, but the fund has since been expanded to subsidize other services, including rural broadband service. Originally, FUSF was funded by a relatively small percentage surcharge on interstate long distance charges. Since most consumers no longer pay for long distance (free with mobile phones), FUSF is increasingly being funded through surcharges on mobile phone bills. (FUSF is not assessed on broadband services, even though broadband is an increasingly higher portion of communications expenditures.) Since FUSF is a federal program, only 37.1% of mobile phone charges are subject to the FUSF rate (the remainder portion is deemed to be "intrastate charges") – therefore, the effective FUSF surcharge is about 7.5% on mobile bills. However, audio conferencing is defined by regulators as an "exclusively interstate service", so the full percentage applies to audio conferencing revenue – an unintended consequence of policy actions.