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California drops plan to tax text messages

2018-12-18 19:09 by


California telecom regulators have abandoned a plan to impose government fees on text-messaging services, saying that a recent Federal Communications Commission vote has limited its authority over text messaging.

The FCC put the text tax's future in doubt when it issued a new rule on December 12 determining text messages constitute an "information service" — not a "telecommunications service." California Public Utilities Commission CPUC commissioner Carla Peterman withdrew the text tax propsal "in light of the FCC's action."

The FCC's 3-1 decision meant that text messages would fall under the purview of the federal Telecommunications Act, which limits state jurisdiction over them. Five days later, the CPUC announced that the proposal for the surcharge had been withdrawn from their docket.

The CPUC's plan was to use the proposed tax on text messages to help subsidize telecommunications service for the state's rural areas, as well as for its low-income and disabled residents. It was not clear from the CPUC’s statement whether the panel had an alternative plan for funding those initiatives.

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