FCC Republicans: Make Small ISP Exemption Permanent

On the eve of the House Communications Subcommittee's vetting of a bill to make permanent a small ISP waiver of the Open Internet order-related enhanced reporting requirements, the FCC's Republican commissioners wrote top House Republicans to point out that the FCC punted on its chance to make the exemption permanent.

According to a copy of the letter, FCC commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly wrote a quartet of committee chairs and vice chair pointing out that on Dec. 15, the FCC's consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau issued a report and order declining to make exemption permanent, instead renewing the exemption for a year. Both thought that was the wrong call.

They also took issue with the decision not to change the threshold for exemption (to extend it to systems with between 100,000 and 500,000 subs).

The FCC decided to delay the decision for a year, saying that the Paperwork Reduction Act review of reporting requirements would help the FCC calculate the burden of compliance on those seeking a permanent exemption.

"This admission that the FCC has not yet fully assessed the impact of the rules on small business is inconsistent with the FCC' s representations under the Regulatory Flexibility Act that it completed the required economic analysis," they said.

The letter went to House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), and Communications Subcommittee Bob Latta (also R-Ohio).

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.