The full U.S. House sent to the Senate the “Small Business Broadband Deployment Act.” The point of the bill is to ensure that small Internet Service Providers can devote resources to broadband deployment rather than compliance with “cumbersome” enhanced transparency requirements included in the FCC’s Open Internet Order.
Sponsored by House Commerce Committee Chair Greg Walden (R-OR) and cosponsor Dave Loebsack (D-IA), the bill would extend the small business ISP exemption for providers with fewer than 250,000 subscribers for five years, allowing small businesses to focus on building networks, deploying broadband, improving connectivity for rural consumers, and creating jobs. H.R. 288 passed the House unanimously by voice vote this week. The House passed the bill in the previous session of Congress, too.
Walden said the 115th session of Congress has “hit the ground running,” and he’s “hopeful” the Senate will act quickly.
The Competitive Carriers Association echoed that sentiment; CCA President/CEO Steve Berry said passage “is a clear indication there is ample support for small business relief.” He noted that FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly supported the legislation in a letter to CCA and other telecom associations. “Many competitive carriers are community-based, small businesses that focus on serving their customers rather than spending valuable resources trying to meet unnecessary regulatory requirements.” Berry looks forward “to working with the Senate to send this commonsense legislation to the President.”
January 12, 2017