DRS: Ruling 91-25, Sales and Use Taxes / Community Antenna Television Service

 

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SERVICES

450 Columbus Blvd
Hartford CT 06103
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 

This Ruling has been cited by Ruling 95-6

Ruling 91-25

Sales and Use Taxes
Community Antenna Television Service


FACTS:

A company is engaged in the business of transmitting video programming by means of microwave or satellite to customers. The company's customers receive its video programming signal through the use of descrambling equipment.


ISSUE:

Whether the service of providing video programming directly to consumers by means of microwave or satellite is a community antenna television service, as defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-407(27).


DISCUSSION:

Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-407(27) provides in part that "'community antenna television service' means ... (2) noncable communications service, as defined in section 16-1."

Conn. Gen. Stat. 16-1 provides in part that "'noncable communications service' means any telecommunications service, as defined in section 16-247a, and which is not included in the definition of 'cable service' in the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, P.L. 98-549."

Conn. Gen. Stat. 16-247a(5) provides in part that "'telecommunications service' means any transmission (A) between or among points specified by the user, (B) of information of the user's choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received, (D) by means of electromagnetic transmission, including but not limited to, fiber optics, microwave and satellite, (E) with or without benefit of any closed transmission medium and (F) including all instrumentalities, facilities, apparatus and services ...."

"Cable service", as defined in the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, Pub. L. No. 98-549, 98 Stat. 2779, 2780, 2 [adding 602 to the Communications Act of 1934 and codified and hereinafter referred to as 47 U.S.C. 522(5)], "means (A) the one-way transmission to subscribers of (i) video programming, or (ii) other programming service, and (B) subscriber interaction, if any, which is required for the selection of such video programming or other programming service.

While "cable service", as so defined, could appear to encompass the service of providing video programming directly to consumers by means of microwave or satellite, its meaning may best be determined by reference to its relationship with other associated definitions. "'Assistance in ascertaining the legislative intent is afforded by resort to the familiar maxim of noscitur a sociis. Through use of this aid the meaning of a word or a particular set of words in a statute may be indicated, controlled or made clear by the words with which it is associated, in a manner somewhat similar in application to the more familiar doctrine of in pari materia. 2A Sutherland, Statutory Construction, (4th ed. 1973) 47.16 at 101.' Falcone v. Branker, 135 N.J. Super. 137, 146-47, 342 A.2d 875 (1975)." State v. Roque, 190 Conn. 143, 152, 460 A.2d 26 (1983).

The associated definitions of "cable operator", "cable system" and "other programming service" make it clear that "cable service" is provided by a "cable operator" by means of a "cable system". Significantly, "the term 'cable operator' means any person ... who provides cable service over a cable system ..."; 47 U.S.C. 522(4); and "the term 'cable system' means a facility, consisting of a set of closed transmission paths and associated signal generation, reception, and control equipment that is designed to provide cable service ..."; 47 U.S.C. 522(6). (The legislative history of Pub. L. No. 98-549 indicates that Congress, while establishing "a national policy that clarifies the current system of local, state and Federal regulation of cable television"; H.R. Rep. No. 934, 98th Cong., 2nd Sess. 19, reprinted in 1984 U.S. Code Cong. & Ad. News 4655, 4656; was well aware of "new forms of competition to cable ... [including] the SMATV industry, multi-channel MDS, Direct Broadcast Satellite ...;" H.R. Rep. No. 934, 98th Cong., 2nd Sess. 22, reprinted in 1984 U.S. Code Cong. & Ad. News 4655, 4659.)


RULING:

The service of providing video programming directly to consumers by means of microwave or satellite is a community antenna television service, as defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-407(27).


LEGAL DIVISION

August 29, 1991