Groups to FCC: Reject Broadband CPNI Extension

Free Press, the Center for Digital Democracy and others have asked the FCC to deny ISP and advertiser requests that it extend the comment period for for its broadband privacy framework proposal.

The American Cable Association, National Cable & Telecommunications Association and wireless ISPs all said the complicated issue required more time to vet the broadband CPNI (customer proprietary network information) proposal and asked that it be extended from from the end of May until early July. That followed a request for extension by the Association of National Advertisers (from the end of next month until early July).

Free Press et al. said that the added time was unnecessary, that the FCC has been saying for a year it was going to come up with a new framework, and that the public back-and-forth on the issue has clearly signaled many of the issues likely to be addressed.

And trying to use ISPs own calls for regulatory certainty in other areas, like the network neutrality decision that initiated the broadband privacy review, they said that swift action by the FCC would provide greater certainty about how privacy regs would apply going forward.

The FCC has proposed requiring broadband subs to affirmatively agree to have their information shared with third parties for marketing purposes, outside of marketing pitches of the ISPs own services, which would be opt-out.

"The public interest groups clearly have no appreciation for the enormousness of the effort to respond to the FCC's broadband privacy NPRM, which proposes far-reaching new obligations on ISPs, particularly for smaller entities with limited resources and time to file comments," said an American Cable Assocition spokesperson. "How can good public policy be adopted when parties most impacted by the rules – namely, smaller ISPs -- are disadvantaged in producing comments because of short deadlines, compared to the proposed rules' proponents, who are not?”

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.