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Possible Taxes For Broadband Users

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the i-object! dept.

The Internet 262

Morganis101 writes "CNET News reports that some broadband users might have to endure new universal service taxes. From the article: 'The suggestions came as lawmakers started debating changes to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which created the framework for the Universal Service Fund. The USF should continue to be industry funded, but the base of contributors should be expanded to all providers of two-way communications, regardless of technology used, to ensure competitive neutrality, a bipartisan coalition of rural legislators said in a June 28 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, which will be drafting the rewrites. That means companies providing broadband services such as VoIP over telephone wires would also have to pay into the fund.'"

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Who is Driving? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965739)

Bear is Driving!
How can that be (first post)?

I for one... (2, Insightful)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965744)

Would welcome this with some skepticism and hope that the revenues from such a tax might go to benefit the online community (less Spam, Phishers, Identity thieves, etc). Then I remember, U.S. government, War in Iraq....*sigh* pardon me for being so naive...

To paraphrase George Orwell: (2, Interesting)

Dioscorea (821163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965867)

Towards the government I feel no scruples and would dodge paying the broadband tax if I could. Yet I would give my life for the Internet readily enough, if I thought it necessary. No one is patriotic about taxes.

--George Orwell's Wartime Diary, 1940

Re:I for one... (3, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965953)

The funny thing is that war in Iraq is peanuts compared to all the other pork barrel stuff we the people subsidize.

$200 billion is some real money, but compared to trillions a year, it's chump change.

Re:I for one... (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966118)

I think of this, and I wonder where there is a suitable body of water to throw our routers into.

Re:I for one... (3, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966318)

Um, 40% of the USF is marked for the E-Rate program which is littered with mismangement and fraud. The LAST thing they need is more money.
CNet [com.com] had an article a while back about it.

Oh my god... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965750)

the state wants more money.

I never could have anticipated this.

Future speak (2, Insightful)

Hachey (809077) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965755)

Anyone else notice all the 'future speak' in the article? Should, might, will, suggest? Politicians are fluent in the conditional tounge. I wouldn't worry about it.


--
Check out the Uncyclopedia.org [uncyclopedia.org] :
The only wiki source for politically incorrect non-information about things like Kitten Huffing [uncyclopedia.org] and Pong! the Movie [uncyclopedia.org] !

Re:Future speak (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965849)

> "Anyone else notice all the 'future speak' in the article? Should, might, will, suggest? Politicians are fluent in the conditional tounge."

Conditional Tounge had me searching through my wonk dictionary for a while.

Perhaps you mean tongue.

Re:Future speak (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965865)

No response from the Wonkapedia (tm) either.

Re:Future speak (4, Interesting)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965898)

Yeah, but here's the context:

We will need more taxes revenues to finance our spending like a drunken sailor. We should give you a justification for it, seeing as how we waste so much money, billions literally fall through the cracks. But we might be able to slip it in a way that you won't notice, like so many other taxes you pay... indirectly. If not and you complain, we will suggest that you are unpatriotic.

Re:Future speak (1)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966029)

If they want to slip it in so you don't notice, they could always just increase this little tax [lp.org] a cent or two, or widen it to cover broadband -- after all, if our telephone users are still paying for a war that was over that was over 107 years ago, it's only fair that broadband users do, too!

Taxation Without Reputation (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965764)

Why should the richest people in America pay taxes [nytimes.com] , when they can just hire "personal Websters" to surf the Net for them, and pay their taxes out of their minimum wages [dol.gov] ? Or just save that extra markup by outsourcing the Internet work to India? All the government does is stop rich people from making money. Why should they pay for it, when they can pay much less in campaign bribes^Wcontributions, to keep the little people in line, at their own expense?

Re:Taxation Without Reputation (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965809)

I totally agree with this post. The rich pay way too much in taxes as it is. I know many people who make minimum wage, and don't have to pay any income taxes at all. How unfair that is.

The poor probably use more taxpayer-funded services like welfare and foodstamps than the rich who can afford things on their own.

As a fairly wealthy American, it kind of pisses me off that some poorer people expect the government to save them from their own mistakes and hand everything to them. It's time they start paying their fair share. Something like a flat tax that would even the burden out for everyone.

