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Down with the DC Cellular Surcharge!

I’m getting ready to settle down in the DC area again after a long while of living overseas. So, I’m getting things in order. One of the first things I did upon coming back to the States was get a new cell phone. I’m loving my new iPhone (a topic for another post) and my DC phone number (complete with 202 area code).

But now the bill has come in and I’m wondering if I was wise to get a DC phone number. I looked at my bill and there were additional charges of about $11 (on top of a whopping $74/month contract fee). Here’s the rundown of the fees:

Credits, Adjustments & Other Charges

DC 911 FEE 0.76
Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge 1.05
DC Cellular Surcharge Residential 7.75
Federal Universal Service Charge 1.47

Do you see the third charge listed above – DC Cellular Surcharge Residential? I looked online to see what this is and saw that consumerist.com covered this a couple years ago. It really seems like an outrage to me and I am surprised that, two years on, people haven’t been marching in the streets over this. How can having a cell phone in DC be considered a luxury?

Anyhow, I am on a fact-finding mission to find out the reason behind this surcharge. What is it? What is it helping to fund? Why are people in DC allowing this to go through, month-after-month, without complaining?

I am determined to get to the bottom of this. I’m also considering changing my new phone number. *sigh*