House Passes Bill Banning Prepa Networks from Competing with Local Providers
SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico House of Representatives gave the green light Tuesday to a bill that will prevent Prepa Networks, a telecommunications company, from competing with local telecom providers.
The legislation, entitled the “Fair Competition in Information Telecommunications and Paid Television Act,” amends a 1996 law to also prevent agencies, corporations and cities from providing telecommunications services at the retail level.
Prepa Networks offers wholesale and enterprise telecom services to carriers and business sectors, and its infrastructure serves Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, Miami, New York and the Caribbean. It is a subsidiary of Prepa Holdings LLC a Delaware-based company dedicated to the development of infrastructure and energy related products and services.
The bill was approved with the opposition of the Telecommunications Regulatory Board, which objected the ban on allowing public agencies and cities to provide telecom services at the retail level. The board warned that the bill would not survive a judicial attack under the federal Telecommunications Act.
The Puerto Rican Alliance of Telecommunications, which represents some 9,000 employees, supported the bill, arguing that Prepa Networks could cause a distortion in the market because it was competing with the private sector while having an economic advantage through public sector subsidies.