“FIXED WIRELESS” BROADBAND PROVIDERS APPRECIATE FCC’S SENSITIVTY TO SMALL BROADBAND PROVIDERS IN NEW CONSUMER PRIVACY RULES
Washington, DC (October 27, 2016) – The Federal Communications Commission’s newly adopted regulation on privacy protections for consumers of broadband services improves on the FCC’s original proposal by addressing many concerns raised by small Internet Service Providers (WISPs) across America, but falls short of providing a level playing field among participants in the broadband ecosystem.
Members of the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) – who are mostly small businesses operating in rural and under-served areas – are strongly committed to protecting their customers’ privacy and security. However, the association was concerned that the FCC’s original approach would have imposed disproportionate compliance burdens on smaller companies that have few employees and limited financial resources. Smaller providers typically do not monetize their customers’ private information, and do not want to pass on additional costs to those consumers who can least afford it.
The rules adopted by the FCC wisely allow smaller providers additional time to implement the new privacy rules, and data-security provisions will take into account the providers’ size and technical limitations.
WISPA remains concerned that certain uses of customer information are subject to opt-in consent, even though the types of information are not sensitive, personally identifiable information. WISPA also questions the wisdom of subjecting broadband providers to more rigid rules on privacy protection than those imposed on edge providers under Federal Trade Commission rules.
“The new rules are not perfect, but they are much improved over the original proposal,” said Alex Phillips, president of WISPA. “We especially appreciate the FCC’s fidelity to the public record, which demonstrated that the costs of saddling small providers with new compliance burdens – on top of costs resulting from other new FCC rules – would have outweighed the benefits.
“We’d also like to thank the other industry associations that worked with us and the FCC to fashion more reasonable rules,” Phillips added.
WISPA is a membership-driven trade association that promotes the development, advancement and unity of the fixed wireless internet service provider industry. For more information, visit www.wispa.org.
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