H.R. 288: Small Business Broadband Deployment Act
By SBE Council at 10 January, 2017, 12:56 pm
UPDATE: On January 10, 2017 the U.S. House passed H.R. 288 by unanimous consent (no opposition.)
The Honorable Greg Walden
Energy and Commerce Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Dear Chairman Walden:
The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) strongly supports H.R. 288, the “Small Business Broadband Deployment Act.” Small businesses dominate almost every industry in America, and the telecommunications sector is no different. In fact, 83 percent of firms within this sector have fewer than 20 workers. We continually convey this fact to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on regulatory matters.
SBE Council expressed many concerns about the Open Internet order and Title II regulation, and what this could mean for investment in broadband infrastructure and its impact on small businesses and entrepreneurs. We specifically noted how small ISPs would divert capital away from investment and serving customers to regulatory compliance and legal issues, and how this would impact competitiveness.
The FCC’s order contained an important exemption for small businesses regarding transparency requirements. The exemption, however, is temporary. H.R. 288 extends by five years the temporary exemption, which will relieve small businesses from the costly disclosure requirements of its order. SBE Council also supports the study required by the legislation that directs the FCC to review making the exemption permanent, as well as the definition of “small business.” We believe that definition must be more expansive.
H.R. 288 will protect the most vulnerable firms and the consumers who depend upon the internet service provided by these small businesses. Thank you for your leadership on this important issue.
Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO
cc: Members of the U.S. House of Representatives