Recently in the Regulation Category

Last spring, the World Wide Web turned 25.  And in its relatively short lifespan, Internet access has become vital to modern life.  Numerous broadband-enabled devices have been developed, and high-speed connectivity now delivers opportunities to us that we could only imagine not long ago.  This connectivity is an important resource for small businesses, professionals, and entrepreneurs, as well as for families, students, and diverse communities. 

 

For women business owners, high speed Internet has enabled them to increase efficiency of business operations, improve customer service, reduce cost, and grow by reaching new customers and markets.  The most significant impact that high-speed connectivity has provided to women is flexibility, allowing them to start and grow their businesses regardless of whether they are working from an office, their home, or while on the go.

 

These advancements and innovations happened under a light-touch regulatory approach, which was wisely adopted and adhered to for many years.  This approach increased private investment in new technology and networks, allowed innovations to thrive, and helped increase high speed Internet adoption rates.  Unfortunately, we are now facing a radical change in course by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.

 

Later this month, the FCC is expected to pass burdensome net neutrality rules created in the 1930s that reclassify the Internet as a public utility. This approach is guaranteed to slow investment into our country's networks and jeopardize high speed Internet adoption at a time when encouraging both is especially vital to the success of our economy, our small businesses, and our families.  Net neutrality must be preserved, but the proposed FCC rules will do more harm than good. They call for a drastically altered course, one that would sabotage the approach that has helped the Internet thrive from the beginning. 

 

Fortunately, there's another solution. Congress can design rules that will protect net neutrality and consumers.  By offering opportunities for bipartisanship, lawmakers can work together to eliminate real threats to the Internet and to establish clear legal guidelines for the FCC.  This solution can also ensure that we get the right level of regulation, more in line with the light-touch framework that has worked so well for the past few decades. 

 

A light-touch legislative solution that prohibits blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization while also protecting consumers and avoiding legal limbo, will lead to even more innovation and investment in our country's Internet infrastructure.  It will also ensure that that all Americans, such as the fastest growing segment of small businesses - women business owners - have access to high-quality Internet and the technology they need to continue to grow our economy.

Tell Congress We Need #NetLawNow!

Below is a piece by the Multicultural Media, Telecom & Internet Council (MMTC, formerly Minority Media and Telecommunications Council), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving equal opportunity and civil rights in the mass media, telecommunications and broadband industries, and closing the digital divide. MMTC is generally recognized as the nation's leading advocate for minority advancement in communications.

Bad Choices Can Make Today's Internet Tomorrow's Memory.  

Here's what is happening right now to your Internet:  On Thursday, February 26, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the government's independent agency that oversees the media and telecommunications industries, is about to deliver a groundbreaking decision that will affect your Internet.

Consumers need to speak up because the FCC's actions can take away the benefits that we enjoy today and in the future.

Why Should YOU Care?

  • TODAY'S INTERNET GIVES YOU POWER. You choose from all kinds of plans and combinations, from low-cost pre-paid plans, all the way up to that family plan with the special music collection you like.  Tomorrow's Internet could have all of these programs eliminated under new FCC rules.
  • TODAY'S INTERNET GIVES YOU ACCESS. We all move around the Web, accessing movies, photos, emails, and whatever we want on our smartphones and tablets. Tomorrow's Internet could negatively impact where and how we use the Internet under new FCC rules.
  • TODAY'S INTERNET IS GETTING CHEAPER. Over the last few years, the price of broadband has been decreasing.  Tomorrow's Internet costs may increase and make it harder for some of us to pay. New, unnecessary taxes and fees on services could also open up from Thursday's FCC rules, hitting you and your family in the wallet.

Today's Internet is OPEN, and after Thursday, consumers won't get anything that they didn't have - except more rules, less choice, and the possibility of higher costs.

We are running out of time, and we need everyone to join in on the conversation!
Contact your Representative so we can all enjoy the benefits of the Internet today and tomorrow!

