The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Telecommunications

Satellite TV Bill Moves Forward in the Senate

On September 17, 2014, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved S. 2799, the Satellite Television and View Rights Act (STAVRA), which would extend for five years the Satellite Television Access Reauthorization Act. The current authorization expires on December 31, 2014. While one would think this would only be of interest to users of satellite TV, provisions in the bill extend beyond the scope of just reauthorizing satellite access to television signals.

Senate Plans Short-term Fix to Taxes on Internet Access

If Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) gets his way, taxes on Internet access and other discriminatory or duplicate taxes will only be staved off until 2015, rolling the final decision on whether to make it permanent or to attach other more controversial measures onto the bill either for consideration during a lame duck session or until next Congress.

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.

Tick Tock Goes The Clock – But H.R. 3086 Passes First Hurdle

On June 18, 2014, the House Judiciary Committee ordered reported to the House of Representatives by a vote of 30 to 4, H.R. 3086, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act.

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.

The Clock is ticking on Internet Taxation

Less than six months from now, citizens across the country could face new taxes.  That is when the moratorium banning taxes on Internet access and discriminatory duplicate taxes on Internet services expires.  While legislation to make the moratorium permanent has been introduced with bi-partisan support, the clock is ticking leading up to the November 1, 2014 expiration.

Times Have Changed

Once there was a time when 30-page college papers were typed on portable electric typewriters, research was done in library stacks, and job applications were filled out by hand.  Taxes were filed on paper and mailed (postmarked no later than April 15th) at the local post office, and shopping meant going to the local market and buying what was available at the store.  How times have changed.

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. 

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