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Say hello to the new Internet tax

The Telecommunications Act is a massive piece of legislation, however, with a great number of obscure provisions and unforeseen consequences. One such provision, the one to which O’Rielly is referring in his comments, requires telecommunications companies to pay into a “Universal Service Fund” for the purpose of supporting access and infrastructure for remote rural areas.

Section 254(d) states “Every telecommunications carrier that provides interstate telecommunications services shall contribute, on an equitable and nondiscriminatory basis, to the specific, predictable, and sufficient mechanisms established by the Commission to preserve and advance universal service.”

These contributions are far from trivial. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the FCC announced that the charge to telecommunications companies would be 16.1 percent of end user revenues. When companies face a cost increase like this, they do not simply absorb it. Instead, they pass it on to consumers in the form of higher prices to the extent they can get away with it without losing business. Additionally, the incentive for companies to keep prices low in order to remain competitive does not exist in this case, since every ISP will be hit with the same cost increase simultaneously.

Time Warner Cable has reported its average monthly charge for internet is about $47. The FCC’s rate increase would bring this to $54.57, an increase of more than $90 a year, and this does not include any further increases we might see as a result of higher compliance costs with the new regulations. Imposing additional costs on consumers through government fiat so that the FCC can increase its own revenues is unquestionably a step backwards for internet freedom.

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flying, fluttering, falling.
the house calls to me, caresses me
seeping into the marrow of my bones
filling my ears with poison and
my heart with shards of glass.

madeline, madeline, the ravens cry
they are swirling over my head
a flurry of fanged feathers, 
like a funeral shroud in black 
to drape over my bed.

ten score years and nine have I
walked through the halls of this house.
lead by those ghostly white spectres, 
following the echoing rhythm of fate-  
the death-march of the Ushers.  

violent, vicious, voracious. 
the teeth tear at my nerves and sinew
remaking my blood for their own purposes 
to carry the whispers of ruination 
and the promise of certain destruction. 

madeline, madeline, the past Ushers cry
their cold fingers are claiming me 
telling me, soon, madeline, you shall join us 
and the funeral shroud descends
my flame growing ever dimmer. 

the walls of the house think 
to open up, and swallow me whole,
to devour my soul and steal my life
but I am an Usher, and after all- 
I am not named the magnificent for nothing.

—  madeline of the house of usher. [ k.a ]