ACA to FCC: No Enhanced Transparency Rules

Seeks Exemption for Small, Medium Operators

The American Cable Association has told the Federal Communications Commission it should not adopt enhanced transparency rules in the new Open Internet order commission chairman Tom Wheeler plans to vote on in February. But if the agency proceeds, it should exempt the medium-sized and smaller cable operators ACA represents, and should apply the rules to edge providers.

Transparency rules are the only ones a federal court didn't tell the FCC it had to change when it threw out the old rules last year, but some have pushed the commission to boost the requirements to better guard against violations and help edge providers develop applications.

The ACA said no one has demonstrated that the current rules don't provide sufficient information to determine whether an ISP is discriminating.

Nonetheless, if the FCC imposes enhanced transparency rules, it must exclude smaller operators for whom they would cause "excessive and costly burdens"; instead, the ACA said, the FCC should rely on its current investigation, complaint and enforcement procedures.

The ACA also argued that while enhanced disclosure should not apply to its members, it should extend to all entities, including edge providers, who can also cause congestion for consumers. The vote is set for Feb. 26.

One complaint from major ISPs is that Netflix has created traffic congestion to make a political point about the need to apply net-neutrality rules to middle-mile connections as well as last-mile access. Netflix has disputed that claim.