If the Internet becomes a public utility, you’ll pay more. Here’s why.

January 6, 2015

An illustration picture shows logos of Google and Yahoo connected with LAN cables in Berlin

The Federal Communications Commission is in the middle of a high-stakes decision that could raise taxes for close to 90 percent of Americans. The commission is considering whether to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service and, in doing so, Washington would trigger new taxes and fees at the state and local level.

The agency would like to make Internet service a public utility, placing broadband under Title II regulation of the Communications Act of 1934. This move would make broadband subject to New Deal-era regulation, and have significant consequences for U.S. taxpayers.

Under this decision to reclassify broadband, Americans would face a host of new state and local taxes and fees that apply to public utilities. These new levies, according to the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), would total $15 billion annually. On average, consumers would pay an additional $67 for landline broadband, and $72 for mobile broadband each year, according to PPI’s calculations, with charges varying from state to state.

An illustration picture shows a network cable next to a pack of smartphones in Berlin

Proponents of broadband reclassification, including the left-of-center organization Free Press, claim that it would not result in higher taxes or fees. The recently extended Internet Tax Freedom Act, they assert, prohibits state and local taxation of Internet service. This is incorrect, however. The act does not apply to telecom-related fees.

Free Press and other broadband reclassification proponents also say the new taxes and fees can be prevented if the FCC designates broadband as an interstate service. A Progressive Policy Institute report explains why this also is incorrect:

“When the Commission previously considered the jurisdiction of Internet traffic, it determined that such traffic was ‘largely interstate,’ but ‘jurisdictionally mixed.’ States routinely tax jurisdictionally mixed services that are classified as ‘interstate’ for purposes of regulation. For example, wireless services may not be regulated by state public utility commissions, but they are subject to a host of state and local taxes and fees. In several states, interstate wireless revenues are subject to taxation.”

Late last year, President Barack Obama waded into this contentious debate. He called for the Internet to be treated like a public utility. Critics of Obama’s position point out this would reduce investment in infrastructure and lead to inferior service for consumers. Reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service would also stifle innovation and restrict the openness of the Internet.

Illustration photo shows "likes" on WhatsApp's Facebook page displayed on a laptop screen in Paris

The telecommunications industry has invested more than $1.2 trillion on broadband infrastructure since 1996. As a result, roughly 87 percent of Americans have access to broadband. It would be foolish for government to discourage the significant investment required to maintain, expand and improve this infrastructure by subjecting broadband to circa 1930s regulation. Subjecting Internet service providers to such onerous rules would depress innovation and penalize Web users.

Not only would higher taxes and fees leave individuals, families, and employers with less disposable income, a wealth of research indicates it would be bad for the economy.

John Hood, former president of the John Locke Foundation, found that keeping state and local tax and regulatory burdens as low as possible fosters economic growth, when he analyzed 681 peer-reviewed academic journal articles going back to 1990.

“Most studies find,” Hood stated, “that lower levels of taxes and spending, less-intrusive regulation…correlate with stronger economic performance.”

Tax Foundation economist William McBride reviewed academic literature going back three decades and found, “While there are a variety of methods and data sources, the results consistently point to significant negative effects of taxes on economic growth even after controlling for various other factors such as government spending, business cycle conditions and monetary policy.”

In McBride’s survey of 26 studies, dating to 1983, he found “all but three of those studies, and every study in the last 15 years, find a negative effect of taxes on growth.”

The Federal Communications Commission is expected to make its decision early this year. After the more than 20 tax increases signed into law during Obama’s six years in office, the last thing American taxpayers need is a gusher of new taxes and fees triggered by bureaucrats in Washington.

 

PHOTO (TOP): An illustration picture shows the logos of Google and Yahoo connected with LAN cables in Berlin, October 31, 2013. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

PHOTO (INSERT 1): An illustration picture shows a network cable next to a pack of smartphones in Berlin, June 7, 2013.REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

PHOTO (INSERT 2): Illustration photo shows “likes” on WhatsApp’s Facebook page displayed on a laptop screen in Paris,  February 20, 2014. REUTERS/Mal Langsdon

187 comments

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Despite our efforts using the oligopoly method has not brought cheaper, better performing, or more secure internet. Even if it did cost more if it was reclassified, its still a system that will end up being better. So id be willing to pay that, because it will likely come down later. Also we should try to emulate what the fastest cheapest internet countries do because they are doing something right

Posted by Nowicki | Report as abusive

While unsurprising from Grover Norquist, the extremist that wants all politicians to pledge to never raise taxes and therefore forfeit half of their job responsibilities, this article could not be more riddled with false information, conjecture and above all fear mongering. He mentions that the telecom companies have invested heavily in broadband infrastructure without a mention of the massive government subsidies they were given to do so.

If heavier government regulation of the internet is so damaging then how is that so many European and Asian nations have substantially faster and less expensive internet access?

The second half of this article isn’t even about reclassifying broadband but generally neo-con talking points about how terrible taxes are for the economy. Ridiculous.

Posted by PhilipJS | Report as abusive

The US govt has become uncontrolled and it’s main beneficiary is itself- It no longer represents average Americans, it mainly serves the rich and the poor. Those of us who choose to work hard and be responsible have our money taken from us to support those who choose not to work, or or those who work low skill jobs but expect high EIC and food stamps and Obama phone etc, and to line the pockets of the rich who control all the military tech companies.

Posted by Factoidz | Report as abusive

the Grover C Norquist ‘opinion’ PAID FOR by Time Warner and Comcast megalopoly…it’s simply BS that regulation and utility-ization of internet access will be bad for consumers and nothing but scare tactics LYING about taxes increasing – short version Grover Norquist is an unlicensed LOBBYIST for corporate interests!

Posted by peekaboo2 | Report as abusive

Politics
Shouldn’t this be in the opinion section instead of this lame internet piece?

Can Obama and McConnell play nice?

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell are warily looking for areas of agreement as they begin a new chapter in a relationship that is likely to remain frosty but businesslike.

Posted by brotherkenny4 | Report as abusive

Is it an opinion, or is it an attempt at political manipulation when it comes from Grover Norquist? I mean, has he ever once had public interest in mind and not the advancement of fascism as Reagan defined it? I think not.

Posted by brotherkenny4 | Report as abusive

Other countries have much better internet for lower price. Lets stop supporting virtual monopolistic behavior.

Posted by adamrussell | Report as abusive

Amazing how they pick and choose. If the internet is a utility, then corporate profits would be capped at a percentage of revenue. Which would most likely bring prices for the consumer down.

Posted by JPKendall | Report as abusive

Big Business is lobbying for the right to cherrypick areas to serve … and not to serve. And they want to do this by absconding with the internet that our public tax money paid to develop.

Remember how the free market would bring us cheaper cable TV if we just got the government out of the way?

Don’t feed these pigs any more from the public trough.

Posted by AwakeInDanville | Report as abusive

Reuters, why would you silently update an article that had a glaring factual error? This article originally stated that the given price increases were MONTHLY, when the source article clearly stated that the increases were YEARLY. Clearly, a much higher increase helps the authors’ premise. As such, it may not have been an innocent error. Now this article has been updated (with no mention of that fact) to fix the error. Here’s a screen cap of the original:
http://imgur.com/pnOtdcO

Posted by enmailing | Report as abusive

The original article stated that the the projected increases due to taxes were MONTHLY. This is a convenient error since even higher taxes support the authors’ premise. It has now been silently corrected. Screen cap of original:
hxxp://imgur.com/pnOtdcO

Change the “hxxp” to “http.” I tried commenting already, but my comment didn’t come through. I imagine it might be from posting the image link.

Posted by enmailing | Report as abusive

Google is bigger than Verizon and Comcast combined. And Google is the biggest corporate lobbyist in America. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is an Obama fundraiser. Follow the money. Obama is a puppet of Eric Schmidt.

Posted by bartm | Report as abusive

Yo Grover,
We didn’t elect the Rs to roll over and play good doggie.
WTF does the FCC do anyway?
Abolish it or reduce its scope.
But stop blowing smoke rings and the Democrats by rolling over.
Fight.
You need to fight.

Posted by SoCalMike | Report as abusive

Libtards want to crush the only part of the economy to have flourished over the last couple decades. Predictable.

Posted by JoeSmitty | Report as abusive

“Not only would higher taxes and fees leave individuals, families, and employers with less disposable income, a wealth of research indicates it would be bad for the economy.”

So as far as Obama is concerned this would be working as intended.

