FCC Grants Reporting Forbearance

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| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

FCC Grants Reporting Forbearance

SERVICE QUALITY, CUSTOMER SATISFACTION, INFRASTRUCTURE AND OPERATING DATA GATHERING. Granted forbearance from legacy reporting and accounting requirements. Seeks comment on industry - wide reporting. (Dkt No. 07-21, 07-139 , 07-204). Action by: the Commission. Adopted: 09/06/2008 by MO&O. (FCC No. 08-203). WCB.

The CommLawBlog writes, "On Saturday, September 6, the FCC released a decision granting forbearance from filing Automatic Reporting Management Information System (ARMIS) Report Nos. 43-05, 43-06, 43-07, and 43-08 to all carriers currently required to file those reports. (Editorial note: Who knew the FCC ever did anything on Saturdays?)  These reports were originally designed to monitor what the FCC calls a "theoretical concern" that price-cap carriers might reduce service quality or network investment to increase short-term profits. The FCC has now concluded that the information is of only limited benefit to consumers, because the reports are filed by only some large wireline carriers and not by smaller wireline carriers or cable or wireless telephone service providers, so the reports paint an incomplete picture of the industry. It rejected complaints by states that they need the reports for state regulatory purposes, finding that it does not have the authority to maintain federal regulatory requirements solely to help state commissions undertake intrastate regulation."

On the one hand, most of the FCC reports are flawed and/or old. On the other hand, the FCC hasn't done much enforcement any way, so why collect all that data.  However, Bruce and TeleTruth have a reply to the FCC:

Harms to Small Competitors: FCC "Consequently, we estimate that the majority of these firms are small entities that may be affected by our action."

"We all know the consequence of bad data - Entering Iraq and the missing weapons-of-mass-destruction debacle should be an indicator just how bad it gets when data is flawed, intentionally misleading or missing. While Congress and others have been holding meetings about the paucity of the FCC's data on broadband, on Monday, September 8th, the FCC decided to erase your ability to know the truth about AT&T, Verizon and Qwest's behavior and acts on multiple topics pertaining to America's telecom and broadband future.  It is a slap to the face of everyone reading this.  Now, even the analysts will not be given enough data to see just how badly we've been hosed.

"The FCC today essentially granted "forbearance" meaning, AT&T, Verizon and Qwest no longer have to collect data on say, quality of service, the build out of the infrastructure, or other important issues.

"In this Order, we grant significant forbearance from carriers' obligation to file Automated Reporting Management Information System (ARMIS) Reports 43-05, 43-06, 43-07, and 43-08 (collectively, the "ARMIS service quality and infrastructure reports").  In particular, with certain limited exceptions, we find that the section 10 criteria are met for the ARMIS service quality and infrastructure reports, subject to certain conditions." - To read the document

"ARMIS reports" are the basic data the phone companies should be supplying to the FCC; now strip-mined to nothing useful.

Dissenting in part, FCC Commissioner Copps wrote: "The collection and analysis of solid communications-related data is a linchpin in the Commission's ability to make sound decisions and provide useful guidance and assistance to consumers, states, industry-participants and other stakeholders. That is why it has been so troubling to see in to many instances the Commission headed down the road of collecting less data."

Commissioner Adelstein wrote: "I have long believed that the Commission has a responsibility to collect accurate and reliable data in order to develop effective policies and fulfill Congress's goals for the evolving telecommunications marketplace.  Just as an airplane pilot would not land a plane with eyes closed and instruments off, the Commission must ensure that its decision-making is guided by sufficient data."

You can read the rest of Bruce's report at NewNetworks (TeleTruth) website.

I'm beginning to believe that maybe the FCC is an expense we can cut from the federal budget along with the FAA. We have to save money some where!

BTW, the FCC has even more chances to move to Deregulation (or what I call UnRegulation). See them here.

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