Telephone FAQs

What is the Do Not Call Registry?

The National Do Not Call Registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC, the nation’s consumer protection agency). National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint at Registration is free and you can register online or by calling 1-888-382-1222 from your home or mobile phone.

What are the regulated charges on my telephone bill?

Mandatory recurring charges and taxes you must pay to be connected to the network. Local telephone charges are itemized and billed one month in advance.

What are the unregulated charges on my telephone bill?

These recurring charges include calling features, the wiring and maintenance plan, and bundling plans. All of these charges are billed one month in advance.

What is the Local Service charge on my telephone bill?

This is a mandatory recurring fixed monthly charge to receive a dial tone. The service entitles business or residential subscribers to basic local exchange telephone service and local calls.

What is the Interstate Toll Access Charge on my telephone bill?

This is a mandatory recurring fixed monthly charge. Local telephone companies must contribute to the upkeep and operation of the equipment necessary to connect individual phone lines to the interstate long distance network. A portion of the out-of-state expense incurred is recovered through the charge and is regulated by the FCC.

What is the Intrastate Toll Access Charge on my telephone bill?

This is a mandatory recurring fixed monthly charge. A portion of the in-state expense associated with maintaining facilities to connect with the long distance network are recovered by assessing this charge, which is regulated by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).

What is the Fed Universal Charge on my telephone bill?

This represents a mandatory surcharge on the interstate portion of a subscriber bill to support universal telephone service. The FUSC fund assists with the cost of providing affordable telecommunication services to schools, libraries, low-income individuals and residents in rural high-cost areas. This percentage varies and can change quarterly.

What is the Emergency 911 Surcharge on my telephone bill?

The emergency response system in each county is subsidized by this surcharge which varies from county to county and is mandatory when the 911 referendum is approved regardless if 911 services are currently available.

What is the Federal Taxes charge on my telephone bill?

The Federal Excise Tax is imposed by the federal government (not the FCC) which applies to all local charges and is remitted to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

What is the State Taxes charge on my telephone bill?

The Illinois Telecommunications Excise Tax is assessed by the State of Illinois on all telecommunications services.

What is the PU (Public Utility) charge on my telephone bill?

The proceeds from the Illinois Public Utility Tax fund the work of the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). This tax is assessed on all regulated utility bills.

What is the INFRA (State Infrastructure Tax) charge on my telephone bill?

All telecommunications carriers are required to collect infrastructure maintenance fees. The state fee is paid into the personal property tax replacement fund in the state treasury. By law, monies in this fund are dedicated to local government uses.

What is the Area Calling charge on my telephone bill?

This charge is assessed only for those subscribers who do not carry Hamilton County Long Distance for interlata or intralata long distance calling. This allows free calling within our seven exchanges.

What is the Lifeline/Link-Up Program and who is eligible?

Lifeline is a government program that offers qualified low-income households a discount on their monthly local telephone bill. Each state has its own guidelines to qualify. The application and qualification process differs by state and sometimes by individual phone company. Link-Up helps households reduce the cost of initiating telephone service. This program pays some of the cost of connecting local telephone service to your home or activating wireless phone service. However, Link-Up does not cover the cost of wiring inside your home. Those eligible for the Lifeline/Link-Up program include people who participate in one of the following programs: food stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Federal Housing Assistance Program, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (IHEAP), National School Lunch Free Lunch Program or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. For more information or to sign up, please call our office at 618-736-2211.

How do I troubleshoot phone problems?

  1. Determine whether all your phones are experiencing the problem or if just one phone is faulty.
  2. If you find only the one phone is not working, change it out with a known working phone and if dial tone returns, you know that specific phone needs to be replaced. If there still is no dial tone, then the problem is probably in the wiring or the jack. If you have our inside Wiring & Maintenance plan, contact our office for a trouble/service call. If you do not have the wiring and maintenance place, you would be billed for a repair visit plus time and material, or you can fix problem yourself.
  3. If you find all your phones have no dial tone, check that each of them are hung up properly and connections are secure. If you have a cordless phone or an answering machine disconnect them from the phone jack and check for dial tone on your corded phones after about one minute. If dial tone returns, the problem is in the cordless phone and/or answering machine. Damaged answering machines and cordless phones are frequently the culprits for no dial tone and/or an annoying buzz on your line. If there is still no dial tone the problem could be in the wiring or in our equipment. To test whether the problem is inside or outside, follow the instructions below:
    1. Go outside to your D-Mark (small grey box located on outside of home, location where all telephone wiring/cable enters the home) and open the box door.
    2. Inside the D-Mark, you will find a telephone jack. Plug a working, corded phone into this jack to test your telephone line. If you still do not receive a dial tone, then the problem is somewhere in our telephone lines and will be fixed at no cost to you. If you do hear a dial tone at this jack, then the problem is in your inside wiring, equipment, jacks or remaining telephone sets. Contact your telephone company, a contractor, or someone else, or make the repairs yourself. Repair visits for inside issues are subject to a service call charge plus time and materials unless you carry our Wiring & Maintenance coverage.
    3. Once you are done testing the jack in the D-Mark, disconnect your testing telephone and securely close the door.

How do I setup my new voicemail box?

  1. First, you will need to call our office to have your voicemail option activated.
  2. Once activated, follow these steps to setup your new voicemail box.
    1. You can dial 736-2438 or simply dial *23 to access the voicemail system. Then press # if you are calling from your home telephone or enter your actual telephone number (618xxxXXXX) if calling from a remote phone.
    2. If requested, Enter your password, followed by the # key. Your password will be a default code of “0000” until you change it.
    3. Main Menu: Press 9 for mailbox setup.
  • There will be 5 options in the message set-up menu:
  1. Press 1 for Greeting Options (You can skip this step if you prefer the default greeting option).
  2. Press 2 to Change your password.
  3. Press 3 for Notification Options.
  4. Press 4 to Disable/Enable Auto-Login.
  5. Press * to Return to Main Menu.
  • To change or record your new greeting:
  1. Press 1 – Greeting Options
  2. Press 4 – Record your greeting.
  3. Press # – End recording function.
  4. Press 1 – Listen to greeting.
  5. Press 2 – Save greeting. Greeting must be saved to be activated.
  6. Press 3 – Delete greeting.
  7. Press * – Return to mailbox set-up
  • To change your password:
  1. Press 2 – Change your password.
  2. Enter new password, followed by the # key. The password is any series of up to 16 digits you choose. You will be unable to access your mailbox without this password, so be sure to choose one that you can remember.
  3. To verify, Re-enter your new password.

How do I retrieve my voicemail messages?

  1. Press 1 for New Messages.
  2. Press 2 for Saved Messages.
  3. Press * to return to Main Menu.
  • To Listen to messages:
    • Press 1 to play or replay the message.
    • Press 2 to save the message and go to the next one.
    • Press 3 to delete the message and go to the next one.
    • Press 4 to save the message as new.
    • Press 5 to reply to the a message.
    • Press 6 to forward a message.
    • Press 7 to skip back three seconds.
    • Press 8 to pause or continue message.
    • Press 9 to skip forward three seconds.
    • Press * to return to main menu.