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The FCC wants to put a cap on prison phone call prices

The FCC circulated a proposal this week that would cap the cost of calls to and from prison inmates. If the proposal is adopted at a vote later this month, it will build on rules implemented two years ago by further restricting what telecoms can charge for service.

The rules passed two years ago put a temporary cap on interstate calls, but under the new proposal, in-state calls would also be covered. "The 2013 Order was a big deal," Commissioner Mignon Clyburn wrote in a blog post. "But it was also only a first step." Under the proposed order, rates could change "from $2.96 to no more than $1.65 for a 15-minute intrastate call, and from $3.15 to no more than $1.65 for a 15-minute interstate call."

The proposal would also cap the price of fees charged for calls, and ban the practice of charging a flat rate for, say, a 15-minute call, even if a call takes substantially less time.

The FCC is set to vote on the proposed rules at its October 22nd meeting.