Could Porn Fund Canada’s Internet?

Two interesting pieces in the news today.

First, from Japan: porn traffic is flooding the country’s mobile high speed internet (Porn Downloads Strain Japan Phone Network, Prompt DoCoMo Curbs). While the entire piece is very interesting, one piece of information stuck in my mind: the porn industry is worth about $3 billion in Japan alone.

Now cut to Canada, where the CRTC begins hearings into Net Neutrality today. While a variety of organizations are arguing against control of data traffic by the country’s largest ISPs, those same ISPs are complaining about the cost of running their networks, hence the requirement to control traffic.

No doubt Canada also has a healthy porn industry and no doubt a significant amount of its value is born by the very bandwidth that ISPs want to control and other organizations want to set free. So, in a similar fashion to the taxation of another bad habit–tobacco–why not fund Canada’s internet through a new tax on porn?

Assume that Canada has a roughly equivalent porn industry value to that of Japan, about $23 per capita annually. That provides an economic base of about $764 million to the government. Now, assume the government taxes porn at a rate roughly equivalent to tobacco; that would set a taxation and duty rate of just about 100%.

That gives the ISPs about $764 million annually to subsidize our national internet infrastructure.

I’m no proponent of porn, but it’s also a minority of Canadians that smoke (about 20%). And while it may not be the perfect solution, it’s one that won’t degrade service to Canadians or increase costs.

The quality of the Canadian internet infrastructure is getting embarrassing and something needs to be done other than the proposed eviction of Net Neutrality from our borders or an increase in the already ridiculously expensive fees we already pay.