The Federal Communications Commission is under new leadership, and the changes are already coming. One of the first moves of the new administration has exempted small internet services providers from rules requiring disclosure of charges on customer bills. The order grants companies with 250,000 or fewer subscribers an out from the transparency requirements passed in February 2015 as part of the commission's net neutrality rules that mandated home and wireless internet providers disclose more information about the plans they offer. Companies are required to provide the full monthly service charge including any disclosures for promotional prices and limited-time offers; one-time and recurring fees, surcharges, any other fees that may apply; and any data caps, along with any consequences for exceeding those caps. The original ruling offered a temporary exemption to carriers and service providers with 100,000 or fewer subscribers, but set the exception to expire in December 2016.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has voted to roll back some net neutrality regulations that require broadband providers to inform customers about their network management practices. The Republican-controlled FCC on Thursday suspended the net neutrality transparency requirements for broadband providers with fewer than 250,000 subscribers. Critics called the decision anticonsumer. The transparency rule, waived for five years in a 2-1 party-line vote Thursday, requires broadband providers to explain to customers their pricing models and fees as well as their network management practices and the impact on broadband service. The commission had previously exempted ISPs with fewer than 100,000 subscribers, but Thursday's decision expands the number of ISPs not required to inform customers.
The Federal Communications Commission today voted to remove reporting requirements for internet providers with fewer than 250,000 subscribers, a move that chips away at the foundation of net neutrality. Today's vote means these smaller carriers no longer have to publicly share information about data caps, fees, and network performance and management practices for at least five years. The Commission just acted to relieve thousands of small broadband providers from onerous reporting obligations. The FCC, which recently became a Republican-controlled regulatory body, called the accounting and reporting requirements "unnecessary burdens" on carriers. The commission had previously exempted carriers with fewer than 100,000 subscribers from these reporting requirements, but today's vote expands the waiver.
The Federal Communications Commission announced Wednesday that it blocked a privacy rule adopted by the commission last year that would have required internet service providers to get permission before collecting sensitive information from customers. The vote to block the implementation of Broadband Consumer Privacy Rules, which were set to go into effect on March 2, was approved by a 2-1 vote on party lines. FCC chairman Ajit Pai and fellow Republican commissioner Michael O'Reilly voted to stay the rules, while Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn was the lone dissenting vote. The rules, which passed last October under the Obama administration, required ISPs to ask permission from its customers before it began collecting sensitive information from them. Sensitive information was defined in the rules as any information regarding a user's finances, health, information from children, precise geolocation data, web browsing history and app usage history.