State regulators have asked the Federal Communications Commission to clarify that nothing the agency has done limits states' authority to collect broadband data from infrastructure providers like cable networks.
In a request for a clarification, declatory ruling (it's preferred outcome) or new rule, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners said that some states' efforts to collect data on areas served, unserved, or underserved by broadband "have been frustrated by reliance on voluntary responses."
It pointed to various cases involving cable modem or DSL services in which the FCC concluded that combined data and Internet services "should exist in a minimally regulated environment."
"Congress has been crystal clear both that it wants to promote the deployment and adoption of advanced services, and that it wants states to play a key role in those efforts," said NARUC in the filing.
It says that the government, in the broadband portion of the stimulus package and elsewhere, has made it clear that states will play a crucial role in rolling out broadband. NARUC says they can't do that without access to information.
"There is no question that Congress wants states to have this data. A declaratory ruling -- specifying only that no FCC order or regulation currently limits state authority to collect any data from any broadband infrastructure or service provider -- will clear up any remaining ambiguity over the scope of existing state authority and facilitate state mapping, and other deployment initiatives."