“Cell phone owners in California could soon pay extra for the privilege of sending text messages, thanks to landline-era legislation and changing usage patterns,” Rachel England reports for Engadget. “According to recent public law filings, the state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is considering a plan that would bill users a monthly fee for any text message services they use, and phone service carriers aren’t happy about it.”

“It all harks back to the so-called landline era of the 90s, when the US federal government and states established Public Purpose Programs (PPP), which charged all phone users a surcharge that supported programs for low earners (the same deal applies to other utilities, such as electricity),” England reports. “But because people use their phones for voice calling a great deal less now, revenues for PPP have fallen by around a third. The budget for subsidizing low earners, however, has risen by almost 50 percent. The PUC reckons that by including texts within the PPP (which would be convenient, as texting shares the same infrastructure as voice calling), it could raise $44.5 million a year.”

England reports, “Apps such as WhatsApp and iMessage [Apple Messages], which already account for the lion’s share of messaging traffic, would be exempt from the charge.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Pfft. Then the result will be nothing more than more users for Messages as they eschew SMS due to the stupid tax.