The USF Wants You!

At this point it is beyond ludicrous to have VoIP providers pay into the USF. VoIP is just an application. It makes much more sense to have broadband providers pay into the USF. I have mentioned this before and feel I must keep mentioning it until someone listens. Increasing taxation on VoIP calling will push people to use services like Skype more quickly. As everyone uses free VoIP packages there will be no revenue left to tax for the USF.

Moreover, if I pay for e-mail service why is that not taxed for the USF? What is it about voice over IP that makes it more taxable? What about instant messaging? What if I start using voice IM? Is that taxable? It is functionally equivalent to VoIP. The FCC doesn’t want to have to deal with nuances of communications mediums to try to figure out what is taxable and what is not.

Instead of exempting broadband providers from paying into the USF they should be flipping the model around altogether.

Broadband costs will not erode as quickly as VoIP and by taxing all broadband equally you don’t push consumers to use one broadband type over another.

That is just my two cents – one of which I will soon have to contribute to the USF.

Reference: FCC Mulls Taxing VOIP Calls

  • Paul Kouroupas
    June 2, 2006 at 1:58 pm

    You are spot on with your concerns. One of the things that regulators do not appreciate is the fact that VoIP can be provided from anywhere in the world, hence Skype. If the U.S. creates a hostile climate for VoIP providers, they will simply move off-shore and we will lose the benefit of their creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation, not to mention their jobs, investment, and tax revenue.
    It is rather ironic that the FCC seeks to deregulate facilities-based broadband providers so as to stimulate investment, but they are willing to regulate VoIP as if their investment is disposable. Something doesn’t make sense when you deregulate the duopoly providing the transport and regulate the competitive appliations providers.

  • Rich Tehrani
    June 2, 2006 at 3:02 pm

    I could not agree more with every word. You are spot on.

  • VoIP & Gadgets Blog
    June 2, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    Tax VoIP to fund USF? Bah!

    So now the U.S. government wants to tax VoIP to help fund the USF. Rich discusses this in a post today worth checking out. eWeek also has a story on this. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is proposing that VoIP service…

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