California scraps plan to tax text messages

This March 19, 2018 photo shows a notification badge on the Messages app on an iPad in Baltimore. (
Text messaging is an information service, not a telecommunications service, the Federal Communications Commission ruled last week.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

California regulators have canceled a plan to charge a fee for text messaging on mobile phones.

The California Public Utilities Commission reversed course after a Federal Communications Commission ruling last week classified text messaging as an information service and not a telecommunications service.

The Federal Telecommunications Act limits state authority over information services.

Regulators announced Friday that CPUC Commissioner Carla Peterman withdrew the text proposal “in light of the FCC’s action” Wednesday.


California officials had said the tax would help support programs that make phone service accessible to the poor.

The wireless industry and business groups opposed the plan.

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