The Spanish communications regulator (CMT) has said telecommunications providers that derive 75% of their gross operating revenues from customers in a single autonomous region should be exempted from the funding of the public broadcaster RTVE.
The clarification by the regulator exempts three regional cable operators in northern Spain: Galician R, Telecable, serving Asturias and the Basque Euskaltel. The companies had been concerned that their ability to expand would be restricted with the possibility of paying the tax still hanging over them.
In its first determination on the controversial Telco Tax since the European Commission gave the Spanish authorities two months to amend the legislation, CMT said that €148.57 million had so far been raised by the scheme. The self-assessment payments made by operators and broadcasters for the first two quarters of the year amounted to €128.35 million. Payments for 2009, when only broadcasters were required to contribute, were €20.22m.
Under the system a tax of 3% has been imposed on free-to-air commercial broadcasters and 1.5% on pay-TV broadcasters to help compensate RTVE for a loss of revenues from the withdrawal of advertising. In addition a 0.9% tax is being levied on electronic communications operators. According to legislation covering the financing of RTVE, all operators with a state level or higher than an autonomous region are required to perform the transfer.