Executive Director’s Commentary
By Don Eversmann, F240000
Many FMCA members, myself included, have enjoyed the convenience of using the telephone and Internet services provided as a member benefit through FMCA’s partner, American Telecom Network (ATN). As an agent for telephone companies, ATN is able to offer lower rates than customers can get on their own; however, ATN is not involved in providing the actual service.
Users of FMCA’s phone service through ATN currently receive the service and phone bill from TTI National, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of WorldCom. In the past few months, it has been impossible to avoid the headlines regarding the bankruptcy of WorldCom. As I write this, WorldCom has laid off more than 17,000 workers, so it is possible that TTI’s customer service on your account may be adversely affected.
FMCA members now have a new choice. We are pleased to announce that ATN has reached an agreement with PowerNet Global (PNG) to provide new, low phone service rates. The new residential rate will be just 5.4 cents per minute for your state-to-state long-distance or personal toll-free number calls. That is considerably lower than the previously advertised no-fee, no-minimum rate of 6.9 cents per minute offered through the WorldCom subsidiary. In addition, for a limited time, when you decide to take advantage of the new rate, you will receive one hour of free state-to-state calling. This credit to your PNG account will appear on your third month’s phone bill.
The new FMCA calling card through PNG will remain a low 13.9 cents per minute. Internet access will be available through PNG for $14.95 per month for unlimited access. PNG has agreed to offer the Internet service for $9.95 per month for a limited time.
Those of you who already have your phone and Internet services through the FMCA program will not automatically be switched to PNG. You need to first decide whether it’s best for your situation. You are invited to call ATN and compare your current program with the new PNG program by using the toll-free number, (888) 443-3622. If you decide to switch, ATN will help you take advantage of the new lower rate and the 60 minutes of free calling.
When comparing programs, consider:
- State-to-state rate
- In-state rate for your state
- International rates
The fact that ATN pays FMCA a small royalty on the amount of services you use may have played a part in your initial decision to sign up for telephone and Internet services through FMCA. The royalties collected are used to cover FMCA’s cost to promote and advertise the program and to improve and enhance the benefits we are able to provide to FMCA members.
With the fate of WorldCom in question, FMCA’s royalty income has been suspended. It is not known whether the royalty payments will resume. However, with the PNG program, we do get royalties. So, to help FMCA while helping yourself to even greater savings, we encourage you to compare your current program to the new PNG 5.4-cents-per-minute program. Taking advantage now will assure no interruption of service or issues with customer support.