Understanding Your Bill – Taxes & Fees

Broadcast TV Surcharge

The Broadcast TV Surcharge reflects the fees charged by the owners of U.S. broadcast TV stations (ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS and others).  Federal law allows these stations to negotiate with cable and satellite providers in order to obtain "consent" to carry their broadcast signals (Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992). 

The Broadcast TV Surcharge is a pass-through fee reflecting charges assessed by the owners of local broadcast, or local "network-affiliated," TV stations. While broadcast stations distribute their signals over the air using free spectrum granted to them by the federal government, they charge cable and satellite companies significant amounts to carry their TV signals. These signals were historically made available to NuLink at no cost, or low cost. More recently, however, broadcast stations have substantially increased the “consent” fees required to receive their programming which has necessitated the Broadcast TV Surcharge.


This is a required fee that NuLink must pay to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to cover the costs of their regulation of cable services.

Franchise Fee

The Franchise Fee is a fee collected by NuLink on behalf of county and/or city governments. This fee is paid directly to local municipalities to use the public rights of way when providing Cable Service.  The fee is a percentage of the revenues received from providing Cable Services – generally 5%.  Federal Law gives local governments the right to charge these fees to Cable Operators who, in turn, may pass the amount of the Fee on to consumers as an itemized line on monthly bills. The amount of the Franchise Fee is mandated by local governments and can vary based on the services you receive in any given month and the area in which you live.

E911 Charge

The E911 charge is a fee imposed by local governments to help pay for emergency 911 services such as fire and rescue. Rates are mandated by local governments and can vary by location.

Federal Excise Tax

This tax applies to basic local phone service and is paid directly to the Federal Government.

Regulatory Fee

The Regulatory Fee, also called the “Federal Subscriber Line Charge,” is regulated and capped by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). These fees help to recover a portion of the cost to make and receive interstate and international calls.

FCC Digital Phone Fee

The FCC Digital Phone Fee recovers federal government costs to support the FCC’s operations and charges to support the telephone number system and telephone portability.

Federal TRS (Telecommunications Relay Service)

This fee is paid to the Federal Government to help pay for the Telecommunications Relay Service which transmits and translates calls for people who are hearing- impaired and/or speech- impaired.

Federal & State USF (Universal Service Fund)

The Universal Service Fund (USF) was created by the FCC and is used to help make phone service affordable and available to all consumers. This fee is paid to the Federal Government and helps promote and support access to telecommunications services at reasonable rates for those living in rural and high-cost areas, income-eligible consumers, rural healthcare facilities, and schools and libraries.  Congress mandated that all telephone companies providing interstate service contribute to the Universal Service Fund.

Sales Tax

State and/or local sales tax paid on equipment charges.