Insights

Why Does Somos File a Tariff?

When I talk to my friends and family about my job, and tell them that I’m filing the annual tariff for Somos, Inc. at the end January, they get confused. They think of the more common tariff definition – duties and fees imposed by a government on imports and exports.

Those of us who work in telecommunications know that there is a different type of tariff that is filed at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In the telecom world, a tariff contains the rates, terms and conditions of services provided by regulated telecommunications carriers.

Somos is unique in that we file a tariff, but are not a telecommunications carrier. So why does Somos file an FCC tariff?

In 1993, the FCC mandated Toll-Free Number portability. In that order, the FCC required the Regional Bell Operating Companies (BOCs) to provide Toll-Free Number portability. The FCC required the BOCs to file a tariff, known as the 800 Service Management Systems (SMS/800) Functions Tariff, for this service, as the BOCs were incumbent local exchange carriers and the sole source for this service.

In 2013, the FCC approved the transition of tariffing responsibilities from the BOCs to Somos (then called SMS/800, Inc.). When that happened the tariff, including its title, remained substantially the same.

Therefore, the FCC requires Somos to file an annual tariff to update terms and rates for the coming year. Somos, however, can file tariffs more often. In fact, we filed three times in 2015 – once for the annual filing, once to add the new Responsible Organization Change (ROC) System into the tariff, and once to update our corporate name to Somos, Inc.

For 2016, we filed our annual tariff on January 29, and our new terms and rates went into effect on February 15. Click on the link below to view a copy of the tariff.

SMS/800 Functions Tariff

One very important change in our annual filing is the new banking information. Responsible Organizations (Resp Orgs) have already received information on our banking change, and you can get additional information by logging into the "Resources" section of the  Somos Portal Website.  Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments should now go to our new JP Morgan Chase bank account, instead of our former Mellon Bank account.

Now that you have read this blog, you too can be the life of the party by explaining to your friends and family the difference between international trade tariffs and FCC tariffs and retell the exciting tale of why Somos, a non-carrier, files an FCC tariff!

KEY TAKEAWAYS:
  • In the telecom world, a tariff contains the rates, terms and conditions of services provided by regulated telecommunications carriers.

Joel Bernstein
Joel Bernstein
Vice President, Regulatory and Public Policy

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