If you can afford broadband access then you can also pay for others to have broadband access. The FCC feels this way since it is considering a new tax on people who have broadband access in order to fund the Connect America Fund, an offshoot of the universal Access Fund which was created a long time ago to ensure everyone had access to landline phones. The fund is drying up as fewer and fewer people have landlines and fewer long distance calls are being placed as people opt to send email instead (that will be the next thing they tax).
The Original fund applied a fee to a customer’s phone bill in order to pay for service in parts of the country where service might not be readily available. In other words, instead of allowing phone companies to decide based on business where to put lines the government imposed a fee to ensure it happened. That fee, of course, was passed on to customers.
That is what will happen with the Connect America Fund. The companies will be assessed a fee (this is a tax) and that will be passed on to customers. The ability to pass this on is why many companies support it. If they were not allowed to pass it on they would be lined up opposing it.
The Connect America Fund is designed to subsidize building broadband networks where none currently exist.
Since people who have broadband will be paying for this it is another example of making those who have something pay for those who do not. If they want broadband then perhaps they should buy broadband wireless cards to get access. Most folks who will eventually be able to pay for the broadband we paid for would certainly be able to pay for the monthly air cards.
Personally, I don’t care if they can afford it or not. If they want broadband they should move to a place where it exists or lobby broadband companies to build the infrastructure.
No matter what happens the rest of us should NOT be required to pay for broadband networks to be built so they can have access.
There is one other consideration here. Only Congress has the power to lay and collect taxes. Where does the FCC get off imposing a tax on people?
Right now this is open for public discussion but that is a mere formality. The FCC Chair has made expanding broadband access his priority so it is a matter of time before this is imposed.
Congress is too busy doing important stuff like running for reelection to notice this taking place. Someone from that body needs to make it clear that the FCC is not a taxing authority and that the rest of us are tired of paying everyone else’s bill.
Never surrender, never submit.