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TRB issues order giving PRT OK to launch IPTV

PRT has obtained the license to launch ClaroTV. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

The rollercoaster ride that began three years ago when Puerto Rico Telephone requested an islandwide cable television license from the Telecommunications Regulatory Board has seemingly come to a stop, with a decision by the agency to grant the petition.

The order, which is basically a do-over from a prior one released earlier this month that contained stipulations considered illegal, gives PRT the go-ahead to launch islandwide Internet Protocol TV service. The company will compete head-on with all of the island’s cable television providers with its so-called ClaroTV service.

The nine-page resolution establishes five conditions that PRT must abide by, namely submitting a “Consumer Protection Code” including details on penalties for early termination, late payment fees, and automatic contract renewal stipulations, among other things.

It must also submit an expansion plan containing technical details related to service quality, improvements in unserved areas and previously served areas. The cable television franchise fee will cost the company 3 percent of its revenue.

PRT will have to meet all of the conditions prior to launching service, and will be subject to a review in six months, the order stated.

In its conclusions, the TRB said granting PRT the cable franchise license responded to the public interest and will spark competition resulting in “better prices, better choices and better technology” for consumers.

Two of the three TRB members — President Sandra Torres and recently appointed Associate Member Gloria Escudero — signed the order, while Associate Member Nixyvette Santini filed a dissident opinion that reportedly sheds light on the infighting that has been taking place at the agency regarding this petition.

The problems among Santini, former Associate Member Vicente Aguirre and Torres have triggered a House probe into the manner in which the PRT cable franchise license request has been handled.

The petition has been the subject of heated controversy and has been opposed by competitors OneLink, Choice Cable and Liberty. Most recently, Choice filed a complaint at the agency claiming PRT had been building its network without a license, an issue Choice also brought up early in the proceeding.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 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 segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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  1. Isabel Palacios November 17, 2011

    Really? Eureka!! Hope the Claro IPTV service becomes available in Condado ASAP! Can’t wait to terminate my OneLink triple-play contract, as OneLink’s Internet and telephone service are for the birds, at least where I live. The PRTRB should not allow any company to have an automatic renewal clause after a consumer’s initial contract expires. This is an unfair practice that holds consumers hostage in situation that may not be in the consumer’s best interest. In my case, OneLink consistently provides me poor service, thus breaking their end of the contract. However, if I were to terminate service, the company has the gall to charge me penalties. So PRTRB, please stop this practice!

  2. Héctor Ramos November 17, 2011

    Seconding Isabel’s comment!


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