California regulators wish to tax text messages to extend funds for applications that convey connectivity to underserved residents.
A brand new surcharge proposed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) would not be a per-textual content tax, however a month-to-month price primarily based on a mobile invoice that features any charges for textual content-message providers. Most carriers supply a low price choice for texting and already cost the same price for different companies included within the invoice — equivalent to phone calls. The precise construction of the cost would fluctuate from service to provide.
The fee will vote on the measure January 10, 2019, and is dealing with strong opposition from business commerce teams just like the CTIA, which represents AT&T Mobility, Dash, and T-Cellular. (AT&T is the mum or dad firm of CNN.)
The 52-page proposal by CPUC Commissioner Carla J. Peterman lays out the main points of the plan and says the state’s Public Purpose Program funds go up whereas incoming charges to fill it are lowering. Presently the surcharge charge is lower than 7%.
The proposed plan might be sophisticated by a brand new Federal Communication Commission ruling. On Wednesday, the FCC permitted a brand new rule that classifies text messages as an “info service” like e-mail. The proponent of the law say it is going to give carriers the power to crack down on spam messages, and critics say it might result in carriers censoring words.
The CTIA argued in an authorized submitting submitted Wednesday that if texts are an info service, then the CPUC would not have authority over them and might add on surcharges. It claims the proposal would go in opposition to federal regulation.
The trade group additionally says the proposal would create inequity “between wi-fi carriers and different suppliers of messaging companies,” resembling WhatsApp, iMessage, and Skype.
“Subjecting wi-fi carriers’ textual content messaging site visitors to surcharges that cannot be utilized to the lion’s share of messaging visitors and messaging suppliers is illogical, anticompetitive, and dangerous to shoppers,” the CTIA mentioned in its submitting.
In mild of the FCC ruling and various authorized filings submitted to the CPUC, the group may change its draft proposal earlier than the vote following month.
Following the CPUC, the costs go to a variety of entirely different applications, together with 911 providers, sponsored telephone service for low-revenue residents, and gear for deaf and exhausting-of-listening to customers.