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FCC Approves New Internet Phone Taxes 230

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the always-a-new-tax-never-a-missing-tax dept.
basotl writes to tell us CNet is reporting that the FCC has approved a new round of taxes for internet phone service. Some 4 million users could receive this nasty little surprise as early as their next monthly bill. From the article: "The VoIP industry wasn't alone in questioning the FCC's move. In a letter sent last week to commissioners, attorneys for the U.S. Small Business Administration urged the agency to postpone its action until it had done a thorough analysis of the economic effect on smaller providers."
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FCC Approves New Internet Phone Taxes

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  • Trust the FCC... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bruce McBruce (791094) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:03PM (#15596687)
    To think up a way of taxing virtually-free phone calls.
    • by ZoneGray (168419) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:19PM (#15596752) Homepage
      The rationale is that they're "protecting competition", by making the taxes equal.

      In other words, the established phone companies out-lobbied the startups.

      The very notion that a nation with a First Ammendment needs a "Federal Communications Commission" is absurd. It's one thing to manage RF bandwidth, which was the FCC's original mandate... in the 1920's or 1930's. But they've expanded their mission to micromanaging every electronic communcation in the country, which, nowadays, includes just about everything. It's such an impossible task that they continue to pass new rules because the old ones are "broken". Of course, the new rules will quickly be "broken" too. And then they'll pass more.

      I say, set up an eBay store to auction bandwidth, and close down the rest of the FCC. We can continue to pay the employees, that's not expensive compared to the damage they do when they're working.
      • by maird (699535)
        Well, the FCC also regulates access to the medium. That doesn't create a First Ammendment conflict I think. I don't think there is a First Amendment issue in taxing the use of the medium. However, I think that the decency enforcement by the FCC is most certainly a First amendment issue. The seven deadly words are an anachronism. South Park, Family Guy and others long ago found ways to make their audiences hear the words without actually saying them (though South Park doesn't actually have to on its first ru
        • by ZoneGray (168419)
          Good grief. Freedom is more complex than being able to say "fuck" on TV, okay?

          The one part of the FCC's involvement that I don't have much of a problem with is their "censorship" of *broadcast* TV... if all they did was mange the public bandwidth and "censor" language (as opposed to opinions) to keep the public airwaves suitable for the public discourse, that wouldn't be a problem.

          But beyond that, the First Ammendment promises freedom in our communications, not a federal authority that dishes out freedom
          • by mobby_6kl (668092)
            Freedom is more complex than being able to say "fuck" on TV, okay?

            Sure it is, but it's somewhat scary when there's a secret list of things you can't say on TV/radio, and get your ass fined to the poorhouse if you do.
          • by Amouth (879122)
            "'censor' language (as opposed to opinions) to keep the public airwaves suitable for the public discourse, that wouldn't be a problem"

            thats kinda intresting because the do censor more than just language.. and who they hell are they to tell me what words are bad.. i am sorry but i am sick of this bad word here bad ideas and the damn people that take money out of my pay check whcih i work for - and no they don't give me an option about how much.. they just take - then they turn around and tell me what is be
        • by fyngyrz (762201) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @04:53PM (#15597649) Homepage Journal
          Well, the FCC also regulates access to the medium. That doesn't create a First Ammendment conflict I think.

          Where I live, there is one (1) AM station, and one (1) FM station. yet, I cannot get a license to transmit without paying huge fees, employing lawyers, installing ridiculous over-featured equipment (I'm a 1st class HAM operator and at one time held the 1st class FCC radiotelephone operator's license as well -- so I know what's required, in fact, I'm the very fellow you used to have to hire in order to ensure that your installation complied technically. You can broadcast a clean AM or FM signal for under a grand, easily.)

          The fact is, the FCC has created a situation where exactly one (1) type of entity has access to the airwaves: The rich. Rich individuals or rich corporations, these are the only ones who can get on, and therefore, they 100% control what is said. Clearly, this is a 1st amendment issue.

