Rationalize my Phone Bill

So here’s a question I hope somebody who works for a phone company can give me a factual answer to… please. q;}

I do not have any friends out of state who I do not know off the internet. They all still have internet access. If I want to talk to them, I use my phone line to sign onto the internet, and talk to them there. This is not my question.

Since I don’t make any long-distance calls, I don’t have a long-distance carrier. I make it quite clear when they try to sell me one anyway… I don’t make long distance calls, I don’t need long distance service.

In fact, practically the only reason I do use my phone line is for the internet. Yes, I’m on dialup. Sad, isn’t it? This is not my question either.

When I went in to get my phone hooked up, I made these things quite clear. I even went as far as to request, for an additional charge, one single ‘feature’ for my phone. It is not call waiting, it is not caller ID…

I pay $1.50 extra a month on my phone bill for the “Block Long Distance Access” ‘feature’. Even if I WANTED to make a long distance call, I can’t. This both guarantees that nobody will sign me up for long distance service without telling me, and ensures that nobody visiting me can call someone and run up a huge bill that I won’t learn about for a month or two.

This is my question: Why do I ALSO pay $6.00 a month for something called an “Interstate Subscriber Charge”? I don’t subscribe to the interstate… I don’t make long distance calls, which an interstate call would obviously be. In fact I pay extra for the ability NOT to make interstate calls.

I’ve asked the oh-so-intelligent-and-helpful people at my local company. The most coherent answer I’ve been able to get is “The government makes us.” My follow-up question of ‘why’ was met with silence.

So what is this charge? Do I have a reasonable expectation of NOT being forced to pay it, since I don’t use what it ostensibly claims to be, ie interstate service? How do I convince the people at the office to stop charging me for it? If it IS in fact something the government makes them charge me for, could you tell me WHY?

It irks me that I pay $6 for something that I pay another $1.50 NOT to use.

Not to mention the other piddly stuff like ‘cost of service surcharge $0.03’ and ‘Federal Universal Service Fee’ (do I really pay to call jupiter and andromeda? How much is it to the inside of a black hole, per minute, anyway? Our time or theirs?)

I realize that some stuff makes no sense no matter how you look at it… but still! Sheesh!

Ack! First thread… and I TRIPLEpost! I’m so sorry! mods… please kick me at will. 8(