Committee approves Walden bill to exempt small businesses from FCC open Internet order

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bipartisan bill on Thursday authored by U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) to shield small businesses from FCC transparency requirements.

The Small Business Broadband Deployment Act, H.R. 4596, would protect small businesses from enhanced transparency requirements outlined in the FCC’s open Internet order.

“Today, we put small businesses and consumers first with bipartisan support for this commonsense proposal,” Walden, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, said. “Two goals central to this committee’s mission were reached: relieving regulatory burdens for small businesses and protecting consumers.”

The committee also approved a bipartisan amendment to the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act that was co-authored by Walden and U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA).

Under the amendment, the small business exemption would sunset in five years. The FCC would be required to report to Congress on whether the small exemption should be made permanent, and whether the bill’s definition of “small business” should be modified, within 180 days.

“This bipartisan bill protects small businesses from the burdensome enhanced transparency requirements that were part of the FCC’s open Internet order,” U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said. “These companies will be able to use their resources to provide service to consumers instead of dealing with Washington red tape.”

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