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Network Neutrality: FCC Tallies Cost to Enforce New Rules

2/14/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Washington — The network-neutrality
rule approval process officially kicked
off last week with publication of a Federal
Communications Commission notice in
the Federal Register of the additional paperwork
burdens — in cost and people-hours
— that will be imposed by the transparency
and enforcement portions of the new rules.

The FCC estimates it will get five “open
Internet disputes” that it “won’t be able to
resolve through other means.”

The Office of Management and Budget
has to make sure those do not unnecessarily
increase the killing of too many trees per
the Paperwork Reduction Act.

The rules aren’t expected to appear in the
Register until May at the earliest, and must
be published (then commented upon) before
they can go into effect. July is now looking
like the earliest possible effective date; August
or even later is more likely.

The FCC approved the rules Dec. 21. The
rules already have been challenged in the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit by
Verizon Communications and MetroPCS as
license modifications, rather than as new
regulations.

FIGURING BUREAUCRACY

Some figures the FCC is using to estimate the new paperwork requirements
(in both numbers and players) for its new network-neutrality rules:

1,519: The number of Internet service providers in the U.S.

10.3: Average number of hours it takes to pull together that disclosure information.

15,646: Total number of hours it will take to get that information together.

5: Number of annual network-neutrality complaints the FCC expects to receive.

10: Number of parties who will have to file paperwork per those complaints.

15: Number of paperwork submissions (complainants have to make two filings).

239: Total hours required to assemble those submissions.

$40,127: Estimated cost of outside goods and services for enforcement.

SOURCE: Federal Communications Commission

September