Puerto Rico Telephone, which does business as Claro, fired back at Choice Cable TV Monday, saying the complaint it filed at the Telecommunications Regulatory Board claiming the carrier is building out its cable infrastructure without a license is “frivolous.”
“This complaint is completely frivolous and baseless. PRT-Claro is not building a network to provide video, therefore it is not guilty of any violation of applicable federal or local laws,” said Ileana Molina, spokeswoman for the company that since 2008 has been seeking a cable franchise license to deploy Internet Protocol TV service islandwide.
As News is my Business exclusively reported, late last week, Choice Cable asked the TRB to grant an injunction against PRT for violating local laws requiring companies seeking to offer cable television services to have a license prior to building its network. Among other things, the 31-town cable provider claimed it is suffering “irreparable harm,” due to PRT’s network construction in its service area and the resulting head-start it is getting to offer services without having a license yet.
In the company’s defense, Molina said PRT “as we’ve argued in the multiplicity of procedures that cable competitors have started, and where PRT has prevailed, that we’re building a multi-purpose network to offer broadband services necessary to achieve the advances in telecommunications that Puerto Rico needs.”
However, she said the way it is right now, PRT’s network does not have the capacity to provide video and will remain that way until the TRB issues a determination on the cable franchise license it has requested.
Furthemore, she said the TRB lacks jurisdiction to regulate or impede the entry of broadband services and that PRT has obtained the necessary building permits to develop its network.
The company based its statement on a determination by the Federal Communications Commission that an incumbent carrier, such as PRT, may use its network for multiple services, such as broadband and video.
“Under these rules and regulations, the construction of our network is permissible and legal,” she said. FCC regulations trump local telecom rules.
Attempts to reach TRB officials were unsuccessful Monday.