Full Text of Order

            95. Sharing data with State Commissions. Finally, because we wish to maximize the value of this information collection for states, we conclude that the Chief of the Common Carrier Bureau may release the information collected under this program to the state commissions, subject to certain conditions.240  A state commission may view all data submitted on a carrier specific basis, by entities filing data for that commission’s state, provided that the state has appropriate protections in place (which may include confidentiality agreements or designation of information as proprietary under state law) that would preclude disclosure of any confidential information. However, where state laws afford less protection than federal FOIA laws, the higher federal standard will prevail.241  We are aware that there are two states that have “open records” statutes that may prevent the state from providing confidential protection for sensitive provider information.242  In these situations, we will work with these state commissions to enable them to obtain access to such information in a manner that addresses the state’s need for this information and also protects the confidential nature of the provider’s sensitive information.  We anticipate that these actions will give state commissions a valuable and unique view into the state of local competition and broadband deployment in their states.  In addition, we hope that this will further our goal of reducing the overall reporting burdens placed on entities in these markets by minimizing the need for additional information collection programs at the state level.

 

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240  47 C.F.R. § 0.291.

241  See 47 U.S.C. § 410(b); see also Amendment of Parts 0 of the Commission’s Rules with Respect to the Delegation of Authority to the Chief, Common Carrier Bureau, 104 FCC 2d. 733, n.6 (rel. Apr. 11, 1986) (In discussing the treatment of information submitted pursuant to a joint audit, the Commission stated that it would release the information it obtained to state public utilities commissions “conditional upon a requirement that state participants are willing and able to treat commercial information according to our confidentiality rules and guidelines” and that “to the extent that the FOIA imposes a higher standard of confidentiality than a particular state law, our action…require[s] participants to adhere to the higher federal standard.”).

242  Texas and Georgia.