Feb 23, 2017

FCC splits over transparency exemption for small internet providers

Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn at Thursday's meeting (Robin Groulx / Axios)

The agenda at Thursday's FCC meeting was met with largely bipartisan agreement. There was an exception: a measure exempting internet carriers with 250,000 or fewer connections from some transparency requirements in the controversial 2015 net neutrality rules. It was approved with support from the commission's two Republicans.

Points of contention: Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn criticized the break from the FCC's initial exemption for providers with 100,000 or fewer connections, and said that the new exemption would aid large companies that own smaller subsidiaries. "If we were to actually conduct an analysis, we would find the claims of burdensome regulation lacking," she said. Clyburn says she tried to find a compromise on the issue prior to the Thursday vote.

What's next: This fight is only a small skirmish in a much larger war as Republicans try to roll back the 2015 net neutrality rules. The question about whether the transparency requirements are necessary at all, Republican Michael O'Rielly noted, "will have to wait for another day in the near future."

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