Small Provider Exemptions in Limbo
On Thursday, December 16, the FCC announced that the Office of Management and Budget had approved the long-delayed “enhanced” Open Internet transparency requirements, which were originally approved in March 2015. As a result, the deadline for providers to comply with these enhanced requirements is January 17, 2017.
Significantly, this deadline also applies to small providers (those with 100,000 or fewer broadband subscribers) following the FCC’s decision not to extend the exemption for these entities. However, in a letter to major industry associations, the two Republican members of the Commission, Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly, have indicated that they both supported an extension of the small provider extension, and suggested that “they would not support any adverse actions against small business providers for supposed non-compliance.” Unfortunately, this commitment to forbear from any enforcement action may still leave small providers subject to potential enforcement action unless, or until, a final action to extend (or repeal) the new rules takes effect.