FCC Extends Open Internet Temporary Exemption for Smaller ISPs from Enhanced Transparency Requirements

The Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau finds that at this time it cannot fully evaluate the impact of removing the temporary exemption for smaller broadband Internet access service providers from the enhancements to the Open Internet transparency rule previously adopted by the Commission in the 2015 Open Internet Order. To avoid acting prematurely in advance of Office of Management and Budget approval, CGB therefore extends the temporary exemption for smaller providers until December 15, 2016. At that time, we expect that the approval process will be complete and that the full Commission will be able to consider whether and, if so, how best to extend the temporary exemption from the enhanced transparency requirements with the benefit of more complete information.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said, “At the heart of this issue is the right of broadband customers, including the nearly 7 million customers of these exempt providers, to have access to essential information about their service—while at the same time ensuring the Bureau is able to conduct a thorough fact-based review. It’s also important to remember that all providers of broadband Internet service, including small providers, are already subject to the existing transparency rules adopted in 2010. Next December, I will present to the full Commission for their decision the facts, which are being developed, so they may make an informed decision on the policy issues.”

FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly said, “temporarily extending the small broadband provider exemption is a monumental mistake in judgement and a missed opportunity to restore a bit of credibility and rationality. We all know that smaller providers never had the imaginary market power envisioned by the Commission, and they shouldn’t have to comply now or in the future with burdensome requirements that divert limited resources from broadband deployment and provide no real value to consumers. I am equally troubled that I was precluded from voting on this item as the majority of the Commission delegated it to the Bureau, reducing its own transparency and accountability.”

FCC Extends Open Internet Temporary Exemption for Smaller ISPs from Enhanced Transparency Requirements Statement (Chairman Wheeler) Statement (Commissioner O'Rielly) Statement (Commissioner Clyburn) Statements (House Commerce Committee Leaders)