Cell phones are mostly used for texting and watching entertainment these days. And cell phone owners in California could soon pay extra for the privilege of sending text messages, thanks to landline-era legislation and changing usage patterns.
Recent public law filings suggest that the state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is considering a plan that would bill users a monthly fee for any text message services they use, and phone service carriers aren’t happy about this at all.
It all goes back to the landline era of the 90s, when the US federal government and states established Public Purpose Programs (PPP), which charged all phone users a surcharge that supported programs for low earners. As the internet took off, though, the industry somehow got an exemption for what it called “information services,” like email and web-browsing.
Well, now things may be changing. On Wednesday, the FCC approved a new rule that clarifies that text messages fall under this term. And since people use their phones for voice calling a lot less now, revenues for PPP have dropped by around a third. While the budget for subsidizing low earners has risen by almost 50 percent. You do the math. Soon you may need to pay a tax.
Source EngadgetFiled Under: Technology News