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Important FCC proposal is pending- your input is needed!
Until January 20, 1998 the FCC is collecting public and industry comments regarding, among other things, whether Internet Service Providers should be reclassified as "telecommunications services." If the telcos prevail, Internet Service Providers will be reclassified, and could as a result have to pay into the Unviersal Service Fund. Internet Service Providers would be forced to pass the fees on to their customers.
All Internet Service Providers currently pay for telephone lines like any other user. We purchase them (and pay business line installation prices and fees) and pay for them directly to GTE. We have no discount based on the number of telephone lines we purchase. It is important that we have comments on record with the FCC for this proposal because the costs of the switch fees will (like all taxes on businesses) be paid for by the customer.
According to the FCC's public notice, "Common Carrier Bureau Seeks Comment for Report to Congress on Universal Service Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996", the FCC will clarify its definitions of "information service," "local exchange carrier," and "telecommunications service," and "the impact of the interpretation of those definitions on the provision of universal service to consumers in all areas of the nation."
The questions before the FCC are two fold:
1) Should ISP's be reclassified as Telecommunications Services?
2) Should ISP's be required to pay into the Universal Service Fund?
If the FCC answers "yes" to either of these two questions, the cost per month to connect to the Internet could go up by this increased cost of ISP's paying into the Universal Service Fund.
An e-mail address at the FCC for making informal comments is at email@example.com
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