          • If you "at one time" held the 1st-class FCC radio license, then you still have it. That particular license class was a lifetime license. My dad has one. It's still valid now, 20+ years later. My mom had a 3rd-class and was rudely interruped in her studies for a 2nd-class license by my birth. 2nd- and 3rd-class licenses had expiration dates. 1st-class did not.

            That said, it probably isn't worth much in this day and age, and has probably been devalued by the FCC in favor of more recent (and costlier) licenses.
          • I read your comment earlier today. Now, I'm playing GTA: Vice City, listening to Lazlow on VRock, and he just had a caller who complained that Lazlow was playing soft rock; Lazlow's response was "If you don't like what we play, just start you own radio station. It's easy!"

            When I heard that tonight (which I've heard before), I was immediately reminded of your post; Laszlo was apparently being extremely sarcastic, as I don't think the landscape has changed much since 2002 (when the game was made).

    • The U.S. government wants more of your money to support killing Iraqis.

      More war helps those whose friends and family and business associates have investments in weapons and oil, such as the Bush and Cheney families.

      --
      When Arabs kill, that's bad. When the U.S. govt. kills, that's good?
  • by drpimp (900837) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:05PM (#15596694) Journal
    NO NEW TAXES PLEASE!
    • Read my lips: "NO NEW TAXES". We'll just raise the old ones. :)
    • Well the first bush lied when he said "No new taxes", so why would you expect is son to be any different?
      • "Mission accomplished."

        'nuff said.

      • by Dausha (546002) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @05:19PM (#15597733) Homepage
        Bush the Elder didn't lie. He was out maneuvered by a Democrat-led Congress that sent a tax bill he had no chance of beating in a veto battle.

        "Bush initially presented Congress a proposed budget containing steep spending cuts and no new taxes, but congressional Democrats dismissed this out of hand. . . . The alternative would have been to veto any budget bill that came out of Congress, risking a potential government shutdown and possibly triggering the automatic cuts of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Act. . . . [Eventually,] Bush agreed to a new resolution, and soon after the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 was finally passed. This new proposal replaced some of the fuel taxes with a 10% surtax on the top income tax bracket (thus raising the top marginal tax rate to 31%) and also included new excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco products, automobiles and luxury yachts."[1]

        It is worth mentioning that Bush (or any President) is not able to pass tax legislation. That's for Congress. He can make recomendations and he can veto (not that he has yet, AFAIK), but he can't enact legislation.

        [1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Read_my_lips:_No_new_ taxes [wikipedia.org]
  • ...but at least Vonage is still cheaper than Comcast or AT&T
  • by Doppler00 (534739) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:10PM (#15596705) Homepage Journal
    A VoIP call is just another internet connection between two individuals, sending data back and forth. What makes VoIP so special that it needs taxation? Are they going to tax internet video conferencing and Netmeeting next? Instant messaging? Just another example of old people in government not understanding the differences in new technology.

    Oh also that fund that is supposed to "subsidize" rural areas is such a waste. My parents have lived in a rural area for years without DSL and it wasn't made available until a couple years ago. And then, it's 128kbps and it wasn't funded by this stupid fund, but by the local telephone co-op. I'd rather the tax go away.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:18PM (#15596749)
      If they tax VOIP and not other data, then I want a refund for my YEARS of dialup, when my phone line was used for data and not voice.
    • What makes VoIP so special that it needs taxation?

      YOu really don't know?

      Basically, it reduces to this: the government needs money. You have some. In order to get it from you, they invented this thing they call "taxation".

      Now, how does this apply to VOIP? Well, right now at least, VOIP looks like a "luxury tax" - a tax aimed at people who are better off than most (it looks that way because it's new, and not everyone has it). Luxury taxes are great, from the governnment point of vuew, because it's eas

    • by Wellington Grey (942717) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:35PM (#15596818) Homepage Journal
      I wonder what they'd to if someone made this set up:

      You speak into a microphone and a speach-to-text program IMs the words to your friend's computer which then reads them aloud. Is that voip? Taxable?

