Confusing Internet Tax Credit Remains In Stimulus Bill

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Lawmakers have been unsuccessful at changing confusing language in a sweeping economic stimulus bill that critics and analysts say could benefit Verizon Communications over other Internet service providers. An effort to narrow the bill's tax credit for extending Internet access to rural areas and regions without service has been stymied as the Senate moves toward a final vote on the bill. Now, congressional aides and lobbyists say the only option for changing the provision is influencing the closed-door negotiations between House and Senate lawmakers that will occur after a Senate vote. The House stimulus bill doesn't include any tax incentives for Internet investments. It is possible that the Senate's Internet tax credit proposal simply could get chucked in negotiations with House members. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Rockefeller (D-WV) had proposed a significant increase in the Senate bill's monetary benefits for carriers adding high-speed Internet service in places where there are few options for wiring up. But Rockefeller's amendment didn't make it in to the Senate's compromise package. Industry insiders say the Internet tax credit's vague language referencing "residential subscribers" of the highest-speed Internet services could be a huge benefit to Verizon because its fiber-based Internet offering for homes comes the closest to meeting the download speeds needed to qualify for the credit.

Confusing Internet Tax Credit Remains In Stimulus Bill Senate bill: Billion-dollar Verizon tax break still possible (FierceTelecom) Big Verizon Tax Break Still in Senate Stimulus Bill (NYTimes)