Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Will No One Rid Us of These Meddlesome Fees?

One of the very many avenues the Left uses as an excuse to grow government – is the alleged “digital divide.” The number of people who do not have access to Internet service – contrasted with the number who do.

Broadband Digital Divide ‘Becoming a Chasm’: “There is ‘growing digital inequality between…the rich and the poor…’ says the United Nations’ Broadband Commission in its latest report.”

Does anyone actually believe the “digital divide” “between rich and poor” in the United States – is actually getting worse? That there is a smaller percentage of people with Internet access now – then there were three years ago? Five? Ten?

It is an absolutely absurd assertion.

Record Shares of Americans Now Own Smartphones, Have Home Broadband

Their lie is predicated in no small part on the ridiculously high official “definition” of “high speed broadband.” A level of speed far higher than the vast majority of Americans come even close to needing.

Their lie is also predicated on the completely disingenuous definition – that only wired broadband counts as Internet access. Our fast-and-getting-faster satellite Internet Service Providers (ISPs) – don’t count as Internet access. Our unbelievably-fast-and-growing-exponentially-faster wireless Internet connections – on incredibly dynamic smart phones and tablets – don’t count as Internet access.

How dumb is this? No item is more broadband intensive – than video. The second place item – isn’t even close. And we currently have wireless companies offering unlimited streaming of video services. Get that? WIRELESS Internet Service Providers (ISPs) – offering UNLIMITED video streaming.

That’s incredibly fast Internet access. Delivered to millions of people.  On an access platform – the more-government-advocates don’t even count as Internet access.

All of this is terribly fraudulent.   These fake “consumer advocates” fabricate these definitions – to fabricate a “problem.” To then fabricate their “solution” – which is, of course, more government. Shocker.

Public (Government) Ownership of Networks Can Solve Broadband Policy Fights: “Municipal (government) broadband can provide a solution: affordable or free broadband Internet access for everyone.”

Yes. Exactly like the Affordable Care Act provided affordable health insurance for everyone.

Obamacare Increases Health Insurance Premiums

Many Say High Deductibles Make Their Health Law Insurance All but Useless

Oops.

What the more government advocates don’t tell you is that the far-and-away chief impediment to Internet access – is government.

There are the monstrous taxes. On wireless, there is the Universal Service Fund (USF) tax. Which is currently a monstrous 18.1%. And it goes up automatically every three months. And can also be raised whenever by three votes from unelected Federal Communications Commission (FCC) bureaucrats.

Oh – and the more-government-advocates are whining about the Donald Trump Administration undoing the Barack Obama Administration’s unilateral Internet regulations. In no small part because those regulations would allow the government – to also apply the monstrous USF tax to wired Internet access.

Then there are the tens of thousands of state, local and municipal governments – and their very many impediments to Internet access. They are particularly awful to wired ISPs – again, the only Internet access these clowns count:

“Local governments and their public utilities charge ISPs far more (for building rights) than these things actually cost. For example, rights of way and pole attachments fees can double the cost of network construction….

Emphasis ours – but did you get that? Local governments so shake down the ISPs – it DOUBLES the cost of building out the area. Meaning all the digging, trenching, cable-laying – for miles and miles and miles. All of which is the antithesis of cheap. And government DOUBLES that cost.

Does it get even worse? Of course it does:

“(A) system of forced kickbacks….(also) includ(ing) ISPs…building out service where it isn’t demanded, donating equipment, and delivering free broadband to government buildings.”

Again, emphasis – and offense thereto – ours.

ALL of this government imposition – dramatically increases the cost of providing Internet access. Which, of course, dramatically increases the price access providers are forced to charge consumers. You know, the people about whom the more-government-advocating fake “consumer advocates” claim to care.

Nothing is more regressive on the poor – than the cost of government. Every time you read a headline about government imposing even more costs on businesses – insert the follow-up phrase “Poorest Hardest Hit.”

You say you want more people to have more – and cheaper – broadband access? In urban and rural areas – and everywhere else?

Get rid of the massive government-money-grabs on the buildout of service – and the massive government-money-grabs on service once it’s built.

We’ll write the sample headline for that fantastic story:

“Government Waives Taxes and Fees on Internet Access – Poorest Most Assisted.”

This first appeared in Red State.