FCC backs off Internet tax idea

A proposal from the FCC to tax the public for broadband Internet service appears to have blue-screened leaving Democrats and Republicans at the agency pointing fingers at each other for floating the idea.

The Hill reported Sept. 9 that a public outcry over the proposal to tax Internet service prompted a retreat from the idea and a search for political cover.

The Federal Communication Commission’s Connect America Fund, set up in October 2011, was part of a major reform of the Universal Service Fund to redirect government subsidies to rural telcos from providing for telephone service to outlying regions of the country to broadband service in those areas.

However, criticism that the measure amounts to corporate welfare at the expense of urban Internet subscribers who would be required to pay for the fund with a use tax left the agency backpedaling.