What Does "Monthly Line Access Charge" Mean?

By Andy Warycka

Access charges are regulated by the government, but not collected by it.
i Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Phone bills can be full of esoteric fees, charges and taxes that can be hard for the average person to understand, and the monthly line access charge is one of them. It's a charge that can show up on both landlines and cellphone plans, and knowing why it is applied can help you determine how to adjust your calling plans for maximum savings.

Access Charges Defined

The Federal Communications Commission states that access charges are fees charged to subscribers by a telephone company for the use of its local network. Phone companies are allowed to charge this fee in order to recover costs incurred in providing access to their networks to make and receive calls. These charges are not a tax or a fee collected by the government, but the maximum charge per line is set by the FCC.

Notable Examples

Verizon's Share Everything plans have recently come under scrutiny by consumers for charging a monthly line access charge per device, ranging from $10 to $40. Verizon defines these charges as "fixed monthly charges based on your plan and optional services," and further states these charges may include an allowance of data and minutes.