Cable Operators Push Net Tax Moratorium Bill

Telcos on Board, Too; Current Moratorium Expires Nov. 1

Cable operators wrote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), pushing for swift renewal of the moratorium on Internet-access taxes, preferably permanently.

The current moratorium, first adopted in 1998, expires Nov. 1, and cable operators and telephone companies, among others, are on the same page about extending it. It also puts a moratorium on local taxes on e-commerce.

"If the moratorium is allowed to lapse, American consumers could be exposed to countless new and burdensome taxes from state and local jurisdictions simply for accessing the Internet," the cable operators said. "Encouraging broadband deployment across the country is an important objective for the nation, but imposing taxes on Internet access would hurt consumers and could discourage -- rather than encourage -- access to the Internet."

That could mean driving up the prices of the high-speed service cable networks are trying to get their customers to buy as part of their marketing strategy of selling bundled services.

There is currently a House and Senate bill that would make the moratorium permanent, and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the American Cable Association, US Telecom and others are urging the leaders for swift passage.