House Passes Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act

Young businesswoman pressing colorful mobile app icons with boke

Grant Gross wrote a piece on PC World about the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act. There has been a ban on Internet access taxes for several years in most states. The ban has been extended three times. As I said some states had these taxes and there was a grandfather clause which allowed states like Texas to take in $350 million per year.

From the article:

The House, in a voice vote Tuesday, passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, over the objections of some Democrats. In addition to permanently banning states and local governments from taxing Internet access, the bill would ban any other form of Internet-only taxes, although its aimed primarily at taxes on Internet access service.

The Senate would have to pass the access tax moratorium bill for it to become law. A temporary ban expires on Nov. 1.

The legislation also eliminates an exception allowing seven states, including Texas and Ohio, to collect taxes on Internet access. The grandfather clause in the temporary extensions to the ban applied to states that had taxes in place before Congress passed the first tax moratorium in 1998.

The elimination of the grandfather clause will cost Texas $350 million and Wisconsin $127 million in tax revenue each year, said Representative John Conyers Jr., a Michigan Democrat. The legislation will “severely impact” the grandfathered states’ budgets, and will limit the ability of all states to raise tax revenue in the future, he said.

The temporary tax bans included the grandfather clause to allow states that taxed Internet access time to find other sources of revenue, said Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican. “It’s been 16 years—time enough to change their tax code,” he said.

Read the full article here

 

 

Secret.ly Bought For $3,500 On Sedo 9 Months Ago Raises $25 Million At $100M Valuation

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It was just back in March that the New York Times chatted about, what was at that time, a 5 week old app called Secret which uses the domain name Secret.ly

Today the company announced it has raised an additional $25 Million dollars, on top of the $8.6 million the company announced it raised in March from a number of well-known investors, including Alexis Ohanian, a founder of Reddit, and Bing Gordon of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers.”

“Secret connects people anonymously through their address books. Messages appear only as from “friend” or “friend of friend.” Juicy posts that receive a lot of likes or comments also appear occasionally, identified simply by the city or state where they originated.”

Yesterday according to the New York Times, released “a new version of the application that will allow people to sign up for Secret and find friends using their Facebook credentials. Previously, the service relied on a user’s address book and list of contacts to find friends and see their Secret posts.”

The company also introduced “collections” that will help organize messages posted on Secret and make it easier to browse by topics, such as humor, dating or food.”

The company also announced on Monday that it raised an additional $25 million in venture financing from a number of esteemed firms and angel investors, including Index Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, SV Angel and Fuel Capital.

“The new funding puts the valuation of Secret, a six-month-old company, at higher than $100 million.”

The domain name Secret.ly was sold on Sedo.com In October 2013 for $3,500.

Linton’s Fashion Metric Selected As 1 of 11 Out of 1,500 For Techstars Austin

Morgan and Daina Linton’s FashionMetric.com, which uses big data to enhance fit and sizing for men’s clothing is one of 11 startups selected for the latest class of Techstars Austin.

FashionMetric was founded in 2012 by Morgan and Daina and world famous entrepreneur Mark Cuban owns part of the company.

The news was reported by Xconomy.com

Techstars says that more than 1,500 startups applied for this year’s class.

The program gives each startup $18,000 in seed funding, provides office space, and offers the companies a $100,000 convertible note.

In return, the companies agree to give Techstars a 6% stake.

The three-month program will culminate in a demo day Sept. 3. Here are the startups in this year’s program.

—Brewbot: A beer-brewing robot controlled and monitored by your smartphone.

—Burpy: A service to deliver same-day groceries and home essentials from a variety of local stores.

—Cloud 66: Software to deploy and manage Ruby apps on any cloud.

—Common Form: Software to do your taxes in five minutes from a personal computer or mobile device.

—Experiment Engine: Online platform to conduct A/B testing on different versions of a Web page with a marketplace of conversion experts.

-Filament Labs, now based in Austin, raised $1 million in seed funding last month to develop its app, which creates digital patient self-care programs with task reminders and educational information and videos. (The round was led by Mercury Fund.)

—Free Textbooks: A website that allows students to buy, sell, and rent textbooks.

—LawnStarter: Order and manage lawn care services online.

—NMRKT: An e-commerce platform for blogs, online magazines, and content creators.

—Pivot Freight: A rate comparison engine and discount broker for freight shipping.

—Smart Host: Online service for short-term or vacation rentals.

Big congrats to Morgan and Daina

Cisco Predicts There Will Be 1.5 Billion More Internet Users By 2018

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Cisco released the complete VNI Global IP Traffic Forecast

Global highlights from the updated study include the following projections:

By 2018, there will be nearly four billion global Internet users (more than 51 percent of the world’s population), up from 2.5 billion in 2013

By 2018, there will be 21 billion networked devices and connections globally, up from 12 billion in 2013

Globally, the average fixed broadband connection speed will increase 2.6-fold, from 16 Mbps in 2013 to 42 Mbps by 2018

Globally, IP video will represent 79% of all traffic by 2018, up from 66 percent in 2013.

Directi Rolls out Ringo.co

Directi has rolled out a new service called Ringo described as a new international calling app for iOS, Android and Windows Phone device.

Ringo is an international calling app that uses a unique call flow to provide best-in-class call quality at costs lower than other popular calling apps. Ringo calls do not use the Internet, wifi or data and are instead use regular phone lines. Ringo is unlike any international calling apps available today and is unparalleled in cost, convenience, simplicity and reliability. Ringo is available for download on iOS, Android and Windows smartphones and at Ringo.co.

Ringo is a sole venture by Directi under Bhavin Turakhia and has no affiliation to the EIG group or Radix.

Here are the features:

– making international calls simple and inexpensive. Whether you are a business user, an international traveler, or living abroad, Ringo is affordable and easy to use. It offers landline call quality at a fraction of the cost when compared to traditional long distance calling and VoIP services. Ringo is a simple and inexpensive way to keep in touch with colleagues abroad.

Ringo calls do not use the Internet, Wifi or data. Making a call using the Ringo app is identical to making a call through a wireless carrier in terms of quality, and yet costs lower than even popular calling apps, and significantly lower (up to 1/10th) than traditional carrier prices . With over $95 billion spent per-year on international calling, Ringo could mean huge cost savings across the globe.

“Staying connected with colleagues and friends abroad should be convenient, reliable and most importantly, low-cost,” said Bhavin Turakhia, CEO of Ringo. “Ringo makes international calling easy and won’t make you think twice about connecting with loved ones or conducting business because of our carrier grade call quality and low costs.”

Additionally, Ringo will launch with an 80 percent discount on calling rates to United States mobile phones. Ringo will offer an unprecedented rate of $0.003 per minute to US mobile phones, which is 90 percent cheaper than popular calling apps.
“The US receives over 35 billion voice minutes per year, amounting to billions of dollars spent annually” said Turakhia. “US calls made through Ringo could potentially save over a billion dollars for consumers without compromising the call quality.”
The Ringo app routes calls in a similar fashion to a regular carrier, without using the Internet, and the origination number continues to appear as the caller ID. This means calls are not affected by fluctuations in internet connectivity that often lead to audio delays, loss of quality and dropped calls.

At launch, Ringo will be available to users in the following 16 countries, who can use Ringo to make international calls to any destination worldwide at an affordable cost.

• Australia
• Belgium
• Brazil
• Canada
• Germany
• Hong Kong
• Italy
• Japan
• Mexico
• Netherlands
• Poland
• Singapore
• Spain
• Switzerland
• United Kingdom
• United States