Re:Taxation Without Reputation (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966222)

You must live in a Blue State [typepad.com] , which pays more in taxes than it receives. Not a Red State, which gets that spending surplus at the expense of the Blue States. Or perhaps California Blue County [blogspot.com] . Or maybe you live in a Red County, which is why you're whining about paying taxes to support the government that protects and enables your wealth, instead of those poor people who get so little benefit from it. Oh, it's their fault they're poor - education and birth have nothing to do with the relative level of opportunities in this country. BTW, what did you spend your tax rebate on? Job-creating stocks in the market, or more gas for your SUV? Which was made by poor people, the oil for which gas was secured by poor people.

No wonder you posted Anonymously. You know how expensive it is to keep your kind of class war masked, and how just furious you'd make Muffy if someone noticed your privilege showing.

What pisses me off the most is how people like you are ruining the possibility of a national sales tax, to replace the ridiculously rigged income tax. Which would give us a chance to protect minimum survival expenses from taxation, while getting corporations and rich people like you and I to pay our share of the government that serves us. Instead of pounding poor people so hard that they become completely ungovernable, and take more than the little bit bled off for them today.

Re:Taxation Without Reputation (0, Offtopic)

Hex4def6 (538820) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965855)

"Taxation without Reputation"

"Mind parse error. (R)etry (A)bort?"

The rich are people too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965870)

Please make sure that the rich are kept happy, for someday you too may be rich.

That's what we're taught anyway.

Re:Taxation Without Reputation (1)

DeusExMalex (776652) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965985)

All the government does is stop rich people from making money.

You've got to be kidding me. Taxes on luxuries like this (insert argument about internet connection being luxury or necessity here) are in no way a hinderance to the rich. The only people taxes hinder are the middle class and the poor becuase surprise! they can't afford to spend more.

Re:Taxation Without Reputation (2, Insightful)

geekee (591277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966249)

" Why should the richest people in America pay taxes [nytimes.com], when they can just hire "personal Websters" to surf the Net for them, and pay their taxes out of their minimum wages [dol.gov]? Or just save that extra markup by outsourcing the Internet work to India? All the government does is stop rich people from making money. Why should they pay for it, when they can pay much less in campaign bribes^Wcontributions, to keep the little people in line, at their own expense?"

Your sarcaastic commnent is bs. In fact the top half of taxpayers pay over 95% of the federal tax burden. Liberals like Wes Clark suggested a family of 4 making $50K or less should pay no taxes. Progressive taxes do hurt everyone, since they make it more difficult for productive people capable of generating wealth honestly to employ people and provide goods and services people want.
BTW, there's a difference between revenue and profit. If you generate a million dollars in revenue, but spend $900K, to get it, and you get taxed on 1 million, your $100K profit turns into a massive loss after you pay several hundred thousand in taxes on it.

All of us? (1)

I Killed Your Cat (737650) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965773)

How about broadband users that do not use it for telephony? Would we all get taxed just for the possiblity of such usage or will they actually check for VoIP?

Re:All of us? (1)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966240)

But if they were to check for VoIP how would they do it? It'd be most likely be too much of a hassle for ISPs and government alike.

No, most likely this is a measure that will eventually go back into the *AA's pockets.

"You COULD be pirating us, therefore we're going to take your money away to create even more annoying anti-copy technologies!"

One radical thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965774)

How about instead we eliminate the tax completely? And use this as a starting point to start eliminating or reducing taxes in general?

Of course, that would require us to live within our means. Silly me; but one can hope.

It is a pity that the ultimate failure of our elected officials is the complete inability to reduce the amount of government spending. Congress likes to think it is powerful; yet this is one power that they don't seem to have.

In Soviet Russia... (1)

RileyLewis (826273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965778)

In Soviet Russia, you tax government!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966013)

someone really needs to explain these "In soviet Russia..." jokes :) The only reference i can possibly imagine is Yackoff Smirnoff :)

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12966092)

You are correct. Fuller explanation at 3.4 on this page. Cut. Paste. Learn.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slashdot_subculture [wikipedia.org]

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966235)

histerical read :)

I guessed right. :) Sad that i actually remember Yackoff, or as i just learned... Yakov :)

All Those War Taxes... (4, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965779)

We already got a telephone tax [house.gov] to fund the Spanish-American War (1898). I wouldn't be surprised if we have a broadband tax to fund the Iraqi-American War, too.

