ACA: FCC Underestimates Impact Of Expanded Net Neutrality Transparency

The American Cable Association says the FCC is lowballing the impact of expanded transparency requirements in its new network neutrality rules.

That came in comments to the FCC per the Paperwork Reduction Act, which requires an agency to justify any new reporting obligations associated with new regulations and minimize reporting burdens, especially on small businesses ACA points out—it represents smaller and medium-sized broadband providers.

The transparency rule—dating from the FCC's 2010 Open Internet order, requires ISPs to publicly disclose network management practices, performance and pricing and privacy policies, among other things. The new rules require more granular data.

The FCC estimated that the new reporting requirements will take providers an additional 4.5 hours per year to respond.

ACA said that "significantly understates the amount of time that BIAS [broadband Internet access service] providers expect to spend to effectively and accurately collect and disclose additional information about network practices, and to inform customers directly 'if their individual use of a network will trigger a network practice, based on their demand prior to the period of congestion, that is likely to have a significant impact on the end user’s use of the service,'" one of the new rules new requirements.

ACA says the new requirement will likely require and average 16-24 hours annually just to draft the disclosures, and that to inform customers when their actions trigger a network practice and answer questions about those notices could take as much as 100 hours per month for a member with 100,000 subs.

First, ACA says the FCC should amend the notification requirement to confine it to disclosure of the trigger for the use of a particular kind of network management traffic, not information about the purpose of the practice and its impact on the user.

ACA also says the FCC should provide flexibility in how ISPs "craft" the notifications and respond to inquiries and continue exempting the smallest operators (fewer than 100,000 subs).

The FCC exempted them in the 2015 order, but asked whether it should have done so and should continue to do so.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.