Potential Rate Increases

La Ward Telephone Exchange, Inc. needs your help. La Ward Telephone is able to provide you the highest quality of telecommunications services, including broadband, in part because of the funding it receives through the Texas Universal Service Fund (TUSF). The TUSF is funded by collecting fees from telecommunications providers all across the state in order to ensure that all Texas have access to communications services at reasonable and comparable prices. This fund is overseen by the Public Utility Commission (the “PUC”). Since January, the Public Utility Commission of Texas has failed to fulfill its duty to collect enough money to meet all statutory obligations of the TUSF. Specifically, small and rural telecommunications providers such as La Ward Telephone have only received approximately 30% of the funding which state law and PUC orders mandate them to receive. Additionally, the Governor of Texas further escalated this issue when he vetoed important legislation in HB 2667, which passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, meant to give the PUC direction on this issue.
If the PUC does not take action to stabilize the TUSF quickly, it would take rate increases to your monthly bill in order to return revenues to lawful levels. This revenue allows La Ward Telephone to operate and maintain the network that provides you not only voice services, but all other services, including your broadband connection, as well.
If you do not want to see rate increases on your monthly bill, we need your participation. First, an online petition has been established to ask the governor to instruct the PUC to fulfill their duties with regard to the TUSF and the PUC to take immediate action. You can find the petition at the following link:
Please encourage others to visit and sign the petition as well. This is an important way you can support the efforts of your legislative representation in Austin that are working this issue on your behalf.
You can also contact the PUC at 1-888-782-8477 or 1-512-936-7120 or the Governor’s office at 1-800-843-5789 or 1-512-463-2000 and ask that immediate action be taken to stabilize the TUSF be taken as the rural communications network and all services that it provides are in jeopardy.
If you have more questions, you may contact our business office at 361-872-2211.