Vol. 17, No. 26
July 6, 2021
INCOMPAS Praises Maine Governor for Stopping Tax on 
Streaming Services and Broadband Providers
INCOMPAS praised action by Maine Governor Janet Mills, who exercised her veto power to stop a proposed new tax on consumers who have cut the cord on cable.

INCOMPAS, which recently launched the BroadLand campaign to promote Internet for All, has long warned that adding new fees on free or low-cost internet and streaming content will decrease investment in broadband networks and slow down deployment of faster speed, affordable broadband networks that bring more competition to the market.

The Maine legislation, LD 920, was introduced in March and would have added franchise fees on streaming video service and broadband providers to find alternative revenue sources for funding the state’s local community and public education (PEG) channels. INCOMPAS submitted testimony to the Maine legislature opposing the legislation, worked with other trade organizations and our local member companies to address our deployment concerns, and called upon the Governor to veto the legislation when those concerns were not addressed.

“We want to thank and praise Governor Mills for standing with consumers, competition and a better broadband future. The economics of broadband are clear: more choice and lower cost alternatives on the edge and streaming side of the market are driving the demand for greater capacity, faster speeds, and more affordable broadband networks. Adding taxes and fees on consumers who are finally seeing a break on their cable bills thanks to streaming competition is the wrong approach as it decreases video competition, and it deters broadband growth and deployment that benefit families, schools and small businesses who need it most," said INCOMPAS CEO Chip Pickering. “Maine has some of the best and most exciting network builders in the nation who are deploying fiber that will give local communities access to some of the fastest speed services in America. Competition works, and we look forward to working with the Governor, state legislators and local officials to encourage smart growth solutions that bring better broadband to more places.”
INCOMPAS Supports Retention of the ITG as the
Industry Robocall Traceback Consortium
INCOMPAS filed comments supporting retention of USTelecom's Industry Traceback Group (ITG) as the single registered robocall traceback consortium for 2021-2022. The association noted that since being designated last July as the registered consortium, the ITG has met the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act's four statutory requirements and made significant contributions to the FCC's enforcement efforts through the identification of voice service providers that are engaged in illegal robocall campaigns.
FCC Releases Second Report on Robocall Blocking
The FCC released its second report on robocall blocking, which provides an update on the deployment and implementation of call blocking and caller ID authentication, since the release of the first call blocking report. The report compiled detailed information on a number of call blocking issues, such as the availability and effectiveness of call blocking tools offered to consumers, the impact of the commission’s actions on illegal calls and the impact of call blocking on 911 services and public safety.
House Bill Directs FCC Report on Broadband, Robocalls
The House Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill would direct the FCC to further investigate rural broadband mapping and implementation of an anti-robocall law, according to the committee report out last week. The committee had proposed appropriating $388 million for the agency, a $14 million increase from the fiscal 2021 enacted level.

The bill directs the FCC to issue a report on how it plans to spend money appropriated last year to update its broadband data maps and calls for a briefing on the progress of its emergency connectivity fund supporting broadband buildout in schools. It also asks the FCC to report on the implementation of the TRACED Act (Public Law 116-105), which penalizes illegal robocalls.

The committee was scheduled to mark up the bill today. The bill also includes cyber funding for the Department of the Treasury Cybersecurity Enhancement Account and the new White House Office of the National Cyber Director.