Note on the “FCC Modem Tax” Rumor

(Last update to this page: 14 February 1997.)

The persistent "FCC Modem Tax" urban legend was originally loosely based on actual events that took place in 1987 and 1989, but those events have long since been resolved (and were never quite the threat they were made out to be anyway). For more information about the relevant FCC proposals, see FCC Docket #87-215 and Docket #89-79. For information on the congressional response and final resolution of the issues, see the Congressional Record for 6 November 1989. If you receive email saying that the FCC is trying to levy a tax on modems, please do not forward it.

Reference: Fred Goldstein's 'rumor control' article in comp.dcom.telecom, 1/24/90, Message-ID: <>. Thanks to Rob Warnock for bringing this article to my attention.

The EFF also has a page about the modem tax.

The latest round of email about the FCC is not a hoax, but is nonetheless inaccurate and inflammatory. Don't forward that either.