(Last update to this page: 14 February 1997.)
If you were connected to the Internet in February of '97, you probably received email declaring that the FCC was out to destroy your precious access rights once again, this time by charging interstate access rates to ISPs, who would then pass the costs along to customers. Some of you, like me, probably assumed this was yet another resurfacing of the infamous FCC Modem Tax urban legend, even if your copy of the email explicitly said this new issue was unrelated.
As it turns out, the new issue was not a hoax or a variation of the Modem Tax UL, but was a misunderstanding. The FCC's Web page on the subject gives details. Here's a quote from the FCC: "We tentatively conclude that information service providers should not be required to pay interstate access charges as currently constituted." I'm told the Wall Street Journal had an article on the subject on 2/5/97.
In other words, there's no need to panic; it's unlikely that the current rate structure will change. Please do not forward email on this subject.
Here's another page on the subject.