      -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
    • by affliction (242524) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:36PM (#15596825) Homepage
      A VoIP call is just another internet connection between two individuals, sending data back and forth. What makes VoIP so special that it needs taxation? Are they going to tax internet video conferencing and Netmeeting next? Instant messaging? Just another example of old people in government not understanding the differences in new technology.

      If you would have read TFA, you would have found out that they are only taxing calls made to the PSTN, not internet only calls. I don't have a problem with that. I do, however, have a problem with the rate discrepency between VoIP companies vs the Bells vs the cell companies. VoIP companies are paying double the amount the incumbents are paying based on an arbitrary percentage (a number not justified in any sort of way).

      Oh also that fund that is supposed to "subsidize" rural areas is such a waste. My parents have lived in a rural area for years without DSL and it wasn't made available until a couple years ago. And then, it's 128kbps and it wasn't funded by this stupid fund, but by the local telephone co-op. I'd rather the tax go away.

      The rural telephone co-ops in my area are heavily subsidized by Universal Service Funds. I am 99% certain that your DSL is funded by USF.
      • they are only taxing calls made to the PSTN, not internet only calls

        so, lets turn it round... doesn't this actually give people an incentive to STOP internet users in the USA who have VOIP from using the PSTN altogether, and encouraging their friends to sign up too?

        dude1: hey, man, it used to be cheap to call you, but it's now costing more. Why don't you sign up for $VOIP_PROVIDER, then our calls to each other will be free, and we can stop subsidising the old telcos.
        dude2: [fx: clickety-click] ok, wha

      • If I have to subsidize phone service for rural communities, many of which are wealthy, then they should have to subsidize my inner city rent, parking, and other high living expenses. I say let each person pay their own living costs. If you live in a city you pay high rent but get cheap phone service. In a rural area you can buy an acre of land for a couple thousand dollars but you pay $100 a month for a basic phone. Anything else is just welfare.
      • Did I miss this memo? What happened to the whole "No taxation with out representation" deal? Is my senetor or congressman (along with reps from all 50 states) on the FCC board?

        -Rick
      • I live in a rural area and fiber glass cables are running through the street to serve people in another township up the hill. I can't get anything faster than 56k though, we can only get a second line which stinks because of the huge interference (and verizon doesn't want to fix it). And those stupid backward FCC laws which state that EVERYONE should be able to get internet... they state that the minimum acceptable is 14kbits or something along those lines. Because I can on occasion get a whole whopping 30
    • ***Oh also that fund that is supposed to "subsidize" rural areas is such a waste. My parents have lived in a rural area for years without DSL and it wasn't made available until a couple years ago. And then, it's 128kbps and it wasn't funded by this stupid fund, but by the local telephone co-op. I'd rather the tax go away.***

      The Universal Service Fund actually does subsidize rural phone users -- poor ones more than richer ones, but a lot of the subsidy goes to the service provider rather than the customer.

    • Are they going to tax internet video conferencing and Netmeeting next? Instant messaging?

      Quiet, please. Let's not give them any ideas.
    • Just another example of old people in government not understanding the differences in new technology.

      It's actually an example of you not understanding the fee.

      If you read the fine article it says in the second sentence that VOIP will be charged when it connects to the PSTN network (yeah yeah, ATM machine, deal with it). This isn't discriminatory against VOIP; all other voice services including cell phones are charged when they connect to the PSTN network. VOIP to VOIP won't be charged because that'

  • DAMMIT! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cleon (471197) <cleon42 AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:10PM (#15596707) Homepage
    Would it kill the FCC to allow us to communicate WITHOUT paying protection money?