Posted by retiredmilitary | Report as abusive

Bottom line: The People in this country are not paying ANYMORE taxes to fund despotic and tyrannical goverment, illegal criminals, fraud, waste, abuse in goverment programs and for the disgraceful insider trading, and corrupt deals inside the beltway.

The People aren’t paying for it and any tax collector trying to collect will be tarred and feathered.

Posted by M_J_S | Report as abusive

If the figures presented are accurate, my broadband will ratchet up to a cost exceeding premium cable tv services. Interesting. I will also predict that it will knock subscribers in entry level jobs right out of the market. Honest to God. You put any service on the market that works splendidly for decades and the government will ruin it for you at the earliest moment.

Posted by cleo50 | Report as abusive

Is there any area where Grover Norquist still has any credibility at all? This is a guy who was never elected to any office, yet runs the debate of the Republican Party, and even instructs the Republican in Congress on how to vote. Who does he think he is. He should just go away and let Americans run their own lives.

Posted by Robert76 | Report as abusive

“Look… Here is a part of the economy that is booming… Let’s wreck it.” -The Democrats

Posted by TheMule | Report as abusive

Who are you… and why do I care what you say? Seriously… you have no clue re. how taxes will play out. What we know today is that the current system is awash with issues and the internet companies are in no hurry to address even with record-breaking profits. And if you’re really worried about taxes, you’d be beating your buddies up in Congress who are actively considering raising fuel taxes today or are you supposedly ok with that (like you were in 2011).

Posted by chriscac | Report as abusive

Regulation never made land-lines cheaper nor innovative. In fact, it was the companies who were not regulated who first waded into improving internet infrastructure.

Posted by Astralis | Report as abusive

NO MORE GOVERNMENT IN OUR LIVES!!! PLEASE!!!

Posted by crowwwwwww | Report as abusive

Oh yes, because we all know governments have proven time and time again throughout history that they produce higher quality products than the private sector at lower prices to the consumer.

Posted by IAmWinstonSmith | Report as abusive

Hell no..Were tax enough in America…More liberal BS

Posted by toby5555 | Report as abusive

I am really amazed at how many people on here liberals especially, that are ready to dive into paying yet another tax. Under the same ridiculous guise used to pass Obamacare, that it will somehow make internet cheaper if only we were all taxed more to access it. Taxing the internet does only one thing prove Gruber/Obama correct that most the USA is uneducated “stupid” and in need of some higher power to tell them what to do. We were promised that taxing healthcare would not make premiums skyrocket, now we all know that was complete lie,; however, those of us with half a functioning brain could see before ACA passed that it was going to cause healthcare rates to rise exponentially. The only ridiculous idiots on here are the people advocating for taxing yet another aspect of our lives in the name of supposedly making internet cheaper, but those of us with any formal education know that is a lie!

Posted by Anthonyh45 | Report as abusive

What’s the old Ronald Reagan line (to be rediscovered as fact by a younger Progressive-believing generation):

Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
Ronald Reagan

I’d add: if the government has anything to do with it the left will invent ways to control it. Standby for the Fairness Doctrine with regard to content to emerge. I’d better make this prediction on-line while I still can.

Posted by drktampa | Report as abusive

Is there any end from more robbery from our vile, filthy, traitorous congressmen. My God, how many new taxes can these thieves levy on us. Americans, be prepared, a civil war is coming. As it looks it will be the only way to stop these elected thieves from continuing to steal from us, is to put a target on their backs…..A civil war would do that.. America, they just don’t give a sheit about us, they get back there to the cesspool, and just as they are getting off of the plane they give us the finger….All I can say is that there are dark days a coming, and our corrupt congressmen are to blame. Just like Boner, who is laughing his arss off at us at this very moment..

Posted by baryohastogo | Report as abusive

If this is the case, could someone please tell Comcast to quit making me keep paying more for food stamp, free lunch folk recipients to get $9.95 internet that I am charged over $60.00 for.

I am old and pay for my own groceries and utilities. It is hard and I am barely making it.

Posted by SooperKitty52 | Report as abusive

New taxes from a government addicted to spending, why am I not surprised.

Posted by TheMongoose | Report as abusive

Get over the idea that things will be better if the government makes changes. That never ever happens. Why should it? The government is the cap corporation of all other corporations whether you be in Soviet Russia or in the USA. Thus what suits Comcast is what you’re going to get whether you like it or not.

The best you can do is prevent change to disallow corporations shifting to that which them prefer even more.

Posted by MrSandlewould2U | Report as abusive

Internet access will be less available, more expensive, poorer performing and innovation will drag to a drop dead halt once the government gets its tentacles around it. The internet works just fine as it is, leave it alone.

Posted by Dad12 | Report as abusive

Really? Like this government doesn’t already take in enough dough? You need more? I don’t think so. Live within your means like the rest of us. I don’t get enough from government to want to give them another penny. In fact all I get is a big fat headache and more silly laws wielded at their discretion.

Posted by AnnieP1 | Report as abusive

Really? Like this government doesn’t already take in enough dough? You need more? I don’t think so. Live within your means like the rest of us. I don’t get enough from government to want to give them another penny. In fact all I get is a big fat headache and more silly laws wielded at their discretion.

Posted by AnnieP1 | Report as abusive

Sorry Mr. Nordquist, I’d rather pay more in taxes than pay that money to a cable company!

Posted by Jrsegrist | Report as abusive

A solution looking for a problem, the internet has trucked along fine for decades. Current price and performance while not the best in the world do not warrant a sudden need for government to get involved.

Our costs are a bit higher but it should be noted in most of these places with better internet they received government subsidies and/or tax breaks to pay for infrastructure. There are no free lunches.

Posted by Shub1234 | Report as abusive

The level of economic and historical illiteracy by some of the Left posting here is mind numbingly silly and sourced from 1968. I can only suspect that it is just revanchist reaction to their recent electoral reversals and losses.

It is just Leftism trying to close down the engine of open and intense political debate that exposes their incompetence and crass looting of the domestic treasury nothing more.

Government produces nothing of value without a free and open market. It is a negative institution on all human endeavors.

The use of the term extremist by Leftists for people who oppose them is the highest compliment.

Posted by RufusChoate | Report as abusive

Wow, the libs are coming out of the woodwork with lies and collectivist cheerleading..

“Despite our efforts using the oligopoly method has not brought cheaper, better performing, or more secure internet.” I invite you to substitute ‘health care’ for ‘Internet’ to see what REALLY will be the result of inviting obama to run the Internet as efficiently as he does obamacare.

Then, “While unsurprising from Grover Norquist, the extremist that wants all politicians to pledge to never raise taxes and therefore forfeit half of their job responsibilities,” Aside from the irony of using a lie to describe an alleged lie, this poster has the hubris to claim the sacred oath of office (job responsibility) is violated UNLESS politicians raise taxes! If keeping the Internet free is ‘extremism,’ then I suppose Norquist is an extremist. To a socialist, liberty is extremism. I must laugh!

Small wonder the world under liberal boot has fallen to such a precarious state of affairs.

Posted by stringed | Report as abusive

Who’s disappointed with their internet? The old saying is, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Apparently the Obama administration is determined to fix something (free speech) and it’s going to come out of our pocket$, even if it ain’t broken.

Posted by t-bone51 | Report as abusive

So everyone points out how a lot of countries have better internet for cheaper.

Everyone forgets to point out the sheer size of our country vs those mentioned, its not cheap to wire up a few hundred homes out in the country and theres a lot of rural areas that bring down the average in speed and quality.

Also want to point out those countries with cheaper internet, and higher quality internet, screw you with data caps, which we don’t have to deal with (yet)

This issue at hand is a choice between the government controlling and taxing the internet, or monopolies who own the government controlling and gouging for internet. Its lose/lose for the consumer no matter who wins this little ar8gument.

If the oligarchs who own the government win they will use fast lanes, caps, and any means they can to supplement their dying cable tv monopolies, if the government wins, they have a money honey pot for taxes, since online sales are killing them in sales taxes vs buying at physical stores.

Mark my word, no matter who wins, we wont be getting better or cheaper internet until non oligarch companies start building infrastructure, which wont happen due to the oligarchs/monopolies are the government.

Posted by jay4756 | Report as abusive

Reclassify the internet? Hell no! Rather, with the new Congress, S..t can the FTC!

Posted by belleboy | Report as abusive

Frankly I have great difficulty believing things would get any better for the Internet once the corrupt politicians get their greasy bribe filled paws on it! This Administration is not worthy of anymore of my trust or anymore of our tax dollars to use as a tool against those they oppose. Leave it the way it is and allow it to remain free and open, probably one of the last things in this Country that is!

