FCC Issues Notice to Clarify Network Neutrality Transparency Requirements

Signal that new rules could be headed for vetting process
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In a signal that the FCC's network neutrality rules might finally be heading to the Office of Management and Budget for vetting, the FCC Thursday released some "clarifications" of how cable operators and other ISPS are expected to comply with the FCC's network neutrality transparency rule, adopted as part of its Dec. 21 order.

That notice was meant to answer questions, and assuage concerns, raised buy commenters in the FCC's vetting of those reporting requirements, which it must complete before sending the rules on to OMB for their review of whether the rules put excessive paper work burdens on industry.

The Enforcement Bureau Thursday released a set of clarifications addressing concerns by ISPs about how they were supposed to comply with the requirements.

The FCC said it was simply providing examples of what would satisfy the requirement that ISPS disclose information about their networks, including performance, how they were being managed for congestion, available capacity as well as pricing, privacy policies and opportunities for redress.

On the performance issue, the FCC clarified that the ISPs participating in its broadband performance measurement project could use that information to satisfy that requirement. Those operators, which the FCC points out represent over 80% of subs, are AT&T, Cablevision, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Frontier, Insight, Mediacom, Qwest, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and Windstream.

Among the other clarifications include that point-of-sale information can be satisfied by a Web site and does not require hard copies and staff training. The FCC also clarified that even though the order says the list of potential disclosure topics is not exhausted, that addressing the topics listed in the order will constitute compliance, while reserving the right to change that--presumably with notice beforehand--sometime in the future.

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