Sandwiches en la Torre de la Vela

Asociacionismo, libertad y comida rápida, por Jahd

26 de Abril 2004

Cómo potenciar (de verdad) el acceso a Internet

Leo en mi periódico americano favorito la propuesta de Bush para extender el acceso a internet de banda ancha:

Bush Calls for Ban on Broadband Taxes

President Bush on Monday urged Congress to slap a permanent ban on taxes consumers pay for high-speed Internet hookups called broadband.
[...]
On broadband, the name for the high-speed Internet connections over phone, cable and satellites, Bush said users should not be taxed, and that the government should encourage competition among providers.

Bush has already signed into a law a two-year extension of the Internet Access Tax moratorium, which expired last fall. Now, he's calling on Congress to pass legislation that would extend the moratorium to broadband and make it permanent.
[...]
Bush also signed an executive memo on Monday that makes it easier for technology companies to run high-speed lines across federal lands.

La extensión de las nuevas tecnologías es además otro de los frentes de la batalla electoral:

"The Bush broadband policies don't do anything to provide the new resources that will be needed to deploy broadband in rural and urban areas and they are not addressing the regulatory barriers that prevent deployment," the Kerry campaign said.

Al tiempo que Bush avanza algunas promesas electorales, el Comité de Comercio del Senado estudia los efectos del Acta de Telecomunicaciones de 1996:

McCain Sets Hearings on Phone Law
Focus Is on Effects of 1996 Telecom Act

Eight years after Congress passed wide-ranging changes in the nation's telecommunications laws, legislators are once again revisiting a law that affects every aspect of commercial communication -- from the monthly rates people pay for telephone service to the rules governing indecent speech on television.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) plans to begin a new round of debate over the Telecommunications Act of 1996 with two hearings next week. Next week's hearings will focus on issues affecting local and long-distance telephone service.

Aunque las primeras comparecencias se refieren al acceso telefónico básico, esta acta también regula el acceso a internet a través de banda ancha, lo cual ha merecido incluso sentencias de la corte federal de apelaciones.

El caso es similar tanto en telefonía como en internet: que los proveedores regionales o nacionales estén obligados a alquilar sus líneas a los operadores locales, a tasas fijadas por el gobierno. La política propuesta por Bush parece más coherente: eliminar los impuestos sobre estos servicios, y fomentar la competencia tecnológica. Si alguien monta una red de comunicaciones y luego es obligado a alquilarla por debajo del coste, ¿quién va a invertir en construir nuevas líneas?

El debate también se centra en los impuestos por bienes o servicios adquiridos a través de internet. La globalización demuestra una vez más lo absurdo de los impuestos: ¿deben pagarse donde se produce un cierto bien o donde se consume?

Pero lo que me ha encantado de verdad de esta noticia ha sido este párrafo:

A second panel discussion, A Look Ahead," will focus on suggested revisions to the Telecommunications Act. Among the invited witnesses are former FCC chairman Reed E. Hundt and Adam Thierer of the Cato Institute. During his tenure at the FCC, Hundt was responsible for implementing much of the 1996 law. Thierer has been a frequent critic of the FCC's rules.

Reconforta ver que Washington no es para nada impermeable a la influencia liberal del Cato. Aquí puede leerse un artículo de Thierer sobre los impuestos en internet:

The contentious ongoing battle over Internet taxation promises to be the hottest high-tech fight in Congress and State capitals across America during the next few years. At the heart of this debate lies the question of whether state and local sales and use taxes should be imposed on goods and services purchased via the Internet. Moreover, the debate has raised important questions about the taxation of the telecommunications industry in general. Specifically, should the telecom industry be singled out for unique tax burdens and levies that other industries do not face?