The USF's 2009 budget is $6.7 billion, not counting the $4.2 billion E-Rate program, which helps schools and libraries in poor areas connect to the Internet. The U.S. government raises the funds through a tax on telephone service, and some mobile carriers collect the tax as well. Most of the $6.7 billion portion of USF subsidizes traditional telephone service.
Martin had proposed putting a $1-a-month USF tax on any device that has a telephone number assigned to it, including VoIP phones. USF fees are now based on a percentage of a customer's phone bill, and for some people, the $1 tax would be an increase.
In November 2007, a board made up of FCC members, state utility commissioners and a consumer representative recommended significant changes to the USF. That group proposed shifting $300 million of the USF to broadband services. Those recommendations will not be implemented "at this time," the statement from four FCC members said.