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The 1999 Oregon Legislative Assembly directed the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) to develop and manage the Oregon Universal Service Fund (OUSF). Money for the fund is raised by applying a surcharge on all retail telecommunication sales in Oregon. The OUSF is designed to support local telephone companies to ensure that basic telephone service is available at reasonable and affordable rates in higher-cost rural areas throughout the state. The surcharge rate currently applied to customer bills is 5.0 percent. In 2020, Oregon Statute 759.425 was amended to set a 6.0 percent surcharge rate as the maximum rate that could be charged.
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