Service and Billing
- Establishing or Moving Phone Service
- Lifeline Discount Application
- Lifeline Discount Information
- Installation Rates
- Home Wiring Options
- Deposit Policy
- Service Changes
- Your Telephone Bill
- New–Prepaid Telephone Service
- PLTS Rates
- Your Rights – Charges on Your Phone Bill
- Local Disconnect Rule
- Preferred Telephone Company Freeze
Establishing or Moving Phone Service back to top
- To establish or to move residential or business phone service, please call 800-592-4781, or visit your local service office.
To enable us to process your order to establish phone service, you will need to complete an application for service and return it to our business office. You may pick up an application at our business office or we will be happy to mail or fax an application to you. Also, for your convenience, an application can be taken over the phone.
Lifeline Discount Application back to top
Click here to download your Lifeline Discount Application
Lifeline Discount Information back to top
Big Bend Telephone offers reduced rates to eligible residential consumers under two programs: Lifeline and Link-Up. Lifeline provides monthly discounts to an eligible customer’s basic local service. Link-Up offers eligible customers a reduction in installation charges for telephone service equal to one-half of the service connection charges or $30.00, whichever is less. Customers who are eligible for the Lifeline and Link-Up Programs are also eligible for toll blocking at no charge.
To be eligible for Lifeline and Link-Up, a customer’s annual household income must be at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines or a customer must receive benefits from or have a child in the household who receives benefits from at least one for the following programs:
Medicaid, Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), Low income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Health benefits coverage under the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
To apply for the Lifeline Program, contact the Low-Income Discount Administrator (LIDA) at 1-866-454-8387 (1-866-4-LITE-UP).
Installation Rates back to top
Installation rates will vary with the needs of your service. There are many steps involved in installing your phone service, but not every customer needs each step. The amount of work needed to install phone service for you will depend on the type of facilities and service you want. Rates associated with each element of the work performed are available in the Business Office.
Home Wiring Options back to top
You have two options for the installation and repair wiring inside your home:
Hire an electrical contractor, or
Save money by doing the work yourself.
(Materials are available from numerous retail stores. )
Inside wiring is all the wiring from the protector to the inside of your home and includes telephone outlets or jacks.
Deposit Policy back to top
Customers may be asked to pay a deposit to establish telephone service. The amount of your deposit is determined when you apply for service.
Service Changes back to top
All changes, except termination of service, and disconnection of certain options, require a service charge. The amount you are charged depends on the type of change requested. Consult your service representative for applicable charges.
Your Telephone Bill back to top
How You Are Billed
Charges for local service and equipment are billed one month in advance. Long distance charges and repair charges are billed after they have been placed.
How, When & Where To Pay
The due date for payment of customers bills is within sixteen (16) days after issuance, normally the 20th of the month or 1st week-day thereafter if the 20th falls on a day our office is closed. Bills are delinquent if unpaid by the due date.
You can mail your payment or pay your bill at your local service office. You can save time if you use your payment portion of your bill when paying in person or by mail. You can also set up an automatic bank draft, pay with a credit card, or pay at one of our payment agents: Quicksilver Bank in Terlingua, Trans Pecos Bank in Iraan, or Pecos County Bank in Sanderson.
Error On Your Bill
If you have a question on your bill, call your local service representative. Explain the possible error to the representative who will help you. If the error cannot be resolved, please pay the undisputed charges on time so you will maintain a good payment record while the problem is being investigated.
Pay the Bill on Time, So Your Service Will Not Be Disconnected.
Service may be disconnected if the bill has not been paid or a satisfactory agreement has not been made with the Company within twenty-six (26) days from the date of issuance of the billing, subject to the Company giving proper notice at least ten (10) days prior to stated date of disconnection. The customer is responsible for all Long Distance calls placed from or charged to his telephone. The holder of a calling card is responsible for the security of his calling card number and will be required to pay for all Long Distance calls correctly charged to that number until the Company is notified in writing that the customer’s calling card has been lost, stolen or is being used by an unauthorized person.
How To Get Your Service Restored
All past charges must be paid before your service can be reconnected, and you will be charged a service restoration fee. You also may be asked to pay a deposit.
If You Cannot Pay Your Bill
If you are ill, or cannot pay your bill, a deferred payment plan is available to any residential customer who has expressed an inability to pay all of his or her bill, if that customer has not been issued more than two disconnection notices at any time during the preceding twelve months.
Notice to Customers with Bridged Line Service
Bridged Lines or Off Premise Extensions at Big Bend Telephone are bridged in the Central Office per NECA Tariff FCC No. 5, Section 4, the ruling authority for End User Subscriber Line Charges, both portions of the “bridge” will be charged an End User Subscriber Line Charge.
Billing Options “Prepaid Local Telephone Service”
Big Bend Telephone Company, Inc. (Big Bend) is pleased to notify you of Prepaid Local Telephone Service (PLTS), a program that helps customers manage outstanding telephone balances and retain basic local telephone service. The Public Utility Commission of Texas has directed that we provide this service.
PLTS gives eligible customers a one-time opportunity to retain their local service if they are at risk of disconnection of their local service for nonpayment of telephone bills. It also allows residential customers who have been disconnected because of delinquent or unpaid bills to be reconnected.
PLTS is not available to business customers.
To receive this service, you must agree to receive Toll Blocking/Restriction Service, which will prevent you from making long distance telephone calls or usage-sensitive calls, which include directory assistance, call return, call trace, and auto redial. In subscribing to PLTS, you agree not to incur additional charges for long distance or usage-sensitive services. In addition, you agree not to request additional services from your local telephone carrier other than those included in your PLTS subscription. If you violate the terms of this agreement, you can be disconnected immediately and will not be eligible to receive PLTS again from Big Bend.
