FCC Extends Deadline for Special Access Data Collection

December 1, 2014

On November 26, 2014, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) released an Order extending the deadline for responding to the Commission’s special access data collection. The original deadline for submission of responses via the FCC’s web portal established for the collection was December 15, 2014. This remains the deadline for those required only to certify that they are not required to provide data and information because they are not a covered Provider, Purchaser, or entity providing Best Efforts Business Broadband Internet Access Service.

Large businesses with more than 1,500 employees that are required to provide data in response to the collection now have until January 29, 2015 to submit responses. For small businesses with 1,500 or fewer employees that are required to provide data in response to the collection, the deadline is extended to February 27, 2015.

As we noted in prior advisories, the purpose of this data collection is to examine whether the FCC’s current special access regulations for the “price cap” incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECS) should be updated to ensure that regulations reflect the market competition. The FCC will collect 2013 data from regulated carriers, from which the FCC will determine whether it should revise its rules to provide relief from regulations in areas where a competitive special access market exists.

The data collection requires providers and purchasers of $5 million or greater in special access services (in areas where the ILEC is subject to price cap regulation), as well as entities providing “best efforts” services to submit data for this comprehensive evaluation of the special access market by the FCC. Special access lines are dedicated high-capacity connections used by businesses and institutions to transmit voice and data traffic. For example, wireless providers use special access lines to transmit voice and data from cell towers to wired telephone and broadband networks. Additionally, government branches and local schools, libraries and hospital use special access for the first leg of communications with the home office.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has placed an exemption for purchasers of less than $5 million of dedicated services in 2013 in price cap ILEC territories. Examples of dedicated services include DS1/DS3/OCn; Multi-Protocol Label Switched (MPLS) services; permanent virtual circuits, virtual private lines and similar services; ATM and Frame Relay service; Ethernet Services and Metro Ethernet Virtual Connections; and Virtual Private Networks (VPN). As noted above, the Data Collection is mandatory and requires responses from both providers and purchasers of dedicated services that hold licenses, authorizations or registrations under the FCC’s rules. Interconnected and non-interconnected VoIP providers are included in the FCC’s list of purchasers required to respond to the data collection.

The special access data collection web portal is available at: https://specialaccessfiling.fcc.gov/spadc.login. By using your FCC Registration Number and password, users will enter the web portal to complete responses to the collection. Filers will either submit a “Streamlined Process” or “Full Website” version of the data collection.

Additional information on the data collection can be found at http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/special-access-data-collection-overview-0. If you have questions regarding the Special Access Data Collection please contact Vineetha Pillai at vmp@commlawgroup.com.