Tech companies have quickly amassed an unthinkable amount of power.
As society becomes more digital, Silicon Valley oligarchs can shape society in alarming ways.
But one FCC commissioner has a bold strategy to fight Big Tech.
Social media companies flexed their muscles when they all banned Donald Trump from their platforms instantaneously.
They can also determine which stories go viral and which ones do not.
Meanwhile, a lot of their infrastructure costs have been passed on to taxpayers.
And FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr thinks the least Big Tech companies can do is foot the bill instead of the American people.
Carr wrote in an op-ed for Newsweek:
“Many consumers are unaware that the federal government collects roughly $9 billion a year through a tax on their monthly bills for traditional telephone service—both wireless and wireline. The FCC then uses that pot of money, known as the Universal Service Fund, to support internet builds in rural areas and on other efforts to close the digital divide.”
So the American people are paying for Big Tech’s infrastructure through taxes on their phone bills.
“This antiquated system is on the verge of collapse. The FCC has kept it on life support by increasing the tax on consumers’ telephone bills at an accelerating clip. Indeed, that tax recently surged above 30 percent for the first time. This is not sustainable; relying on this model to fund additional infrastructure would strain the system well past its breaking point.”
It turns out that five companies – Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Disney+, and Microsoft – comprise 75% of traffic on rural broadband networks, and taxpayers are shouldering the burden of infrastructure expansion costs.
Carr wants the onus to be on Big Tech titans, not taxpayers.
“Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google generated nearly $1 trillion in revenues in 2020 alone—an almost 20 percent increase over the prior year. It would take just 0.009 percent of those revenues to eliminate entirely the unsustainable 30 percent tax that currently hits consumers on their monthly bills. Ending this corporate welfare is more than fair.”
Big Tech companies have been given special carve-outs from the federal government, and there’s no reason for it, especially if they’re going to act irresponsibly with regards to free speech.
A lot of rules governing Big Tech – including funding for infrastructure – were written in the mid-1990s when the Internet was nowhere near the phenomenon it is today.
These companies no longer require a special dispensation.
Stay tuned to Unmuzzled News for any updates to this ongoing story.