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Comcast slapped with eight-figure tax bill after package fails to impress

Cable giant loses bid for tax break on gigabit broadband

By Shaun Nichols, 27 May 2016

The US state of Oregon says it will charge Comcast tens of millions of dollars in taxes after revoking a tax break the cable giant had claimed on its broadband service.

The state's Department of Revenue (DOR) has denied a request by Comcast that it be granted an exemption reserved for companies that offer gigabit internet service in the state.

Written to lure Google's Fiber service to Portland after years of courtship, the tax break would give exemptions to reward the installation of high-speed fiber broadband.

Comcast had claimed the exemption for itself in February, arguing that its "Gigabit Pro" service tops out at 2Gbit/s and thus made the cable giant eligible to claim the same breaks as Google.

The DOR, however, did not agree, and it ruled earlier this week that Comcast will have to pay the taxes after all. The decision could cost Comcast "tens of millions" in taxes it will now be on the hook for.

The Oregonian notes that while the DOR will not give its reasoning on the decision under confidentiality laws, critics of Comcast have previously argued that the Gigabit Pro service is prohibitively expensive (up to $4,600 a year) and only reaches a small number of Oregon residents.

Comcast, meanwhile, doesn't seem to want to talk about the matter. A company spokesperson referred a Reg request for comment to advocacy group the Oregon Cable Telecommunications Association.

Both Google and Frontier also had their applications denied – because neither has an active gigabit service in the state. ®

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