Posted by GrtGooglyMoogly | Report as abusive

I realize this is a left wing site so I expect this post to be deleted quickly but it has to be said. The bottom line is the left wants to control the net because they know that the truth gets out, even if you have to search numerous sites. The left wants to do away with the free speech (for at least the right)the rest is just on big lie. But the America hating liberals have never had a problem with lying.

Posted by pbtruth | Report as abusive

If we are honest with ourselves, we all knew that this is only a matter of time.

Posted by PrisonerNumber6 | Report as abusive

democRats. This is what ‘Rats do to Americans.

Posted by BrakOdumbazz | Report as abusive

Turns out using the power of government to kill the small ISPs a few years back had consequences…

The solution, we are told, is ANOTHER government intervention to fix the drawbacks of the first intervention.

Excuse me. Can anyone point out a great government success from the last 50 years?

Doing the same thing again, and expecting different results…

Posted by El_Gordo371 | Report as abusive

If you believe that it won’t lead to more taxes look at your phone bill. It was just a couple years ago that the federal government finally removed the tax paying for the Spanish-American war. And for those who think government can make the internet better, remember AT&T? When government was involved you could have any color phone you wanted, as long as you wanted a black phone. Even if you purchased your own phone you had to send it to them to adjust, then you had to pay rental on their adjustments. Within a year of the government monopoly being destroyed people had new phones with better services at lower cost. Government intrusion didn’t lead to new innovation, it was holding it back.

If you want to kill the internet, government is your best chance to do so.

Posted by JaneParx | Report as abusive

Can we please have one thing where government is not involved. We all know once government gets involved they will screw it up. The Internet’s been working just fine for how many years without government.

Posted by pmel | Report as abusive

This is just another nail in our coffin. I have read several other comments and was caught by the defeatist attitude of so many. Others attack Norquist as a tool of big corporations, while he is actually protecting our rights!! Why do we have a Congress and Courts if not to protect our rights against the grasping of an over-reaching executive branch?

Posted by Kalamazoo2 | Report as abusive

Forbes tried to explain last month that this legislation to “protect the Internet” was nothing more than a veiled attempt at new taxation. The idiots out there preferred to again trust Obama and the FCC. And look what happens now. You’re scroowed.

Posted by AngelaNMH | Report as abusive

I agree with Nowicki ! Everything the government does is cheaper, more efficient and performs better than anything the private sector does. Besides, without government regulation, how can they further regulate and monitor usage? Also, think of all the people that could then be hired as bureaucrats. Why, I’m sure this division could eventually become larger than the Department of Education, with similar stellar results!

Posted by tmorro | Report as abusive

So where is the neutrality?

Posted by jafo232 | Report as abusive

Reclassification of the internet to a public utility is nothing more that a back door to gain approval of the Fairness Doctrine. The tax side is nothing compared to content changes big brother will impose…….

Posted by triton2106 | Report as abusive

The fools among us will gladly acquiesce without so much as a whimper. Truly pathetic.

Posted by Pablo-the-Great | Report as abusive

The lie that this would ‘stifle innovation’ is being repeated again, I see.

Internet service providers are not ‘innovating’ now. Changing classification wouldn’t alter that.

The only, and I mean ONLY push forcing ISPs to ‘innovate’ is coming from Google Fiber, and the ‘innovation’ that Comcast, Verizon, and Cox Communications are doing? Is trying to force Google Fiber out through legislation. So that they don’t *have* to compete.

Posted by Burns0011 | Report as abusive

Hmmm….. Let’s see. Charter just raised my internet package rate from $45 to $60 per month. Given that the network connection is even more valuable than the REGULATED phone service I used to get, why shouldn’t we regulate this industry?

Given that fact that all other industrial powers that regulate network services have faster service at a lower cost, then we should regulate the industry, too. How much money did these scoundrels pay Reuters to publish this non-sequitur?

Posted by cleanthes | Report as abusive

The American people must demand that the Harvard Leftist elites are exempted from any taxes or fees arising from the internet becoming a utility. We must not allow an injustice such as applying Obamacare to the Leftist elites.

Posted by crusain | Report as abusive

its about time someone wrote about this its all about taxing the internet
period once its a public utility the internet will be taxed and regulated to death, and those posters that think having the government involved the internet will be cheaper DREAM ON, can any one name anything that got cheaper once government taxed and regulated it

Posted by nomad674 | Report as abusive

We need cheaper internet, however it happens. I personally think this is a scare topic designed to turn away those who are concerned about the pricing of internet service. Other countries have cheaper, faster internet and we have companies looking for more and more profit. Time for change.

Posted by Sportster1 | Report as abusive

If our failed government steals yet another 72.00 out of eash person’s annual budget for internet taxes that’s 72.00 less we will each spend on something elsewhere. In as much as that is economically senseless this scenario is about something else. Like control and low life spying.

Posted by KilledByDrone | Report as abusive

And yes, actually, Norquist’s bullcrap about ‘not raising taxes’ is based on a delusional world that never existed.

Government has a responsibility to the People. That responsibility is to regulate and keep order. From Defense to keeping the roads repaired to making sure everyone has education to forcing companies to make safe products to forcing companies to clean up after themselves and not poison the land and water for everyone else, etc.

Those regulations take money. And we the People pay that money in order to assure clean water and unpolluted land, safe food and drugs, having a military, having diplomats, keeping the roads fixed, etc.

Norquist would ignore all that and assume that ‘private industry’ would clean up after itself. No. No they wouldn’t. They haven’t in the past, and they won’t in the future, not without someone standing over them with a big-ass bat and hitting them in the wallet every time they do something wrong.

Posted by Burns0011 | Report as abusive

If there is a way for today’s sleazy and corrupt, so called, representatives to make a buck, they will find it.

America is now (and unconstitutionally) an oligarchy.

This explains how Obama has been placed into office… with the enthusiastic ignorant consent of the uniformed voter, I might add.

In the America I used to know, our country was a Representative Republic as prescribed by our Constitution…and the USA was a far better place because the Constitution was respected and abided.

Posted by op36a | Report as abusive

Raped by the govt or raped by the businesses…

This is one time I’d prefer to give my $$ to the govt. I dont want a few select companies deciding who the winners and losers are in the internet traffic game. It’d rather pay a little more to keep things “equal”

Posted by FriendOfaFriend | Report as abusive

Im not sure why government is inserting themselves where there’s not a problem. I pay a reasonable rate for fast enough internet that streams multiple devices, netflix, gaming, etc. If “Acme” cable company shelled out the money and all the red tape and work to lay cable in my small town that the big cable companies didnt want to bother with – I dont cry oligarchy. Im grateful.

Posted by NetShark | Report as abusive

I just paid my home internet bill. My actual “plan” costs me 20$ a month and its good enough for me stream multiple things at once, music, movie and surf. The actual bill on the other hand is 48$ a month. That means I already pay more in taxes for my internet than I actually do for the taxes that are on top of the service. That alone tells me there is a very fundamental problem with the balance of power in this country. The simple act of paying my internet bill enriches govt entities more than it enriches the people actually providing me with the service.

Now, if you are brave enough, go look at your cell phone bill and tell me how much of it is actual taxes on the service vs what the actual service costs. There is a very real problem in the country with Govt entities soaking up wealth like there is no tomorrow and then you get the jack-wagons on here calling for even more to be taken from us!

Posted by MrB.L.Zebub | Report as abusive

Once again, Democrats (Obama’s FCC) trying to fleece tax payers yet again, more taxes to give away to leeches and illegals.

Posted by Jack4444 | Report as abusive

If classifying telecommunication as a public utility and adding government regulation is such a great idea, why does my simple landline cost $50 per month? Shouldn’t all of that wonderful regulation have gotten it down to $10 a month by now?

Posted by Her_man | Report as abusive

This unfortunately has nothing to do with taxes, but with the control of information. The devil will be in the details, as probably most opinions contrary to the status quo, that today enjoy unrestricted access to any individual with an internet connection, will be silenced with red tape. The power to tax is the power to destroy, and this power will be used again and again to silence new ideas and/or ideologies that are contrary or that challenge or just question the status quo.

Posted by TetraBall | Report as abusive

I’ll be damned if I’ll pay more for Internet service because some liberal hack says so. I’ll go dark. I didn’t use the ‘Net before ’93 and can go on living without it.

