This comes after the Federal Communications Commission in Washington D.C. had declared text messaging to be an “information service,” and not a telecommunications service. This means texting is not subject to a surcharge under California law.
“Prior to this FCC ruling,” the CPUC said in a statement tweeted on Twitter, “text messaging was not a classified service under federal law.
“In light of the FCC’s action,” the statement continued, “assigned Commissioner Carla J. Peterman has withdrawn from the CPUC’s Jan. 10, 2019 Voting Meeting agenda the draft decision in Docket R.17-06-023, which proposed to clarify that text messaging service should be subject to the [state of California’s[ statutory surcharge requirement.”
— California PUC (@californiapuc) December 15, 2018
The plan by CPUC was using the proposed text messages tax to assist in subsidizing telecommunications services for California’s rural areas, along with for its disabled and low-income residents.
The commission laid out why it viewed the tax as being needed in a report. Specifically it cited declining telecommunications industry revenues over the last six years, a near $5 million drop.
“This is unsustainable over time,” said the report.
However, the CPUC’s statement did not make it clear if it had an alternative plan to fund those initiatives.
The CPUC was claiming that revenues for subsidy programs have been in a decline as consumers switch from traditional landline telecom services to text messaging services.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.