In mid-December, the Federal Communications Commission voted to hike fees on consumers’ wireless services, subsidizing the cost of Internet connectivity for public libraries and school.
Created in 1996 as part of the Telecommunications Act, the E-rate program receives $2.25 billion annually in consumers’ money, through the Universal Service Fund, a line-item fee tacked upon to the bills of consumers’ wireless devices.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed a 62 percent increase, increasing the size of the E-rate program by $1.5 billion. As a result, each mobile phone user in the United States will see an additional $0.16 added to their monthly phone bill.
Increased Taxes, Reduced Access
According to the Tax Foundation, wireless fees and taxes have increased at a rate three times faster than any other goods or services tax. After combining local, state, and federal taxes, the consumers pay an average tax rate of 17.05 percent on their phone bills.
In his October 2014 study of wireless...
President Barack Obama’s recent call to the Federal Communications Commission to strictly regulate broadband networks could be the death knell for the open, free, and prosperous Internet that has become one of the key engines of the American economy. That engine is not broken, but bureaucratic meddling will surely do the trick.
In 1996, Congress classified broadband as an “information service” under Title I of the Telecommunications Act, a light regulatory touch that allowed the digital economy...
Any legitimacy the FCC has comes from the authority of law written by a duly-elected Congress under the U.S. Constitution.
Twice the FCC has tried to mandate new net neutrality regulations on its own and twice the U.S. Court of Appeals has overturned the FCC rules as illegitimate because they were not grounded in statute.
Rather than asking Congress for net neutrality authority in a new law, the FCC is in the process of trying to conjure up new “authority” again by itself, this time by creating...
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