FCC Digital Discrimination Rules Published in the Federal Register
On January 20, 2024, the FCC Order imposing Digital Discrimination rules was published in the Federal Register. These rules require that broadband providers operating in the United States do not discriminate against existing and potential customers. This Order takes effect on March 22, 2024.
As JSI outlined in their December 2023 webinar and previous e-Lert, the new Digital Discrimination rules impose sweeping obligations on broadband providers, who must now ensure their policies do not result in overt or implicit discrimination in the deployment of broadband services in the United States based on income level, race, ethnicity, color, religion, and national origin.
The FCC’s new rules will no doubt require vigilance — as the FCC has adopted new mechanisms for consumer complaints against broadband providers. Accordingly, broadband providers should prepare to adopt comprehensive compliance and monitoring programs that ensure full adherence to the new digital discrimination prohibition.
Publication of the rules in the Federal Register also initiates the comment period for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking contained in the FCC’s rules, in which the FCC seeks comment on the adoption of mandatory compliance obligations for broadband providers, notably (1) annual reports concerning substantial broadband projects recently completed by providers, and (2) internal compliance programs requiring periodic evaluation of the demographics of communities served—and not served.
Comments are due on or before February 21, 2024, and reply comments are due on or before March 21, 2024.
We encourage clients to reach out to JSI to discuss compliance options and begin the compliance assessment process as soon as possible.
Clients interested in JSI’s compliance solutions or commenting on the NPRM should contact Christopher Canter at Christopher.Canter@jsitel.com.