In the December 2017 Open Meeting, the Federal Communication Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) adopted a Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order (FCC 17-166) (“Order”) regarding the matter of “Restoring Internet Freedom” (f/k/a “Net Neutrality” or “Open Internet”). Pursuant to the Order, the FCC restores the light-touch regulatory framework implemented before the 2015 Title II Order (“Title II Order”) classifying and regulating broadband Internet as a utility. The revised rules are listed in Appendix A of the Order.
Prior to 2015, broadband service was classified as an “information service,” and thus subject
to lighter regulatory schemes as opposed to telecommunications services. This designation changed in early 2015, pursuant to the Wheeler Commission’s Title II Order reclassifying “broadband Internet access service” (“BIAS”) as a telecommunications service under Title II regulations.
Now, under Charmain Pai, the Commission reinstates the “Information Service” classification
of BIAS on the grounds that Title II regulation was over-burdensome, failed to address or solve prior identifiable problems, and hurt investments and innovation within the industry. In the Order, the Commission (1) ends utility-style regulation of the Internet in favor of the market-based policies necessary to preserve the future of Internet freedom; (2) requires ISPs to be transparent by returning to the transparency rule the Commission adopted in 2010 with certain limited modifications to promote additional transparency, and (3) eliminates the Commission’s Internet conduct rules. By doing so, the only remaining rule under this item is the transparency rule.
Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel vigorously dissented to the Order and numerous parties have filed appeals of the Order.
Pursuant to a May 11, 2018 Federal Register publication, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) has approved the information collection requirements relating to the transparency rules, along with the delayed amendatory instructions and the Order as a whole. The effective date is June 11, 2018, and therefore companies will need to be in compliance with the new transparency rules by this date.
Please contact us if you have any questions about your company’s compliance with these new rules going forward.