FCC Fact Sheet

Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Rates in Effect for Inmate Calling Service (“ICS”)

Current FCC Interstate Rates:
The FCC rate caps – $0.21 per-minute for debit and prepaid ICS calls and $0.25 per-minute for collect ICS calls – are in effect for all “interstate” ICS calls.

Understanding the Difference Between Interstate vs. In-state Calls:
The FCC “interstate” rates for inmate calling services, effective February 11, 2014, applies to calls originating in one state and terminating in another state. Interstate prepaid and debit calling rates are $0.21 per minute and Interstate collect calling rates are $0.25 per minute. A provider’s rates are compliant if the total charge for a 15-minute interstate calls does not exceed $3.75 for a 15-minute call using collect calling, or $3.15 for a 15-minute call using debit calling, prepaid calling, or prepaid collect calling. The FCC interstate rates do not apply to calls that originate in one state and terminate within the same state.

In-State (Intrastate) Calling Rates:
In-state (Intrastate) calls are calls within the same state. Calls within a state can also be referred to as Local, interLATA or intraLATA calls within the state . The FCC interstate ICS calling rates do not apply to in-state calls.

Status of Court Action:
On June 13, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated rate caps on intrastate rates, as exceeding FCC jurisdiction; vacated the exclusion of site commissions from cost calculus as devoid of reasoned decision making and thus arbitrary and capricious; remanded the ancillary fee caps to the FCC to determine whether the FCC can determine whether it can segregate ancillary fees on interstate and intrastate calls; struck down the use of industry-averaged costs data as arbitrary and capricious; and vacated video visitation reporting requirements, as exceeding FCC jurisdiction.

Permitted Ancillary Services Charges and Taxes:
The rules limiting charges for ancillary services—other than the rule related to single-call services, which the D.C. Circuit stayed—took effect on March 17, 2016 for all ICS calls from prisons, and took effect on June 20, 2016 for all ICS calls from jails (see chart below). Those same effective dates also apply to the rates for ICS calls involving TTY devices, the rule governing the treatment of taxes and fees, the rule prohibiting per-call or per-connection charges, the rule prohibiting flat-rate calling, and the rules governing minimum and maximum calling account balances.

Permitted Ancillary Service Charges and Taxes Monetary Cap Per Use / Instruction

Applicable taxes and regulatory fees

Provider shall pass these charges through to consumers directly with no markup

Automated payment fees1

$3.00

Live agent fee, i.e., phone payment or account set up with optional use of a live operator

$5.95

Paper bill/statement fees (no charge permitted for electronic bills/statements)

$2.00

Prepaid account funding minimums and maximums

Prohibit prepaid account funding minimums and prohibit prepaid account funding maximums under $50

Third-party financial transaction fees, e.g., MoneyGram, Western Union, credit card processing fees and transfers from third party commissary accounts

Provider shall pass this charge through to end user directly, with no markup

1 Automated payments include payments by interactive voice response (IVR), web, or kiosk.