Text Messages May Come With New Charge

Officials in California want to start taxing text messages. Doing so will increase funds for programs the connect those undeserving. The new proposal that comes from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) would be a monthly fee. They will base the fee on people’s cell phone bills that include charges for text messaging services. There is usually a flat fee for most services who offer text messaging.

On January 10, 2019, the commision will vote on the measure. However, there is strong opposition coming in from different industry trade groups. For example, CTIA, who represents AT&T Mobility, Sprint, and T-Mobile are not liking the new proposal.

Companies In Californa May Start Charging For Text Messages In The State Of California

The proposal, which is 53-pages, comes from CPUC Commissioner Carla J. Peterman. However, a new Federal Communication Commission ruling may interject the new project. There is a new rule that was approved by the FCC that classifies text messages as an informative service like that of email. The new law allows for carriers to crack down on spam messages. However, critics believe that the further rise may lead to phone carriers censoring messages.

In a legal filing, the CTIA said that if texts are considered to be a form of information services, then the CPCU does not have any authority over them. With that in mind, they will not be able to aff and extra surcharges. The claim says that what the CPCU is doing is going against federal law. Also, that the new proposal could create inequity between different wireless providers and messaging services.

Even with the ruling and other legal filings from the FCC, the CPCU group could change their draft proposal before the January vote.
According to reps for the CPCU, the charges will go to a plethora of different programs.