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Puerto Rican Telecom Alliance asks FCC to evaluate bill to tax internet service

The Puerto Rican Telecommunications Alliance sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai asking him to take notice of the local legislature’s “attempt to tax the internet and broadband internet access services.”

The Alliance — which groups internet, television and telephony services providers Aeronet, Claro, Data Access, Liberty Puerto Rico, Neptuno, Optivon, VPNet, and WorldNet — escalated its fight against Bills 1333 and 2313 that propose imposing taxes they say would increase the tax load on providers by up to 1,000% “and would, for the very first time, impose taxes on internet access services.”

The measures would alter the way Puerto Rico’s municipal real property taxes are determined by subjecting revenue from telecommunications, broadband, and internet access services to taxation.

“The crux of the proposed changes to Puerto Rico’s property tax laws set forth in the legislation is a dramatic shift from imposing taxes on the assessable value of telecom and broadband providers’ “real property” to a calculus that includes the revenue derived from services provided to consumers, which utilizes a company’s real property.

“Without question, many companies operating throughout Puerto Rico rely on a great deal of real property to deliver broadband internet access to their customers, everything from fiber and other network infrastructure to the buildings they occupy,” Alliance President Felipe Hernández said in the letter sent to the FCC.

The private-sector group participated Thursday in a closed-door hearing with Puerto Rico House Speaker Johnny Méndez and Municipal Affairs Commission Chair Ricardo Vargas, during which they accepted to review the bill and address the industry’s concerns, a source said.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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