FCC Pressed to Re-Vet Business Data Study

Add CenturyLink, AT&T, Frontier Communications, FairPoint, Consolidated Communications and Cincinnati Bell to the list of those who want the FCC to revisit its business data services (BDS) decision.

Actually CenturyLink et al. were already on the list. They have just redoubled their efforts as the July 26 deadline approaches for final comments on the BDS decision, which was billed as a tech-neutral approach to regulating business broadband (formerly "special access").

That came in a second request from the incumbent telcos for the FCC to strike a report on the business data services market (the so-called Rysman Report) and conduct new peer reviews of the revised version of the report.

The FCC collected data from stakeholders on the BDS marketplace for several years before releasing the first report which it used to buttress its case for BDS reforms. It only recently put out the peer reviews. But cable operators had to submit some new data and the report was tweaked and re-released along with the new data. That came on the same day initial comments were due on the BDS proposal based in part on the report.

CenturyLink and the others say that should warrant new peer reviews of the report, which should then be put out for comment.

"These steps are not discretionary," they told the FCC, "but rather mandated by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the DQA, and basic notions of procedural due process. Failure to take them would preclude reliance on either the original Rysman paper or the revised analysis in any final Commission order...As it now stands, the current version of that report has not been subject to such review, and parties have been unable to comment on any such reviews. If the commission does not take such steps, it cannot rely on the Rysman Report or the Revised Rysman Report in any final decision."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.