House Bill To Prevent Per
Minute Net Access
Charges Introduced
Congressman Jim Kolbe
(Washington, DC) -- A bill to prevent families and businesses from having to pay per-minute access charges on phone calls placed to Internet service providers has been introduced in the House of Representatives with the support of Congressman Kolbe.
HR1291, the Internet Access Charge Prohibition Act of 1999 was introduced on March 25th by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and has more than 60 bipartisan cosponsors including Congressman Kolbe.
Under an FCC proposal, Internet services could be exempted from telephone company policies that charge a flat-fee for unlimited calling time. Despite an initial FCC ruling that calls to Internet providers are not subject to interstate tolls, "the door is very much open" to implementation of taxes, the cosponsors said.
"The Internet is an efficient, but still nascent technology and any such taxation would be unjust," the Congressman said.
Were the FCC to apply interstate access charges to providers of Internet services, "families could wind up paying hundreds of dollars in taxes on long-distance calls every year. Calls to Internet providers are local calls and they should remain classified that way. "