Re:All Those War Taxes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965866)

That would be a great idea because lots of geeks complain that our current Armed Services is staffed with the poor and economically worse off.

Since a broadband tax would affect mainly the wealthier population, now they can help the war effort financially.

Then everybody will have made a contribution in fighting terror. Maybe that will stop the whining leftists screaming "draft".

Re:All Those War Taxes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965889)

Yeah, it would be nice if the Universal Service Funds were actually going towards getting, you know, universal service. I think the USF should be suspended until the big companies start actually working to conquer the so-called "population density issue" (how many years after South Korea is New York getting 50mbit networking?)

Logic? (3, Insightful)

BlackMesaLabs (893043) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965781)

At what point does the government need money from me because I'm on a privately run network? The internet is not owned or operated or maintained by any nation, so I don't see why we should pay taxes. (exceptions of course being things like govt. websites, but they are a different case)

Re:Logic? (4, Funny)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965851)

The logic is:

They are the government. You have money. They want it.

Everything else is just rationalization.

Re:Logic? (1)

BlackMesaLabs (893043) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965884)

ahh so its a case of: 1)Watch people use internet 2)Try stopping them with laws and controls that don't end up working, turning the masses against you and also end up empowering super corporations such as MPAA and RIAA. Then try to tax them for it! 3)??? 4)Profit!

Re:Logic? (1)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966022)

No, no no! It's not that complicated at all. Grandparent poster had it just right.

They are the government. You have money. They want it.

This, and this alone, is the rationale behind just about every tax we have to pay today.

Re:Logic? (1)

SeventyBang (858415) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966177)


And we live in a plutocracy [reference.com] . Although those whose income is in the top 5% pay 50% of the income tax (collectively), the remainder still pay a higher percentage of their income to make up the remainder.

There are two other things to remember:

The Golden Rule: He|She who has the gold makes the rules.

Life is like a sh%t sandwich. The more bread you have, the less sh%t you have to eat.

Now (2, Funny)

Chooche (214143) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965785)

I have to dl even more stuff just to get my $100 worth of cable fees!

I already pay taxes for broadband (1)

Teddy Beartuzzi (727169) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965786)

They're called astronomical fees that I give to my cable company.

What happened to the "no internet taxes" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965794)

What happened to the "no internet taxes" moratorium?

Money Wheel (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965795)

Now that cable broadband is officially an info service, not a telecom service, its providers don't have to pay taxes. So of course its users have to pay taxes, or Congress won't be able to pass itself pay raises [boston.com] . The money's gotta come from somewhere - and it ain't comin' from campaign bribes^Wcontributions. That money is mostly spent on ads, run by cable companies.

Re:Money Wheel (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965931)

Mod this guy up. I was about to say the same thing.
See here. [com.com]
However, this probably only applies to internet-over-cable connections; VoIP, DSL, high-speed wireless, T1, OC-n lines and others might face the tax. However, would cable USERS face the tax since the cable OWNERS won't?

Interesting timing (2, Insightful)

mehtajr (718558) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965797)

It's interesting timing that just this week the Supreme Court ruled for the FCC when they ruled that cable modems are not "telecommunications services, " but rather "information services." Might that exempt them from any proposed taxes?

Re:Interesting timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965821)

Perhaps, but it'll affect your VoIP phone.

im waiting for when they try and lock down the net (1)

hilaryduff (894727) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965812)

then they`ll find out the true meaning of 'cyber-terrorism'

Taxes are a cost of doing business (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965814)

I cant get over that telcos are happy to pass them onto their consumers. That'd be like McDonalds adding 11c to your bigmac to pay for trash collection.

It leads to very deceptive advertising which can't be good for the consumer. Comcast and T-Mobile need to pay those taxes themselves and put sticker prices up to compensate.

While we are at it, this sort of thing is likely to push VoIP offshore. I rarely receive calls on VoIP so it wouldn't make much difference to me if it terminated in canada or mexico.

Why not just have a flat tax for each phone number and roll all these other taxes & fees into it - surely that would hit everyone fairly.

Re:Taxes are a cost of doing business (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965922)

I cant get over that telcos are happy to pass them onto their consumers. That'd be like McDonalds adding 11c to your bigmac to pay for trash collection.

