The Regulatory Recovery Fee, or RRF, is a fee instituted by VoIP providers to reduce overhead costs involved in including certain services provided across the board for communication and safety. Although there is much controversy about the involvement of the FCC in VoIP communications, regulatory fees are at the most basic level, attributed to supporting mostly state or local universal service – like disability access. Regulatory Recovery Fees are not a tax or government-required fee, and though it may seem so at first glance, they are a form of taxing used by providers regardless of customer use. Both residential VoIP, and business VoIP customers will typically experience this fee on their bill, and it is usually not a large amount.
To boot, this fee is not directly imposed to the customer by government at all, as its a “Recovery Fee”, created to offset costs that providers will deal with by complying with federal, state and local regulatory requirements. These include but are not limited to helping pay for emergency services such as fire and rescue, and/or for the relay center that may transmit/translate calls for the hearing and speech-impaired.
Also covered by and under the Regulatory Recovery Fee is compensation for costs related to federal and/or state programs that guarantee affordable voice services for all Americans, including those with low incomes, those living in areas where the costs of communication might be high – such as schools, libraries, and rural health care providers. Many VoIP service providers employ this fee to mitigate the loss of funds that may come from more or less, “following the rules” emplaced by government at the most local and highest levels.