Friday, August 20, 2010

Improving the FCC’s Data Collection and Disclosure Practices

I filed comments in the FCC’s inquiry into how it can improve its data collection practices in the Media, Wireless Telecommunications and Wireline Competitions Bureaus (MB Docket No. 10-103, WT Docket No. 10-131 and WC Docket No. 10-132); available at: FCC Data Inquiry.

Here are my suggestions:

1) Refuse to grant blanket trade secret/confidentiality requests from stakeholders, particularly where a statutory mandate obligates the Commission to identify instances where the lack of competition or availability of even a single service provider frustrates achievement of national goals. The Commission should not redact, sanitize and obscure data, the disclosure of which would serve the public interest, help the Commission achieve statutory goals, and would not cause any financial or competitive harm to the reporting party;

2) Establish a rebuttable presumption that the public is entitled to understandable, credible, granular, and reproducible statistics, based on reasonable benchmarks that can help the Commission and users of the data make valid comparisons;

3) Place the burden on acquiring ventures to demonstrate that acquisitions will not adversely impact competition and the public interest;

4) Distinguish between data and sponsored research/advocacy;

5) Use peer review and third party research; and

6) Eschew reliance on ex parte presentations and brokering deals/concessions among major stakeholders; return to hearings, fact finding and creation of a comprehensive evidentiary record.

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