    This outfit is getting entirely too powerful. This crap has to stop.
  • Civics? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:12PM (#15596714) Homepage Journal
    Does the FCC have the authority to levy taxes? Isn't the FCC an executive agency? Have we stopped even pretending that we have a constitutional government?

    -Peter
    • Re:Civics? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:31PM (#15596803)
      Does the FCC have the authority to levy taxes? Isn't the FCC an executive agency? Have we stopped even pretending that we have a constitutional government?

      It is not a tax - it is a fee - look at what your bill says. There is no real difference but the name does count becsue agencies can charge fees - and most do.

      VOIP has been getting a free ride since they can connect with the landline but have avoided the fee - I'd like to see them junk the fee but that won't happen. It's a good thing that Repiblicans are for less government and working on important issues like banning gay marriage instead of worrying about what they've done to our economy. Where is Goldwater when the Republicans really need him.

      From a personal perspective, VOIP is still cheaper since I have a phone in Eiurope and the US and all calls are local.
      • Re:Civics? (Score:5, Informative)

        by maxpublic (450413) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @02:03PM (#15596955) Homepage
        The poster is exactly right. The executive branch of every government (local, state, federal) levies taxes without consulting the legislature all the time, getting around little roadblocks like the Constitution by calling them 'fees'. Apparently if you call it a 'fee' rather than a tax then you can do whatever the fuck you want. This is especially true if you limit your fees to specific groups of the electorate who lack the power (or votes) to protest effectively against this sort of thing.

        The sad thing is that most people are perfectly okay with this so long as they aren't the ones getting the shaft. And when their turn comes around their neighbors simply see it as payback for the fees THEY had to pay at some point for some government service that they used (or a commercial service the government decided to tax...er, levy 'fees' against). Basically it's a "I didn't hear you complaining when I had to pay fucking fee X for service Y, so don't expect me to speak up on your behalf now that you're the one being roughed by the government protection racket - asshole."

        Good luck trying to change things. Governments are as addicted to their fees as smack whores are to heroin - and they've got the guns (metaphorically and literally) to make sure you can't do shit about it.

        Max
        • I almost hate to say it, but I don't think taxes are our problem right now. You can tax as little or as much as you want, but if you keep spending anyways, the piper WILL be paid, one way or another. It's when the money is spend that it is truly lost, particularly if it literally goes up in smoke (blowing stuff up that will have to be rebuilt) instead of circulating in the economy.
    • Does the FCC have the authority to levy taxes? Isn't the FCC an executive agency? Have we stopped even pretending that we have a constitutional government?

      The FCC has the authority to determine who supports the Safe Harbor fund. Congress gave them that authority and established its limits, primarily users of PSTN systems. So, the FCC says that VOIP services that use PSTN have to contribute to the fund. All very constitutional. Incidentally, the tax on DSL is being dropped by the FCC, so I guess they giv
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:12PM (#15596717) Homepage Journal
    Dont you already get charged Telecomm taxes if you have DSL, since its basically a phone line anyway?

    ( i dont have DSL, so no, i cant go look at my bill )
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:16PM (#15596731)
    is that I'm already paying communications taxes (of various sorts levied by various taxing bodies) on my Internet connection. Actually, in my case it's a significant chunk of my monthly bill. In any event, this is a discriminatory tax squarely aimed at smaller companies providing an Internet-based service that inconveniences the incumbent telephone companies. So far as I'm concerned it's double-taxation as well, if I happen to use a VoIP service. Way to go, FCC. Let's just open the door to taxing everything on the Internet ... if you can tax me because I happen to use packets formatted for this purpose, what stops the government from taxing packets formatted some other way. Ridiculous on the face of it.
  • by sbaker (47485) * on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:16PM (#15596734) Homepage
    So what about audio chat inside online computer games? I can talk to other players in - how is that different from telephony?

    If I'm taxed for talking to someone using VOIP but not when I happen to be playing a game at the time - then maybe VOIP providers should include a copy of PONG that you can play with the other person while you talk to them?

