CenturyLink-led coalition calls for peer review of FCC's special access proposal

A CenturyLink-led coalition of six service providers has called for a peer review of the FCC's notice of proposed further rulemaking on its special access reform proposal, citing what they say is a flawed analysis of the market.

Joining CenturyLink again are AT&T (NYSE: T), Frontier Communications, FairPoint, Consolidated Communications and Cincinnati Bell, which collectively refer to themselves as "movants."

The letter is a follow-up to the carrier's call for a motion to strike the earlier report from the FCC's hired economist Marc Rysman. In that proposal, the group said that four of the largest cable providers had undercounted the number of locations that are capable of providing business data services.

Specifically, a series of updated filings made by Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR), Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Cox and Time Warner Cable, there are 22 times more Ethernet-capable locations than the data on which the FCC based its May 2 further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM).

Comcast, for example, reported that in response to the FCC's data collection on BDS that it had not reported locations connected to nodes that it updated to provide Ethernet-over-HFC service as of 2013. The MSO later filed a list of all business locations that could be served via Metro Ethernet-enabled headends.

"Dr. Rysman's summary dismissal of the data showing cable providers' ability to provision Metro Ethernet in 22 times as many census blocks as previously understood is, at the outset, inconsistent with his own methodology," the group said in an FCC letter. 

The group said the FCC's reliance on a non-peer reviewed revised report would violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and "exacerbate the Commission's violation of the Data Quality Act (DQA)."

"Failure to seek new peer reviews and put those reviews out for comment would exacerbate the commission's violation of the Data Quality Act. As the bureau recognized in its memo to potential peer reviewers, the DQA required the commission to obtain peer review of the Rysman Report," the group said in a letter to the FCC. "As it now stands, the current version of that report has not been subject to such review, and parties have been unable to comment on any such reviews. If the commission does not take such steps, it cannot rely on the Rysman Report or the Revised Rysman Report in any final decision."

For more:
- see the release

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