Posted by firmslowhand | Report as abusive

No wonder Obama wanted this. I didn’t know about the additional taxes.

Posted by dlopan | Report as abusive

I wonder if the Internet becomes “public,” they (NSA and FBI) would classify it as grounds for surveillance without a warrant.

Posted by nicky1985 | Report as abusive

Yeah, let them tax the internet and things will continue a slow death spiral where only the elite will be able to afford access. Once we had a phone that cost a few dollars a month and a TV where the signal was free and the internet cost a few bucks a month. Now its $100 for the TV and that’s a mediocre package, $50 for the internet and another $30 for the land line but it doesn’t work if the power goes out. You also have to have a cell phone with a plan for another couple hundred a month. Its all heavily taxed and you want to let these idiots in our government like Obama tax you more? No more taxes because they always use the money for something else like illegals and anything that doesn’t include the taxpayer. Obama already gave away the stimulus money to his friends, don’t let the lying piece of crap have another dime.

Posted by taxmyfoot | Report as abusive

The most disturbing thing about this is that you know as soon as it gets classified as a utility they will decide it is a necessity and every welfare freeloader in the country will suddenly qualify for Obama-net service and everyone actually working for a living will be paying for freeloaders to use the internet for nothing while we foot the bill.

Posted by grampamoses | Report as abusive

The brilliance of the Progressive Party (modern day communists) of the Democrat Party/Republican Party, they worded this new tax as if it is going to help the American people.

Much like the lies of Obamacare this is only going to hurt people and make more people pay $ for the same thing.

Socialism ALWAYS leads to Communism. I want to thank the Low Information Voters for the shiz this country is in, because our Communist-wann-a-be leaders couldn’t have done it without you all.

Posted by williambeefcake | Report as abusive

NO NEW TAXES! It’s time to cut government and taxes! Every government agency and program should be voted on every 5 years so that there is some oversight. The way things are now government agencies and programs are created to last in perpetuity and have no oversight! PS> Reuters is a proud member the Obama news network & Propaganda division.

Posted by winkywright | Report as abusive

Even public utilities aren’t public utilities anymore.
I’ll never forget the way the Federal Government destroyed the Bell Telephone Company, and forced Western Electric Co. to give their patents to the Japanese.

Posted by Garys_opinion | Report as abusive

Only an ignorant, uninformed, feeble-minded fool would think that getting the federal government involved in a private industry will improve the situation. Unfortunately, America is loaded with ignorant, uninformed, feeble-minded fools, as evidenced by the man in the White House.

Posted by vviggers | Report as abusive

wah, wah, wah, Grover Norquist, wah, wah, wah…

Of course Norquist doesn’t like additional taxes, Geniuses. Is all you have a stupid belief that disagreeing with him somehow makes your argument credible? Go home…wait, you’re probably already there still in the same grungy clothes you wore yesterday. I’d be thrilled to read just one semi-intelligent comment that respectfully and intelligently disagrees with the content of his article instead of his general philosophy. Other countries have better and faster internet? What countries? I go to at least one new country every year and I’ve never been anywhere that has better internet than what we have in Chicago…many are equal but none are better.

Posted by actualsun | Report as abusive

The modern day American ‘gubment’ exists solely to ensure its annual growth and annual bonuses. With that said, the primary goal each year for lawmakers is to seek new and endless streams of revenue that are proving to be increasingly scarce forcing them to become increasingly intrusive and commit unconstitutional and illegal actions.

Posted by barry_benghazi | Report as abusive

Uhm, we are already paying taxes on these things. Just where is it that these things are NOT taxed?

Posted by SixthRomeo | Report as abusive

Nowicki, based on your totally incorrect statement, you’re still using dial-up on something older than a 56k modem. Cable, sat, fiber, faster wifi every so often… all advances thanks to free enterprise.

Posted by greenknight1980 | Report as abusive

Hi Grover and Patrick. I am just genuinely curious if you support simple legislation that would support net neutrality without putting it under the control of the FCC. If we are asking the government to do something isn’t that the best solution?

Seems like you are sidestepping the issue here to support the service providers who have essentially given up on TV but who want to move the tiered package model to internet access.

Posted by RyanBeta | Report as abusive

well perfect sound like a real democrat idea,tax the holy crap out of everyone,except the rich and poor and use the cash to buy/bribe votes…….nice and what an innovative idea by the way

Posted by Jonnyboy65 | Report as abusive

Norquist and Gleason are bought and paid for by NCTA and the Cable lobby.

The 1998 Internet Tax Freedom Act prohibits new taxes on Internet access, regardless of what the FCC decides on net neutrality. The cable monsters/conglomerates will raise your monthly bills no matter what decisions are made (see the recent increases by Comcast and Time Warner for monthly modem rentals.) The only protection the consumer actually has IS Title II classification, which will actually OPEN ACCESS to the infrastructure required for new cable or fibre build out (poles, conduits, rights of way) the Big Cable currently has locked down.

Posted by Gamer62 | Report as abusive

BTW, isn’t this TEA Party commercialism?

Posted by SixthRomeo | Report as abusive

“The telecommunications industry has invested more than $1.2 trillion on broadband infrastructure since 1996. As a result, roughly 87 percent of Americans have access to broadband.” And what do we have to show for it? Internet that lags behind a lot of the developed world and horrendous customer service from almost (or soon will be) monopolies.

Posted by amsterdamaged | Report as abusive

Governments view of the economy can be best summed up as:
If it moves tax it.
If it keeps moving, regulate it.
When it stops moving subsidize it.

Posted by norinos | Report as abusive

For the last ten years, I have lived in four residences in three states, each of which was subject to a monopoly Internet service provider. Over the same time period, my costs have risen above the rate of inflation, while service levels have been dropped, streaming Youtube at night is impossible without frequent buffering even on my “25 Mbps” connection, and confiscatory data caps have been added. Competition is virtually non-existent in the Internet market thanks to the entrenched local trusts/monopolies. I generally like Grover Norquist, but I don’t see him offering any solutions here, other than implying the monopoly status quo is good. I disagree.

Posted by Papagiorgio2 | Report as abusive

So we either pay new taxes or have the likes of Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and others regulate and control the speed of the internet?

I’d rather pay taxes.

That’s just what I need is to have worse internet service than I have now because I can’t/won’t pay for the high speed lane or because I use companies that can’t/won’t pay for it either which will further waste my time.

Posted by StormPhoenix2 | Report as abusive

Utilities are always taxed by the Government. It likes to leave it’s mark on everything. I’d rather pay for the Internet I want, then the Internet the Government thinks I should have.

Posted by Theshoo | Report as abusive

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell it to the hand. What pisses me off about Norquist et al. is that they’re real good at ideological purity and piss poor at results. Europe and Asia have better, faster, cheaper internet than the US but Norquist et al. would prefer ideological purity over good results.

Posted by majkmushrm | Report as abusive

Seems he is only telling the corporations side of the story. When will he be sharing the truth? The upgrades have already been paid for through subsidies and now they are refusing to improve their infrastructure with said subsidies. Can we have our money back? The GOP strikes again. Will there be faster service for us whites too?

Posted by ChefAdam | Report as abusive

These “Titles” were defined by Congress, and they can redefine them. The “neutrality” requirement of being a “common carrier” should be enacted, without the accompanying taxes.

Posted by DGS62 | Report as abusive

Interesting story. I just noticed Ive been paying sales tax with a major online retailer lately. Might as well buy brick and mortar again for things i can buy locally. ~

Posted by tksguy | Report as abusive

Gee Grover….big gubmint’s gotta raise lotsa dough……much of it to pay for ALL those millions of illegals, that you want amnesty for.

Posted by xsnake | Report as abusive

The “progressive” policy co. says 67 and 72 dollar rise in tax, and “free press” says no result to consumer.
That means (since we can’t trust anything they say) that our fees for cable and internet will “necessarily” double under their “net neuter” and we will be paying for who knows what, (fill in your wildest thought here) I think it will be paying for Obama laptops and IPods, and internet for the “poor” but really the alphabet regulators will be swilling champagne with the Senators, and they will be laughing every time we try to stream a move. buffering, buffering you’re paying for this buffering…..

Posted by JBRoux | Report as abusive

When this happens (not if) I will turn off my cable tv, and give up my smart phone for a trakphone, and stop any internet shopping and just use internet for email at the local cafes…then use my time spending more time with friends and family, i know am not the only one tired of this of this fleecing. Vote with your dollars, cause it will not stop here.

