FCC Proposed Internet Tax: TechNow with Gina Smith 27.08.12

Written by Gina Smith

TechNow with Gina Smith for Monday, August 27, 2012 — 90 seconds of tech analysis. On the docket today: Would you pay a buck or two extra for broadband net access to subsidize more infrastructure. The FCC thinks so — and such companies as Google and AT&T support the idea wholeheartedly. Could this pass before the November elections? No way, Jose. TechNow — our daily tech story analysis in 90 seconds, more or less.

Would you pay a buck or two extra to get decent broadband access? The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) thinks you might go along for the ride. And it’s not alone. The proposed Internet broadband tax, now up for review, counts Google, AT&T and Sprint among its many well-heeled backers.

But the proposed tax flies in the face of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, passed in 1998. Legislators created it to prevent the U.S. government from ever taxing the net — in any shape or form.

The proposal has been up for review and comments since April. If the tax passed, the money would flow right into the Connect America Fund, an FCC-created subsidy program for expanding U.S. broadband Internet access.

Yet opponents abound. Would this tax further Internet broadband access or hinder it? The idea is to get Internet access to the estimated 19 million Americans unable to get it. But there’s a fight brewing and one thing is certain. No politician in his or her right mind would stand on either side of this upcoming debate until this year’s November elections are behind us.

TechNow with Gina Smith is a two minute wrap of the top tech story of the day. We run it nightly here at aNewDomain.net.


  • There’s only one way around this. Set the Internet up as an accepted religion and stand squarely behind the “separation of church and state”. The very second a tax of any description comes into play, there will be proposals to regulate the Internet in the guise of assuring that the American taxpayer is getting what they pay for. This SHOULD scare the Jesus out of people, but I fear not.

    The Internet has evolved/devolved from its original intent and that’s progress for you. More and more people do not refer to the Internet by name. You may hear it now as Interwebs, but in the parlance of those looking to tax/regulate, it is referred to as BROADBAND. And the big public facing issue is ACCESS to the Internet – the availability of BROADBAND. The big question: Is this a PUBLIC SECTOR or a PRIVATE SECTOR concern? It clearly cannot be both. Once the camel’s nose has crossed the plane and gotten its nose under the tent there will be some form of Internet tax to subsidize the providers in order for them to provide BROADBAND to all their respective geographies.

    I have no problem with connecting America as long as it is not my existing taxes or ANY NEW TAXES paying for it. The FCC applauded Frontier Communication for making broadband available to 200,000 rural customers this year. There was no mention in the release of them using anything but their own/private funds to do so.
    So why on earth call it the CONNECT AMERICA FUND? It is the word “fund” which is galling. Funds exist to be funded, and it has been left pretty wide open as to how the funding is to occur.

    That’s it. My meter is up.

  • define the strict rules for what this tax can and will be used for, then sure. but it would be made into some nebulous tax that would somehow be tide to health care (internet enabled pacemakers or something) so no.

  • The CAF will be raided for other purposes, just like all the other public funds. Also, only the large incumbent companies (Verizon, Centurylink, Frontier, etc) get CAF money. Smaller local & regional ISPs are left out in the cold as free money is given to their large competitors who will provide inferior service, have worse customer service and charge higher prices.

  • Please leave me your names, titles if you’re in tech, city and linkbacks if you like and I will include you in the stories I write hear and elsewhere on this. Need full names please!

  • Make the Internet part of the old telecommunications act – you want it, you get it. Market force connection ain’t working because a monopoly (which is what happens when only one or two providers own a region) works on the basis of the most profit from the least number of customers. The bush era law that freed them from this law is wrong. evil and makes the USA the laughing stock of the wired world.
    I’d pay a tax to put these creeps back under the original law

  • Who, in the USA, can’t get “high-speed” internet that wants it? My parents live in the middle of nowhere and they have it through satellite. Others that I know have it through Cellular signals and a broadband card.

    What is this fund going to do, if the stated purpose is already met? Keep in mind, taxes never go away. Once they have a way to collect, they keep collecting, long after the original need for the money is gone. Renewing an expiring tax is never called a tax-increase, even though you would not have been paying that tax if they didn’t renew it.

  • Lyin right out of the box.

    “Would you pay a buck or two extra to get decent broadband access?”

    You’re not. You are being taxed in order for someone else to get decent internet access.

    • Lying right out of the box? Nah. No … not like you mean that, I think. I am more asking viewers do you feel put upon? If you had to pay a buck or five — for something 18 million need, more fiber — would you do it?

      What else could we accomplish with that money. No one is asking those hard questions.

      So I wrote:
      WOuld you pay a buck or two extra to get decent broadband access?not a lie. more like bait! ha : ) gs