No, not really. This is a tax that is per person or per broadband user. It makes sense to pass it on, just like sales tax. If anything, the companies *should* pass this on to consumers so that the consumers can know what they're paying for. If the consumers are pissed about high prices for broadband, they should know why.

Re:Taxes are a cost of doing business (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966281)

I'm in full favor of companies itemizing this on a bill, but it should be included in the advertised price.

Telcos advertise artificially low prices, and then tack on the fees ON TOP.

What's to stop Comcast advertising broadband for $10/month, and adding a $20 line fee and a $15 bandwidth usage assessment to each bill. Things are going to move in that direction unless regulation dictates that people have to advertise the true cost of the service.

Re:Taxes are a cost of doing business (2, Informative)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965935)

I cant get over that telcos are happy to pass them onto their consumers. That'd be like McDonalds adding 11c to your bigmac to pay for trash collection.

You think they don't? The only difference between your phone/internet bill is that they let you know exactly how much the taxes are costing you. Like you said, taxes are a cost of doing business. Like any other cost of business you need to balance your prices to take them into account. If McDonalds suddenly had to start paying a 50 cent "junk food tax" on each burger sold, you know the price of Happy Meals would go up at least 50 cents (because there's also the administrative overhead of dealing with the new tax).

It leads to very deceptive advertising which can't be good for the consumer. Comcast and T-Mobile need to pay those taxes themselves and put sticker prices up to compensate.

Yes, the governments would love that. Hidden taxes are the best kind, bceause no one ever really notices how much they're paying. A tax increase rolled into your monthly rate would just be blamed on "those damn greedy cable companies raising rates again", while a brand new $5 "information services tax" on your bill would let you know exactly who's sucking more money from your pocket. They hate what the tel/cable compaines do, because you can see just how badly your local jurisdiction is screwing you.

I just want them to be included (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966248)

I wouldn't mind if t-mobile advertised $50/mo service and the bill comes and it reads:

Service $47
Regulatory fees $2
Extra soft toilet paper for CEO fee $1

But instead they advertise $47 which doesn't seem right.

I had a similar conversation with a comcast rep that called me. Their service is very slightly cheaper (at face value) than my current ISP, but my ISP charge me the EXACT amount that they advertise, when i know that my comcast bill is bound to be higher.

Including taxes in the price won't actually increase the cost - it'll only bring the actual cost inline wiht the advertised price.

Re: Better yet: (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966111)


Just stop using common utilities as a way to extract more money from taxpayers. Half my phone bill is taxes. A good portion of my power bill is taxes and other "fees". Now it looks like they're preparing to turn broadband into the same steaming pile of crap.

Re: Better yet: (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966234)

Speaking of which, expect to spend more for sewer and water taxes in the future. Any utility that has a 'pipe' to you is a perfect mechanism for governments to extract money from you.

Re: Better yet: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12966260)

Thankfully, I have a well and a septic system. If only it were as easy to get off the power grid.

Sewer fees bother me (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966265)

Every month i'm billed for X gallons of water - which is fair enough.

But i'm billed the same X number of gallons of sewerage, yet at least half my water gets sprinkled on my lawn and evaporates off instead of ending up in the city sewers.

Isn't this already the case? (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965817)

Here's my Qwest DSL bill (I'm cell-only and pay plenty of taxes there too):

Qwest Choice DSL Standalone: $33.00
Federal Universal Serv. Fund Private Line at 11.1%: $3.66

Re:Isn't this already the case? (1)

Inigo Montoya (31674) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966207)

Yep. We (US residents) have been paying this for years already. It's not funded by the Telcos. It's directly paid for each month by you and me.

Seriously? (1)

Sir Nickel Deuce (879216) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965834)

Obviously, none of these legislators pay their own bills, or they'd realize how ridiculous the costs of broadband subscriptions already are.. :|

Are they really? (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965856)

I have a premium (3Mb/1Mb static ip) broadband connection and it costs me only $58/mo.

Which means it's less than I spend on electricity, water, car payments, insurance... I know that I use my broadband a lot more than I use my car, or my sprinkler system.

In my case it avoids me having a 40mi round-trip commute to work each day, which probably almost pays for it.

It'd be nice if it were cheaper, but to be fair it's one of the more reasonable bills i get each month.

