CTIA: FCC transparency guidelines ‘irrational’

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The wireless industry’s chief lobbying group today issued comments on part of the FCC’S Open Internet Order that went into effect last month, saying that provisions requiring better disclosure of network management, performance and pricing figures are unfair and burdensome.

CTIA lawyers wrote in an official submission to the FCC that the increased transparency called for in the order would require vastly more effort and money than the commission estimated, and said that the rules should be delayed and their requirements eased.

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It’s the U.S. wireless industry’s latest salvo against the landmark Open Internet Order issued by the FCC in May, which solidified Net Neutrality principals by stating that ISPs, whether wired or wireless, are subject to limited common carrier regulations, like utility providers. Major telecom companies fought bitterly to stop the FCC from adopting the rules, and litigation over the Open Internet Order is expected to drag on for years.

“The Commission’s Open Internet PRA effort is so flawed and riddled with unsustainable assumptions that the Commission should issue a new notice that provides the ‘specific, objectively supported estimate of burden’ that the PRA requires,” the CTIA said.

The FCC’s estimate of the work and funding required for providers to comply with the new requirements is “absurd,” according to the CTIA, which also went out of its way to describe existing disclosure requirements as “burdensome.” (Currently, ISPs are required to provide “accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance, and commercial terms” to the public, while the new rules are much more specific: statistics like packet loss are required, along with more detailed pricing data and information on what effect traffic management could have on an end-user’s connection.)

Furthermore, the group argued, the disclosures mandated by the FCC won’t materially help consumers.

“In light of mobile broadband providers’ strong disclosure practices, there is no reason to believe that detailed disclosures containing additional complicated technical information about packet loss and corruption, latency, jitter, and upstream and downstream speeds, etc. will result in any material benefit to consumers,” the CTIA’s lawyers wrote.

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