Key Vote: HB 236 - Taxing IPTV
HB 236 - Taxing Technology That Doesn't Exist
It's not that it doesn't exist at all, it's that it doesn't exist in Kentucky. "Television Over Internet Protocol" or IPTV is a new effort by telecom companies, particularly AT&T and Verizon, to provide multi-channel cable over the internet. This new competition is good news for consumers in Kentucky, because:
A recent FCC study showed that cable rates increased at more than 3.5 times the rate of inflation between 1998 and 2003-but in the few places where cable faces competition from another wireline provider, prices are substantially lower than the average. The increased competition provided by the telcos will no doubt drive prices down further, as has already happened in Texas (where several telco TV projects are undergoing trials).
So how does the legislature react to the potential new technology? Instead of passing regulation that would ensure that franchise agreements would be available for providers that wanted to bring IPTV to Kentucky (which we should add brings significant investment in high-speed infrastructure to make it possible), they pass a new tax to make sure Kentucky is a less attractive place for the technology to expand to. And that's what HB 236 does: taxes IPTV before it even exists.