By Lydia Beyoud
The FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau issued a subpoena Jan. 20 ordering special access service providers to furnish customer data as part of the agency's review of the special access industry, with additional time given to smaller providers.
The Federal Communications Commission subpoenaed the information to lay to rest any uncertainty as to special access providers' obligations to respond to the information request, the agency said in a public notice dated Jan. 16 but issued Jan. 20 with the subpoena.
The data collection request is part of an FCC investigation (WC Docket No. 05-25) into whether the rates for special access service by incumbent local exchange carriers in price cap areas are just and reasonable under the Communications Act of 1934. The agency found in 2012 that the pricing flexibility rules it adopted in 1999 for special access service weren't working as intended, and suspended the rules pending the current data collection and any subsequent action, the FCC noted.
Special access services include communications services for businesses, such as from ATMs or credit cards to banks; and internal communications for schools, libraries and governmental organizations, among other uses.
Some special access providers have complained that AT&T Inc. negotiates with them on an unjust and unreasonable basis. The company has rebutted those claims and stated that the tariff probe is unlawful.
“The data sought are necessary for an analysis of the special access market to better target regulatory relief where warranted, promote competition, and increase consumer welfare through competitive rates and increased services offerings,” the FCC said.
The subpoena addresses privacy concerns raised by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the USTelecom Association regarding the applicability of federal privacy statutes when responding to a data collection with customer information, the FCC said.
“The Bureau appreciates the privacy interests of consumers in their information and will protect reported information from unauthorized disclosure in accordance with the protective order previously issued for this collection,” it said.
The FCC said it would help protect customer information by masking customer names reported in billing data with identification codes, host the data in a secure location subject to certain restrictions and only allow authorized individuals to access the information, among other protections.
Businesses with more than 1,500 employees must provide the information by Jan. 29. Providers with fewer than 1,500 employees must respond by Feb. 27, the FCC said.
FairPoint Communications, Inc., a mid-size special access service provider headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., asked the FCC for a 90-day filing extension, according to a Jan. 20 FCC filing.
A union walk-out and “a confluence of severe weather events” at the end of 2014 “have made it impossible for the petitioning companies to fully comply with the Special Access Data Collection deadline” on Jan. 29, it said. Six of the company's subsidiaries should be able to meet the deadline, but four price cap companies seek until April 29 to furnish their data.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lydia Beyoud in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Heather Rothman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Text of the public notice is at http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db0116/DA-15-66A1.pdf.
Text of the FairPoint filing is at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=60001012975.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)