Re:Seriously? (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965920)

None of these legislators have any connection with the average citizen. We need to amend the Constitution that all members of Congress, the Executive and Legislative branches do their own taxes, handle their own insurance and fill out all the government required paper work for their staff and/or employees.

I bet we'd have a flat tax in 15 minutes.

What's that? (1)

derEikopf (624124) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965840)

Competitive neutrality? So they want to eliminate competition? Is it just me, or does this country move farther towards socialism every day?

Re:What's that? (1)

I Killed Your Cat (737650) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965861)

"Farther relates to distance, further is a definition of degree. You should have said further"
Jamal, Finding Forrester

Re:What's that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965894)

Fascism, not socialism.

Re:What's that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965957)

No, it's just you.

You can take your... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965842)

You can take your "broadband taxes" and shove them up your ASS!!!! I"M WATCHING TIVO!!!

Taxation without Representation? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965844)

How can something the government does not provide, aid, or own be taxed? If these taxes go towards better service, faster connections or hell, even free broadband for underpriveledged areas then I see no problem. If this tax goes towards anything other than the service that is BEING taxed then maybe its time for a tea party.

Re:Taxation without Representation? (3, Funny)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965918)

If this tax goes towards anything other than the service that is BEING taxed then maybe its time for a tea party.

Yeah, let's throw all our routing equipment into the nearest body of water! That'll show 'em!

Re:Taxation without Representation? (1)

deanoaz (843940) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965977)

Governments typically grant access to rights-of-way for cable companies. The also typically decide which company gets to service which areas. In some cases the local government actually owns some of the cable that is used.

Government's view is that these things make the cable companies a set of small government-granted monopolies over specific areas. Therefore it is the government's view that cable operators should be regulated, and taxed, as government sees fit.

"Most people are willing to pay more to be amused than to be educated." - Robert C. Savage

We already got a telecommunications tax in Canada (1)

krunchyfrog (786414) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965846)

It's the CRTC [crtc.gc.ca] . You pay it on the phone, internet, tv, cell, pager.. Not sure about satellite radio (xm radio), but I wouldn't be surprised.

Re:We already got a telecommunications tax in Cana (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966031)

Poster wrote:
We already got a telecommunications tax in Canada

It's the CRTC. You pay it on the phone, internet, tv, cell, pager.. Not sure about satellite radio (xm radio), but I wouldn't be surprised.
The CRTC is no more a tax in Canada than the FCC is in the US - its not a tax, its a regulatory body.

The applicable taxes are GST and HST/QST/PST (depending on which province you live in).

The CRTC has said they will regulate the pricing of VoIP to allow for more competition (so the current incumbents can't shut out competitors). That's pretty much it. background story that explains it - just before the law was passed [theglobeandmail.com]

As you can see from this press release [telus.com] by one of the telco incumbents just after it passed, this is THE ONLY ASPECT of the Internet that the CRTC regulates.

With today's CRTC decision, Canada becomes the only major industrialized country to regulate retail rates for Internet telephony. That is inconsistent with the CRTC's past decisions not to regulate Internet and wireless services, which today are highly competitive components of the telecommunications sector.
There's a fundamental difference between regulating prices and adding an extra tax.

Shh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965848)

....everyone just nod your head and agree.

If we fight, they might decide to tax all types of porn at even higher rates. I'm poor as it is what with buying all the porn.

thats what happens when you are 7 trillion in debt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965863)


you have to pay it back somehow and taxes is the only way

even entire state goverments in USA are going bankrupt [yahoo.com] , beginning of the end or have you a secret stash of cash when the chinese come knocking for their dues?

Re:thats what happens when you are 7 trillion in d (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966058)

Makes you wish we had some Liberals in office... They actually balance budgets!

Keep spending Bush. Down with the country, up with Jesus :) We're going to sure as hell need him when our country is broke.

Thank you republicans!

Re:thats what happens when you are 7 trillion in d (1)

Chowderbags (847952) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966099)

We could tax till we're blue in the face, but it doesn't help if Congress constantly finds ways to spend the cash on pork barrel or politically correct projects, all while avoiding paying down the national debt. Even if we simply indexed government expandatures to inflation it would put us on stable financial footing fairly soon.

