Saturday, July 7, 2007

FCC, get out of my benevolence fund!

A quick rant before I head off to the WWPC in Denver. Today I got the following email:

> Dear Valued BroadVoice Customer,
> BroadVoice would like to extend our appreciation to all of our customers as we continue to improve and upgrade our service and features. We are dedicated to making your experience with BroadVoice as exceptional and enjoyable as possible.
> Based on recent rulings from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers such as BroadVoice must contribute to the Universal Service Fund (USF).

> Many may ask what the USF is and how does it affect my account? This Universal Service Fund supports the telecommunications needs of low-income households, schools, libraries, rural hospitals, and consumers living in high-cost service areas.
> Effective immediately a fee of $ 1.97 will be applied to an individual Customer's account at the same rate applicable to BroadVoice's USF contributions and may be subject to periodic adjustment. If a customer has one account with BroadVoice with three alternate numbers one USF fee will be applied to the account. If a customer has three accounts with BroadVoice with three separate primary numbers each account will be charged one USF fee. Additional information about the Universal Service Fund can be found on the FCCs website .
> BroadVoice regrets any inconvenience that this may cause but we have been mandated by the FCC, like all VoIP providers, to charge, collect and remit these fees to the USF.

Normally I despise government involvement in free enterprise but in the case of communications it's hard to argue with the need for the FCC to regulate the reliability of providers.    As the message above shows, now that they are in control they can add all sorts of cool taxes that enable me to involuntarily provide phone service for welfare junkies, drug addicts and illegal aliens.  Oh goodie. Sure they throw in "schools, libraries and rural hospital" to make it look more legit but I thought those entities were already funded by my ever increasing property and state sales taxes.

Here, just take my whole freaking wallet please!  Damn socialist!  Why would I volunteer time and money to homeless shelters and the like when the government is already picking my back pocket on their behalf?  I really enjoy giving to the less fortunate and believe it to be VERY important (for both the giver and recipient) but I hate having my charity coerced! One more tax and I'm moving to France. ;-)

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