In 1980, New York Telephone’s residential local service was a bundle of local calling (there was a $4.00 allowance of free calls), six free directory assistance calls (if the calls weren’t used, there was a $.30 cent credit), inside wire maintenance, and phone rental was included for about $8.50. (The calculations used do not include the phone rental.)

Another additional charge local phone bill charge was the FCC Line Charge. Along with the ‘Access Recovery Charge’ (ARC), that was added in 2011, Verizon New York’s Line Charge is $6.87.

In New York City, the total taxes on this one charge, the FCC Line Charge, are over 38%, as there is a 3% Federal tax, as well as 11.6+% added for state and local taxes, as well as a Federal Universal Service Fund charge at 16.4% (it varies by quarter), and 7% in municipal and other ‘surcharges’ — bringing the total to $9.62 for just this one set of additional charges by 2013.[1]

Other Changes:

  • There are no longer any directory assistance calls included in VNY basic service and each call for directory assistance now costs $2.49, not counting taxes, fees and surcharges. It costs a carrier $.15-$.25 a call to provide the service.[2]
  • “Inside Wire Maintenance” is deregulated and the price went from $1.24 (which was the cost in the bundle in 1980) to $9.99 by 2014..
  • The local ‘calling allowance’ was dropped and the cost per call increased, including the removal of ‘time of day’ discounts.
  • E911, at $1.00 a month was added; VNY is the provider.
  • Optional calling features, such as Caller ID and voicemail, are deregulated and they can range from $4.00-$9.50 a month. However, such calling features cost pennies a month to offer.[3]
  • The total price for local service never lowered, even as previously included services became separate charges. In 1982, the phone rental and inside wire maintenance were ‘deregulated’. They had specific costs that were included in the total local service cost. When they were separated from local service, the total price of local service never decreased, even though the ‘component parts’ were removed.

When all of these other services were ‘deregulated’, the PSC granted Verizon New York “unlimited flexibility” in what can be charged for non-basic service.

CALLING FEATURES, like Call Waiting and Call Forwarding

[1] We have adjusted the taxes and surcharges as found on bills for the years in question, as they have shifted/increased in multiple ways. And they can even vary on the bills as the companies don’t always apply them correctly. Also, some are tax-on-tax additions or they can vary by carrier.

[2] New Networks interviews with providers in 2000-2004.

[3] Report of the Florida Public Service Commission on the Relationships Among the Costs and Charges Associated with providing Basic Local Service, Intrastate Access and other Service by the Local Exchange Companies in Compliance with Chapter 98-277, Section (2) 1 Laws of Florida, February 19, 1999

[4] VNY customers were charged for amortization of the undepreciated capital cost of inside wire, and they did not receive a credit of over collections for that purpose. See: Kessel v PSC,

193 A.D.2d 339 (1993), available at



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