What do we get? (1)

secondsun (195377) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965881)

What do we, the citizens get from this tax? Any nice services (I really wouldn't mind getting broadband offered in my area[read south south Georgia]), special protections (such as universal data storage), new projects/R&D would all be nice and reasonable outcomes for this tax.

However I live in America, rural America to be precise. The only thing I expect to see is a few dollars less and another thing to bitch about.

Re:What do we get? (1)

EEBaum (520514) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965917)

You get your stuff not seized by the government.

Re:What do we get? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965983)


You get a war in Iraq at the low low bargain price of 1 billion dollars a month and Cheney/Bush and the rest of the traitors get new yachts and their families get to live in absolute luxury for the rest of their lives, too bad for you

http://www.costofwar.com/ [costofwar.com]

Neutrality? Of what? (1)

TimmyDee (713324) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965896)

My question is, what sort of neutrality are we seeking here? "All providers of two-way communications." I fail to see how your internet service and your phone service are sufficiently similar. Maybe they should charge Motorola that tax for selling FRS radios. (sarcasm intended)

Makes me glad... (4, Funny)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965907)

...that I'm using my neighbors WiFi network.

Network name: Linksys
No wep key...

Woo hoo! No cable fees for soft_guy!

Woah (2, Funny)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966017)

I just realized - that guy has a national presence!!!

Why only Broadband? (2, Funny)

SkiifGeek (702936) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965916)

Surely if they ever were going to introduce taxes, they could introduce a proportional tax, linked to the network connection speed, and apply it across the board. Someone on a 14.4 connection might get a fraction of a cent tax on their connection, while someone on more bandwidth than they know what to do with will be taxed accordingly.

If it was possible to ensure that these taxes would be reinvested back into improving infrastructure and subsidising broadband rollout it could be palatable for American users. Essentially the early adopters / massive bandwidth capacity users subsidise the efforts to bring more users up to their standard of connectivity.

Re:Why only Broadband? (1)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965993)

It'd make more sense (and probably be a lot easier to quantify, and therefore enforce, and be a lot more typical of the semantics of "proportional" in tax terms) to make it simply proportional to the price of the service, e.g., a 1% added-on tax (like a sales tax).

I'd especially like to see how this system would handle fairly when someone tries to connect and their speed gets downgraded due to network issues (say, a 56k modem handshake fscks up and you connect at 28.8, or congestion on your broadband is sporadically causing it to crawl). How would you handle a proportional tax with this in mind? Just tax them at the "advertised" rate? IOW, always end up overtaxing them, since network slowdowns are inevitable, from time to time, but OTOH your link never runs faster than its advertised rate.

Perhaps it could be proportional to the total bandwidth they use in a billing period, but then again virtually no broadband users are billed by their bandwidth (unless they go over their monthly bandwidth cap, or whatever).

Re:Why only Broadband? (2, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966119)

Its not going to matter in 5-10 years, as everyone will have their own wifi node and connect through local meshes [wikipedia.org] to everyone else and say a big Fuck You to regulation.

Look at the incentives:

  • Screws over ISPs (bypasses them)
  • Screws over Uncle Sam (can't have ISP collect tax)
  • Screws over RIAA (can't complain to your ISP)
  • Screws over MPAA (can't complain to your ISP)
  • Screws over DMCA, PATRIOT (no more takedown notices to ISPs)
The Internet doesn't just route around damage - it also routes around unpopular policies.

"Bipartisan." (2, Funny)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965924)

"Bipartisan," I love that term. It basically means that tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum decided to conspire together on some new scheme so you have no way of opposing it.

Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12966112)

Homer: America, take a good look at your beloved candidates. They're nothing but hideous space reptiles!
Kodos: It's true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It's a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us.
Citizen: He's right! This is a two-party system!
Another Citizen: Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate.
Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away!
Kang and Kodos: MWAHAHAHAHAAAA!

Pfft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965928)

This is straight up bull, so what I need to pay now 50 dollars in taxes to have my nextel phone? Maybe if they did not send our troops over there to fight a senseless war. I can't believe I need to pay more taxes because of these political mistakes with a president smarter than a average snail.

Fair Enough...Just one thing... (1)

monopole (44023) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965954)

In exchange, let's get universal broadband service via competitive ISPs and metropolitan WiFi utilities.

