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NCTA to Senate: Pass Permanent ITFA

With the Senate looking as though it won't vote on a permanent Internet tax ban until at least Tuesday (Dec. 15), the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, CTIA: The Wireless Association and USTelecom took the opportunity to try and insure the provision gets approved.

In a "dear senator" letter dated Dec. 14, they urged passage of H.R. 644, the trade bill that includes the permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA). They also asked the legislators to reject any effort to strip the provision from the bill.

ITFA would permanently prevent the imposition of state and local taxes on Internet access, and phase out taxes in grandfathered states in 2020.

S. 644 emerged from conference with ITFA attached—both the House and Senate had passed different versions of S. 644 earlier in the year, though neither with ITFA on it.

If the conference report is approved by the Senate, the bill becomes law and heads to the President's desk.

NCTA et al say that should definitely be the case. Unless it is renewed or made permanent, ITFA sunsets and ISPs could be subject to potential billions of dollars in new taxes from cash-strapped states and localities.

NCTA and the other ISPs also pointed out that with the reclassification of ISPs as common carriers by the FCC, they could be subject to new "onerous" telecom taxes.

"At a time when promoting broadband adoption is a national priority, Congress should ensure that every American can afford to participate in the digital economy by making the expiring ban on Internet access taxation permanent," they said.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.