By Lisa Mickle Bacchi, World Integrity News Network
When it comes to broadband internet service, read my lips. More new taxes are coming. It’s just a matter of when.
Is this just going to end up as tax like we pay on our phones – something called a user fee?
In Section II. of the EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: B. Promoting Investment with a Modern Title II 36. we read “Nor will our actions result in the imposition of any new federal taxes or fees; the ability of states to impose fees on broadband is already limited by the congressional Internet tax moratorium.”
Congress passed H.R. 3529 (105th): Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998, and extended it by appropriations until September of 2015. What happens then?
New broadband taxes — new 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 are what most Americans would call taxes; they are paid on their telephone service and funnel about $9 billion each year through the FCC — all of it outside the congressional appropriations process. Consumers haven’t yet had to pay these taxes on their broadband bills because broadband Internet access service has never before been a Title II service.
That’s why the Order repeatedly states that it is only deferring a decision on new broadband taxes—not prohibiting them.
FCC secretly told lobbyists that it would raise universal service fees – taxes – after the election to pay for the promises it was making. Sure enough, in December, 2014, the agency did just that—increasing E-Rate spending , which compelled a hike in phone taxes, by $1.5 billion per year.
The smart money says federal government is sure to tap this new revenue stream soon to spend more of consumers’ hard-earned dollars. Indeed, it’s been publicly reported that the FCC is itching to use the Universal Service Fund to extend the Lifeline program of “free” cell phone medical alert service to broadband. That won’t come cheap. In order to provide discounted broadband service to millions of Americans, the FCC will have to find the money somewhere.
With this order, that somewhere is your wallet.