I mean, thats the point of the bill, universal service :-)

Take it all (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965964)

Why not just tax us 100% and redistribute it all..

So we can finally have the 2nd revolution and get this over with. Its long overdue.

The collective American Piggy Bank (3, Insightful)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965966)

Just goes to show you that when our "elected representatives" look at us, the electorate, all they see are pockets to be picked. Whose idea was it to concentrate all that power in the hands of the very few, anyways?

I already pay 7.65% for FICA (ie, Social Security), but were I to run my own business and turn a profit, I would have to pay double that, since I would be both employee and employer. Of the money I get after FICA, state and federal income taxes, and state mandated unemployment insurance, I then get charged 8.25% in sales taxes, surcharges and strange fees for my electric, water, gas, and telephone bills (including that 3% tax left over from the Spanish American war, which was well over a century ago), and twice a year, I have to fork over money to the local county for the privilege of owning tangible property.

And for this I get: roads that still need fixing, bribery and corruption scandals that cost taxpayers money, ever-increasingly complex laws that require you to have a law degree just for self-defense, school districts that wail and complain that they need bond money, but then turn around and spend the money building shopping plazas on top of abandoned oil fields, leading to the project being declared unusable, and of course, the innumerable tax breaks and pork-barrel projects doled out by our collective congresscritters to keep their districts happy at the expense of the rest of the United States.

It's a pity that elections couldn't take place in late April, say a week after tax day. Oh well, I might as well start working on my taxes for NEXT year...

Re:The collective American Piggy Bank (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965998)


oh stop complaining serf
now where is my champagne glass /D. Cheney

Re:The collective American Piggy Bank (1)

user32.ExitWindowsEx (250475) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966169)

remember...you really pay 15.3%, but you don't even see that other 7.65%...don't buy into that "your employer matches your 'contribution' to FICA" bullshit....you really pay all 15.3%.

Moronic subsidies for rural customers... (2, Insightful)

stuartkahler (569400) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965969)

(sub)Urban America deserves subsidies from the rural folks to help offset the astronomical prices of land that we pay. Land in rural areas is as cheap as $2000/ acre vs $100000+ / acre in the suburbs alone. They can pay me my my share out of the USF until that runs out next week. We can work out a deal for the rest; maybe start with some loose country girls.

Re:Moronic subsidies for rural customers... (1)

KentoNET (465732) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966100)

Loose? What is this, a third-world country? Sheesh.

Jebus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12965995)

I don't mind taxes. In fact, I support progressive taxation of income, despite the burden it places upon me. But what I don't support is everything being regressively taxed constantly by some part of the government. Restaurant tax, sales tax, gasoline tax, fees added onto utilities and telephone, property taxes, State lotteries, gift taxes, capital gains taxes, tolls, sin taxes, and basically everything else has some percentage tacked onto it.

Seriously, just stop viewing every human endeavor as a source of income. If you can't balance your budgets with the money you already suck out of us on everything we want to do in our lives, then cut the spending or raise the income tax. Pick one. All of these add-on taxes are just mechanisms to avoid bumping the income tax by making average people pay. Either go with out, or stick with the progressive taxation. Life is already hard enough for those people in the lower tax brackets, without you making broadband Internet access more expensive for them.

What does this fund, actually fund? (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965999)

Seriously what does it fund?

There should be not tax on this shit. If our government wants to tax everything secretly, lets just send back our lame Bush tax cut.

Re:What does this fund, actually fund? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12966037)


A War of choice [costofwar.com] ?

oh and Cheney gets a bigger house

Broadband taxes - why not just tax the entire PC. (1)

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966012)

Instead of going for that connection which won't hoover up everybody just tax the PC at point of sale. That way you can get even more for those freeloading households that have more that one PC per net connection. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/03/03/pc_tax/ [theregister.co.uk] (The register) - like the TV licence wasn't foolish enough we can try the same for the PC....

Here's what annoys me.... (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966016)

In most countries where I have talked about this subject, providers of services tell you how much the service is going to cost you. Sometimes it's tricky to work out the details but generally it's all there in the contract. In the US companies refuse to declare prices inclusive of tax. It's also hard to guess what taxes you're going to pay. (Do you know what all the taxes on your phone/DSL/mobile bill are?) So - if the government wants to levy a tax on broadband, I don't mind too much, it'll probably only be a few bucks a month. But what I do mind is that broadband providers will continue to claim one price and bill me for another. The same is of course true for just about any retail purchase in the US, but service bills seem to have a habit of collecting up far more unexpected taxes than just sales tax.

