NEW FCC NET NEUTRALITY RULES ARE FULL OF TAXES

New Fees… #81 Among the costs that consumers may experience are: high upfront device installation fees; long-term contracts and early termination fees; the activation fee when changing service providers

#99 Switching costs may arise due to a number of factors that affect mobile consumers.
#528 Bullet 5 the classification of broadband Internet access service as a telecommunications service could trigger certain contributions to support mechanisms or fee payment requirements under the Act and Commission rules
Page 325  New Broadband Taxes.—One avenue for higher bills is the new taxes and fees that will be applied to broadband. Here’s the background. If you look at your phone bill, you’ll see a “Universal Service Fee,” or something like it. These fees (what most Americans would call taxes) are paid by Americans on their telephone service and funnel about $9 billion each year through the FCC—all outside the congressional appropriations process.
Consumers haven’t had to pay these taxes on their broadband bills because broadband Internet access service has never before been a Title II service. But now it is. And so the Order explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes on broadband.
As the Order frankly acknowledges, Title II “authorizes the Commission to impose universal service contributions requirements on telecommunications carriers—and, indeed, goes even further to require ‘[e]very telecommunications carrier that provides interstate telecommunications services’ to contribute.”

#36 And so the FCC now has a statutory obligation to make sure that all Internet service providers (and in the end, their customers) contribute to the Universal Service Fund.
Page 329 reclassification will expose many small companies to higher state and local taxes. Tax rates on telecommunications companies are often significantly higher than those imposed on general businesses, and so reclassification threatens Internet service providers with property tax hikes, new transaction-based taxes and fees, and greater income, franchising, and gross receipts taxes.56 And these tax hikes won’t necessarily be de minimis.
In the District of Columbia, for instance, companies will face an instant 11% increase in taxes on their gross receipts. That big bite will leave a welt on Washington consumers’ wallets. broadband taxes like those imposed by the Order have evaded the scope of the Internet Tax Freedom Act so far—because they are “fees,” not “taxes,” and because they’re not exclusively about “Internet access” but more generally applied.
#59 And since Congress has not entrusted the Commission with interpreting the Internet Tax Freedom Act, even our most fervent pronouncements for it to be broader will not make it so. All of these new fees and costs add up. One estimate puts the total at $11 billion a year.60 page 400 the Commission claims that this item does not require broadband providers to contribute to the federal universal service

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About George Fisher

George is a freelance writer, an author and a Democratic political consultant. He has worked as Deputy Communications Director for a Senatorial campaign and Campaign Manager for several NC House races and one congressional race. He previously worked as a news producer for a local television station.
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