Engadget- Cell phone owners in California could soon pay extra for the privilege of sending text messages, thanks to landline-era legislation and changing usage patterns. According to recent public law filings, the state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is considering a plan that would bill users a monthly fee for any text message services they use, and phone service carriers aren’t happy about it. It all harks back to the so-called landline era of the 90s, when the US federal government and states established Public Purpose Programs (PPP), which charged all phone users a surcharge that supported programs for low earners (the same deal applies to other utilities, such as electricity). As the internet took off, though, the industry managed to get an exemption for what it dubbed “information services,” such as email and web-browsing. On Wednesday, the FCC approved a new rule that clarifies that text messages fall under this term.
But because people use their phones for voice calling a great deal less now, revenues for PPP have fallen by around a third. The budget for subsidizing low earners, however, has risen by almost 50 percent. The PUC reckons that by including texts within the PPP (which would be convenient, as texting shares the same infrastructure as voice calling), it could raise $44.5 million a year.
You might think I’m crazy for wanting a tax on texting but I’m not. Hear me out. I think it’s a great idea. No I don’t care about the poor people who will get cell phones thanks to the tax or anything like that. That’s not remotely the reason why I like the idea.
I like the idea because I hate texting and I hate when people text me. Ask anyone. Ask my coworkers, my work friends, my real friends, my best friend, my mom. They’ll all say I never return their texts and that they hate me for it. If you’re thinking, “Hey Trent it’s really rude to not respond” you’re correct. I consider myself a nice person. I always hold doors for people and when I hug I fully commit but, in this area, I’m kind of a shitty person. It’s a rude thing to do yet I continue to do it. I wish I wasn’t this way but the only reason I wish I wasn’t this way is because people are always on my ass about it.
To be honest, I don’t understand why people feel like they need to get a response to every text they send to another person. That’s a social convention I don’t care for. Especially when the person isn’t asking me a question. If the person is asking me a question and I don’t respond, fine I’m an asshole. I’ll wear that one. But if the person is relaying information to me? I don’t think that warrants a response. They’ll say to me in person the next time we see each other, “Did you get that text?” Yeah dude I got it. You know and I know that I’m on my phone 24/7/365. Me and my phone are so connected at this point that you basically sent that text directly to my brain. I got it.
So this is why I support a tax on text messages. California has the right idea here. I assume California was one of the first states to legalize marijuana in some form and they’re really ahead of the curve on this text message thing. Anything that’s going to deter my close family and friends from sending me a text is something I’m all for. And hey, if a couple poor people get Motorola RAZRs outta the deal then that’s great. But mostly the part about people thinking twice about texting me.