FCC Ruling Ends California's 'Text Tax' Plan

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California has dropped plans for a proposed “Text Tax” now that the Federal Communications Commission has decided that text messaging is an “information service” and not a telecommunications service.

The FCC made its decision as part of an effort to allow wireless carriers to get tough with spam messages, although the decision’s critics say that carriers could use their power to censor messages, The Verge reported.

As a result, the California Public Utilities Commission has scrapped plans for a vote on the tax at its January meeting, Fox News reported.

“Prior to this FCC ruling, text messaging was not a classified service under federal law,” the CPUC said on Twitter.

“In light of the FCC’s action, assigned Commissioner Carla J. Peterman has withdrawn from the CPUC’s Jan. 10, 2019 Voting Meeting agenda the draft decision in Docket R.17-06-023, which proposed to clarify that text messaging service should be subject to the statutory surcharge requirement.”

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California wanted to tax texting because it said that telecommunications revenues to the state have dropped almost $5 million over the past six years.

The plan faced opposition, KTTV reported.

‘This isn’t very creative it’s just political bs!” said Jamie Court of Consumer Watchdog, who spoke before the CPUC dropped plans for the tax.

“I find it appalling that there is going to be a text tax because it’s so visceral it’s so anti-consumer and we haven’t established a need for it,” he said.

Wireless industry groups opposed the tax as well, according to CNN.

Will California just impose another tax instead?
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The industry group CTIA said the proposal would have given some providers an advantage over wireless carriers, citing WhatsApp, iMessage and Skype. CTIA called the text tax plan “illogical, anticompetitive, and harmful to consumers.”

That sentiment was shared by Republican Jim Patterson of Fresno, a California state assemblyman.

“You can bet I’ll keep a watchful eye on them for future shenanigans,” Patterson wrote on Twitter. “For now…consider the Text Tax [canceled].”

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
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