AT&T; to Charge Flat Fee for Subsidy Program

Bloomberg News

AT&T; Corp. said it will charge residential customers a flat fee of 93 cents a month on phone bills starting in July to pay for a government telephone and Internet subsidy program. Previously, the long-distance giant said it would charge residential customers 5% of their monthly phone bills to pay for the program to subsidize phone service for the poor and Internet links for schools and libraries. The flat fee will be simpler and more predictable for customers, Basking Ridge, N.J.-based AT&T; said. The revised fee structure comes a week after the Federal Communications Commission decided to scale back funding for the Internet portion of the universal service program, based on the new fees AT&T; and other phone companies announced for the program. In addition, AT&T; said it will charge business customers 4.1% of their monthly bills, down from the 4.9% it has charged since January, for the program. AT&T; shares fell 75 cents to close at $62.25 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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