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Small US broadband businesses relieved from needless regulation, piracy protection mooted

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MUMBAI: A government decision in the U.S. reminiscent of India's so-called one-window clearance policy has made life easier for small businesses. The Federal Communications Commission (U.S.) has relieved thousands of smaller broadband providers from onerous reporting obligations stemming from the 2015 Title II Order, freeing them to devote more resources to operating, improving and building out their networks.

An Order adopted by the Commission finds that providers with 250,000 or fewer broadband connections would be disproportionately impacted if required to comply immediately with the 2015 enhanced reporting requirements.These providers frequently serve rural areas that lack broadband, or provide competitive alternatives for consumers in other markets.

The Order mirrors the bipartisan compromise reflected in the pending Small Business Broadband Deployment Act of 2017. After today's action, smaller providers must still give consumers the information that has been required since 2010 to assist them in making an informed choice of broadband providers.

Today’s Order applies retroactively and prospectively to cover the period beginning on the date the enhanced reporting requirements became effective, 17 January, 2017, and ending five years after the date the order is adopted.

Policy to protect online piracy mooted

Following is a statement from FCC Office of Media Relations Acting Director Mark Wigfield:

“Chairman Pai believes that the best way to protect the online privacy of American consumers is through a comprehensive and uniform regulatory framework. All actors in the online space should be subject to the same rules, and the federal government shouldn’t favor one set of companies over another. Therefore, he has advocated returning to a technology-neutral privacy framework for the online world and harmonizing the FCC’s privacy rules for broadband providers with the FTC’s standards for others in the digital economy. Unfortunately, one of the previous administration’s privacy rules that is scheduled to take effect on March 2 is not consistent with the FTC’s privacy standards. Therefore, Chairman Pai is seeking to act on a request to stay this rule before it takes effect on March 2. If Commissioners are willing to cast their votes by March 2, then the full Commission will decide the stay request. If not, then the Wireline Competition Bureau will stay that one element of the privacy rules pending a full Commission vote on the pending petitions for reconsideration consistent with past practice.”

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