Jack Kemp

Recently published global high-speed Internet rankings from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation showed that the United States currently ranks 15th out of the 30 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development nations. Additionally, a recent report issued by the Federal Communications Commission indicates that nearly 60 percent of all new high-speed lines for Internet are from wireless, a statistic that clearly indicates the amazing growth factor of this technological development.

At a time when technology across the country is developing and becoming more accessible to Americans of all walks of life, it would be terrible for Congress to ignore a measure that would clearly serve to further increase our deployment of high-speed wireless Internet technology and usage by anyone who chooses to do so.

Currently, more than 235 million American wireless consumers are increasingly making wireless their "service of choice." Americans today depend upon wireless to stay connected, but also more and more for Internet content when they are on the go, as well as for music, gaming, video and more.

Wireless consumers overwhelmingly want to prevent more taxes on wireless, currently paying on average over 14 percent in monthly taxes, fees and surcharges. A recent poll commissioned by consumer advocacy group MyWireless.org and conducted by McLaughlin & Associates of New York, indicated that 71 percent of consumers support continuing laws that prohibit federal, state or local governments from taxing Internet access.

Without permanence, state and local governments could soon view booming Internet access and commerce trends as an easy target for additional tax revenues to fund ever-expanding state and local spending. This potential is especially alarming, given the high level of taxes already imposed upon other communications services across the board, particularly wireless service. Congress must act now to protect American wireless and Internet users against discriminatory taxes. If the current Internet tax moratorium were to expire without Congressional action, consumers will be hit with higher taxes on Internet access. And we'll likely see a tremendous slow-down in the next generation of the high-speed Internet, of wireless phones and mobile communications.

For the sake of continued economic growth and innovation, Congress must keep the Internet permanently tax-free.

Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp is Founder and Chairman of Kemp Partners and a contributing columnist to Townhall.com.
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