FCC may reduce data collection on phone companies

The FCC is expected to approve a request from AT&T that will allow the telecom company to stop filing yearly reports on customer service quality, customer satisfaction and infrastructure investment. Verizon and Qwest Communications, which have filed similar requests, also are expected to be approved.

Consumer groups and state regulators have objected to the FCC approving AT&T's request, saying that the data is valuable. The FCC is expected to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking that will look at how to overhaul the collection of data on complaints and other issues from phone companies, including wireless carriers.

One of the big issues in this debate is whether the FCC's data collection requirements have kept pace with the changes in the industry. Many consumers are foregoing their landline phones in favor of wireless phones or VOIP phones and yet the FCC still only requires a handful of traditional phone companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Qwest to file the information.

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