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ACA Pushes Internet-Tax Moratorium

A representative from the American Cable Association was on Capitol Hill Wednesday saying that its members need Congress to renew the moratorium on Internet taxes.

Testifying before the House Committee on Small Business, the ACA, which represents small cable businesses, said allowing the Nov. 1 moratorium to expire would make it harder for cable operators to deploy broadband service to rural customers. Expanding rural broadband access is a priority for Congress and the Federal Communications Commission.

The moratorium prohibits state and local taxes on Internet access, as well as multiple taxes on electronic commerce.

A number of Republican legislators -- notably presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire -- have called for making the moratorium permanent (the two co-sponsored a bill to that effect), with McCain saying Democrats were trying to block debate on the issue.

“At a time when the costs of running their businesses are increasing, small cable operators are deploying broadband services," ACA vice president of government affairs Ross J. Lieberman said, "despite the financial hurdles of offering such services in rural America. Congress can safeguard these investments and ensure that high-speed-Internet access remains affordable for consumers by passing legislation that prevents state and local governments from imposing taxes on this service.”