During last week’s National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit, we spoke with state legislators and their staff about some of wireless industry’s priorities for the upcoming state legislative sessions.
At the summit, the NCSL Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committee passed the Twenty-First Century Communications policy, which outlines the increasing importance of advanced communications services to the economy and other industries. In addition, the report identifies the steps U.S. congressional members, the FCC commissioners and state legislators and regulators should take to ensure the wireless industry remains innovative.
Here are a few highlights from their policy:
- Regulation – Congress and the FCC should review and possibly redefine telecommunications and information services to ensure all providers of communications services are treated similarly for government regulation and taxation. In addition, the NCSL Policy endorses a communications policy framework that “allows consumers and the marketplace to determine winners and losers not government regulation.”
- Consumer Protection – Recognizes that the U.S. wireless industry’s voluntary efforts, including the adoption of the “Consumer Code for Wireless Service,” have led to a significant reduction in consumer complaints.
- Streamlining Tower Siting – NCSL endorses state action to enhance the use of collocation of cell antennas and streamlining the current tower siting process. The government should not levy discriminatory fees for the siting of wireless facilities or the application for collocation. Taxes on the wireless facility must not be higher than fees or taxes applied to other general businesses.
- Taxes and Fees – The taxation of communications services at rates that are substantially more than those imposed upon general business taxes not only harms competition, but also negatively impacts low-income consumers. Policymakers at all levels of government should work together to simplify, reform and modernize communications taxes.
- USF – Congress, the FCC and state legislators and regulators should review and address USF goals and requirements by adopting policies that promote universal mobility and competition. Congress needs to evaluate the ever-growing burden on consumers who pay the USF fees.