Pai Schedules Small Business Transparency Vote for February

FCC chairman Ajit Pai is looking to close the loop on his proposal to extend the waiver for smaller ISPs from the Open Internet order's enhanced transparency requirements for five years and up the trigger for the waiver from 100,000 subs to 250,000 subs.

The item already has two votes—Pai and fellow Republican Michael O'Rielly—after Pai circulated it for a vote among the other commissioners, but Democrat Mignon Clyburn has yet to vote it, so Pai has slated it for a vote at the February public meeting.

That will force a vote unless Clyburn does not appear and a quorum was lacking.

"These rules impose unnecessary burdens on small businesses, many of which are critical to increasing competition in the broadband marketplace," said Pai Thursday.

Clyburn also favors extending the exemption, but sources said the sticking point is boosting the trigger to systems with as many as 250,000 subs. Clyburn supported an extension of the waiver when it was circulated by then-chairman Tom Wheeler back in December, but that version kept the trigger at 100,000.

The enhanced reporting requirements kicked in Jan. 17, but Pai advised smaller carriers the FCC was not looking to toe that line and made one of his first actions as chairman circulating the five-year waiver.

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.