Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

U.S. House unanimously passes Greg Walden’s bill to lift burdens on small Internet service providers, improve service for consumers

March 16, 2016
Press Release

 

U.S. House unanimously passes Greg Walden’s bill to lift burdens on small Internet service providers, improve service for consumers

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House has unanimously passed a bipartisan bill authored by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) to protect consumers and small businesses by relieving small Internet service providers (ISPs) of overly-burdensome reporting requirements. The Small Business Broadband Deployment Act (H.R. 4596) was introduced in reaction to new rules that many small ISPs in Oregon and nationwide said would force them to spend resources on hiring compliance attorneys rather than improving service for consumers.

“One of my top priorities has been extending reliable Internet service to rural areas in Oregon. This bill helps do that. New rules from the Federal Communications Commission would have forced many small Internet service providers to spend time and resources on complying with overly burdensome red tape instead of extending service for consumers. By exempting small providers from these unnecessary rules, this bill allows them to focus on their core mission: providing broadband Internet access to customers in Oregon and across the country, especially in rural and hard to serve areas,” Walden said. “Today’s unanimous vote sends a strong signal that the House supports consumers and small businesses. I am pleased that the White House has said that the President would sign this bill, and I urge the Senate to quickly pass it.”

Small service providers in Oregon praised the bill. “The passage of the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act (H. R. 4596) will mean that our companies can continue to focus on spending our time and resources deploying broadband service to our customers in rural Oregon rather than spending those resources complying with overly burdensome red tape from Washington D.C. We commend Congressman Walden for sponsoring and passing this bill through the House,” said Mike Lattin, President of Eagle Telephone System in Richland and Dan Bubb, President of Gorge Networks in Hood River.

“Our company is a small, local, non-subsidized team of people that works to deliver high speed Internet in our rural communities.  We deliver faster broadband service, better local customer service and do this at a price that is a fair value for our customers. We do not have dedicated staff for legal, regulatory compliance, mapping and reporting. When we actually learn of government reporting or other filing requirements it takes a lot of time to figure out the instructions, develop systems to gather the data (which we usually do not have in the form required), hope the data is what the government agency really wants and actually file the submission,” said Jeff Crews, Chief Technology Officer of Eastern Oregon Net in La Grande