CTIA Wants Small ISPs Permanently Exempt From Net Neutrality Rules

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ctiaCTIA called on the FCC to permanently exempt small businesses from transparency rules included in the agency’s 2015 net neutrality rules, with the current exemption scheduled to expire on December 15.

“The enhanced transparency rules are unnecessary and unduly burdensome for all broadband providers, and particularly burdensome for smaller providers, many of which lack the monetary and/or staff resources to comply with complex disclosure requirements that will not provide any benefit to smaller providers’ customers,” Krista L. Witanowski, assistant vice president of regulatory affairs at CTIA, wrote in a Monday filing with the FCC. “CTIA urges the Commission to permanently exempt small businesses from the enhanced transparency requirements and adopt a more realistic definition of the small business entities to which the exemption would apply.”

The Washington-based organization represents companies such as AT&T and Verizon Communications.  

The FCC’s Open Internet order requires internet service providers to disclose certain information to consumers and regulators. Broadband companies have to reveal details about data caps, congestion management and internet speed. The FCC provided an exemption for providers with 100,000 or fewer broadband connections.

CTIA said that definition doesn’t “track” with that of the Small Business Administration, which defines a small telecom carrier as a company with fewer than 1,500 employees or less than 500,000 subscribers.

Legislation to exempt small telecom businesses has fared well in Congress. The House unanimously passed a bill that would exempt providers with 250,000 subscribers or fewer for five years. The Senate Commerce Committee approved a similar measure by voice vote. The Senate bill has not come to the floor for a vote.

“The legislation passed by the House and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation provides clear direction that the Commission should embrace as it considers this issue,” Witanowski wrote in Monday’s filing.

November 9, 2016

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