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NCTA to FCC: Keep Interconnection Out of Disclosures

Cable operators have told the FCC to reject a request by network services provider Level 3 that the commission make information about congestion at interconnection points a requirement of its enhanced disclosure provisions of new Open Internet rules.

In a filing last week with the FCC, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association ticked off the reasons it was ticked off by the proposal, which it characterized as erroneous and unwarranted.

As part of the FCC's new rules, it is requiring ISPs to supply more information on their management of networks to consumers. The commission has yet to establish just what that will be, but its Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) did not recommend interconnection info be in the reporting form.

Level 3's request that the form include information on retail service across interconnection points (broadband is a network of networks connected by free and paid peering agreements) is based on the argument that ISPs are the sole responsible party when it is an "indisputable fact that the conduct of both parties affects the performance experienced by the customer."

The FCC has brought interconnection agreements for the first time under its Title II reclassification, under the argument that it is part of the virtuous circle ISPs could threaten. But it did not set bright-line rules, instead saying it would treat interconnection issues on a case-by-case basis.

NCTA said that the FCC's decision not to put prescriptive regs on interconnection and traffic exchanges or congestion "attributable to those arrangements" was a rejection of the argument Level 3 is making.

In any event, NCTA said, the Level 3 request has to be rejected as an untimely and unwarranted petition for reconsideration.

Level 3 told the FCC that given that its new rules require ISPs "make useful, relevant disclosures of service performance," that that must include "data reflecting performance across the interconnections that link the provider’s network to other networks [like Level 3]."

NCTA says the FCC should reject that request and adopt the form recommended by the CAC.

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.