The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

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House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Taxes

Consumers across America are increasingly using the Internet to shop, apply for jobs, perform schoolwork, and email one another.  In 2012, the Federal Communications Commission found in its annual report on advanced communications capabilities that 95 percent of Americans have access to broadband Internet services.  According to the International Telecommunications Union, 84.2 percent of individuals in the U.S.

The FCC’s Newest Motto for Net Neutrality: Three Times is the Charm

It is a sad state of affairs when a federal agency continues to waste taxpayer dollars on a concept that failed, not once but twice to pass muster with the court.  On May 15, 2014, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler brought up for a vote a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that has the potential to increase government control over the Internet.  On a party-line vote, the proposal was passed.

STELA Takes Center Stage at Hearing

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology is slated to hold a hearing on the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (STELA) on March 12, 2014.  This hearing opens a window of opportunity to discuss outdated regulatory schemes, such as retransmission consent agreements, and must-carry provisions of the Cable Act of 1992.

A Continued Push for Net Neutrality

Proponents of net neutrality are once again working towards imposing net neutrality rules and regulations over the Internet.  The Internet has thrived in an open and competitive market to become a vital part of society and the global economy.  There has been incredible growth in both the speed and quality of the web, largely because the government has resisted onerous regulations.

Eighteen Years and Counting

On February 8, 2014, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 will turn eighteen years old.  For most eighteen year-olds this is a major milestone in life.  Gaining a sense of maturity; showing that one is ready to face the world.  You even get to vote. 

Public Utility Model Doesn’t Hold Traction for Broadband

On November 4, 2013, a study released by Reason Foundation found that government-owned broadband networks (GONs) do not provide the value that cities and towns hope to achieve.

Private Sector Solution to Digital Literacy

As students return to school this fall, they are finding that their teachers are using technology tools, such as online curriculums and textbooks, and assigning online homework more frequently.  Today, virtually all schools and libraries are connected to the Internet.  However, once the school day has ended, students may find a different picture when they return home.

Keeping Internet Access Free of Taxes

On November 1, 2014, the moratorium banning discriminatory taxes on the Internet and taxes on Internet access imposed by the Internet Tax Freedom Act in 1998 will expire.  At the time the legislation was initially enacted, the Internet had approximately 300 million users.  Since then, the number of users on the Internet has increased to nearly 2.3 billion world-wide.

E-Rate Program Reform To Take Center Stage at FCC

On Friday, July 19, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be meeting to discuss, among other items, reforms to the Universal Service Fund (USF)’ E-Rate program, which was highlighted in the July edition of Wastewatcher.  It is expected that the outcome of this meeting will be a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to obtain comment on how the program can be re-organized to meet the goals of the President Obama’s recently

The Farmers Love This Bill

“The farmers love this bill,

The farmers love this bill,

High, HIGH, the dairies go,

The farmers love this bill!”

While it’s a tortured version of the original, the verse scribbled above represents a more fitting rendition of the classic nursery rhyme these days, given ongoing congressional action.  Today, the Senate will markup its version (S. 10) of this year’s farm bill, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013.  The House of Representatives is expected to follow suit tomorrow.

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