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house Bill H.R. 4596

Do More Small Internet Service Providers Need an Exemption From FCC Reporting Requirements?

Argument in favor

Small internet service providers with fewer than 250,000 subscribers should be temporarily exempt from transparency regulations that were meant to keep consumers informed about the performance of larger providers’ networks and how they are managed.

BarackObama's Opinion
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03/16/2016
"We need to strengthen small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy and critical to job creation and sustained economic growth... The Obama administration has taken steps to make credit more available to small businesses looking to grow and expand, cutting taxes, incentivizing investment and hiring and reducing barriers to growth." [whitehouse.gov]
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pgshpak's Opinion
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03/16/2016
Any bill which wrestles control of private businesses away from the federal government will get my endorsement. They don't own the business so they shouldn't dictate how it works either.
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SherryTX's Opinion
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03/13/2016
I don't think it is necessary to provide this information to the FCC, but it should be available to consumers if requested.
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Argument opposed

The size of an internet service provider should not make any difference when it comes to compliance with an Federal Communications Commission regulation. Extending and raising the existing exemption from 100,000 subscribers to 250,000 is unnecessary.

StratonGarrard's Opinion
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03/15/2016
While this sounds nice, and I'll be amongst the many who'll defend and advocate for small businesses, this specific bill will allow carriers under certain conditions to not post their fees, amongst other things that will eliminate pro-transparency motions. This could easily be abused, so I cannot be for it.
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Steven's Opinion
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03/14/2016
Small businesses don't have to play by the rules? Who drafted this nonsense?
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Kambridge's Opinion
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03/17/2016
Transparency is necessary for small business. I see no cause to change the classification of small business from 100,000 to 200,000. Small business must meet FCC regulations. The government should protect their constituents from potential financial abuse from these small business.
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What is House Bill H.R. 4596?

This bill would exempt small broadband internet service providers with fewer than 250,000 subscribers from complying with transparency requirements imposed by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Open Internet Order for five years. Providers would also be exempt if they have fewer than 1,500 employees.

Under current law, providers with fewer than 100,000 subscribers are exempt from the regulations until December 16, 2016 when the FCC will finalize the reporting requirements for those providers. Among the information that is required to be reported is detailed network performance data, and fees to consumers or other services that use the internet.

The Open Internet Order (aka "net neutrality") requires people who are involved in providing broadband internet to disclose publicly disclose information about network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its services to:

  • Help consumers make informed decisions regarding their use;

  • Enable content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain internet offerings.

The FCC would be required to report to relevant congressional committees within 180 days of this bill’s enactment any recommendations and supporting data about whether:

  • The exception should be made permanent;

  • The definition of “small business” should be changed for this purpose.

Impact

Internet service providers with fewer than 250,000 subscribers or 1,500 employees; relevant congressional committees; and the FCC.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4596

$0.00
The CBO estimates that the cost of implementing this legislation would be negligible.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) introduced this bill to ease regulatory requirements on small businesses that offer broadband internet services, and prevent consumers from losing access to broadband because of those regulations:

“Today, we put small businesses and consumers first with bipartisan support for this commonsense proposal. Two goals central to this committee’s mission were reached: relieving regulatory burdens for small businesses and protecting consumers.”

Originally this bill would have applied the exemption to providers with less than 500,000 subscribers, but a compromise between Walden — the Communications and Technology subcommittee chairman — and Rep. David Loebsack (D-IA) lowered the threshold to 250,000. Following the agreement, the entire House Energy and Commerce Committee passed this legislation by voice vote.



Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Sean MacEntee)

AKA

Small Business Broadband Deployment Act

Official Title

To ensure that small business providers of broadband Internet access service can devote resources to broadband deployment rather than compliance with cumbersome regulatory requirements.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  • The house Passed March 16th, 2016
    Roll Call Vote 411 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
    IntroducedFebruary 24th, 2016

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    "We need to strengthen small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy and critical to job creation and sustained economic growth... The Obama administration has taken steps to make credit more available to small businesses looking to grow and expand, cutting taxes, incentivizing investment and hiring and reducing barriers to growth." [whitehouse.gov]
    Like (25)
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    While this sounds nice, and I'll be amongst the many who'll defend and advocate for small businesses, this specific bill will allow carriers under certain conditions to not post their fees, amongst other things that will eliminate pro-transparency motions. This could easily be abused, so I cannot be for it.
    Like (7)
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    Small businesses don't have to play by the rules? Who drafted this nonsense?
    Like (6)
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    Transparency is necessary for small business. I see no cause to change the classification of small business from 100,000 to 200,000. Small business must meet FCC regulations. The government should protect their constituents from potential financial abuse from these small business.
    Like (4)
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    Providing an open and monitored internet is vital to remaining a smart and knowledgable consumer base. Maintaining proper record on small provider practices is vital to this cause.
    Like (3)
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    The internet should be open, free & accessible. The FCC saw that without net neutrality, it would create a system of have's, have some's & have none's so they issued the Open Internet Order. Now, the lobbyists & legislature are attempting to undermine the Open Internet ruling again. This time they introduced, "discussed" & voted on new legislation in 12 hours that reclassifies which businesses have to adhere to the Open Internet standard. It's time we stop letting lobbyists have their way with our laws.
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    Any bill which wrestles control of private businesses away from the federal government will get my endorsement. They don't own the business so they shouldn't dictate how it works either.
    Like (3)
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    Some how these small exceptions become large exceptions. Consumers need to know the speeds of these connections, so they can make an informed choice on which company they subscribe to.
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    Transparency should be adhered to by all providers. Consumer protection.
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    I don't think it is necessary to provide this information to the FCC, but it should be available to consumers if requested.
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    Even "small" ISPs are part of big companies these days. The information to be reported is not onerous to collect in any case. This could be a slippery slope toward allowing big companies to evade scrutiny of their policies.
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    Laws must bind everyone, large or small, or they are not laws at all.
    Like (1)
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    The does not seem to be a compelling reason to grant the exemption to these smaller providers.
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    This another way to cut citizens privacy and security rights to a new low. Shame on you Dems and Republicans for this.
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    This isn't a privacy issue. It's about giving what amounts to small business in the ISP arena the opportunity to build out and grow a business to compete with the likes of Comcast, Time Warner, Optimum, and Verizon, who have a near monopoly nation wide with 10's of millions of subscribers each
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    The FCC, like virtually all government agencies, needs to be scaled way back.
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    250,000 subscribers is HUGE! That is not a small business. Stop the nonsense!
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    No. They are as likely to screw over the consumer as the large providers - some even more so
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    No keep it simple.
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    This is a capitalist country but in order for many to prosper and for many who are just beginning life in a capatilistic, democratic county they need to be on a level playing field, THhat st
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