FCC’s Extensive and Burdensome Special Access Data Collection Order Under OMB Review


On December 9, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) began its review of the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) December 2012 Special Access Data Collection pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.  The Special Access Data Collection will require providers and purchasers of special access services, as well as entities providing “best efforts” services, to submit data for a comprehensive evaluation of the special access market by the FCC.  (See Special Access for Price Cap Local Exchange Carriers, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, WC Docket No. 05-25 (rel. Dec. 18, 2012)).

On September 18, 2013, the FCC adopted a subsequent Report and Order seeking to: (1) clarify the scope of the data collection as to reduce the burden of the data request; (2) provide instructions and record format specifications for submitting such data; and (3) modify and amend questions and definitions related to the collection. Furthermore, the FCC clarified that it would issue a public notice announcing the deadline for data submissions once the OMB completed its review of the data collection.  (See Special Access for Price Cap Local Exchange Carriers, Report and Order, WC Docket No. 05-25 (rel. Sept. 18, 2013)).

It is important for our clients to be aware that once approval for the collection process is obtained from the OMB, the FCC will announce data submission deadlines for the new data collection.   Understand that this new data collection will create significant reporting requirements for affected clients.  This includes clients considered providers and purchasers of special access services subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction under the Communications Act, as well as entities providing Best Efforts Business Broadband Internet Access Services, unless they have fewer than 15,000 customers and fewer than 1,500 business broadband customers.

Furthermore, entities that fail to comply with the new data reporting requirements may be subject to monetary forfeitures of up to $150,000 for each violation or each day of a continuing violation, up to a maximum of $1,500,000 for any single act or failure to act that is a continuing violation.

Our firm will continue to monitor the OMB’s review of the proposed data collection, as well as the effective dates of the collection. If you have any questions, please contact Jonathan S. Marashlian at jsm@commlawgroup.com or by phone at 703-714-1313.

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