Cable Operators Pan FCC Data Drops


WASHINGTON — Cable operators are concerned about the security of their data, but it isn’t hackers or organized criminals or foreign elements that are raising alarm bells — it’s the Federal Communications Commission.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association last week petitioned the full commission to reconsider the Wireline Bureau’s special access data-collection order. It had told the FCC that the bureau was wrong in not amending that order and that it wants it to reduce the paperwork burden and insure the security of sensitive information submitted.


The bureau last week submitted the order to the Office of Management & Budget, which will review the rules to ensure they do not represent a new, undue paperwork burden on industry.

The NCTA will have another opportunity to label the rules such a burden, because the order can’t go into effect nor can the data collection begin until the OMB signs off. Comments are due next month.

The FCC put out a rule that everybody hates, that requires a lot of reporting and isn’t really solving the problem, one cable attorney said, asking not to be named. He said the industry will continue to fight it.

“In 2012, the commission both suspended its old pricing flexibility triggers and authorized a highly detailed, extremely onerous data collection that it views as a prerequisite to adopting new triggers,” the NCTA said last week in seeking full-commission review. “However well-intentioned, this combination of decisions has left the commission completely adrift, with no meaningful ability to regulate or deregulate .”

In a 3-2 party line vote in August 2012, the FCC suspended its benchmarks for deregulating the rates of special-access services while it better determines where there is competition for that service.

In December 2012, the commission launched the new data-collection effort.


Under FCC rules, telcos are required to lease special- access lines to such competitors as cable operators. But the FCC deregulated AT&T and others’ special access lines in 2009 in cases where competitive triggers are met.

Those lines are the “last mile” dedicated broadband lines to businesses, dominated by incumbent local-exchange carriers such as AT&T.

The commission more than a dozen years ago removed “dominant pricing” regulations, while continuing to regulate interconnection and reasonable pricing per its Title II common carrier regulation of independent local-exchange carriers (ILECs).

Ever since, public-interest groups have pressured the FCC to re-regulate special access.