'Consumer' Group Wants Netflix To Tax Customers To Give To Telcos?

from the really? dept

This one's a bit bizarre. We were just talking about the ridiculous boondoggle called the Universal Service Fund, which is one of those "taxes" on your phone bill that's supposed to go towards having the big telcos supply service to rural areas. Of course, since there's no oversight, it seems like most of the money just goes into the telcos coffers. There are all sorts of ways to deal with this, but one idea that makes no sense at all has been put forth by the Consumer Federation of America... who thinks that Netflix should be "taxed" to provide money for the USF. Why? Um, that's not clear. Basically CFA seems to think that big internet companies should now pay up just because:
"The Internet is not an infant industry anymore. It can certainly bear the burden of making sure that wires and the communications mediums are there."
So, really, what this "consumer" group is suggesting is that Netflix raise its prices on consumers, to give telcos more money that they just use to pay for operations, rather than actually investing in infrastructure for the disconnected. How does that possibly help "consumers"?

Filed Under: broadband, consumers, tax, usf
Companies: consumer federation of america, netflix

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  1. icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), 25 Feb 2011 @ 7:44am

    FTA: He stressed, however, that the FCC must address the mechanisms for distributing the money before it overhauls contributions. Tackling these questions simultaneously is a recipe for "political stalemate."

    "If we have [the contribution] debate at the same time we're doing distribution, I absolutely guarantee they won't have it done by the end of the year," he said.

    So they don't know what it's for, they don't know where it should come from, and they aren't prepared to put those two questions on the same table. Remind me again why this fund exists, FCC...

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