Posted by amdone | Report as abusive

Wonder if ‘ol Grover owns stock in Cable companies. You see, this action would allow competition access to the TELEPHONE POLES. Without that access, many communities remain locked to a monopoly of ONE cable company (Comcast, Cox, Cablevision (Optimum), etc.). Many communities would WELCOME GOOGLE FIBER, however, they are limited in their expansion because of the current state of affairs with how Broadband is distributed. Anything Mr. Norquist has to say has a hidden agenda. Grover says what?

Posted by WinkiePo | Report as abusive

the FCC is just another funds gathering agency for the Marxists in our White House or other real seat of power governing our land. Another chink in the vast cesspool that is sailing us down the drain as a nation. There is nothing in it for the people just government.
Sorry, I could not have a brighter outlook

Posted by jaxknife | Report as abusive

Most politicians are criminal pieces of trash. Americans are already taxed enough!

Posted by BlackRockRyder | Report as abusive

I wonder how much Grover was paid to peddle this silly lie.

Posted by TimCrowleyUSA | Report as abusive

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You can spout all your BS but the reality is that the Europeans and Asians have faster cheaper internet than we do. I’m sure you like your ideological purity but I’d prefer faster cheaper internet. Since your approach which we are doing now, hasn’t worked to deliver that, let’s try something else.

Posted by majkmushrm | Report as abusive

Mr. Norquist’s and Mr. Gleason’s premise is based on the currently existing taxes on telecommunication utilities. There is nothing that requires these taxes to be applied to broadband if Congress chooses not to do so.

The oligopoly nature of broadband delivery at present is what justifies treating broadband as a utility. If broadband investment proves to be limited by regulation, Congress can choose to reconsider its decision. However, at this point it is hard to have sympathy for the pleas of cable, wireless and other providers. Their goal is to seek excessive rents from their position of having little competition. Also, without regulation as a utility, providers will have the ability to promote their own content to the detriment of their competitors.

Net neutrality has been part of the Internet since it evolved from the ARPANET. The Internet has grown enormously under the neutrality regime. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Posted by howard_b_golden | Report as abusive

Of course. Everything that the government touches, especially without being invited costs people money and becomes F’d up beyon recognition.

Posted by PatriotInfidel | Report as abusive

I think we should tax the hell out of the internet, that’s the American way!

Posted by TrueHell | Report as abusive

Only terrorists want to hike your taxes. Ever notice how they always find ways to hike taxes but never find ways to relieve you of them? Only a terrorist government would do that.

Posted by johnnysokko1 | Report as abusive

I’m sure the geek squad out there knows work a rounds ….

Posted by RikkiDoxx | Report as abusive

Let’s be honest here. This is a piece written by Comcast, and probably sponsored by Comcast as well. This is big monopoly ISPs trying to protect their fifedoms.

Posted by TruthTeller890 | Report as abusive

I enjoy using the internet. It’s not exactly cheap but my cable tv bill (with DVR) + internet service (upgraded bandwidth) is slightly less than my smart phone bill. I say it ain’t broke so don’t fix it!

Posted by dkeberhard | Report as abusive

Either way the “consumer” is screwed. We are either subject to the “profit padding” of the internet monopolies, or the taxes of the government. The only advantage of net access being classified as a “public utility” is that we MIGHT then be allowed (eventually if enough of us “rebel”) to use the data rate / quantity we pay for by sharing or “co-op’ing” with our neighbors.

Posted by htsimp | Report as abusive

Sorry but it’s never a good thing for government to take over anything. Not necessarily a takeover but reclassifying this as a telephone line is absurd. No more cheaper, better performing nor secure? What, are you 12 years old? Net access is free in many places, mostly in businesses who provide it for their customers. No faster access? What, don’t know what a 1200 baud modem is?

Yeah, let’s turn this all into a cell phone bill. Good lord. Hippies used to be funny but now they’re just plain stupid.

Posted by cdrntexas | Report as abusive

Progressives love affair with taxes, fees & fines. For those who love Obama’s big, intrusive government.

Posted by rdlake | Report as abusive

Fear – mongering from Norquist?
How surprising….

Internet Freedom now!
Let America at least catch up to other countries that have better and cheaper and faster service than we do….despite our exceptional characgters like Norquist, running around like a little monkey trying to get all the bananas for himself

Posted by scottysemporium | Report as abusive

internet regulation by government = disaster!

Posted by wamozart | Report as abusive

Every fool knows that higher taxes is bad for the economy. We’ve been hearing the same thing for a hundred years. So, what’s new? The problem is getting lawmakers to take a course in basic economics as a prerequisite to running for office. For some obscure reason, they see taxes as free money. They seem to be unable to correlate tax money with money used to buy food and shelter. Idiots.

Posted by Aranhas | Report as abusive

The duopolies must stop. Both the cable companies and telephone companies are actively suppressing the laying of new cable by rivals. These activities are so intense that even companies like Google and Qwest Communications can’t lay cable in many communities because the likes of Comcast and Verizon shut it down.

It must stop. Either these companies stop frustrating the efforts of other companies to lay cable and instead compete by offering better service at lower prices… or people are going to have the government step in and flip the game board over.

Posted by SuRoot | Report as abusive

It appears the Congress is completely superfluous.

Posted by WillyD | Report as abusive

If this does happen and costs go up due to taxes, it will come as no surprise, since the slimy lying weasel in the White House has not been honest on anything dealing with finances so far. “People making less than $250,000.00 will not see their taxes go up, not one cent.” Yet while I make somewhere around $50,000.0000/yr, my taxes have gone up every year this lying bastard has been in office.

Posted by ACRScout | Report as abusive

The Government our American Founders Warned Us About

Posted by dscuyamungue | Report as abusive

The existing shared-monopoly system is working very badly, notwithstanding that it arose from a free market. USA has some of the most expensive, slowest internet service of first-tier countries…even counting various hidden subsidies to construct infrastructure in the many countries that are faster/cheaper than us.

We need to try something different.

We have a government that, to a considerable extent, responds to the people. If what we try next (such as common carrier status) doesn’t improve things i.e. more competition, faster service and lower prices, we can try yet a third approach.

Posted by JWilly48519 | Report as abusive

One thing that reuters fails to mention that will bring prices down is this. As of now access to poles and wires has not been enabled. With reclassification “utilities” will have to give access to the poles for running wires and also will have to lease wires so that other companies that are willing to provide cheaper less profitable service will thrive. As of now this has been what limits competing cable and tele companies from coming into each others markets. What are cable and telcos afraid of?

Posted by aaronBurns | Report as abusive

People who are against Net Neutrality.. either have no clue what it actually is, or want to make more money by destroying it. It is NOT big-government, it is NOT about taxes. It is merely about keeping things open to all, LIKE IT ALREADY IS.
What we have right now, IS net neutrality. And what we need to do, is protect that, from people who want to restrict the internet so they can make more profits.
The fix, whether it’s title 2 or some other net-neutrality regulation, does NOT mean more government or taxes.. IT WOULD MEAN NOTHING TO YOU. Done right, you’d NEVER feel any effects of it at all. We just want to keep the internet OPEN and fair to all, as it should be!

Don’t be fooled, this article is ONLY about scaring you (oh no scary regulations and imaginary taxes, that will never effect you negatively), with the same political BS that ALWAYS fools you with fear. They try it every time.

Posted by OkinKun | Report as abusive

The local electric company as well as the local POTS telephone providers are regulated monopolies that for the most part work reasonably well and are regulated by each state government (other than the cooperatives or municipal entities).

What we currently have is for the most part regarding cable companies are minimally regulated or non-regulated entities.

What should be done is that the local cable company would be able to supply the internet pipe which would be regulated by the individual states.

Those same cable companies would no longer be allowed to supply cable TV as we now know it.

That part of their operation would become a separate nonaffiliated company much like with the Greenwood decision that separated the local bell operating companies from both equipment sales and long-distance.

Instead you would get your cable TV streamed as a download over the internet.

You could buy your cable TV content from any content supplier and streamed as a down load over the internet.

The largest part of your cable bill these days isn’t the internet but is instead the cable TV content.

The cable TV isn’t price regulated and the local cable TV company doesn’t have any true competition.

Satellite TV has its issues and isn’t true competition as it’s not exactly an apple to apple competition.

If the local cable company couldn’t sell you anything but the internet pipe and you could stream the cable TV content from any supplier out there, the higher priced portion (cable TV portion) would be regulated by a competitive market place competing on cost, quality and service.

If who you had didn’t appreciate your business and wasn’t treating you right you could easily change to another provider.

