Just as time was running out, Congress passed a continuing resolution, which – among a handful of other provisions – will extend the ban on Internet access taxes through December 11th. As you may recall, the ban on Internet access taxes was due to expire on October 1st. We commend Congress for recognizing the importance of this issue. However, the continuing resolution is only a short-term fix.
Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives made a move to permanently extend the ban on Internet access taxes by passing the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 235). Unfortunately the Senate has yet to take up the companion legislation, known as the ‘Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act’ (S.431).
The ban on Internet access taxes was originally put in place in 1998 and incrementally extended by Congress over the years to encourage the continued expansion of Internet use. Last year, CTIA – The Wireless Association found that the decision to keep Internet access tax free led to more than $34.4 billion in savings for Americans – and that doesn’t even account for the benefits the Internet provides on how we communicate, learn and conduct business.
If the Internet access tax ban expires, the high state and local taxes that are already applied to wireless service could be expanded to include Internet access, increasing the cost of service. This despite the fact that the FCC National Broadband Plan says that cost is the largest barrier to consumer broadband adoption.
We urge Congress to address this issue once and for all by enacting a permanent ban on Internet access taxes before the December 11th deadline. We can’t afford anything less.
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