Friday, February 26, 2016

Agreement Reached on Definition of Small ISP

On February 25, 2016, the House Energy and Commerce Committee reached a unanimous agreement on the definition of a small Internet service provider (ISP) within the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act. This bill would exempt small businesses from enhanced transparency requirements imposed in the FCC’s Open Internet Order. The Committee defined a small ISP as 250,000 subscribers or fewer, while the FCC’s Open Internet Order originally had a transparency exemption for ISPs with 100,000 or fewer subscribers or 1,500 or fewer employees. The bill also includes a sunset for the exemption after five years.
Although the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act still needs to pass the full House and Senate before the President signs it, bipartisan support is encouraging. Small businesses often are harmed the most by unnecessary regulations. Because this bill would diminish the regulatory burden of the FCC’s transparency requirements, its passage would be a win for competition and consumers.

By the way, this is the first time that Democrats and Republicans have agreed on any measure to pare back the FCC's over-reaching Open Internet Order. Perhaps this is a good portent!