Daines Slams FCC Rebuff of Montana Small Businesses

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

Earlier today, the FCC rebuffed Daines’ request to provide small Internet service providers with a permanent exemption from their new so-called “enhanced transparency requirements,” which requires Internet service providers to disclose an excess of information about their network performance. 

The FCC offered a one-year extension of the exemption, which disregards numerous Congressional requests and the recommendation of the Obama administration’s Small Business Administration to provide a permanent exemption of the rule.

“Small Montana businesses should be focused on infrastructure deployment and serving their customers, not complying with unnecessary and burdensome regulatory requirements from an unchecked fourth branch of government,” Daines stated. “The FCC’s rules are a solution in search of a problem. By failing to provide a permanent exemption to these requirements, the FCC has only added to the regulatory uncertainty facing small Internet service providers and worked in direct opposition of our hardworking small businesses.”

Daines’ concerns were also echoed by FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly and Montana provider Grizzly Internet:

FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly: “Senator Daines is right to champion this measure through new legislation. I am at a loss to understand why the Bureau would kick the can down the road instead of recognizing the obvious need to extricate small businesses from this element of the crushing Net Neutrality regulatory regime once and for all.  I don’t expect that anyone will be any better equipped to deal with the daunting paperwork, incalculable liabilities, and high costs of compliance twelve months from now.  Maybe by then the Commission will be ready to face reality.” 

Grizzly Internet President Jason Pond: “The FCC’s decision to extend the temporary exemption is a missed opportunity to make the exemption permanent. We should not have to spend man-hours and attorney fees to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.  Hopefully, the FCC will get it right next year.” 

In November, Daines introduced the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act of 2015, which would have made the temporary exemption permanent so that small businesses would not have to comply with the FCC’s unnecessary and burdensome regulations that would cost small businesses time and money.   

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