The Puerto Rico Telecommunications Board has come to an agreement to grant the franchise license to Claro, putting an end to a three-year process that has kept the carrier from competing with the island’s cable companies.
Following a daylong meeting, the three presiding members — Sandra Torres, Nixyvette Santini and Vicente Aguirre — came to an agreement “in principle” to grant the licence. However, they have yet to agree on the conditions that will be imposed on Claro.
“We’re coming together on the conditions that will be put on Claro, particularly related to the issue of crossed subsidies,” Torres told News is my Business. “What I will not allow is imposing conditions on Claro that will not be applied to the other cable companies.”
The final decision, with the conditions, should come down on or before the second week of September, she said.
The board’s decision comes several weeks after a public hearing in which Claro was asked to provide additional information about how it would refrain from cross-subsidizing — or paying for one service with the profits gained from another — its IPTV (television over Internet broadband technology) offer.
At the hearing, representatives for OneLink and other competing companies presented numerous arguments against granting the license, while representatives from the consumer sector threw their support behind the launch of IPTV.
Once operational, Claro will compete head-on with the three regional cable carriers, OneLink, Liberty Cable and Choice Cable, possibly spurring real competition for the first time, Torres acknowledged.
“There will be true competition that should result in better services and prices,” she said.