COLUMBUS, Mont. —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to exempt small business from burdensome regulations found in their 317-page “net neutrality” rules.
Daines led the effort in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to extend a temporary exemption from the FCC’s 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 investing in new equipment and hiring an engineer.
If the FCC doesn’t take action by December 15, 2016, small businesses will be subject to these burdensome requirements. In a bipartisan, bicameral letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Daines implored the FCC to extend their exemption for small businesses immediately.
“Without Commission action, small businesses soon face regulatory uncertainty and will potentially be subject to burdensome requirements,” Daines wrote. “When the Commission adopted this exemption, it acknowledged that requiring small businesses with limited resources to comply with the complex disclosure requirements would have been particularly burdensome.”
The letter is also signed by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Jim Risch (R-ID), Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and U.S. Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR), Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Bob Latta (R-OH).
The exemption is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, American Cable Association, Rural Wireless Association, Competitive Carriers Association, Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, CTIA – The Wireless Association, Rural Broadband Provider Coalition, NTCA – the Rural Broadband Association, and WTA – Advocates for Rural Broadband.
Daines letter is available to download HERE and below:
Dear Chairman Wheeler:
We write to urge the Commission to focus its resources in the coming weeks on items and matters that must be addressed, including those with statutory or regulatory deadlines. One such issue is the extension – until December 15, 2016 – that the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau granted last year to small businesses, which exempted those entities from the enhanced transparency requirements of the 2015 Open Internet Order. Without Commission action, small businesses soon face regulatory uncertainty and will potentially be subject to burdensome requirements.
When the Commission adopted this exemption, it acknowledged that requiring small businesses with limited resources to comply with the complex disclosure requirements would have been particularly burdensome. Before the current extension expires, the Commission should extend the enhanced transparency exemption and begin the process of considering whether the exemption should be made permanent and whether the definition of the small business entities to which the exemption applies should be modified.
Congress has expressed its position on this issue. Both S. 2283, which has been reported out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House counterpart, H.R. 4596, which passed the House with no opposition, would extend the exemption and expand the definition of small business. We therefore urge the Commission to follow the direction that Congress expressed and take action soon, before the current extension expires.
We appreciate your consideration of this important issue.