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Posted by Amy Gross on 10/21/14 9:46 AM

special access data collection

The Federal Communications Commission recently released an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about its Special Access Data Collection. Prepared by the staff at the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau, the documents provides answers to non-technical FAQs about the data collection. Below are excerpts from the FAQ that we thought we be of interest to our clients.

 

What is special access?

Special access services, or Dedicated Services, transport voice and data over a dedicated transmission line between two or more designated points at a rate of at least 1.5 megabytes per second (Mbps) upstream and downstream. Special access service encompasses Circuit-Based Dedicated Services (CBDS) such as DS1s and DS3s and Packet-Based Dedicated Services (PBDS) such as Ethernet. For example, wireless providers use high capacity special access lines to send voice and data from cell towers to their mobile switching center where the call is then switched to the sender’s intended recipient. Individual consumers, small businesses, government offices, hospitals, medical offices, schools, libraries, ATMs and credit card readers use special access to either connect to a dedicated network or to an Internet service provider for the completion of the transmission via the Internet.

 

What is the Commission going to do with the data collected?

The Commission is collecting the data for a comprehensive market analysis that will look at the number special access providers, facilities, service offerings, revenues, and expenditures nationwide in all price cap areas. The Commission’s review is not limited to the legacy TDM-based services such as DS1s and DS3s provided by larger traditional phone companies (ILECs) but also includes the packet-based service offerings of both phone companies and their competitors such as Ethernet. For more information about the proposed analysis, see the Commission’s December 2012 Data Collection Order.

 

Who must respond to the collection?

Providers and Purchasers of Dedicated Services and certain entities providing Best Efforts Business Broadband Internet Access Service in study areas where the Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) is subject to price cap regulation must respond to the collection unless specifically excluded. The collection captures data from ILECs, competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), interexchange carriers (IXCs), cable system operators, wireless providers, or any other entity subject to the FCC’s jurisdiction that is not otherwise exempted that either provides a dedicated service or a connection over which a Dedicated Service could be provided as well as End User, i.e. business, institutional or government entities, that purchase Dedicated Services including wireless service providers. For more information, see Section II – Who is Required to Respond to Data the Collection?

 

May a single Certification Statement cover multiple entities?

Yes.

 

Is there a de minimis or small business exemption from responding?

Purchasers that purchased less than $5 million in Dedicated Services in 2013 in areas where the ILEC is subject to price cap regulation in 2013 are excluded from the questions directed at Purchasers. However, you may be required to provide data in response to questions if you are a Provider or entity providing Best Efforts Business Broadband Internet Access Service to 15,000 or more customers or 1,500 or more business broadband customers in price cap areas. Even if you do not fall in any of these categories, you may have an obligation to simply file a certification with the FCC saying as much if you were required to file the FCC Form 477 to report broadband connections to end user locations for 2013. For additional information, see the Bureau's September 2013 Data Collection Implementation Order and the data collection Instructions – Pages 1-4. Additionally, the FCC has prepared a decisional tree diagram to help you determine whether you are required to respond to the collection which is available by clicking here.

 

Who is required to respond to the collection when a change of control occurs after the 2013 reporting period?

In a situation where a system used to provide service in 2013 is later sold in an assignment of assets in 2014, then the successor-in-interest at the time of the December 15, 2014 filing deadline is required to comply. Of course, the parties could contract to have the seller prepare the filing but the reporting entity is the successor-in-interest. In a transfer of control scenario, the entity that owns the system still exists and would still have to comply even if control of that entity was transferred in 2014.

 

Who is required to respond to the collection when a change of control occurs after the 2013 reporting period?

In a situation where a system used to provide service in 2013 is later sold in an assignment of assets in 2014, then the successor-in-interest at the time of the December 15, 2014 filing deadline is required to comply. Of course, the parties could contract to have the seller prepare the filing but the reporting entity is the successor-in-interest. In a transfer of control scenario, the entity that owns the system still exists and would still have to comply even if control of that entity was transferred in 2014.

 

What are the penalties for not filing in response to this data collection?

Failure to comply with these data reporting requirements may subject parties to monetary forfeitures of up to $160,000 for each violation or each day of a continuing violation, up to a maximum of $1,575,000 for any single act or failure to act that is a continuing violation.

 

I am a business, school, or local government entity that provides an information service. Am I required to respond?

End Users (businesses, schools, local government entities) that provide an information service (such as Internet access service) are excluded from the questions directed at Purchasers. However, you may be required to provide data in response to questions if you are a Provider or entity providing Best Efforts Business Broadband Internet Access Service to 15,000 or more customers or 1,500 or more business broadband customers in price cap areas. Even if you do not fall in any of these categories, you may have an obligation to simply file a certification with the FCC saying as much if you were required to file the FCC Form 477 to report broadband connections to end user locations for 2013. For additional information, see the Bureau's September 2013 Data Collection Implementation Order and the data collection Instructions – Pages 3-4. Additionally, the FCC has prepared a decisional tree diagram to help you determine whether you are required to respond to the collection which is available by clicking here.

 The FCC

Am I required to if I filed FCC Form 477 for 2013 but I am not a Provider, Purchaser, or Best Efforts Business Broadband Internet Access Services provider in a price cap area?

If you were required to report broadband connections to end user locations on the FCC Form 477 (“Local Telephone Competition and Broadband Reporting”) for 2013 you are required to respond to the collection only to certify that you are not a Provider, Purchaser, or Best Efforts Business Broadband Internet Access Services provider in a price cap area. Additionally, the FCC has prepared a decisional tree diagram to help you determine whether you are required to respond to the collection which is available by clicking here.

 

Does the definition of Connection include a dedicated communications path between two End Users?

Yes.

 

Are expenditures on Dedicated Service reported to include just the monthly recurring charges (MRCs) or the MRCs and the non-recurring charges (NRCs) associated with the service, e.g., ETFs, construction charges, etc.? (Question II.F.2)

Filers should report both the MRCs and NRCs associated with the Dedicated Service as expenditures on Dedicated Service.

 

Will other filers be able to view the information I submit?

Information and data submitted in response to the data collection are subject to protections afforded in the Data Collection Protective Order. Only those authorized persons who are Outside Counsel or Outside Consultants and not involved in Competitive Decision-Making and have executed an Acknowledgement of Confidentiality, as those terms are defined in the Protective Order, will be able to access Confidential and Highly Confidential Information and Data submitted in response to the collection. For more information, see the Data Collection Protective Order.

 

Will other parties be able to view my submissions through the special access web portal?

No. Only the filer will be able to view their essay uploads and database container uploads submitted in response to the collection through the web portal.

 

How will the FCC protect customer names and Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI)?

The FCC will mask the names of customers, i.e. Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI), reported by Providers in their reported billing data with some other unique identifier which will protect the customer’s privacy interest while not adversely affecting analysis results. For more information, see the Data Collection Protective Order.

 

Can I print my complete submission package?

No.

 

Can I print the certification page as proof of filing?

Yes.

 

Note: These FAQs are not a substitute for carefully reviewing the data collection Questions and Instructions.

 

Download a Sample TMI Briefing

 

Download a Sample CLEC Switched Access Rate Cap Summary

 

Download Sample Telecom Regulatory Fees & Assessments Report

 

Topics: FCC, special access, CPNI, featured post, ILEC

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