Try doing that right now.

You really can’t.

Keep in mind folks that this would drive down the price on the most expensive part of your cable bill.

Yes the internet pipe might increase slightly in price; however, even if it went up 50% in cost the dollar increase would be less than the dollar decrease in the now download streamed cable TV content.

For once you should be able to pick and choose exactly the content that you want.

Right now if you want the local news back home from half way across the country (unless you are from a major city) it’s not going to happen.

What I would advocate is to think of bandwidth like lanes on the highway.

Combine that with the time that the entity that is download streaming that bandwidth (like time metered electricity (use at peak hours cost more use at non-peak times cost less)) would pay for the internet.

Sure if you’re downloading major TB of data every month you are going to be charged by the content providers that you are download streaming from.

If you’re not downloading major TB of data every month you’re not going to be charged by the content providers that you’re not download streaming from.

All users and vendors would get a fairly generous upload streaming capacity up to which there would be no charge.

Under this idea the cable company would be providing the pipe only and wouldn’t have an interest in throttling usage to favor the content that they’re selling because under this plan they wouldn’t be selling content.

If structured correctly the folks download streaming the content might end up subsidizing the cost of your pipe if you’re not one of those folks.

Again if some entity is streaming 40% of the internet’s bandwidth shouldn’t they pay more?

No individual I know would ever be affected directly by that by what they are uploading but only in the cost charged to them or incurred by entities downloading to them.

If they don’t like the charges then quit playing so many online video games, streaming all of those songs or movies.

Posted by MarkAnthony1 | Report as abusive

I really thought I could trust Mr. Norquist. i always thought he was a solid guy. After reading this, I’m sad to now understand he’s being bought off. I realize there is always a knee jerk reaction to condemn any and everything that Obama wants, but in this instance Obama is right. Most of the time regulation is bad, but not this. Imagine for a moment that the internet is a cut of meat. Would you rather have that meat knowing someone inspected it, or do you just trust the company who sells it to you, without any regulation? Unregulated internet will actually ruin it. Small businesses, as well as large ones will suffer if the government doesn’t step in and stop the big corporate players from turning the web into a tollway.

Posted by BrownClump | Report as abusive

Thieving bastards.

Posted by H.Schadenfreude | Report as abusive

Europe has better, faster service and lower costs. What are we doing wrong?

Posted by gordo53 | Report as abusive

nice article, really love it! greets, wilfried

Posted by willl | Report as abusive

This article brought to you by the Large ISP lobby and its cozy accomplices in the GOP.

Posted by erichidle | Report as abusive

Once again screw the middle class with more fees and taxes!

Posted by Kahoona | Report as abusive

How much has your land line phone bill gone up the past 20 years? How much has your internet service bill gone up the past 20 years? While there certainly will be an increase due to taxes, it is more than offset by the limit on profit. Lies abound in this article but the main one is less investment by providers. They can keep more profit by innovative cost cutting under regulation. That tends to have them invest in cost cutting investments like fiber optic vs metal cable. Companies like Comcast have hit a 19.75% return this past qtr, which would probably have to be reduced under regulation with customers getting the rate cut offsetting the taxes. Comcast would have return reduced, gov’t would increase revenue. Norquisters would rather the gov’t run massive deficits than cut corporate profit. Our children deserve better than massive gov’t debt.

Posted by JamesChirico | Report as abusive

Late last year, President Barack Obama waded into this contentious debate. He called for the Internet to be treated like a public utility.”

What a stupid statement. He didn’t wade into anything. If it raises even one penny in new taxes, democrats are all in, and all for it. Like duh?

Posted by dannysdailys | Report as abusive

The PPI’s assessment is thoroughly invalid; a fantasy based on will-o’-the-wisp. The tax increase is determined from the fact that your elected representatives MIGHT just increase taxes on Internet services, as they MIGHT increase taxes on parking or toilet paper. Increased fees are determined because the Internet Service Provider MIGHT charge more for faster Internet, which is what they do now.
It would be funny if it were not so tragic that the US has the slowest and most expensive Internet of any civilized country. This is because Internet Service franchises have been granted to Corporate monopolies. In all areas where The main ISP is the municipality operating as a government service, Internet service is incredibly fast and incredibly cheap.
The sole goal of a private Corporation is to make money for its stockholders. Therefore my ISP charges me the maximum amount of money for the minimum amount of bandwidth. THAT is the problem Grover refuses to face.

Posted by HuckleberryM | Report as abusive

Next we will have tax on the wind that blows through the trees?

Posted by PJWilcox | Report as abusive

statements like, payiny more would be worth it because we would get improved internet and the price would eventually come down, really? when is the last time you heard about taxes going down. or let me rephase that, politicians are always talking about taxes going down, of course that is said when they are up for relection. when the elections are over, its never mentioned again. or how about the temporary tax, now that is beautiful, how long have they been pulling that one on americans. politicians screw peter to pay paul. social security fund should have trillions, medicare has just been robbed the same way, politicians just borrowed the money for other pet projects. dont hold your breath waiting for the money to be put back. politicians never saw a tax they didnt like

Posted by decordick | Report as abusive

Norquist is just like all the pretend leaders from the other side. His opinion is flexible and open to the highest bidder! This guy is and always will be a hack. His horrible behavior was openly exposed during the K Street bribery scandal.

Posted by behelp | Report as abusive

Gotta love the progressive agenda. I already pay internet tax. This was started in the 90’s to spread the internet to all Americans. Yet, only 87% have it.

Posted by RonnieJohnny | Report as abusive

The Internet is the engine of our modern economy, the government takeover of the internet will be the final blow to our free enterprise system and therefor also an end to our freedom as individual citizens. Once again those who actually work and pay their bills will not only pay for service for those who don’t but will also lose their service due to the cost increases just like what is happening with our health care.

Posted by worddust | Report as abusive

Utilities in the broad term are things which are necessities which are commonly available nearly everywhere (oil gas coal water etc). Broadband is none of these things, its simply an entertainment medium available in limited supply to consumers who are willing to pay for it. It will be difficult if not impossible for these select Marxist-Leninist groups to prove that broadband is a necessity to American households.

This is just another attempt to backdoor net neutrality, via some regulatory body. If they want to do something positive, let them gather governments and local interests together and build fiber optic infrastructure nationwide. Think of the revenue that can be raised if fiber optic (or some reliable backbone data transfer medium) was available in even the most remote areas of America. Think of the revenue cell phones alone would bring from a nationwide fiber optic network.

There are tons of options to generating more revenue, none of them need to be based on negative regulatory control. If the FCC were to make broadband a utility, and taxation were added at the rates indicated, I would be the first to work on an alternative source to replace broadband.

Posted by jefferysikes | Report as abusive

The methodology of the PPI study referenced here was:

* For State and Local fees, assume that State and Local fees on broadband and wireless will jump to the same level as State and Local fees on telephone service. This is quite a dramatic assumption, and there is nothing in Title II to mandate this change. It’s basically the telecom propaganda, spreading baseless fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

* For the Federal USF fee, assume that revenue will be fixed but that the fees will be applied to both telephone service (as now) and also to broadband and wireless data. This means that the average customer will pay the same total amount, but the fee will be partially shifted from their telephone service to their broadband service. That is, the fee will apply to more of their charges, but at a much lower rate (5.8% rather than 16.1%). If you then pretend that the fee on broadband is a “new” cost, you can calculate the amount, but in practice it’s balanced out by new savings. Customers with only phone service and no broadband will save money, customers paying for broadband and no phone service will pay more, but most of us have both phone service and broadband and will be the same place we started.

So basically, this is malarkey.

Posted by jhdale | Report as abusive

Any government involvement will surely be a disaster just look at the country they cannot be trusted to do anything good for the people isn’t there enough regulation and taxation ,I think they need to quit overspending for everything the fed buys but that would eliminate their cut so don’t expect anything good to come of this it’s politics as usual get ready for the screw

Posted by BLIKEME | Report as abusive

If it becomes a utility, then it should do as other utilities do. You should be billed upon the amount of resources you use. If you are a gamer, you should have to pay more. You are using much more resources then I am. Just like electric, gas, water, and phone.

It is as simple as that.

Posted by GunsForRevolt | Report as abusive

Here is a novel idea……
Since many state governments are not in session 365 days a year, why not DC? Since DC cannot seem to cut expenses (18 Trillion and counting) then I suggest U.S. Congress in session only 175 days per year. We can help our government cut by limiting government to only the essentials. It works for many states. Can you imagine the lobbyist not having all the congressman sitting in one spot (DC) 12 months a year? Congressman having to go back and live in their communities?

