By Rocky Mountain News
Thursday, February 23, 2006
A telephone service surcharge of 7 cents a line per month is
being eliminated temporarily effective April 1. The
customer surcharge, part of the Low-Income Telephone
Assistance Program (LITAP), doesn't need to be collected for
the next couple of years because of a $5.5 million fund
established by Qwest Communications as part of a settlement
with state regulators. The settlement, approved by the
Colorado Public Utilities Commission last year, stems from a
case in which Qwest allegedly made secret agreements with
certain phone service resellers.
The surcharge is expected to remain at zero until the fourth
quarter of 2008, state regulators said Thursday.
State legislators established LITAP, also known as the
"Lifeline" fund, in 1990. The fund is used to subsidize
local telephone service for the low-income. More than
29,000 Colorado customers received discounts under the
program last year. The Colorado Department of Human
Services determines eligibility under specific criteria.