'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
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 25 Feb 2011 @ 8:33am

    Well, this is epically stupid

    Taxing Netflix for the USF is like taxing my company for the USF because we use the phones for tech support and charge our clients for it. GE, Microsoft, HP, or Dell wouldn't go for it, why the hell should Netflix?

    I'm assuming that the CFA won't just stop at Netflix. Why would they, Youtube still uses more bandwidth then Netflix. Then we have all the other video sharing sites, and then the music sharing sites, then the program sharing sites. Why don't we just tax them all and say to hell with the consumer. They'd all be happier living in boxes on the street anyways, right?

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