    The idea that you can tax bytes that contain the human voice in realtime - but you don't tax bytes that contain pictures, or human voice that was recorded a few hours ago...of all the millions of uses for data sent over the Internet - why should realtime human voice be singled out as special. It's just silly.

    We either need to tax ALL data transfers over shared communications links or NONE of them. Repeal the tax on telephony or tax broadband the same way you tax dialled telephony - there is no practical difference.

    Hmmm - so if I use dialup to connect to the Internet - and then use VOIP - do I get taxed twice? I think that's probably illegal.

    The lawyers will make a fortune arguing this one.
    • Taxes aren't meant to be specific to the medium that is used - they are meant to tax function. Wireless carriers have to pay this tax, as do wired carriers. VOIP does use phone lines - obviously once your bytes hit their servers, they go over to analogue. I do wonder about double taxation. You pay a tax to your phone company for dsl (and many won't offer naked dsl) and alot of the time you're forced into at least a local plan, on which you'll also pay taxes, and now you're also paying the same tax on yo
      • I'm not against the money grab. Someone has to pay for whatever functions these taxes cover - and taxing communications is as reasonable as most of the other things that are taxed.

        The problem is that this is a fuzzy definition. Taxing telephones made sense when they were single function devices for carrying realtime analog voice from A to B. When Fax machines appeared, it still made sense - when dialup modems showed up it made sense because all data was taxed uniformly.

        This new thing makes no sense - if
        • Someone has to pay for whatever functions these taxes cover

          And exactly what functions do they cover? The tax apparently wasn't necessary when the packets were formated for transmitting email, yet now that they transmit voice there's a sudden 'need' for new taxes and yet more government? Sounds to me like a win-win for the government (more free money for no additional service) and for the telcos competing against VOIP; yet another example of an oligarchy buying government power.

          Max
          • The tax in question is the Universal Service Fund. The idea behind the USF is to make basic service available to everybdoy. It is used to: subsidize phone service to isolated & rural areas; to provide phone service for public schools & libraries; and even to provide internet access for public libraries (as the definition of basic communications has changed over the years).

            Previous arguments to exempt VoIP from the Universal Service Fund have centered on the fact that the FCC is also chartered to
            • There are other reasons this is questionable.

              Previously, (before-VOIP), the USF was collected on telecom companies, and used by telecom companies to build out rural services.

              Now, the FCC has extended the USF to include non-telecom companies, but the money will STILL be used by telecom companies to build out rural services!

              It's gone from being a rural telephonification fund, to a subsidize AT&T fund via Vonage/Skype/Whoever revenues.

              I think thats atrocious. I'm switching my company off AT&T this week
              • The goal was not to serve rural regions, but to assure that basic services were affordable & available to all. To also to support poor urban areas and to provide phone service to libraries, schools, and other public facilities. What was originally subsidized was "local dial tone".

                And, as we changed what we think of as "basic services" the fund has changed the services that were supported. Rural areas got DSL. Libraries got internet access.

                So USF was collected from "telephone companies" and used to
    • That will be taxed too.
  • by scenestar (828656) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:18PM (#15596741) Homepage Journal
    thanks alot FCC, I shall now make a fortune selling ssh stunnels to canada dedicated to "media traffic".
    • Do your SSH tunnels connect to the PSTN? No? Guess you also didnt read the article then, this is for traffic connecting to the PSTN networks and for that generally you need a third party like Verizon or Skype - if you are using an Asterix PBX to roue your calls chances are you are small enough to slip under the readar and they wouldnt care about you anyway.
  • Its a fee, not a tax. Only Congress can levy taxes.
    • Re:Semantics (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TomTraynor (82129)
      If it is leveled by any portion of the government and you don't have a choice about paying it is a tax. You can call it a 'levy' or 'fee', but, it is a tax!
  • by boldtbanan (905468) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:24PM (#15596771)
    FTA:
    By one VoIP industry estimate, customers could owe as much as $2.12 extra on a $30 monthly bill because of the changes, said Jim Kohlenberger, executive director of the VON Coalition, which represents the Internet phone industry. Traditional wireline users would pay $1.38 on a comparable bill, while wireless users pay an average of $1.21, he said.