Just Saying…

Posted by CUT | Report as abusive

Freedom of speech on the internet isn’t free. If having our un-throttleable say means paying $72 extra dollars a year, well, ok then. Grover seems to think we get good government for nothing. In fact, he’d like to shrink our government to the size where he could drown it in a bathtub, so he says. Sounds like an enemy of the Constitution and our American way of life to me.

Posted by congressive | Report as abusive

Isn’t this funny and appalling at the same time that the same people who call Obama a socialist are selling this country to communist China?..

Posted by UauS | Report as abusive

This is nothing more than fearmongering. Who is paying Norquist to type this drivel? Look no further than the telcom industry. This is a propaganda piece. Nothing more.

Posted by beef | Report as abusive

The Communications Act of 1934 helped ensure that nearly every household in America had a dedicated phone line, regardless of how distant or expensive it would have been to provide it. Remote towns were connected and lines were run out to distant farms. Subsidies were provided for poor people everywhere to help ensure The fees collected by the government paid for it all. As a result, people could not only stay connected with remote relatives but could also secure better jobs and conduct their business from wherever they happened to be. The long term economic growth experienced far outweighed the economic cost those taxes imposed.

Right now, we are in an era of “haves” and “have-nots” in the area of connectedness. Those who are disconnected miss out on much more than Facebook. They also miss out on the ability to make a better life for themselves in the new economy. The new levies will help ensure that people in remote areas and those who are poor will be able to participate in the new economy, thereby improving the lot of everyone in the coming century. I write this knowing that the tax will cost me more than I benefit for some time.

Posted by theCodeWrangler | Report as abusive

And you turn the heat up 1 degree at a time until the frog dies…….

Posted by ocnilinc | Report as abusive

Conservative American Network Engineer here,

Is this the perfect solution?…no but it is the easiest way to make a little progress right now with getting rid of the internet monopolies in our cities. What this article fails to mention is how the cable companies have been blocking efforts of others to lay more cables and thus create more competition. If you want to see big government in action just look at how bad the situation is right now with our internet choices and also look at how many politicians either receive money from cable companies or get donations from them. Right now we have no free market for internet carriers or we would most likely all be using Gigabit fiber at half the price we are paying now.

I’m not a fan of the government getting involved in things but in this case it seems like the best move. The internet providers have shown that their only interest is to squeeze as much money as they can get with us while providing the absolute minimum service. And again most of us only have 1 choice of provider in our area so there is not way to talk to them with our money.

Posted by Mythris9 | Report as abusive

Libs are truly amazing. They’re willing to give everything to a government that has lied to them, spied on them, is incredibly wasteful and inefficient, and in many instances corrupt. Doesn’t matter the lemmings keep rushing to the cliff.

Posted by ocnilinc | Report as abusive

Grover Glenn Norquist is founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, an organization that opposes all tax increases. How about disclosing this?

Posted by jswtp | Report as abusive

When did Reuters start running opinion pieces? And why? Very disappointing…

Posted by mgear2 | Report as abusive

For those who view Grover Norquist as an untrustworthy extremist, this article does not disappoint. The key ingredient to any FCC decision will be whether ISPs will be able to block or favor content. Period. This decision is worth hundreds of billions of dollars to Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, etc. Why? Because if they could exploit their monopolies with no oversight, they can block competition, favor their own content, and destroy freedom of speech by deciding what content can pass on “their” networks. Just try finding a venue where you can criticize the telecoms if they get their way.

Posted by Broken1 | Report as abusive

Much confusion surrounds whether or not the extension of the Internet tax Freedom Act would prohibit taxes. However, the Progressive Policy Institute challenges the liberal Free Press and concludes that taxes at the state and local level would not be prevented. I also believe that since the FCC operates outside congressional jurisdiction, the ITFA would not prevent the FCC reclassification of the Internet as a utility from issuing an instant 17% fee. Triple taxes have happened with mobile access, which is regulated by the FCC. Excessive taxes have actually taken its toll on the telco industry sector’s growth. http://tribune.com.pk/story/172140/taxes -taking-their-toll-on-telecom-sectors-gr owth/

It appalls me that some on this board state they would rather give their money to taxes than to big corporations. Neither is good in preserving net neutrality. My concern is that we maximize Internet access for all Americans and do so in a way that does not discriminate based on income. The most disadvantaged currently rely on mobile devices, which are tripled taxed. Lay upon that triple taxing of mobile devices the triple taxing of broadband access and we are creating even grater barriers for the disadvantaged to access information and avail themselves of other opportunities afforded by the Internet, including beginning a start-up business and completing online education. It seems to me that we are effecting exactly what we’re trying to prevent from happening in eradicating net neutrality.

Here is the link to the Progressive Policy Institute article that backswhat Grover Nordquist is stating: Source: http://www.progressivepolicy.org/issues/ economy/no-guarantees-when-it-comes-to-t elecom-fees/

Here is a link of strong interest, the rampant mobile triple taxes state by state. There are no limits as to what can be charges, so expect these to increase. Add to these amounts triple fees that would occur for broadband and consider exactly how discriminatory and harmful these costs would become for the disadvantaged. http://www.mywireless.org/state-issues/s tate-tax-rankings/

Posted by sundry | Report as abusive

Note under the picture:

Grover G. Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform. Patrick Gleason is the organization’s director of state affairs.

Americans for Tax Reform have historically advocating for the little guy, not the giant monopolies.

In fact, on of the most important net neutrality solutions at this time in addition to permanently extending the Internet tax moratorium is to enforce our antitrust laws and break up monopolies. I would recommend that we all contact our legislators to make this a priority

Congressman Goodlatte, as a matter of fact, is arguing that we do just that: http://bearingdrift.com/2014/12/17/want- net-neutrality-enforce-our-anti-trust-la ws/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitte r

Posted by sundry | Report as abusive

To point out that “Most studies find…that lower levels of taxes and spending, less-intrusive regulation…correlate with stronger economic performance.” will infuriate those who see government coercion as the path to progress. Everything runs better under government supervision, the go-to people for wisdom and efficiency and the understanding of how companies should be most effectively run.

Posted by kaidan | Report as abusive

Let’s hope this idea gets killed — we pay way too much in taxes, & everytime the libs turn around they come up with another tax to hit us with.

Posted by Bobo9 | Report as abusive

This is yet another illustration of the compulsion liberals have for controlling everything. They are so insecure of themselves they cannot stand to see anything run free.

Google “Two Minute Conservative” for clarity.

Posted by adrianvance | Report as abusive

Why does the government think they have to control every aspect of our lives? There is nothing we do, at any time, that does not have some government control. And everything they do could be done better in the private sector.

Posted by Tarmangani | Report as abusive

It would be a terrific moment if elected officials, paid by taxpayers,
would do something that would BENEFIT citizens instead of daily tweeking of rules, regulations, taxes. freedoms, etc.
Wish government folks could focus on something positive for citizens
instead of the daily meddling in their lives.
USA would be so much better WITHOUT government in our lives.
LESS IS ALWAYS BETTER.

Posted by migtex1234 | Report as abusive

If this happens, we can all meet at Boston Harbor when a shipment of modems comes in and dump it in the water! It can be the Boston Broadband Party, :)

Posted by KatMando | Report as abusive

Why does Reuters continue to publish pieces by professional propagandists? These guys are well paid to put out this stuff, if it is published at all it should be as “paid political advertisement” not as opinion.

Posted by QuietThinker | Report as abusive

If so, I would shut my internet off and never look back. I think everyone should do the same.

Posted by lvstrip | Report as abusive

It would be a simple matter to exempt the internet from any special tax….To say that net neutrality means we have TO BE TAXED is ridiculous…The FCC and or lawmakers can make this come true without a tax…But alas the GOP and blue dog democrats are in cahoots with corporations to scare us away from net neutrality…What are the options a net tax or corporations just raising our rates so they can make more money…which will be higher the tax or the the new jacked up rates they will charge us….

Posted by akita96th | Report as abusive

“Proponents of broadband reclassification, including the left-of-center organization Free Press, claim that it would not result in higher taxes or fees.” Are you freeking kiding me? Everything the Government touches increases our taxes.

Posted by StopTheLeaches | Report as abusive

Norquist is a corporate stooge…His opinions are BS.

Posted by akita96th | Report as abusive

I’ll agree to more Subsidies as soon as Corporations that receive them agree to be put on a publically mandated Payscale.

