Wireless Internet Service Providers Praise U.S. House for Voting - Unanimously, Again - to Protect Small Business & Rural Americans
Washington, DC (January 10, 2017) – The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) is applauding the U.S. House of Representatives for unanimously passing The Small Business Broadband Deployment Act (HR 288).
The bipartisan bill provides for a five-year exemption for small ISPs – defined as those with fewer than 250,000 subscribers – from new, burdensome reporting requirements that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) included in its 2015 Open Internet Order.
“This bill is a win-win for rural consumers and small business people,” said Alex Phillips, President of WISPA. “It will protect rural Americans from added costs they can least afford, while allowing small ISPs to invest in better services, equipment, and jobs.”
WISPA singled out House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and committee member Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) for their leadership in advancing the House bill on a unanimous voice vote.
In the Senate, WISPA is watching the development of a similar measure being developed by Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT), raising hopes that a final bill can be sent to the President soon.
Meanwhile, WISPA also is calling on the FCC to permanently extend the exemption, which would provide greater regulatory certainty and incentives for long-term investment by small ISPs. The FCC's public record was overwhelmingly in favor of a permanent extension, and the U.S. Small Business Administration also called for one.
The FCC’s Open Internet Order introduced heightened transparency requirements for all Internet service providers. After recognizing the burden these requirements presented for small businesses, the FCC temporarily exempted ISPs with 100,000 or fewer subscribers from these new regulations. The FCC extended the exemption once, through December 2016, but then let it lapse. Barring policymaker action, the new reporting requirements may go into effect as soon as January 17.
“The record at the FCC proves that small businesses are not the ones who should be burdened with the added regulatory requirements under the Open Internet Order. We remain optimistic the FCC will see the wisdom of this exemption and seek to make it permanent,” added Mark Radabaugh, Chairman of WISPA’s FCC Committee.
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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