Q. What happens if I switch my service to Wireless?
A. As a community based telecom provider, Citizens Telephone Corporation wants our customers to know exactly what it means to "go wireless". This will terminate your traditional wireline phone service and switch your service to wireless as your sole connection. If you decide to port your telephone number to a wireless carrier, we want to give you an idea of some of the service differences between traditional wireline phones and what you can expect from a wireless carrier:
- If you port your wireline (traditional) phone number to a wireless carrier, you will be disconnecting your wireline phone and terminating your traditional local service with our company.
- You may no longer enjoy unlimited local calling; in many cases, you will need to be aware of the number of minutes that are included in your wireless plan, and keep in mind that in many cases (especially if you are calling someone using a different wireless carrier), both the calls you make and those you receive will count against your total minutes; and, you will be responsible to pay for any overages.
- You will have to arrange with your wireless provider for a directory listing and directory assistance services.
- In an emergency, E-911 service can pinpoint your traditional home phone, however in most cases, not your cell phone.
- You will no longer have access to all the other telecom services of Citizens Telephone such as DSL.
- You will be unable to reach someone at your home who does not have their cell phone on or with them.
- You will have to keep your wireless phone charged at all times; if the power goes out and your phone is not charged, or the battery wears down, you will have to wait until power is restored before you can charge your phone.
- In general, a phone number can only be assigned to a single wireless phone. With a traditional wireline phone, you can have many phones (or extensions) in your house that hook up to the same number. Typically, wireless phones can't share numbers.
- If your home is in an area that does not enjoy clear wireless service reception, your calls might be patchy, unclear, or have a tendency to drop. Be aware of your surroundings and the type of reception that your wireless phone gets at home; as this is the type of service quality you'll have for all your calls.
With all the services and features - not to mention, reliability and customer service with a company you have a standing relationship, why would you want to disconnect your wireline phone?
Q. What is the Interstate End User Charge?
A. The charge is mandated by the Federal Communications Commission and is part of the FCC's effort to support competition in the telecom market. The Interstate End User charge is a flat monthly charge assessed directly on your bill. The end user charges for residential and single-line business customers are capped at $6.50 per month, and at $9.20 per line, per month for multi-line businesses. The monthly charge does not result in additional revenue for Citizens Telephone.
Q. What is the Federal Universal Service Charge?
A.The "Federal Universal Service Charge" (FUSC), also authorized by the FCC, is not part of your local service rate. The purpose of this charge is to help to keep rates affordable for all Americans, regardless of where they live. The FUSC is applied as a percentage, which is set by the FCC and varies on a quarterly basis.
The Federal Universal Service Fund assists with the costs of providing "affordable" telecom services to low-income individuals and to residents in rural, high-cost areas. In addition, the program helps schools, libraries and rural health care providers obtain leading edge services, such as high-speed Internet access. All providers of telecom contribute to the support of these universal service programs.
Q. Where do the Interstate End User and FUSC charges go?
A. Both the Interstate End User Charge and FUSC fees collected from customers go to the federal administrative agencies created by the FCC to oversee and manage the funds. The End User Charge fees are re-distributed to local telephone companies based on specific costs. These funds enable community based telecom providers serving high-cost rural areas to recover some of the costs of the facilities used to connect your home or business. The FUSC fees allow us to recover our assessments for the federal universal service programs. A portion of the funds collected from the FUSC is distributed to keep rates in high-cost rural areas at or near the national average.
Q. What does the E911 surcharge cover?
A. The E-911 charge is a state/local government charge to fund emergency-911 services, such as police, fire and rescue.
Q. Are there programs available to help make telephone service more affordable for low-income customers? How is eligibility determined, and where can I apply?
A.Federal and state lawmakers believe that every person in America should have access to quality, affordable telecommunications service. If you participate in social programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps, Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, National School Lunch Program or if your household income is below a certain threshold level, you may qualify for a discount on your telephone bill. This "universal service" system includes:
- Lifeline assistance - provides discounts for basic monthly local telephone service
- Link-up - reduces the cost of initiating new telephone service
Eligibility for these programs varies by federal and state guidelines. To find out whether you qualify, you need to fill out standard forms available at our office and other state and local government offices in the area. While we participate in these federal and state programs based support programs, we are not responsible for determining who qualifies, and therefore who receives assistance. Customers must meet specific, pre-determined regulations in order to obtain assistance with their local telephone service.
The Universal Service Administration lists full details and state-specific Lifeline contact information, at www.lifelinesupport.org. Or you can call toll free, 1-888-641-8722, if you have questions about the Lifeline and Link-up discounts.
