FCC's Martin Opposes Taxing Broadband


Cable operators shouldn't have to contribute cable-modem revenue to the
government fund that keeps local phone rates affordable for the poor and people
living in areas costly to serve, Republican Federal Communications Commission
member Kevin Martin indicated Wednesday.

The FCC is considering requiring cable operators to contribute a portion of
their broadband revenue to the so-called universal-service fund to ensure that
funding support remains robust.

'I do not support the FCC proposal to extend universal-service contribution
obligations to providers of broadband Internet access,' Martin said at a
breakfast forum staged by the Alliance for Public Technology.

He called the proposal an Internet tax that would harm deployment of
broadband facilities. He also questioned whether broadband revenue should
support universal service at a time when the FCC prohibits the use of
universal-service funds to subsidize broadband-access service.

If he prevails, Martin's position could save cable customers hundreds of
millions of dollars. In March, when the FCC classified cable-modem service as an
information service, many large cable operators stopped collecting and remitting
franchise fees on their cable-modem revenue.