Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Rates in Effect for Inmate Calling Service (“ICS”)
Current FCC Interstate Rates:
The FCC rate caps – $0.21 per-minute for debit and prepaid ICS calls and $0.25 per-minute for collect ICS
calls – are in effect for all “interstate” ICS calls.
Understanding the Difference Between Interstate vs. In-state Calls:
The FCC “interstate” rates for inmate calling services, effective February 11, 2014, applies to calls originating
in one state and terminating in another state. Interstate prepaid and debit calling rates are $0.21 per
minute and Interstate collect calling rates are $0.25 per minute. A provider’s rates are compliant if
the total charge for a 15-minute interstate calls does not exceed $3.75 for a 15-minute call using collect
calling, or $3.15 for a 15-minute call using debit calling, prepaid calling, or prepaid collect calling.
The FCC interstate rates do not apply to calls that originate in one state and terminate within the same
In-State (Intrastate) Calling Rates:
In-state (Intrastate) calls are calls within the same state. Calls within a state can also be referred to
as Local, interLATA or intraLATA calls within the state . The FCC interstate ICS calling rates do not
apply to in-state calls.
Status of Court Action:
On June 13, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated rate caps
on intrastate rates, as exceeding FCC jurisdiction; vacated the exclusion of site commissions from cost
calculus as devoid of reasoned decision making and thus arbitrary and capricious; remanded the ancillary
fee caps to the FCC to determine whether the FCC can determine whether it can segregate ancillary fees
on interstate and intrastate calls; struck down the use of industry-averaged costs data as arbitrary
and capricious; and vacated video visitation reporting requirements, as exceeding FCC jurisdiction.
Permitted Ancillary Services Charges and Taxes:
The rules limiting charges for ancillary services—other than the rule related to single-call services, which
the D.C. Circuit stayed—took effect on March 17, 2016 for all ICS calls from prisons, and took effect
on June 20, 2016 for all ICS calls from jails (see chart below). Those same effective dates also apply
to the rates for ICS calls involving TTY devices, the rule governing the treatment of taxes and fees,
the rule prohibiting per-call or per-connection charges, the rule prohibiting flat-rate calling, and
the rules governing minimum and maximum calling account balances.
1Automated payments include payments by interactive voice response (IVR), web, or kiosk.