Net Neutrality = 16.1% Internet Tax

Late last year, President Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission to enact far-reaching regulations that would grant the federal government unprecedented control over the internet. The concept of “net neutrality” is based on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) treating all internet traffic “equally.” However, Obama has advocated for far more than is needed to achieve this concept by calling on the FCC to issue rules that reclassify broadband as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act.

Reclassifying broadband as a utility not only threatens the internet as we know it, but will kill jobs, stifle investment and increase costs for American consumers. Moreover, the move could open the door to other forms of heavy-handed internet regulations and taxes. Given these serious economic implications, the FCC should put a hold on its late February vote on these rules and allow Congress to come up with a legislative solution.

Over the years the internet has grown rapidly largely due to the hands-off regulatory approach the government has taken. Yet instead of allowing the internet to remain in an atmosphere that has encouraged widespread growth, President Obama and FCC Chairman Tom Wheelers want to regulate the internet like telegraphs and telephones from the 1930’s. Not only are such archaic regulations inappropriate for our digital era, they will increase broadband costs for hardworking Americans.

By reclassifying broadband as a utility, the Obama administration will levy taxes on all broadband consumers and smartphone users via a Universal Service Fund fee. USF fees are already collected from traditional and cellular phones. Adding broadband to the same Title II category would slap consumers with a 16.1 percent tax increase on their internet bills–an estimated $24 billion for Uncle Sam. This adds up to almost $100 a year in additional costs for wireline broadband consumers and around $137 per smartphone for wireless customers –a deep financial burn that will certainly be felt by American families with more than one smartphone on their plan.

While reclassification undoubtedly spells bad news for consumers, the implications for industry workers could be even more dire. Title II reclassification would stifle investment –an $11.8 billion decrease –and directly impact jobs. According to an American Action Forum study, the drop in investment could kill as many as 174,000 broadband related jobs by 2019.

By Kuper Jones – The Hill –

FCC poised to impose Internet taxes

The Federal Communications Commission is in the middle of a high-stakes decision that could raise taxes for close to 90 percent of Americans. The commission is considering whether to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service and, in doing so, Washington would trigger new taxes and fees at the state and local level.

The agency would like to make Internet service a public utility, placing broadband under Title II regulation of the Communications Act of 1934. This move would make broadband subject to New Deal-era regulation, and have significant consequences for U.S. taxpayers.

Under this decision to reclassify broadband, Americans would face a host of new state and local taxes and fees that apply to public utilities. These new levies, according to the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), would total $15 billion annually. On average, consumers would pay an additional $67 for landline broadband, and $72 for mobile broadband each year, according to PPI’s calculations, with charges varying from state to state.

Proponents of broadband reclassification, including the left-of-center organization Free Press, claim that it would not result in higher taxes or fees. The recently extended Internet Tax Freedom Act, they assert, prohibits state and local taxation of Internet service. This is incorrect, however. The act does not apply to telecom-related fees.

Free Press and other broadband reclassification proponents also say the new taxes and fees can be prevented if the FCC designates broadband as an interstate service. A Progressive Policy Institute report explains why this also is incorrect:

“When the Commission previously considered the jurisdiction of Internet traffic, it determined that such traffic was ‘largely interstate,’ but ‘jurisdictionally mixed.’ States routinely tax jurisdictionally mixed services that are classified as ‘interstate’ for purposes of regulation. For example, wireless services may not be regulated by state public utility commissions, but they are subject to a host of state and local taxes and fees. In several states, interstate wireless revenues are subject to taxation.”

Late last year, President Barack Obama waded into this contentious debate. He called for the Internet to be treated like a public utility. Critics of Obama’s position point out….

By Grover G. Norquist and Patrick Gleason – Reuters –

44 Reasons To Believe Cell Phones Can Cause Cancer

By Lloyd Burrell – ElectricSense.com –

Cell phones emit microwave radio-frequency radiation. This radiation has the ability to penetrate our bodies. Our governments do virtually nothing to protect us from these dangers. And yet there is strong evidence, multiple peer reviewed studies, to indicate that cell phones cause cancer and other diseases.

1. Cellular Damage: Telecoms giant T-Mobile in Germany commissioned an independent study to review all relevant research on the health risks from wireless telecommunications. It was concluded that, “On the cellular level, a multitude of studies found the type of damage from high frequency electromagnetic fields which is important for cancer initiation and cancer promotion.”

Significantly Increased Risk of Glioma: Gliomas are becoming increasingly common. The $25 million Interphone Study found that: “regular use of a cell phone by adults can significantly increase the risk of gliomas by 40% with 1640 hours or more of use (this is about one half hour per day over ten years).”

Tumor Risk on Cell Phone Side of Head: Again from the Interphone Study – currently the big daddy of cell phone radiation studies it being the largest and longest study on the link between cell phones and brain tumors – it also found, “tumors were more likely to occur on the side of the head most used for calling”. Harmful Association Between Cell Phone Radiation and Tumors: A review of 23 epidemiological studies by 7 scientists on the link between cell phones and cancer concluded, “harmful association“. One of the reports authors commenting the study results said, “although as a whole the data varied, among the 10 higher quality studies, we found a harmful association between phone use and tumor risk. The lower quality studies, which failed to meet scientific best practices, were primarily industry funded.” Increased Risk For Glioma and Acoustic Neuroma: the studies performed by the Hardell Research Group are widely regarded as being amongst the best. This recent study finds, “A consistent pattern of increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma associated with use of wireless phones.” These findings are consistent with their earlier studies.

 
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