As an observer (read: not an American) it is always great to see the US political system at work.
On the Net Neutrality issue both Democrats and Republicans attempt to leverage First Amendment rights and freedoms to sway the general public this way or that. Makes you wonder sometimes what Madison, Jefferson or even John Locke would have made of the Internet and Net Neutrality. It has almost become a religious debate in the US. Could we see another amendment to the constitution? Will all those unalienable rights include free and open Internet access along with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Will it include an Internet Tax?
The latest twist comes in the form of an Internet Tax.
Disclaimer: This comes from Fox News who are not shy about their conservative agenda.
- FCC Commissioner Mike O’Reilly addressed what’s known as “net neutrality” at a Washington seminar on Friday. He spoke after Obama backed stricter rules by calling for preventing service providers from charging more for speedier service and for regulating them like telecommunications companies under a decades-old law.
- That law requires telecommunications companies to pay into the FCC’s “Universal Service Fund” — and would likely require the same of Internet companies. But O’Reilly says history clearly shows that the fees would quickly be “passed off” to customers, just like they are now on monthly phone bills.
This comes from a Lou Dobb’s interview with American Commitment President Phil Kerpen (Chairman on the Internet Freedom Coalition).
- Obama’s plan to turn the Internet into a public utility doesn’t just mean regulation, it means a lot of taxes as well. The universal service tax that applies to your phone bill is 16.1% planned to go up to 19% under a new increase just announced. If they reclassify the Internet as a “Telecommunications Service” as the President has proposed. That mean the same tax would apply to your internet.
Dobb’s goes on to talk about constitutional rights and big brother, which is always seems to ring a bell with the average Joe, not to mention the word “tax”. Both sides are trying to “dumb down” Net Neutrality for the masses and turn it into a “you’re either with us or against us” issue for the 2016 elections. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, companies like AT&T are already announcing delays in proposed broadband investments due to Net Neutrality uncertainty.
One things for sure, with or without an Internet Tax, the Net Neutrality issue will give us observers’ lots of enjoyment over the next couple of years. If only I could explain the entertainment value to my kids I could finally cancel my cable subscription! Bring it On!