Kentucky phone customers could see bill increase

Kentucky phone customers could see bill increase

KENTUCKY (KFVS) - There are between 150,000 and 175,000 Kentuckians who receive state and federal subsidies.

According to the Public Service Commission, the Kentucky Universal Service Fund is in danger of running out.

"The amount of revenue coming into the fund has been greatly exceeded by the amount of money being dispersed and as a result it has diminished dramatically over the last four or five years," said Andrew Melnykovych, a spokesman for the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

The balance started with $10 million in funding when the program began in 1996.

Today, there is $400,000 left.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has opened an investigation to determine how to keep the program running.

Melnykovych said the immediate problem is to figure out how to maintain the fund during the investigation.

"The Commission is looking at now to either increase the surcharge, which puts money into the fund," he said. "That surcharge is currently 8 cents per month for every phone line in the state of Kentucky."

Melnykovych said that charge could double, impacting anyone in the state of Kentucky who owns a wireless or landline phone.

"The question now is do we increase that per line charge to 14 cents a month or decrease the amount of state subsidy from $3.50 per month per lifeline phone to $2 per month per lifeline phone?"

The commission will also look at how the fund became depleted.

Before April 2012, the KUSF paid out about $215,000 every month.

Since then, the monthly disbursement has averaged about $582,000.

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