The Federal Communications Commission is expected today to approve a significant reduction in the amount of information AT&T, Verizon and Qwest must report to the regulator about customer complaints, service quality and infrastructure investment.
The move has raised the antennae of consumer groups that worry that everything from repair times to customer service will be compromised.
"If you get rid of the standards, then standards almost inevitably get lower," said David Bergmann, head of telecommunications for the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates.
But the FCC decision could also be an opportunity for the commission to examine the data it collects more closely and, finally, include cable, wireless and satellite operators for review.
"We need to update this for a level playing field with the marketplace of today," said FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin, who said he would back the order today. "On quality of service, for example, if that data is relevant for one carrier, then it should be relevant for all platforms."
- See the Washington Post story
Universal service reform on FCC's plate
FCC changes broadband calculation rules