These corps take how much in Bonus (comcast top 5 total 150MILLION PER YEAR) And they take 8.9 Billion already in subsidies, while how many states have passes laws making it illegal for communities to run their own fibre (which should btw, be against the federal law of freedom from monopolies.)

Posted by eossipov | Report as abusive

I just can’t fathom why someone would want to give the government more money from more regulation. What do you gain from it? Not investment. Even using tax payer subsidies, remember where the money comes from, the private sector pays most of the bill for innovation. Also, Asia and Europe may have quicker speeds, but they also control content and access. Who in their right mind in the U.S. would want the government to control content and access to something that has created the greatest increase in freedom of expression that we have ever experienced. We get news and information and the ability to express ourselves like never before in the history of the human race, and as we have seen in China and elsewhere, government doesn’t like it.

Posted by EON59 | Report as abusive

Wow, how easy is it for these dung-head Progressives to spend other peoples money. Fire the entire FTC.

Posted by belleboy | Report as abusive

I am stunned by some of the comments in this thread. There are those of you who want to take the one part of our lives that actually works (the internet) and put it under government control, regulation, and taxation! Can you think of one specific improvement that would happen as a result of government regulation? My internet is faster, cheaper, and more open than anything I could ever imagine. The Cable companies invested a boatload of money and they are making a boatload of money – in my view, more power to them. I just want to see them continuing to improve the internet.

Posted by 39520219 | Report as abusive

As is obvious, the internet is a huge medium for public discourse, information, and commerce.

We can either KEEP IT THE SAME as it always has been, in which everyone has complete and free access to everything on the net, or we can allow everybody from big business, to isp providers, to the government to be able to restrict where you can go and what you can see on the net.

At WORST, to keep the net free and open, with equal access to all, you might have to pay some state and local taxes. To ignore the ability of a REPUBLICAN congress and/or other state governments to waive these fees is to fly in the face of our government’s ability to function.

OR, you can believe Grover Norquist, paid lobbyist and consultant to the telecomm business, who brought up this whole mess to begin with.

That some telecomm companies have spent funds upgrading networks while making profits IN THE BILLIONS has me searching for the world’s tiniest violin.

Cue Vivaldi.

Posted by EXander | Report as abusive

The claim is that the proposed change would increase government regulation. Isn’t allowing more companies like Google to compete against the limited number of competitors currently there effectively less regulation? It might cost me $5 more per month ($72/yr) in taxes (that will be state and local taxes which might allow the state to cut back on other taxes- or at least provide the State with some money to fix the roads) and in return there is more competition for who gets to provide my internet? If the increased competition cuts my bill by 10%, and I get 5 or 10 times faster internet (check the data on Google Fiber vs. Comcast or Verizon or AT&T), then I don’t care what ideological crap you want to throw around, this sounds like a massive win for me and other consumers: much better service (provided by Google, not by the government), and the same or lower cost. Might even force folks like AT&T to have to up their game. I’ll take it.

Posted by Centsible | Report as abusive

Anytime the providers fight something you can bet you are being had by them!

Posted by jwyoming | Report as abusive

Why anyone would like to pay for something that is free I will never know. If the government gets involved there is only one direction for it to go and that is down. The federal government can’t manage anything correctly. Why does anyone think that the FCC could run the internet at all. Just look at our government. If they were a normal business they would have been out of business years ago. The government just grabs more taxes, and nothing ever gets fixed. We go ans the government goes with their whims. This will be not only more costly for users it will be so regulated that the systems will never be any answers for fixes. it will be like the rest of the government, you will have to go through so much red tape it will not be worth doing. So I ask you how can this possibly be better for the users.

Posted by mvalgos | Report as abusive

This is nothing but stopping the last way to get an alternate view point out into the world. Since mass media networks are totally owned and operated by the Left atheists. Normal give and take will be excluded from America. Why I say this is the present administration has been very ugly against any alternate view-point since this foul administration began in 2008. I am sure of these facts, over and over they have bemoaned the truth getting out. :)

Posted by Hunnly | Report as abusive

Can’t leave things well enough alone.Anytime theres a chance chi ching in big corp.eyes.And there you go adding another tax let alone taking the little people to the poor house and then to there graves! Next thing you know we will be moniterd on our toilet flushes and guess what to many flushes you have to pay tax! I hope this comment dosen’t give them an idea! We are heading towards communism.I’m thinking of moving to Russia but only time will tell.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

I do not believe the government needs to control the interent. All this would do is cost all those that use, more and everyone they feel should have it…free

Posted by charliefoxtrot | Report as abusive

Wow, someone has paid a lot of trolls to promote this changeover to a “utility”. There never has been a government service that improved the operation of anything. The government has only proven one thing, that they are incompetent and solely driven by political forces which have nothing to do with efficiency or the public “good”. The recent cuts to our military in a time of instability is proof that politics and not the public welfare runs the government. Adding a new layer of bureaucratic fools to a working internet is the height of idiocy, and allowing such a decision to be made without public vote shows how disconnected the government is from the public, that was/is the punishment for bad voting.

Posted by gregio | Report as abusive

The best way to raise present Federal taxes without hurting the consumer is on gasoline. If the Fed doesn’t take the profit of cheap fuel, the oil companies will.

Posted by expat75 | Report as abusive

I live in Turkey. Internet is not under the public control. Internew was managing under Presidency of Telecommunication and Communication but no controling under M.I.O (National Intelligence Organization – Turkish M.I.T.It appalls me that some on this board state they would rather give their money to taxes than to big corporations. Neither is good in preserving net neutrality. My concern is that we maximize Internet access for all Americans and do so in a way that does not discriminate based on income. The most disadvantaged currently rely on mobile devices, which are tripled taxed.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/sunday -review/we-want-privacy-but-cant-stop-sh aring.html?_r=0
We were promised that taxing healthcare would not make premiums skyrocket, now we all know that was complete lie,; however, those of us with half a functioning brain could see before ACA passed that it was going to cause healthcare rates to rise exponentially.
http://www.liderkurye.com.tr
The only ridiculous idiots on here are the people advocating for taxing yet another aspect of our lives in the name of supposedly making internet cheaper, but those of us with any formal education know that is a lie.

Posted by LiderKurye | Report as abusive

$67/year sounds scary until you realize that this equates to a monthly rate hike of $5.50/month. Put another way, assuming you pay $40/month on internet (and I spend a lot more where I live), you’ll be paying 13.5% more. Many Americans and most businesses spend $100/month or more, excluding existing taxes and fees. They will see rate hikes of less than 5%. If you bundle your TV with your internet, these new taxes will seem even less significant.

We’re already paying a metric s%$^-ton for our internet. $5.50/month is a small price to pay for service that actually works. When’s the last time your copper land-line went dead? I’ve been in hurricanes and power outages and still gotten a dial-tone, and I have the title II protection on telecommunications to thank for it. Do you think telecoms keep landline service operational 99.999% of the time out of the goodness of their hearts? Of course not. It’s f-ing expensive. They do that because the title II protection afforded telecommunications services requires them to. Title II protection works.

Posted by nlieb | Report as abusive

I am interested to know how this would affect professionals that rely on the internet. Right now you can upgrade from basic services to get faster, more reliable internet. Would that still be the case, or would it be a one-size-fits-all model? internet dalton ga

Posted by seansimons15 | Report as abusive

This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

Posted by güncel haber | Report as abusive

If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

Posted by güncel haber | Report as abusive

I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

Posted by iso belgesi | Report as abusive

“Most studies find,” Hood stated, “that lower levels of taxes and spending, less-intrusive regulation…correlate with stronger economic performance.”

I’d think that the Republican Governors of Nevada, Alabama and Michigan.. Not to mention Ohio or Kansas..

In the original report, Grover left out the part that said that also said lower energy prices contribute to stronger economic performance..

If low taxes, less spending and cheap energy all lead to stronger economic performance, how come these states led by Republicans are all underperforming compared to the rest of the nation?

Posted by GroverNorquist | Report as abusive

Compared to what the telcos charge, I don’t think we have much to worry about. I’d rather support the open protocols of the Internet than the proprietary protocols and walled in gardens the telcos provide, anyway.

Posted by todaysjunk | Report as abusive

There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable.

Posted by adlbelge.com | Report as abusive

“…but they are subject to a host of state and local taxes and fees. In several states, interstate wireless revenues are subject to taxation.”
http://12h.org/
Wery interesting…

Posted by adlbelge.com | Report as abusive