The FCC Will Ask for Input on Rules to Prevent and Eliminate Digital Discrimination
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to develop rules to address digital discrimination. But before they do, the FCC will ask the public to weigh in on their ideas for what the rules should be.
If it seems like you’ve seen this movie before, you have–kind of. In May, NDIA submitted comments to the FCC’s Notice of Inquiry (NOI). An NOI happens in the early stages before a federal agency drafts rules, when they focus on asking questions about an issue. The FCC then takes those responses into consideration to develop a draft of the proposed rules (this is the stage we’re in now). This week, the FCC will officially vote to make that draft official, and open the window for people to give them feedback on it through an NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking). The NPRM tells us what the FCC thinks the rules should be, and then asks the public what they think about them. Once the NPRM is officially posted (we don’t know when, but probably January), the clock will start on the time period people will have to give feedback. We expect to have 30 days to respond with our perspective on the rules they propose.
The most important question for the FCC to answer is how to define ‘digital discrimination’. NDIA’s position is that the FCC should adopt an approach that focuses on the impact, not intent, of Internet service providers’ policies and practices.
From what we can see in the Draft NPRM, the FCC still has a lot of questions on how they should develop the rules about digital discrimination–that’s a good thing. We still have time to tell the FCC more about what we want to see in the final rules. Although the Draft NPRM could change a little before it’s officially released to the public, it will likely look very similar to what you see right now.
We’ll share the final NPRM with the community and let you know what we learn about how long the comment period is (amount of time everyone has for giving feedback). NDIA will give feedback on the proposed rules, and we’ll let you know when we do. Stay tuned!