Virginia $700M in Broadband, T-Mobile Accused of Lying and Paying No Federal Tax for 2 Years

Virginia’s $700 million toward broadband, T-Mobile accused of lying about ending 3G services, and is accused of not paying tax.

Virginia $700M in Broadband, T-Mobile Accused of Lying and Paying No Federal Tax for 2 Years
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam

August 17, 2021 – Virginia state lawmakers committed $700 million in federal pandemic aid to broadband deployment with the goal of connecting every household to high-speed Internet by 2024.

Evan Feinman, Chief Broadband Adviser to Governor Ralph Northam, stated he “expects to have lined up all the fully funded projects by [2024] and underway” but cautions they “can’t promise construction will be complete”.

Currently, the state set a minimum benchmark for interested parties to apply only in areas where service remains below 25 Megabits per second download and 3 Megabits per second upload, which is the federal standard.

The Virginia Telecommunication Initiative will distribute this fund to internet service providers working with government entities to apply for grants.

County officials are required to submit a letter of notice to the state if they plan to apply for expanded broadband service.

T-Mobile allegedly lied to government in Sprint acquisition

The California Public Utilities Commission ruled Friday that Sprint must show why it shouldn’t be penalized for providing “false, misleading, or omitted statements” related to a claim it made about when it would stop offering 3G services.

Per its agreement with the Justice Department, T-Mobile agreed to sell Sprint’s Boost Mobile prepaid business and other assets to Dish Network while allowing Dish subscribers to use its 4G LTE and 3G CDMA networks from 2020 through 2023.

But part of the agreement was a claim made by T-Mobile that it would continue to offer 3G services until a full migration was made to Dish. T-Mobile announced that it would end 3G services on January 1, 2022.

CPUC now wants to know whether the state was misled or information was omitted about the following: “1) its CDMA network would be available to its Boost customers until they were migrated to DISH’s LTE or 5G services, 2) maintaining service to the CDMA network did not require use of Sprint PCS spectrum, 3) PCS spectrum would not be used for T-Mobile’s 5G build-out, 4) all former Sprint customers would have a seamless, undegraded experience during the migration period (2020-2023) and 5) DISH would have up to three years in which to complete Boost customer migration.”

In a July Letter, the DOJ signaled it had “grave concerns” about the damage to Boost customers should T-Mobile not live up to its agreement. Thus, indicating they may intervene to protect low-income consumers during the migration from Sprint.

T-Mobile allegedly paid no federal tax from 2018 to 2020

A report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy alleges T-Mobile is among 39 companies in the S&P 500 or Fortune 500 that paid no federal income tax from 2018 to 2020.

The study attributes this to the former President Donald Trump administration’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Other companies such as Dish Network, Juniper Network, and Telephone & Data Systems also paid zero federal income tax.

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