As anticipated, on December 14, the FCC voted 3-2 along party lines to adopt an Order repealing the 2015 Net Neutrality Order. Among other things, the Order:
- Reclassifies broadband Internet access service as an information service (removing it from Title II regulation);
- Reinstates the private mobile service classification of mobile broadband Internet access service;
- Eliminates the Bright Line Rules (no blocking/throttling/paid prioritization) and the Internet Conduct Standard (a general code of conduct for ISPs);
- Adopts transparency requirements that ISPs disclose information about their practices to consumers;
- Looks to the Federal Trade Commission’s to protect consumers online from any unfair, deceptive, and anticompetitive practices.
TMA’s Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC) filed reply comments in the FCC’s proceeding stating that its members compete directly with certain large broadband internet access service (BIAS) providers in the provision of security monitoring, installation, and other service while at the same time being dependent upon the BIAS carriers’ transmission services. Although AICC urged the Commission to maintain its Bright Line Rules, which prohibit BIAS providers from blocking or throttling traffic and also prohibit paid prioritization for broadband Internet access service, the FCC eliminated them.
AICC also argued that the FCC should maintain Section 275 of the Act, which was adopted as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 as a compromise between the alarm industry and the Bell Operating Companies (BOCs) to protect the alarm industry from discrimination by the former BOCs. Section 275 provided four main protections for the alarm industry:
- It prohibited the BOCs from entering the alarm industry market for five years (which provision has since expired)
- It requires any incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) that is engaged in the provision of alarm monitoring services to provide non-affiliated entities the same network services it provides to its own alarm monitoring operations on nondiscriminatory terms and conditions
- It prohibits an ILEC from subsidizing its alarm monitoring services from telephone exchange service operations
- It required the Commission to establish expedited procedures for the receipt and review of complaints regarding Section 275.
The Order did not address Section 275, despite the pleas of AT&T and others to eliminate it, and its protections remain in place.
AICC will continue to follow and report on Net Neutrality developments and how they may affect alarm industry businesses.