In an exercise that might become much more frequent in the newly minted deregulatory climate, the American Cable Association sent out a statement praising the House of Representatives for passing a bill that extends exemptions for small cable operators from the FCC’s Open Internet rules.
The bill extends the FCC’s exemption, which expired last month, for another two years. It also expanded the size range of operators covered by the extension from those serving 100,000 broadband subscribers to those serving 250,000 customers.
"ACA, joining other three other trade associations, last week sent a letter to Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) urging passage of exemption legislation ‘to prevent irreversible economic harm to hundreds of small broadband providers,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said in the statement.
“FCC leaders who will form the new majority on Jan. 20 have provided assurances that smaller providers did not have to fear ‘any adverse actions' regarding alleged non-compliance pending the new FCC leaders' own action to waive the compliance obligations for small ISPs. ACA believes that to provide the most certainty in the quickest way possible, the Senate should pass the House bill immediately and transmit it to the White House for signing right after the President-elect has taken office,” Polka added.
Of course, it may all be moot if the incoming far-right FCC regime ditches the Open Internet rules altogether.
Passed in June 2015, the Open Internet Order requires ISPs of a certain size to inform customers about their network management practices and how they impact subscribers’ service.
The House bill to extend the small operator waiver was sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who is the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.