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ACA pushing back against FCC status reports

Wed, 12/17/2008 - 7:40am
Brian Santo

The FCC is considering how to fix a statistical hiccup: All phone companies must report on their services every year, but that has never included VoIP providers. It’s already getting pushback from small- and medium-size cable operators.

In 1987, the Automated Reporting Management Information System (ARMIS) system was established. It requires carriers to file financial and operational data. The requirements have been expanded to include information on service quality, network infrastructure and other data.

On Dec. 6, the FCC said it was planning on extending the ARMIS requirements to cover all phone and broadband providers.

The American Cable Association (ACA) filed a letter in opposition to the FCC imposing ARMIS reporting on its small- and medium-size cable constituents.

The ACA said its members already submit substantial amounts of similar data to the Commission, and making them conform to ARMIS would represent an undue burden. The association argued that smaller operators would have to divert resources from deploying advanced services in underserved areas.

“The benefits of collecting this additional phone and broadband data are speculative at best,” said ACA President and CEO Matthew Polka. “Without more, the Commission should not place any new ARMIS reporting requirements on small- and medium-size cable operators. ACA and its members urge the Commission to consider the strain that additional reporting requirements will have on small operators’ limited resources, and the impediment it will cause to deployment of advanced services in small markets and rural areas.”

In yesterday’s filing, the ACA cited the Commission’s own recognition that the reporting obligations set to be imposed on cable broadband providers “might” be useful without elaborating on the value or necessity of that data. The ACA also requested that any information collected by the new ARMIS obligation be kept confidential.

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