California regulators consider charge on text messaging

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California regulators are considering a plan to charge a charge for textual content messaging on cell phones to help help packages that make telephone service accessible to the poor, based on a newspaper report Wednesday.

The proposal is scheduled for a vote subsequent month by the state Public Utilities Fee, the Mercury News reported.

The wireless business and enterprise teams have been working to defeat the plan.

“It’s a dumb concept,” stated Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council business-sponsored advocacy group. “That is how conversations happen this present day, and it’s virtually like saying there must be a tax on the conversations we’ve.”

It’s unclear how a lot money particular person shoppers can be asked to pay their wi-fi service for texting providers underneath the proposal, the newspaper stated. But it is possible can be billed as a flat surcharge — not a payment per text.

Enterprise teams calculated the brand new expenses for wireless shoppers might complete about $44.5 million a yr. They stated that beneath the regulators’ proposal the cost might be utilized retroactively for 5 years — and could quantity to a invoice of more than $220 million for California shoppers.

A CPUC report proposing the texting surcharge says the Public Function Program finances has climbed from $670 million in 2011 to $998 million final yr. But the telecommunications business revenues that fund the program fell from $16.5 billion in 2011 to $11.3 billion in 2017, it stated.

“This is unsustainable over time,” the report says, arguing that adding surcharges on textual content messaging will improve the revenue base that funds packages that assist low-revenue Californians afford telephone service.

“From a shopper’s perspective, surcharges may be a wash, because if extra surcharge revenues come from texting providers, much less can be wanted from voice providers,” CPUC spokeswoman Constance Gordon stated in a press release.

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