    The above is due (FTA) to the fact that the FCC assumes ~65% of VOIP calls are long distance, while less than 30% of wireline and wireless calls are long distance. That makes it sound (to me) like some underhanded lobbying was involved.

    In fairness, VOIP that does not connect to the POTS system (e.g. p2p calls) should be excluded as it does not use the same infrastructure and thus should not face the same tax burden. In fact, services such as Skype are excluded from the taxes for this exact reason, so some calculation should be made to determine the percentage of VOIP calls that never touch the POTS system. Other than that, I don't see any reason that VOIP services that use the same resources as the POTS carriers should be granted special exemption from the taxes collected for consuming the same services/infrastructure.

    On a side note, my first impression from the summary was that the FCC was levying new taxes specifically against VOIP providers. I got the impression that the FCC was creating new taxes (No taxation without representation!) and that really pissed me off. Upon reading the actual article, that was definitely the implication, however the facts make it obvious that these are existing taxes and VOIP services are only being reclassified so that they fall under the same category as other voice carriers Anyone who thinks they don't -- specifically for services that access the POTS system, not p2p like skype and vonage to vonage calls -- is either ignorant or in denial. Of course, the conversion rate seems extremely off and weighted toward the destruction of VOIP and there doesn't seem to be an allowance for VOIP to VOIP calls which should bypass the regulation. I'm pissed about the extremely questionable fairness of this proclamation, but please present the facts without insinuating that things are happening (FCC creating new tax laws) which are clearly not.

    • How does the tax/fee work if you are getting your phone service from another country? Vonage already has a strong market in the UK (they do have VAT there however). It will not take too long before some VoIP provider just moves off shore and then is able to offer even cheaper service without the fees. We just love off shore solutions in the USA!
      Besides that, this whole VoIP battle is a serious race to the bottom with it getting cheaper and cheaper (then free). Once it hits free, 30%/65%/100% tax on free is
  • I bet its not hard to figure out which people this is for...
  • - They are not adding a new tax (which would be illegal), they are including a new business under an old tax.
    - Only affects carriers who access the phone system, hence not the same as peer-to-peer calls or video game chat, etc, etc.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:38PM (#15596835)
    The FCC seems again try to overstep the legal boundaries of its authority. In fact, the legislative underpinnings of the FCC's foundation have become increasingly questionable and, contrary to widespread believe, its authority does NOT extent to internet based personal communication, namely VoIP. This means that should the FCC try to collect taxes from VoIP users you can simply refuse to pay and take the matter to court. There is already a class action lawsuit underway that addresses this issue and that will most likely put a final end to the FCC's attempts to overstep its legal boundaries.
    • IIRC, the FCC charter is to regulate & promote communications for the public good. Changes in the way we now communicate has spread the FFC's sphere of influence. Change should be to the Communications Act itself, the underlying authority from which the FCC derives their regulatory authority.
  • Do these taxes affect people who pay-as-you-go with skype and other voip services that don't have a monthly subscription?
  • As Reagan said... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao&hotmail,com> on Saturday June 24, 2006 @02:11PM (#15596988) Homepage
    "If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."
    • Re:As Reagan said... (Score:4, Informative)

      by eviltypeguy (521224) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @02:59PM (#15597198)
      The original quote in context has a different meaning in my opinion:

      Well, anyway, it's wonderful to be having this White House Conference on Small Business again after almost 6 years. Things certainly have changed in the meantime. Back then, government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. [Laughter] Well, with your help, I think we've turned all that around. We cut taxes. We squashed inflation. We brought interest rates down, threw out needless regulations, setting the economy on a growth path that has created somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 million new jobs in under 4 years. Now, most people know that history. What isn't widely enough recognized, however, is the leading role of entrepreneurs and small businesses in our ongoing expansion.


