Internet Phone Users to Pay Regular Phone Charge

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Customers who make calls via the Internet in Kansas may be paying more for the service starting in January.

The Kansas Corporation Commission on Monday ordered voice-over-Internet-protocol services -- also known as VoIP -- to pay the Kansas universal service charge. Regular phone customers have long paid the charge, which assures service is available everywhere -- especially rural areas.

The KCC order requires VoIP companies to pay 4.65 percent of their Kansas revenue to the fund -- the same rate paid by traditional phone companies. Commission spokeswoman Rosemary Foreman said the VoIP companies can absorb the cost or pass it on to customers in a bill charge.

Foreman tells The Wichita Eagle that VoIP companies make $35 million a year in Kansas, estimating that their universal service payments will be about $1.6 million.

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(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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