Transparency Requirements in the Restoring Internet Freedom Order Become Effective June 11, 2018

ISPs Must Disclose Information About Service

On June 11, 2018, the Restoring Internet Freedom Order (“Order”)[1] becomes effective. This Order reinstates the information service classification for broadband Internet access service and the private mobile service classification for mobile broadband Internet access service.[2] The Order also reinstates the transparency rule adopted in the 2010 Open Internet Order, with minor adjustments. Small providers are no longer exempt from the transparency requirements.[3] Under the revised transparency rule, 47 CFR § 8.1(a),[4] Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) must publicly disclose information about their service by June 11, 2018, in one of two ways:  (1) prominent disclosure on a publicly available, easily accessible website,[5] or (2) submission to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) for posting.

Your website may already contain the required disclosures, but please let us know if you would like us to review your ISP service disclosures for accuracy and completeness. If your website does not already disclose information about your ISP service, we can assist with preparing a disclosure for FCC submission. ISPs that do not submit a disclosure to the FCC will be deemed to be providing the disclosure on a publicly available, easily accessible website. The substance of the ISP disclosure must include the following information:

  • Network Management Practices. ISPs must disclose their congestion management practices; application-specific behavior; device attachment rules; security practices; and any blocking, throttling, affiliated prioritization, or paid prioritization in which they engage. (The Commission has eliminated the prohibition on paid prioritization and the ban on blocking and throttling.)
  • Performance Characteristics. ISPs must disclose a general service description, including the service technology, expected and actual speed and latency, the suitability of the service for real-time applications, and a description of the impact of any specialized services (non-broadband Internet access service data services) on performance.
  • Commercial Terms. ISPs must disclose monthly prices, usage and early termination fees, their privacy policies, and redress options.

 

Please contact Clare Liedquist,  cliedquist@hermanwhiteaker.com, (202) 600-7271, Greg Whiteaker, greg@hermanwhiteaker.com, (202) 600-7274, or Robin Tuttle, rtuttle@hermanwhiteaker.com, (202) 827-0667, if you have any questions or would like assistance with your company’s ISP disclosure.

[1] In re Restoring Internet Freedom, Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order, WC Docket No. 17-108 (rel. Jan. 4, 2018) (“Restoring Internet Freedom Order“).
[2] The Order removes the Title II regulations that had been imposed on Internet Service Providers under the 2015 Title II Order. See In re Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet, Report and Order on Remand, Declaratory Ruling, and Order, WC Docket No. 14-28 (rel. Mar. 12, 2015) (“2015 Title II Order“).
[3] The revised transparency requirements no longer require reporting about packet loss, geographically specific disclosures, and performance at peak usage times that had been required under the 2015 Title II Order.
[4] Rule section 8.1(a) states that “[a]ny person providing broadband internet access service shall publicly disclose accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of its broadband internet access services sufficient to enable consumers to make informed choices regarding the purchase and use of such services and entrepreneurs and other small businesses to develop, market, and maintain internet offerings. Such disclosure shall be made via a publicly available, easily accessible website or through transmittal to the Commission.” 47 C.F.R. § 8.1(a).
[5] The FCC has provided guidance on how to make websites more accessible to people with disabilities. See https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/help/accessibility.