Tells Communications Panel Small Entities Need Streamlined Process To Request Relief
PITTSBURGH, March 22, 2018 – American Cable Association Chairman Robert Gessner testified before the House Subcommittee On Communications And Technology in support of the Small Entity Regulatory Relief Opportunity Act, or SERRO, a narrowly-tailored, bipartisan bill whose purpose is to streamline the process by which deserving small communications entities request regulatory relief.
“I want to stress that SERRO is focused only on the procedures by which small entities can request regulatory relief. That’s the “O” in SERRO – Opportunity. Nothing in the bill would change the substantive legal standard for obtaining relief,” Gessner said.
SERRO was introduced last September by Rep. Bob Latta (R-Oh.) and Rep. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) in an effort to cut governmental red tape for small businesses overseen by the Federal Communications Commission, including cable operators.
Gessner, President of family-owned MCTV in Massillon, Oh., noted in his testimony that the goal of SERRO is to ensure that the FCC is more attentive to small entities’ well-founded need for exceptions to or relief from one-size-fits-all rules. SERRO accomplishes that objective through three provisions:
First, SERRO directs the FCC to adopt streamlined procedures to reduce the administrative burdens faced by small entities that file waiver petitions and to expedite the resolution of those petitions;
Second, SERRO clarifies that Congress intends for the FCC, as part of its mandated “triennial review” process, to consider the impact of its rules on any and all small entities within its jurisdiction. SERRO further instructs the FCC to modify or repeal the application of particular regulations to small entities where the FCC determines there is good cause to do so; and
Third, SERRO establishes an automatic deferral period of at least one year in the application of most new regulations to small entities, subject to exceptions for rules that address public safety concerns or that reduce waste, fraud and abuse.
Gessner’s MCTV is a small, family-owned broadband and cable company serving 50,000 customers spread over five counties in Ohio. He illustrated the need for SERRO through an example involving his own company, which had converted to an all-digital platform in 2010 and went to considerable expense to petition the FCC for a waiver of certain analog-based technical performance testing requirements.
“It was not until last September – over seven years after we filed our waiver request – that the FCC finally addressed our concerns,” he said. “If SERRO had been in place in 2010, my company would not have been subjected to seven years of regulatory uncertainty waiting for the FCC to act on our waiver petition. In fact, we might not have needed to go to the expense of filing for a waiver in the first place,” he said.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 750 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable, phone and broadband companies who provide broadband services for nearly 8 million subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA’s members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit http://www.americancable.org/