A new MyWireless.org customer survey show consumers are against government intervention and regulation in the wireless space. Unfortunately, the survey also shows that consumers are woefully misinformed about how much they are taxed on their wireless bills. While the national average wireless tax is 17.1%, a majority of consumers think they pay just 10%.
More consumers need to be informed of this remarkably discriminatory tax. While 112th Congress' Wireless Tax Fairness Act, which places a five year moratorium on wireless taxes, is an excellent start, Digital Liberty and Americans for Tax Reform do not think that is enough. Wireless Taxes simply should not be higher than the sales tax. Also, in keeping with the Internet Freedom Act of 1998, which bans taxes on internet access, the data portion customers wireless service should not be taxed at all.
Supporters of internet taxation and regulation often quote high-minded reasons such as fairness in their efforts to control the digital sphere. One need only look to the recent fight in the Senate over the Marketplace Fairness Act, more accurately called an internet sales tax mandate, to see such arguments at work. However these advocates of “fairness” and “equality” should examine MyWireless.org’ survey for the real story on the opinion of the public they claim to speak for. According to the survey, by a 3 to 1 ration, a plurality of Americans believe that new government regulations on wireless service would make that service worse rather than better. Even more compelling, a 10 to 1 ratio believe that new government regulations on wireless service would make that service more expensive.
When the questions concerned taxes, public opinion was still overwhelmingly with advocates of less regulation and taxation. 74% of respondents favored a five year freeze on new wireless taxes and fees, while a 4 to 1 ration supported the continuation of the ban on internet taxation. Those who argue that government regulation will somehow improve wireless service should also note that 35% of users say the cost of wireless services impacts their usage, with the crucial 18-29 demographic being affected the most.
Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, the MyWireless.org data also showed that consumers generally have little awareness of the taxes they actually pay on wireless services. 26% were completely unaware of how much they pay in taxes and fees on their monthly wireless phone bills. The average answer among those who believe they know how much they pay was 10.1%, a figure well below the national average of 17.1%.
The MyWireless.org survey is encouraging to free market advocates as it shows that public opinion is solidly in the corner of those who fight against government involvement in the wireless sector. However it is also clear that more work must be done to educate the public on the reality of government’s existing regulations and taxation.
Read the full survey here.