Q. What is the Telecommunications Relay Service Charge?
A. Local telephone companies offer Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) to help hearing or speech impaired individuals communicate via the telephone. TRS is required by Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act and to the extent possible, must be "functionally equivalent" to standard telephone services. Communications assistants (CA) relay the content of calls between users of special text telephones (TTY's) and users of traditional telephones.
TRS recently has expanded to include Video Relay Service (VRS) that provides a video link that allows a CA to view and interpret sign language and IP relay Service that enables two-way communication between an individual using a non-voice terminal device and an individual using a standard voice telephone.
Costs for intrastate TRS (that is, TRS calls made within a state) are paid by the individual states. Generally, states recover the TRS costs through a small assessment on telephone customers in the state. The TRS charge is used to fund the relay centers and special equipment that assist hearing and speech impaired persons to communicate. Costs for interstate TRS (state-to-state TRS calls) are paid through the Interstate TRS fund, which is supported through contributions from all interstate carriers.
Q. How do I sign up for the Do-Not-Call list?
A. The Do-Not-Call Registry applies to all telemarketers (with exception of certain non-profit and political organizations) and covers both interstate and intrastate telemarketing calls. Commercial telemarketers are not allowed to call you if your number is listed on the registry.
Consumers may register their residential telephone number on the National Do-Not-Call Registry at no cost by telephone or on the Internet. To register by telephone, you should call 1-888-382-1222. For special text telephones, call 1-866-290-4236. You must call from the phone number you wish to register. You may also register by Internet at www.donotcall.gov. Inclusion of your telephone number on the national Do-Not-Call Registry will be effective within 31 days of registration.
Consumers may also register for the State of Indiana's No-Call Registry. The Indiana Attorney General's Office, Telephone Privacy Division, maintains, updates, and enforces the privacy list. All Indiana residents can register their phone number on the list, and the service is free and easy to use.
To register, visit www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/consumer/telephone/ or you can call 1-888-834-9969. A representative will then ask you some basic information regarding your phone number, name and address, then add you to the list.
Q. What is a preferred carrier freeze?
A. To protect against slamming, Citizens Telephone offers a preferred carrier (PIC) freeze, which enables you to prevent any changes being made to your selection of a long-distance provider without your expressed consent. We make PIC freezes available to customers, regardless of the company selected as the preferred long-distance carrier.
Q. If I want to dispute a charge that appears on my bill - and don't pay the charge - will my local service be disrupted?
A. We identify all charges on your bill that if not paid, could result in the disconnection of your local service and such services are known as "deniable" charges. Non-payment of other charges, known as "non-deniable" charges can result in the termination of the specific service, but will not lead to total disconnection of local service. If you don't recognize the charges, you should call the business office number listed on your bill within 30 days to ensure no interruption of the service in question.
Q. Who is my long distance provider?
A. You will find your current assigned long distance provider listed on page 1 of your telephone invoice. It will list both your Intralata (local in state) and Interstate calling areas. If you elected not to have a long distance carrier, it will state "no preferred carrier ".
Q. How do I change my listing in the telephone directory?
A. Changes are not made to the directory listing, unless requested by the customer. You can have a different listing than what is on your invoice. For example your invoice can be, Mrs. Jane Doe, and the directory listing can be, Doe J. If you wish to make changes in how your name is listed, please contact our business office.
Q. I am digging around my house, who do I contact?
A. Before starting any outside digging project, call "811". This is the Indiana Underground Plant Protection Service (IUPPS) one call notification center. The center will inform the owners and operators of underground facilities of your plans, and will allow them to mark their underground infrastructure.
Q. What is CPNI?
A. In the United States, CPNI (Customer Proprietary Network Information) is information that telecommunications services such as local, long distance, and wireless telephone companies acquire about their subscribers. It includes not only what services they use but their amount and type of usage. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 together with clarifications from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) generally prohibits the use of that information without customer permission, even for the purpose of marketing the customers other services. In the case of customers who switch to other service providers, the original service provider is prohibited from using the information to try to get the customer back. CPNI includes such information as optional services subscribed to, current charges, directory assistance charges, usage data, and calling patterns.
At times you may be asked to provide us with a password or security question, for our business office to verify the person we are providing sensitive information. If you do not have a signed CPNI form completed and signed in our office, you will not be able to obtain account information over the phone.
Q. How do I pay my bill?
A. There are several options available to you for paying your invoice. You can either mail payment in the envelope provided; drop payment off at our business office located at 426 N Wayne St in Warren, (outside drop box is available for after hours); call business office and make one-time payment by credit card over the phone; automatic bank draft payment; and we now offer online payment by check or credit card.