FCC Seeks Comment on Small Business Exemption to Enhanced Transparency Rule

The FCC has released a Public Notice seeking comment on the small business exemption to recently adopted (but not yet effective) enhanced transparency rules under the 2015 Open Internet Order.  In the 2015 Open Internet Order, the Commission temporarily exempted providers with 100,000 or fewer broadband subscribers (based on the most recent Form 477) from compliance with the enhanced transparency requirements.  The Public Notice clarifies that the exemption from the enhanced transparency requirements currently applies to providers with 100,000 or fewer broadband connections, not subscribers (in an effort to be consistent with the Form 477 metrics).

The Commission seeks comment on whether the enhancements to the transparency rule impose significant compliance burdens that justify making permanent the small business exemption.  The Commission highlights the fact that several of the originally proposed enhancements were not adopted and therefore the need for an exemption may no longer be justified.  More specifically, the FCC seeks comment on the extent of the burden of the enhanced transparency disclosures to smaller providers, the disproportionate effects of adopting or not adopting an exemption, and whether an exemption should be temporary or long-term.  The FCC also seeks comment on whether the small provider threshold of 100,000 of fewer broadband connections is an appropriate threshold.

Per the 2015 Open Internet Order, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau must determine whether or not to maintain an exemption by December 15, 2015.

Comment Date: 30 days after publication in the Federal Register
Reply Comment Date: 60 days after publication in the Federal Register

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