Daines Introduces Legislation to Roll Back Red Tape for Small Businesses

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Steve Daines today introduced legislation to protect Montana small businesses from burdensome regulations found in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 317-page “net neutrality” rules.

The Small Business Broadband Deployment Act of 2015 would make permanent a temporary exemption from the FCC’s new so-called “enhanced transparency requirements,” which would require Internet service providers to disclose an excess of information about their network performance, some of which may require hiring an engineer.

Daines’ bill makes the temporary exemption permanent so that small businesses don’t have to comply with unnecessary and burdensome regulations that would cost small businesses time and money.  

Burdensome regulations like the FCC’s net neutrality rules are strangling our small businesses and preventing growth and investment,” Daines stated. “Thanks to technology, geography is no longer a constraint to economic growth and entrepreneurs have been able to build world-class companies without leaving Montana. Providing relief for our small businesses from over 300 pages of burdensome regulations will allow them to focus on deploying infrastructure and serving their customers, rather than spend time on regulatory compliance.”

“The Blackfoot Telecommunications Group supports Senator Daines’ bill to make permanent the temporary small business exception to the FCC’s new enhanced transparency rules,” said Bill Squires, CEO of Blackfoot. “Requiring smaller, regional ISPs, like Blackfoot, to comply with the net neutrality transparency standards would be overly burdensome and unnecessarily drive up the costs of broadband services for Montana consumers.” 

Small businesses often have only a few employees serving thousands of customers and do not have the resources to comply with regulations intended for Internet service providers (ISP) with millions of customers.  The bill uses the Small Business Administration’s definition of small ISP – less than 1,500 employees, or less than 500,000 subscribers.

Daines’ legislation is cosponsored by Senator James Risch (R-ID). 

The exception is supported by the Small Business Administration, American Cable Association, Rural Wireless Association, Competitive Carriers Association, Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, CTIA, Rural Broadband Provider Coalition and WTA – Advocates for Rural Broadband.

The full text of the legislation is available here