      Remarks to State Chairpersons of the National White House Conference on Small Business
      August 15, 1986
      http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/198 6/081586e.htm [utexas.edu]
  • Nay not a single one. Each week there comes up shit to fuck up american citizens either openly or deceivingly, either by congress, or government bureucracy, or directly by president.

    Eh, talk about reaping what you saw. Vote the republicans.

    'Family values', 'american values', 'traditions' - any improvement on these so far ?
    • You are a bigger fool than you make yourself out to be if you really think the Democrats are any different than the Republicans.

      It's the left and right hand on the same body.

      • At least democrats do not send the u.s. youth to die in private oil wars in distant lands in addition to reaping their families off their wealth.
  • http://blogs.zdnet.com/ip-telephony/?p=1150 [zdnet.com]

    Who are these asshole regulators that can put on a tax with no debate ?

    They are more worried about F-ING Wyoming.

    The USF tax needs to fricking DIE.
  • I'm serious. Abolish it. I'm a license holder and I still say abolish it. Then re-form it as a bandwidth manager only.
  • Your government is going to get its revenue increase even if it can't open the borders. So instead of paying $9000 in rent so 20 million immigrants can join the fun, you'll just pay higher taxes.

  • From the summary: ... urged the agency to postpone its action until it had done a thorough analysis of the economic effect on smaller providers.

    Aren't these taxes/fees passed along for the subscriber (customer) to pay? If so, how does that have an "economic effect" on the provider? They're not the ones paying it, their customers are.

    Or, why would it effect smaller providers differently than larger ones?
  • Granted, according to TFA the charge proposed is NOT an "AIM/GoogleTalk/etc. tax" as some are implying; it only applies once your data touches the PSTN...but it still seems fuzzy where the line is that makes me part of a "telecommunications service". When an unattended test at my lab faults and sends my phone a midnight SMS via LabView, am I (or our ISP, etc.) supposed to be paying into the FUSF for our half of the wire that leads to that cell carrier?
  • I am so sick and tired of this crap from our gov't. Spying and invading our privacy, fees and taxes left and right, weird obscure agencies doing stuff that the gov't shouldn't even be doing in the first place, subsidising monopolies, wasting tax money to make a show of supporting a bill that is 100% known to be struck down as unconstitutional, and a whole laundry list of so many other things... It's HORRIBLE! I'm sick and tired; I wish I could fire these jokers.

    Please people, don't keep electing back the sa
  • Rural telecommunications; rah-rah-rah!!!

    All I know is that this "fee" requires me to dump MY money into paying for telephone service for the boonies, via a telephone company that I hate. How is that capitalistic, again?

    You want to live out in the boonies? Pay for your OWN damn wiring. Or use wireless. Or work together with your community.

    Why does everyone expect the federal government to pay for their excesses in terms of where they live? Why do people who build houses on sand banks/flood plains expect nati
  • Well - I guess we'll have to encrypt the packets so nobody knows WTF they are. This was probably an oversight when the net was designed anyways.

    If we cypher everything but the IP address... this includes the port information - IE - a wrapper to a cyphered port - then once the communication is established (via ssl probably) then we solve all sorts of problems including varying packet delivery based on the packet type (because the carrier wants to gain an unfair competative advantage for say their own video
  • And just out of curiosity if a bunch of us get together and agree to let VOIP calls use our landlines for our local area codes, would that be about the same as tax evasion now? It seems like most VOIP providers don't have service in Hawaii anyway, which is where most of the family that I want to talk to is located these days. If I could convince my less technical relatives to set up a SIP connection to my local machine, I could just make them an extension on my asterisk box without all the rigamarole of hav

You have a tendency to feel you are superior to most computers.

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