Texans should expect to pay more for their phone service on their August bills.
The Public Utility Commission of Texas voted to increase service fund subsidies from 3.3 percent to 24 percent in July.
The new rate took effect on August 1.
The increase will likely add at least a few dollars a month to phone bills in the Lone Star State. The exact amount will depend on each individual's plan.
The PUC voted for the increase after the Third Court of Appeals forced the commission to immediately restore over $200 million in past-due support to telephone providers from the Texas Universal Service fund.
The fund was created in 1987 to help rural residents receive telephone service.
Almost 4 million rural Texans rely on the fund for their cell phone service.
"For two years, rural Texans have faced the uncertainty of whether their local phone companies would be able to ride out the financial storm created when the Public Utility Commission stopped funding universal communications services for rural areas of the state — and whether they might face dramatic increases in their phone bills or lose service altogether as a result," said Rusty Moore, Board President of the Texas Telephone Association at the time of the July ruling.
The Public Utility Commission says that telecommunications providers are not required to pass on the cost to customers, but the companies likely will.