Upcoming Open Internet Rules Will Soon Expand CPNI-Type Obligations to Broadband

This is to remind our clients that the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) rules require every telecommunications and interconnected VoIP service provider (including wireless, cable telephony, and even paging and calling card providers) to execute and file an annual officer certification that it is in compliance with the FCC's Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) regulations.

The annual certification for calendar year 2015 must be filed with the FCC by March 1, 2016.  The FCC just issued its annual CPNI“Enforcement Advisory,” admonishing service providers that it has taken aggressive enforcement actions in this area against thousands of providers for a mere failure to file this annual certification, and has imposed penalties of up to $25 million for failures to comply with the CPNI rules.

Though broadband Internet access service has now been reclassified as a telecommunications service  under the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, and is therefore subject to the statutory obligations contained in Section 222 of the Communications Act, the FCC’s new advisory expressly confirms that the Commission’s CPNI rules, including the annual certification requirement, do not apply to broadband services.

However, the FCC has warned providers to take steps to protect the privacy of the information they obtain from broadband customers, and it is expected to propose CPNI-like rules for broadband services this spring.  Service providers should carefully review their CPNI procedures and other privacy policies to assure that these documents accurately reflect these changes in laws.

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