The FCC instead made a decision to classify SMS and MMS messaging as "information services", so that wireless carriers can keep combatting spam and scam robotext messages without going through regulatory hurdles.
He also said he appreciates that the version of the order adopted by the commission that includes language that successor technologies, like RCS, will be expected to be considered as information services and that he is hopeful the measure will expand to include the treatment of VoIP and VoLTE.
The California Public Utilities Commission now faces an uphill battle ahead of a scheduled vote on the measure next month.
A spokesperson for the CUPC told KTVU the proposed tax would likely have little to no impact on consumers because while a fee may be assessed for texting, current fees for voice calls would likely be reduced.
The FCC denied a request from mass-texting companies and other parties to classify text messaging services as "telecommunications services", subject to common carrier regulation under the Communications Act. Companies actually aren't allowed to send consumers messages unless the consumer has agreed to receive those messages previously and that rule holds for consumers who aren't even on the Do Not Call list.
"It's a dumb idea", said Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council business-sponsored advocacy group.
Most cell phone carriers offer a flat fee for text messaging services, so the CPUC charge structure will vary based on the carrier, according to CNN. Apparently, California is determining whether or not such a tax would comply with much older federal rules; the Public Purpose Programs (PPP) legislation that goes back to the 1930s, to be specific. Using the state of the Internet in 1996 to justify charging a tax on text messaging in 2019 feels misleading to me. Their letter says a wireless household of two people making a combined income of $28,000 - above the threshold for discounted phone service through the FCC's LifeLine program - would have to pay the tax, whereas only one member of a qualifying LifeLine household would be exempt.
Text messaging has become a critical communications option for consumers with 1.77 trillion messages exchanged in the United States in 2017.