Japan’s telecommunications ministry reportedly plans to introduce a new tax for spectrum used by home information appliances and high-bandwidth wireless local area networks. The proposed fee would be collected when users purchase LAN products, according to a media report. We’re waiting for the ‘crats to propose a tax on garage door openers next.
Presently, LAN, and, specifically, wireless LAN (WLAN) device users are exempt from paying spectrum user fees, but the Japan Times story says that the ministry plans to hit users with a new tax because such appliances use almost the same spectrum as mobile phones, whose users are required to pay for usage.
Previously, spectrum usage fees were charged only to major companies with wireless communication licenses, such as broadcasting stations or mobile phone operators. The ministry explained that the proposed bill aims to “make things fair,” since wireless LAN products and mobile phones use radio waves in a similar manner.
Based on this theory, Japanese should also be paying a tax on cordless phones, doorbells, garage door openers, TV remotes, and all future Bluetooth devices as well. Note to bureaucrats: Since the public airwaves actually belong to ordinary citizens, why should they (we) have to pay a tax for using spectrum they (we) already own? Particularly within their (our) homes?