NCTA: FCC Needs To Be Careful About Data For ILEC Inquiry

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association told the Federal Communications Commission June 30 that it has to be very careful about how it collects data for its inquiry into special access services.

That is the access to businesses provided by incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECS) who dominate the existing last mile to the business market.

Since cable operators are often the ones seeking access for competitive high-capacity services that compete with the incumbents, it has "significant interest" in what kind of data the FCC will collect.

NCTA has to balance its interest in reasonable rates for that service, which could be the result of an FCC review, with the degree to which the data collection for that purpose poses a burden on cable operators supplying it and an opportunity for ILECs to use that info to disadvantage competitors and customers.

Public-interest groups have joined with wireless companies, computers companies and others to push the FCC to reform the special-access market.

They have formed NoChokePoints Coalition, which they unveiled last week.

NCTA made its pitch for careful handling in a letter responding to data collection suggestions from both ILECs and some CLECs (competitive local exchange carriers).

"Under either the ILEC proposal or the CLEC proposal, NCTA is concerned that the data produced in response to these questions will not necessarily provide an accurate assessment of potential competition and that the benefit of collecting the data will not justify the significant burden placed on companies that must respond," NCTA said.

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.