Political Text Message Donation Mess is Wholly Preventable

Coverage Type: analysis
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

[Commentary] For almost five years, we here at Public Knowledge have been asking the Federal Communications Commission to recognize that text messages exist. The FCC has steadfastly refused to do so.

This has allowed to wireless carriers to write whatever rules they want for text messaging, keeping consumer prices high and limiting the kinds of services available via text. This lack of oversight manifests itself whenever a carrier shuts down a service just because they disagree with it, or in the fact that carriers keep 30 to 50 percent of every donation as a service fee (keep in mind that many Members of Congress recently called the 3% service fees that credit card companies charged businesses “out-of-control”). The state of text messaging is even stranger when you compare it to voice phone calls. If a presidential campaign wants to set up a bunch of phone numbers so that people can donate, they call up the phone company and get some phone numbers. In order to do the same thing with text messaging, the campaign has to submit a detailed proposal to all of the carriers, pay thousands in setup costs, and hope that each individual carrier decides to carry the campaign.



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