Kevin Martin Hates the Internet

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And other tales of woe from the FCC, which just voted to impose Universal Service Fund fees on VoIP services and increase them for cell phones.

Of course, there should be no Universal Service Fund. It is a relic from a long-ago age when telecom meant the same ring-ring, black plastic, curly-wired thing hanging on everyone's kitchen wall. Get the fuck over it and quit pretending the USF is anything other than a welfare program funded by distortionary fees.

Just another step along the road until the Net is totally under FCC control.

NEXT: 'Not Anti-Fluff'

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  1. Goddamnit. Isn’t that fucking Spanish-American War paid for yet?

  2. Aww Fuck. A truly depressing prospect, I need a drink. I hate to drink alone, but I don’t want to feed the beast by calling anyone.

  3. Universal service has always been a canard. Milton Mueller wrote a nice little book on universal service way back when. Here’s one of his articles on the topic: ‘Universal Service’ and the New Telecommunications Act: Mythology Made Law. Let’s just say that it was in Mother Bell’s best interest to use “universal service” to justify it being granted monopoly status.

  4. there should be a thread titled “reason.com” hates the internet. For all the trouble I have had posting.

    And yes this news makes me really really angry.

  5. Maybe Reason should charge a “Universal Service Fee” @ its website and use the proceeds to upgrade the comment-engine-squirrels to comment-engine-gnomes.

    What exactly does the “Universal Servive Rape’n’Pillage Tax” go towards, anyway?

  6. The fund subsidizes the cost of telecom in rural areas, where it would be more expensive to provide service.

    It’s sort of like how the USPS charges a flat rate and gives daily service to small rural places at the same price they charge for doing it in urban settings.

  7. Not that I’m to terribly upset about this, but the quote that is scary:

    “It’s just an interim step,” said Martin, who has previously advocated switching to an approach in which each phone number was assessed a fee. “I still believe that the system does need fundamental reform.”

    That is how they get ya, keep pushing control of everything, but do it with babysteps.

    Although I must admit, it has taken them longer than I thought to completely take over the internet, what is it almost 10 years now?
    That’s like “forever” when it comes to Government intervention.

  8. Evan,

    To the children.

    I think Madog is largely correct (I actually knew the answer once upon a time, when I was forced to write a paper on the–shudder–eRate). What’s funny about that is, and I cite Mueller again, that the rural areas were doing just peachy in getting wired up through the establishment of a large number of successful rural cooperatives. But Ma Bell and the government couldn’t have that! One company. One government. One phone. No alternatives. For the farmers (the “children” of early 20th century politics).

  9. Right, my bad. I had it confused with that other telephone tax.

    So… does this mean that the Feds are going to underwrite universal cell phone access now, too?

  10. What about yacht access? Space shuttle access? Salma Hayek access? There’s a service gap here, and I’m not happy.

  11. “The jury may still be out on whether today’s action actually puts enough additional funds into USF,” said FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, a Democrat.

    Maybe Headline should have been ” Keven Martin dislikes the internet but Michael Copps hates it.”

  12. What about yacht access? Space shuttle access? Salma Hayek access? There’s a service gap here, and I’m not happy.

    I demand universal fluffer access! There are rural areas (as well as, apparently, most of Massachussetts) that don’t even *know* what a fluffer is.

  13. Only if the fluffers are Pen?lope Cruz… (Sorry, not Salma; can’t get her depiction of the mononbrow commie artist out of my head…)

  14. Penelope needs a nose job.

  15. (Sorry, not Salma; can’t get her depiction of the mononbrow commie artist out of my head…)

    But Frida had MONKEYS! And monkeys are COOL!

  16. I’m not surprised. Nationally, control-freak utility regulators and the state and federal level have really been bothered by the idea of a) competition in telecommunications and b) a telecommunications method beyond their regulatory control. They will keep trying and trying to increase their regulation of VOIP and the Internet, justifying every little idiotic step like this one.

    –Mark Lambert
    (former state utilities commissioner, Iowa, 2001-2005).

  17. (Sorry, not Salma; can’t get her depiction of the mononbrow commie artist out of my head…)

    Maybe if you had access to her you could change her mind.

  18. Sorry, but Salma is objectively hot.

  19. The Hell? What will this do to free VOIP services like Skype?

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