By: Otha Meadows –
When it comes to modern communication services, our state is a national leader. Forty percent of our residents live in wireless-only households, more than nearly all other Southern states. Connect South Carolina reports that 76 percent of our households use high-speed Internet service, up a dramatic 20 percent since 2010 and now significantly higher than the U.S. national average.
Given these advances, the news of a possible change in federal regulations that would make these services more expensive is unnerving and disappointing, especially for minority populations that have lower adoption rates of high-speed Internet.
This issue involves a lobbying effort to have the Federal Communications Commission apply regulations designed during the 1930s (think rotary phones) to today’s Internet. Supporters say that these rules, sometimes called “Title II,” are necessary to protect the Internet.
Unfortunately for them, they can’t point to a single example where this would create any benefits for today’s consumers.
By contrast, the problems with this change are significant and would be felt immediately.
Expanding these Title II rules from the 1930s to modern Internet systems would unleash a flurry of new fees on both home and wireless Internet services.
Every subscriber would have to pay, and in the case of a family, the annual cost is likely to be jaw-dropping.
Given South Carolina’s current fee structure, expanding these Title II regulations would mean additional fees of between $59 and $107 a year on a home broadband connection. A typical smartphone user would pay between $63 and $114 in new annual fees.
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