KCC Order Makes Internet Calls Pricier in Kansas

WICHITA, Kansas (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.