After today’s FCC meeting, I released the following statement:
“As Chairman Genachowski pursues his consumer agenda that was discussed at the meeting today, we hope he will address three additional pro-consumer items.
“One is the discriminatory 15 percent in taxes and fees that wireless consumers pay each month, which is more than double the rate for other taxable goods and services. Since everyone agrees that we need to ensure all Americans have access to affordable broadband, this tax policy makes zero sense as it will not advance broadband adoption or deployment.
“The second is to stop states from raiding their E911 funds. Millions of wireless customers pay the monthly ‘911 tax and fee,’ believing that their contributions will ensure that first responders are properly equipped to handle the more than 300,000 wireless distress calls they receive every day. Unfortunately, an August 2010 FCC report said that 13 states used 911 funds to support programs other than 911/E911, including 10 states that used it to close budget gaps in their general funds. We are proud supporters of the public safety community, which is why we strongly support legislation that would stop states from poaching money away from these dedicated first responders.
“Lastly, we urge the Commission to take meaningful action to address violations of the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which includes unwanted or ‘SPAM’ messages and calls to wireless consumers by third parties. In 2009, the FCC received nearly 48,000 wireless TCPA-related complaints – nearly 32 times the number of estimated annual ‘bill shock’ complaints. It is incumbent upon the FCC to take strong action to stop these costly abuses.”