Re: (COPY) (COPY) (COPY) Modem-user Tax ??? (fwd) BMACLENN@UVMVM.BITNET 07 Jun 1991 05:19 UTC

Mea culpa.  Below is my penance.  Next time I will wait for verification/
discussion before blasting news of such magnitude.  Apologies to all.
--  Birdie
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Please send this article to all lists/newsgroups/individuals that you sent
to bogus Modem Tax file:

From: (Keith Petersen)
Subject: Re: Modem TAX
Date: 6 Jun 91 11:31:09 GMT

I wish you guys would check before posting things like this modem tax
story.  The story is a fraud.  This issue was settled in 1988.

---Forwarded article:
>From Pg. 6 of the Wall Street Journal for 17 March 1988.


   WASHINGTON - The Federal  Communications Commission
has quietly decided to  scrap  its plan to sharply in-
crease telephone  rates for computer users, agency and
congressional sources said.

   Last week, the agency informed  important lawmakers
that it wouldn't go ahead  with its plan to assess so-
called access charges of as much as $5.50 per hour per
user to hook up computer-communication networks to lo-
cal telephone systems.  An  FCC official described the
decision as a tactical move to placate opposition from
Congress and computer users.

   "They got the message loud and clear  from Congress
that this plan was a political and policy loser", said
a House  staffer who was informed of the FCC decision.

   The FCC's about-face is a big victory  for informa-
tion service companies, who  have contended that steep
access charges  would have drivem them out of business
by making  their  services  too expensive.  Currently,
computer-communications networks are exempt from those
access charges.  Computer  users  around  the  country
deluged the FCC with about 10,000 letters opposing ac-
cess fees, the most letters the agency has ever gotten
on a telephone issue.

   The decision to drop the proposal was  made  by FCC
Chairman Dennis Patrick  and the common-carrier bureau
of the  agency, the  sources said.  Mr. Patrick, whose
office wouldn't comment on the decision formally needs
the vote  of at least  one of the  agency's  other two
members to terminate a proposal.  But in  practice, he
can act unilaterally because, as chairman, he controls
which proposals can come to a vote.

   In any event, FCC Commissioner Patricia Diaz Dennis
said she supported  the  decision  to  end the access-
charge plan. "We've got a lot of things on our plate,"
she said.  That's one that would overcrowd it."

   Several agency officials described the FCC's action
as a way of  patching  up  its tattered relations with
Congress which is still fuming over the FCC's decision
to abolish the fairness doctrine.

   Last Thursday, [March 10] Rep.  Edward  Markey (D.,
Mass.), chairman of  the House telecommunications sub-
committee, said  he  would  introduce  legislation  to
kill the  access charge - even though agency officials
said they had assured the congressman's staff that the
FCC itself would kill the plan.  A Markey aide said he
was only  notified  an hour  before Rep. Markey was to
give a previously scheduled speech  on  access charges.
"We'll closely monitor the commission's future actions
to insure  that this onerous charge  doesn't re-emerge
in a new form", Rep. Markey said in  a  statement yes-

   Rep. Markey and other lawmakers  also  still oppose
Mr. Patrick's pet  plan  to radically alter regulation
of American Telephone & Telegraph Co.

   FCC and congressional sources said the agency would
proceed, but  slowly, with a separate  plan  to assess
charges of about  $4.50  per hour  per user to hook up
private telephone networks to local telephone systems.

   The FCC believes  that both computer-communications
networks and  private telephone networks aren't paying
their fair share of the cost of  local  telephone ser-
vice.  But exempting  computer-communications networks
has more  appeal  politically, because  the  users are
often consumers with  limited ability to pay increased
                   (end of article)

---Forwarded message (note the date):
~Date: 03-18-88 (11:23)              Number: 2266
To  : All                           Refer#: NONE
~From: Joe Hyland                    Read  : (N/A)
Subj: Letter writing does work!     Status: public message

Letter writing DOES work,  folks,  especially  in an election year.  Our
thanks go out to Matthew March for uploading this tidbit  to us.  Anyone
using  (or  thinking  about  using)  PC-Pursuit  should  be particularly
interested and happy to read this story:

Article that appeared  in the Orlando Sentinel, Thursday, March 17, 1988


Associated Press

   Computer user's protests made an  apparent impact on the FCC proposal
that would  substantially  increase  telephone charges  for business and
home computer users, sources said Wednesday.

   FCC chairman  Dennis R. Patrick  has  concluded that, based on strong
and nearly unanimous opposition to  the  proposal,  the  plan  should be
dropped, according to sources at the commission and on Capitol Hill.

   Commissioner  Patricia Diaz Dennis  said Patrick  had not spoken with
her about a recommendation to drop the plan,  but  she  said  she agrees
with the idea.

   "There's a lot on our plate right now, and I don't think I'd miss not
seeing that on it," she said.

   The third commissioner James Quello could not be reached for comment.
 Patrick's office had no comment on the reports.

   The commission was expected to  vote  in  two to three months to drop
the proposal.

   A decision to scrap the plan  would  be a victory for the hundreds of
thousands of computer users who dial into data bases such  as CompuServe
and QuantumLink for a variety of information services, like news stories
and financial  reports,  and  electronic communication with other users.

   Users of  those  services  flooded  the  FCC  and  Capitol  Hill with
thousands of letters opposing the plan, which would add  about  $4.50 an
hour to the cost of hooking up to information services.

   They said the increased charges, which would double the hourly hookup
price for some information services,  would  drive  many of them off the
computer networks and crush a fledgling industry.

   Rep. Edward J. Markey, D.,  Mass., chairman  of the  House Energy and
Commerce telecommunications subcommittee, said he would delay indefinit-
ely the introduction  of a bill aimed  at blocking the FCC from imposing
the access charges.

Thank-You, cards and  politi-grams to  the above  mentioned people might
help in insuring that the  present course is  followed from  now on.  If
you think these folks are doing this out of the goodness of their heart,
think  again.  These  people  are  motivated  by  one  thing  -  POPULAR
OPINION!  Let your feelings  be  known.  Write  your congressman and the
FCC.  Keep the pressure on.  Our hobby is worth it!

                                        - Joe Hyland

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