NCTA to OMB: Reject FCC's 5G Cybersecurity Reporting Requirement

NCTA: The Internet & Television Association has told the Office of Management and Budget not to approve the FCC's new 5G cybersecurity data collection requirements.

That came in a letter last week to OMB.

As part of the FCC's Spectrum Frontiers Report and Order on freeing up more spectrum bands for 5G wireless and fixed broadband, which was approved last July, the FCC required public disclosures with the FCC on "plans for safeguarding networks and devices from security breaches."

NCTA says the "substantial" new reporting requirement—OMB has to sign off on added paperwork burdens in new federal rules per the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)—is unnecessary, has no "practical utility," and "grossly" underestimates the time and effort in compiling.

NCTA says the requirement will either require "a high enough level of generality to avoid compromising network security by providing details that create vulnerabilities, but therefore offer the FCC information with no practical use," or expose information that could reveal vulnerabilities and actually decrease 5G cybersecurity.

NCTA says that the PRA requires that utility of information must be actual, not theoretical or potential, and the FCC has not demonstrated an "actual, timely use for the information."

For example, it said, "the FCC imposes no such cybersecurity reporting requirements on mobile network operators in other bands" and did not identify in Spectrum Frontiers a special security risk that would justify disparate treatment.

Separately, the FCC this week extended the deadline for filing oppositions to petitions for reconsideration of the Spectrum Frontiers Report and Order from Jan. 17 to Jan. 31 and from Jan. 27 to Feb. 10 for replies to those. NCTA, which filed one of those petitions for reconsideration, had no objection to the extension, according to the FCC.

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.