Are Taxes Coming to Your Internet Bill?

Net neutrality has been a topic discussion for the last decade.  On February 26, 2015 the FCC will vote on reclassifying the Internet from an information system to a telecommunication service. FCC commission chair, Tom Wheeler, stated his plan would declare broadband a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, giving the FCC broad new powers.  Wheeler also claims the FCC won’t impose new fees or regulate prices.

It is impossible to know what exactly is in the commission report, as the 332- page plan is only available to FCC commissioners and will not be released until after the FCC votes February 26th.

According to dictionary.com the 2005 definition of net neutrality is “the concept that broadband Internet service providers should provide nondiscriminatory access to Internet content, platforms, etc., and should not manipulate the transfer of data regardless of its source or destination.”

Ajit Pai, a commissioner to the FCC, views the government’s version of net neutrality differently. He stated that the net neutrality plan could open the door to new fees, taxes, and government control over the prices that Internet providers charge their customers.  Pai also stated that he is concerned the plan would hinder broadband investment, slow network speed and expansion, limit outgrowth to rural areas of the country, and reduce Internet service provider (ISP) competition.

The Internet Tax Freedom Act keeps numerous taxes and fees off our bills.  Below is a link to an article I wrote that shows all the current taxes and fees on our monthly phone bills.  Once the Internet is reclassified as a utility these taxes and fees could be showing up on our Internet bill.

Telephone Taxes

The Democrats are in favor of the FCC plan.  Republicans propose to prohibit blocking, throttling, paid prioritization and redirecting without becoming a utility.  Whatever side of the issue you are on, you have less than 2 weeks to express your opinion to the FCC.  The link to the FCC comment page is below:

FCC Comment Page

Craig B. Hodges

craig_hodges@gobsb.com

586-330-9252

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