White House OKs ‘VoIP’ Provider Data Collection Period

Limit has been affirmed for three years
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The requirement information be collected from the providers of voice over Internet protocol services has been affirmed for three years, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

On April 25, 2012, the FCC posted a Federal Register notice—Implementing the Provisions of the Communications Act of 1934, as Enacted by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010—saying the White House Office of Management & Budget approved the rule requiring the collection of information from VoIP providers through April 30, 2015.

VoIP advanced communications service provider recordkeeping requirements are necessary to facilitate enforcement of accessibility obligations, yet recordkeeping “flexibility” is provided to covered entities by allowing them to keep records in any format, and by recognizing the unique recordkeeping methods of individual entities, the FCC says.

Because complaints regarding accessibility of a service or equipment may not occur for years after the release of the service or equipment, covered entities must keep records for two years from the date the service ceases to be offered to the public, or the equipment ceases to be manufactured, the FCC says.

In addition, while service providers and equipment manufacturers are not required to keep records of their consideration of achievability or the implementation of accessibility, those entities must be prepared to carry their burden of proof in any enforcement proceeding, which requires greater than conclusory or unsupported claims, the commission says.

The CVAA and the rules adopted require officers of service providers and equipment manufacturers to annually certify that records are kept in accordance with the recordkeeping requirements, the FCC says. The certification must be supported with an affidavit or declaration under penalty of perjury, signed and dated by an authorized officer of an organization with personal knowledge of the representations provided in the company's certification, verifying the truth and accuracy of the information.

The certification must also identify the name and contact details of the person or persons within the company who are authorized to resolve accessibility complaints, and the agent designated for service of process. The certification must be filed with the U.S. Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau on or before April 1 of each year for records pertaining to the previous calendar year, the FCC says. It also must be updated when necessary to keep the contact information current.

Nonetheless, the rules adopted establish procedures for VoIP advanced communications service providers and equipment manufacturers to seek waivers from the accessibility obligations of the regulation, which is, in effect, waivers from the recordkeeping requirements and enforcement procedures of the rules, the commission says.

Waiver requests may be submitted for individual or class offerings of services or equipment that are designed for multiple purposes, but are designed primarily for purposes other than using advanced communications services, the FCC says.