The 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom (RIF) Order returned the Transparency Rule back closer to what was initially adopted in the 2010 Open Internet Order. The overall purpose is to empower consumers to make informed choices regarding internet service and allow better transparency for other entrepreneurs and small businesses. All Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are required to comply.
- Along with the transparency rule, the RIF Order also changed the previous “bright-line rules.” Companies are no longer prohibited from engaging in blocking, throttling, or affiliated/paid prioritization. However, if a provider does engage in any of these practices, it must disclose them accordingly.
- All disclosures must contain the required information listed below and must be made publicly available on an easily accessible website or through the FCC’s database.
Transparency Disclosure Requirements
The Order requires your public disclosure to include the following:
- Network Management Practices: If you partake in any of these practices, list such practices in your disclosure:
- Affiliated Prioritization
- Paid Prioritization
- Congestion Management, including:
- Description of practices used, their frequency, and effect on users’ experience
- Types of traffic subject to practices
- Indications of congestion that trigger a practice, including any usage limits that trigger a practice
- Application-Specific Behavior
- Device Attachment Rules, including any restrictions on types of devices and any approval procedures for devices to connect to the network
- Security, including:
- Practices used to ensure end-user security and network security
- Triggering conditions causing a practice to be invoked
NOTE: Does not need to be specific enough to allow a user to circumvent security.
- Performance Characteristics: All companies should list a service description within their disclosure, and whether, for example, video traffic is given priority or has an impact on end-user capacity. If the company does not offer a Non-BIAS (Broadband Internet Access Service) Data service, then this would not be relevant.
- Service Description, including service technology, expected and actual speed and latency, and suitability of the service for real-time applications
- Impact of Non-BIAS Data Services
- Commercial Terms: All companies must list service prices and speeds associated with those prices as well as any privacy policies. They must also list to whom a customer goes if they have questions or complaints.
- Price, including monthly prices, usage-based fees, and early termination fees
- Privacy Policies, including whether the ISP inspects, stores, or uses network traffic for non-network management purposes
- Redress Options
A couple of other reminders:
- Make sure all website links to your disclosure page, and any you include within the disclosure page (such as links to a different pricing page), are accurate and always kept up to date.
- Don’t forget to update any service agreements or other policy documents to be consistent with these terms.
- To be safe and clear to your consumers, try to have your physical paper agreements/contracts with consumers mention your website or where they can find your disclosure/policy information.