Tweet #NetLawNow and tell your Members of Congress that you want them to act now to keep the Internet open!

If you've ever used your smartphone or tablet to buy and download a digital good or service, such as an app, music, movie, e-book, video game, etc., then you'll want to pay attention. When it comes to how you're taxed for those purchases, there is not a "national framework" or some "rules of the road" for how this growing digital marketplace should be fairly taxed at the state and local level. 


Right now it's possible you could be taxed by several different jurisdictions for the same digital purchase. For example, let's say you pay your wireless service bill in one area code, but you buy something with your device when you're in another one, from a company in yet another part of the country. Under today's tax regulations, it's possible you can be taxed by all three jurisdictions! WIPP follows wireless taxes closely as many small businesses reply heavily upon this technology. We believe it's important to make sure women-owned small businesses wireless consumers are treated fairly and that all of us have a reasonable and sensible tax structure for such purchases.

Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced the 'Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act' (S.1364) last week. This bill would prevent digital goods and services purchases from being subject to multiple and discriminatory taxes. This bipartisan federal legislation would establish a national framework for how this growing digital marketplace should be fairly taxed at the state and local levels.

What the Bill Does

  • The legislation being considered would make sure consumers aren't punished with multiple taxes on digital purchases. It would prevent consumers from being double or even triple-taxed on an mp3, video or on that latest incredible app, as could be the case today.
  • The bill reinforces Congress's important role in making tax policy for commerce that crosses state and international borders. That's more important than ever with so many people making online purchases with their wireless device.
  • It would clearly establish which jurisdiction (the consumer's home billing address, presumably) has the right to tax digital transactions.


President Barak Obama announced a new plan that would reform the way government agancies work for small businesses and announced a move to elevate the position of SBA Administrator to a cabinet-level position. The plan will consolidate the various departments focused on business, commerce and trade to a single, streamlined department.

WIPP strongly supports this effort and released a statement applauding the President's plan.

This reform should help make the government work better for small businesses by consolidating the efforts fo such agencies as the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Commerce Department, the Office of the US Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corp. and the Trade and Development Agency into a one-stop shop for business needs.

The plan, which will require Congressional approval, also aims to rpovide a more accessable, more efficient resource for small business owners. SBA Administrator Karen Mills pointed out that the small business arm of this consolidated department would provide a greater range of programs and opportunites for small businesses and assured that small business interests would be at the core of this new department. WIPP has strongly advocated on behalf of its members for reduced regualtions and simplified resources for small business owners and fully supports this major step in that direction.

WIPP also applauds the Presidents' related move to elevate the position of SBA Administrator to a cabinet-level position. WIPP is pleased to see the President's recognition of the vital role that small businesses play in growing jobs and growing the economy and looks forward to seeing the additional progress that the elevation of the SBA can bring to the small business community. With this move, small businesses will have a stronger voice to advocate for change on the policies and issues that affect them. During this time of economic recovery, it is more important than ever that small business has a seat at the policy-making table.

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on H.R. 1002, the Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011.  H.R. 1002 would put a five-year moratorium on the taxes and fees charged to wireless consumers.

According to the findings, of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), the average wireless consumer is charged more than 16% in taxes and fees while other taxable goods and services are only 7.4%.  Additionally, 47 states along with the District of Columbia are charging wireless consumers more than other taxable goods and services. Five states, including Nebraska, Washington, New York, Florida and Illinois, charge more than 20%.

As a result, more than 140 Senators and Representatives have co-sponsored the Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011.  This bipartisan legislation would put a five-year freeze on these taxes and fees.  The freeze would allow wireless consumers some much needed relief during these challenging conditions and give time for an examination into the discrepancy of wireless tax rates as compared to other goods and services.  Moreover, the freeze would not take away any existing revenue from state and local governments, but would give them time to reform their wireless tax policies.

If you are in favor of this legislation, please make your voice heard by contacting your Representatives and Senators.  With the House voting tomorrow, be sure to voice your support for this bill to Representative of your Congressional district.  Write your elected officials here.

 

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