NCTA To OMB: Special Access Order Is Undue Burden

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association continues to push back the FCC's decision to collect what NCTA says is a massive amount of info on special access services, arguing the FCC has majorly lowballed the amount of work and money it will take by thousands of hours and millions of dollars.

Last month, NCTA also asked the full commission to review the Wireline Bureau's data-collection order, making the same arguments.

That came in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, which must sign off on the paperwork portion of the FCC order before it becomes official per the Paperwork Reduction Act. If OMB decides that the information collection requirement is unduly burdensome, it will not approve it, which means that stakeholders are not required to comply with the order.

The NCTA counted the ways in which the new reporting requirement was undue work for almost no gain, including that the data is to "voluminous and too granular" for it to be much use to the commission. NCTA is also concerned about the security of the data, which includes every customer that purchases special access services—primarily businesses.

NCTA also says that the effort would drain cable resources from more important work. "The net effect of the collection is that thousands of companies will be compelled to devote substantial resources to gathering data for the federal government rather than using those resources to serve their customers and achieve other important objectives identified by the FCC, such as expanding broadband options for schools and low-income communities."

While the cable trade group offered alternatives, it said, the FCC "inappropriately rejected concrete alternative suggestions that would have provided useful data in a far less burdensome manner."

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.