To subscribe to PLTS, you must also pay up to two months of charges up front. You must arrange a deferred payment plan with Big Bend for your outstanding local telephone charges. Payments for these charges will begin with the third billing cycle after you subscribe to PLTS. The monthly payments on this plan may not exceed $10.00 per month or one-twelfth of the outstanding local debt, whichever is larger.
You must pay your PLTS bill by the date due.
Please contact your local Big Bend office during normal business hours and request PLTS. If your telephone has been disconnected and you apply for PLTS within 10 days of Big Bend’s mailing of your PLTS eligibility notice, you will not be required to pay the reconnection charge for restoring service at that time. You will be required to pay that charge when you return to basic local telephone service.
PLTS Rates (Residential) back to top
A subscription to PLTS provides these services at the monthly rate listed below. If you are eligible for Lifeline rates, your rates may be lower.
In addition to the charges for service listed above, customers will be responsible for paying surcharges or fees required by law or ordinance, including, but not limited to: 911 charges, subscriber line charges, sales tax, Universal Service Fund charges, and municipal fees. Customers are also expected to pay for Extended Area Service (EAS), Extended Local Calling (ELC) or Extended Metropolitan Service (EMS) if those services are requested and required in their area.
If you have any questions about PLTS, please contact your local Big Bend Business Office.
Charges on Your Telephone Bill – Your Rights back to top
Placing charges on your phone bill for products or services without your authorization is known as “cramming” and is prohibited by law. Your telephone company may be providing billing services for other companies, so other companies’ charges may appear on your telephone bill. If you believe there are unauthorized charges on your bill, please contact Big Bend Telephone (800-592-4781) and request that it take corrective action. The Public Utility Commission of Texas requires the billing telephone company to do the following within 45 days of when it learns of the unauthorized charge:
Notify the service provider to cease charging you for the unauthorized product or service;
remove any unauthorized charge from your bill;
refund or credit all money to you that you have paid for an unauthorized charge;
on your request, provide you with all billing records related to any unauthorized charge within 15 business days after the charge is removed from your telephone bill.
If the company fails to resolve your request, or if you would like to file a complaint, please write or call the Public Utility Commission of Texas, PO Box 13326, Austin, Texas 78711-3326, (512) 936-7120 or toll-free in Texas at (888) 782-8477.
Hearing and speech-impaired individuals with text telephones (TTY) may contact the commission at (512) 936-7136.
Your phone service cannot be disconnected for disputing or refusing to pay unauthorized charges.
You may have additional rights under state and federal law. Please contact the Federal Communications Commission, the Attorney General of Texas, or the Public Utility Commission of Texas if you would like further information about possible additional rights.
Local Disconnect Rule back to top
At the December 1, 1999 Open meeting, the Public Utility Commission approved local disconnect rule in Project No. 21030, revisions to various Customer Service and Protection rules which prohibit discontinuance of basic local service for nonpayment of long distance charges. With the adoption of the rule revisions in this project, local service providers are:
Refusing service to a residential applicant for previous nonpayment of long distance charges.
Including long distance charges in determining deposit amounts for residential customers.
Disconnecting basic local service of a residential customer for failure to pay long distance charges.
Specifically state on the customer disconnect notice the amount due and payable to retain basic local service. Note: This amount includes, in addition to the rate for the basic residential access line, the rates for all tariffed optional local services subscribed to by the customer, associated taxes, fees, surcharges, etc.
Apply partial payments to basic local service (identified above) first. In instances where basic local service is provided in a bundle, the stand-alone rate for basic local service shall be used in the application of payment.
Notify the customer of their right to receive basic local telephone service without entering into PLTS anytime the company notifies (orally or in writing) the customer of the rates and conditions of PLTS if the customer does not owe for basic local service. Note: A statement to this effect will need to be added to the PLTS notice.
Disconnect basic local service of a residential customer in instances where the customer avoided a toll block initiated due to the nonpayment of long distance charges and/or for fraudulent activities.
Toll block (with access to toll-free numbers where technically available) a residential customer for nonpayment of long distance charges. The local service provider is required to notify the customer within 24 hours of implementation of the toll block.
Establish toll blocking pursuant to long distance carrier’s request and charge the long distance carrier the Commission-established nonrecurring and recurring monthly charges for toll blocking. The local service provider is required to provide notice to the customer within 24 hours of implementation of the toll block. Note: Notices sent may include an explanation that the long distance carrier requested the toll block and provide contact information for the long distance carrier. If there is an agreement between the long distance carrier and the local service provider, the long distance carrier may actually send the notice.
Preferred Telephone Company Freeze back to top
Preferred telephone company freeze (“freeze”) prevents a change in your telephone provider unless you consent by contacting Big Bend Telephone Company. A freeze can protect you against “slamming” (switching your telephone service without your permission). You can impose a freeze on your local toll, long distance service, or both. To impose a freeze contact Big Bend Telephone Company. Big Bend Telephone Company must verify your freeze request by getting your written and signed authorization, electronic authorization, or through an independent third party verification. You will not be able to change your telephone provider without lifting the freeze. You may lift a freeze by giving Big Bend Telephone Company a written and signed request or by calling Big Bend Telephone Company with your request. You must do this in addition to providing the verification information that your new telephone provider will request. There is no charge to the customer to impose or lift a freeze.
Click here to download a Freeze Authorization Form and Lifting Freeze Form.