VoIP vs. VoP2P (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966042)

One reason that a tax can be imposed on VoIP users is because there is a central entity that is being paid to provide a service. If we can get rid of that entity, we get rid of the tax (at least for the voice component). Unfortunately, as long as there are people using switched telephone only for voice, if you want to talk to those people, you have to go through some means to get out to that switched network. But for the ever increase numbers of people able to use voice over the internet, direct peer to peer communications is fully possible, as long as we have some means to find people. Eventually, just about all voice communication will go the way of the internet, so why not work out the means to make it all direct? I'd suggest something based on DNS to find people.

Of course greedy politians will want to find some way to drain our wallets, so we'll eventually end up with a tax on internet connections, and even on packets sent (and maybe even on those received).

And then there's all the voice spam we will get if we don't make it tight from the outset.

what about cable... (1)

ColdBoot (89397) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966103)

since cable has been determined to not be a telecommunications service, ought to be exempt, eh?

911 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12966155)

I am against taxing broadband providers. The FCC is over stepping its bounds. However, if they do pursue this venture, then they should open up the 911 network for the VoIP users.

Can't work; the Reps singning the letter know it (2, Insightful)

spisska (796395) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966184)

I'm not one to bitch about the editing here, but this title really ought to have read: Possible Taxes for US Broadband Users.

That having been said, the purpose of the USF was (is) to ensure that telecom companies extend coverage to sparsely populated areas rather than just staying in cities where they get far more uses per kilometer of cable, right?

They can try to wrap this with libraries and schools, but those entities are funded through local and state governments. As far as healthcare goes, it seems the only thing the US government is interested in funding is marble paneling for the lobbies of Eli-Lily and Phizer.

I guess my question is, how much new cable is actually being laid in rural America? Aren't the telcos much more focused on putting up cell towers and selling much more profitable wireless plans?

What exactly is a provider of two-way communication? Does that mean that every web-site has to pay (since an http request and response is two-way)? Would it mean that Slashdot gets taxed but Drudge Report doesn't, because users can communicate with each other through the former?

What about Skype? Does it mean I'll start getting a monthly bill for $0.00 (10.2 percent of what I pay) from Skype to cover this?

What if, as a previous poster noted, I set up an asterisk box and route all my calls through a number in the UK, or Canada, etc? What if I start selling Canadian numbers here in Washington DC but my company is legally seated in the Caymans?

All of that aside, this is just a letter sent to a Congressional committee, not a law and not even a bill. It was signed by 60 of 435 Reps, mostly so they can go home to their constituents and talk about how they are fighting that damned bureaucratic machine in Washington to win rights for rural America.

It's also quite likely that none of the signatories actually want or expect this to go anywhere, because if it did they would have to explain in the next election why they made grandma pay taxes for her AOL account.

Rest assured, this is going nowhere.

These characters don't have flush toilets yet (1)

Winkhorst (743546) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966242)

"a bipartisan coalition of [hick] legislators" wants to tax broadband. Maybe they should tax indoor plumbing and really bring up the living standards of their constituents.

Okay idea, if there was universal service (1)

dysk (621566) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966288)

Purposes of the universal service fee: [fcc.gov]
  • Low-Income. This program provides telephone service discounts to consumers with qualifying low-incomes.
  • High-Cost. This program provides financial support to companies that provide telecommunications services in areas of America where the cost of providing service is high.
  • Schools and Libraries. This program helps to ensure that the nation's classrooms and libraries receive access to the vast array of educational resources that are accessible through the telecommunications network.
  • Rural Health Care. This program helps to link health care providers located in rural areas to urban medical centers so that patients living in rural America will have access to the same advanced diagnostic and other medical services that are enjoyed in urban communities.

I would have no problem with a broadband universal service fee if it resulted in universal broadband service like we have universal telephone service.

However, since this is not likely to happen soon, it seems like another subsidy to the legacy copper telephone infrastructure, as most of the money collected in USFs get paid back to the telcos to provide the above services.

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