The rate, adopted in July and put into effect on Aug. 1, will go up from 3.3% to 24% as a result of the commission's move to increase the Texas Universal Service Fund surcharge.
Paying the surcharge is required for telecommunication companies to provide rural areas with cell service. The surcharge is based on the "cost those companies pay to provide long-distance service within the state," the Tribune reported.
According to the Tribune, the move to increase the rate came after a court recently ruled the PUC wasn't paying the fund enough for rural service. The court ordered the PUC to restore $200 million in overdue money to the fund.
Texans with family plans and per-minute rates will see the greatest increase in their phone bills. Those with individual plans will not see as large of an increase.
The Tribune also reported that Texans living in rural areas of the state are more likely to make long-distance calls to the state's urban areas and will likely experience a higher increase to their phone bills than Texans living in urban areas. Texans who never make long-distance calls within the state won’t be affected.
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