WCB Launches Web Portal for Special Access Data Collection


On October 1, 2014, the FCC released a Public Notice regarding the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau’s (WCB) activation of a secure web portal interface for the electronic filing of information and certification in response to the special access data collection.  Responses via the web portal are due by December 15, 2014.As we noted in our prior advisory on August 19, 2014, the OMB approved the Special Access Data Collection Order after a round of review and recommendations.   The purpose of the data collection is to examine whether the FCC’s current special access regulations for the “price cap” incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECS) should be updated to ensure that regulations reflect the market competition.  The FCC will collect 2013 data from regulated carriers, from which the FCC will determine whether it should revise its rules to provide relief from regulations in areas where a competitive special access market exists.

The data collection requires providers and purchasers of $5 million or greater in special access services (in areas where the ILEC is subject to price cap regulation), as well as entities providing “best efforts” services to submit data for this comprehensive evaluation of the special access market by the FCC.  Special access lines are dedicated high-capacity connections used by businesses and institutions to transmit voice and data traffic.  For example, wireless providers use special access lines to transmit voice and data from cell towers to wired telephone and broadband networks.  Additionally, government branches and local schools, libraries and hospital use special access for the first leg of communications with the home office.

OMB has placed an exemption for purchasers of less than $5 million of dedicated services in 2013 in price cap ILEC territories.  Examples of dedicated services include DS1/DS3/OCn; Multi-Protocol Label Switched (MPLS) services; permanent virtual circuits, virtual private lines and similar services; ATM and Frame Relay service; Ethernet Services and Metro Ethernet Virtual Connections; and Virtual Private Networks (VPN).  As noted above, the Data Collection is mandatory and requires responses from both providers and purchasers of dedicated services that hold licenses, authorizations or registrations under the FCC’s rules.  Interconnected and non-interconnected VoIP providers are included in the FCC’s list of purchasers required to respond to the data collection.

The special access data collection web portal is available at: httpss://specialaccessfiling.fcc.gov/spadc.login.  By using your FCC Registration Number and password, users will enter the web portal to complete responses to the collection.  Filers will either submit a “Streamlined Process” or “Full Website” version of the data collection.

The “Streamlined Process” is for filers that were required to file the FCC Form 477 to report broadband connections to end-user locations for 2013[1], but who are not otherwise required to provide data.  These filers can simply file a certification stating as much.  The “Full Website” option covers entities that are required to provide data and information in response to the data collection questions.  Not all pages in this version, Version 1.0, are fully functional on the web portal yet.  In the next version of the web portal, Version 2.0, testing will have been completed and all pages will be fully functional.

Additional information on the data collection can be found at https://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/special-access-data-collection-overview-0.  If you have questions regarding the Special Access Data Collection please contact Jonathan Marashlian at jsm@commlawgroup.com.

[1] The collection covers 2013 data only.  The original collection sough two years of data, but the WCB revised the data collection based on OMB concerns.

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