Protecting Net Neutrality will not invalidate Internet Tax Freedom Act

I wrote the Internet Tax Freedom Act. So I want to set the record straight about the false claim being peddled by opponents of net neutrality. They are saying things that aren’t true to try to stop the FCC from acting to protect the free and open Internet.

The claim: If the FCC reclassifies broadband Internet access as a “common carrier” under Title II, consumers could be stuck with new taxes by state and local governments.

In a word: Baloney.

The facts:

  1. Net Neutrality is not going to invalidate the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA).
    My colleagues and I knew people would try to tax the Internet if they could. So in ITFA Congress broadly defined the term “Internet access.” It is illegal to tax the internet. Under Title II or otherwise. The FCC could define the Internet as a series of tubes and ITFA would still prohibit taxes.
  2. The “grandfather clause” in ITFA will not allow cities to suddenly open the Internet up to telecom taxes. If the FCC reclassifies broadband Internet, it will not change if states taxed Internet access before 1998. The FCC has broad authority, but it cannot rewrite history.

The bottom line: The Internet Tax Freedom Act will protect the Internet from taxes regardless of how the FCC defines Internet access.

The opponents of the open Internet aren’t quitting. But the good news: neither are we.