Last week, the final rules for the FCC's Report and Order on broadband customer privacy were published in the
. The rules were adopted on October 27, 2016, establishing a new framework of privacy and data security requirements for telecommunications carriers.
With these rules, the Commission has signaled its intention to "apply the privacy requirements of the Communications Act . . . to the most significant communications technology of today-broadband Internet access service (BIAS)" in order to protect the privacy of customers of broadband and other telecommunications services. The order, which replaces the existing CPNI requirements for telecommunications carriers with a harmonized set of rules for BIAS and other telecommunications services (including voice services), has been called "arguably the most consequential and comprehensive FCC privacy rulemaking since the 1996 Telecommunications Act" and will require providers to review their existing privacy policies and practices and adjust them accordingly to meet any new requirements.
It is important to note, however, that although the Commission approved these rules on a 3-2 vote, the upcoming administration change has led to speculation that these broadband privacy rules could immediately face re-adjustment or reconsideration under new FCC leadership.