MAYBE IT'S THAT TAX-ANXIETY TIME OF YEAR, OR A RESPONSE TO AT&T'S RATE INCREASE announced last week. More likely it's a misunderstanding of a February FCC ruling that classifies dial-up access to the Internet as an interstate call for purposes of "reciprocal compensation" between competing phone companies (local companies pay one another a fee each time they connect a local call from a competitor). Whatever the cause, last week the latest iteration of the year-old "Internet tax" rumor resurfaced mightily: In a few hours on Thursday, I received three e-mails warning that "Congress will be voting in less than two weeks" on whether to charge long-distance rates for Internet access calls. But by the next day, as if to prove that the laws of self-correcting cybernetics work as they should, I'd received two more e-mails dispelling the myth. So, one more time: There is no vote to tax the Internet pending in Congress. FCC chairman William E. Kennard is on record insisting that the FCC will not regulate Internet access, now or in the future. And the three-year moratorium Congress placed on Internet taxation in October 1998 is likely to hold through the next decade: Given the pace of online shopping, the economy would likely collapse if it didn't.
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More detailed debunking can be found at: