The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) needs access to the raw data collected by the FCC in order to unearth the true statistics proving or disproving competitiveness in the US broadband market. The FCC has refused to turn over the figures because it believes a competitive advantage could result. CPI and FCC are now locked in a District Court battle. CPI is being backed by AT&T, Verizon as well as industry trade groups NCTA (cable), CTIA (wireless) and USTA (telephone).
CPI wants the FCC database of Form 477 filings which it hopes to make available to the public via its website 'Media Tracker'. Every telecom company in the US reports on its line deployments to the FCC (broken down by ZIP code). The FCC then uses this data to generate reports which generally dictate that nothing radical needs to be done in the broadband sector. But the agency's methods for generating these reports have come under scrutiny. For example, the FCC defines broadband deployment in a certain area as at least one cable or DSL connection and classes "broadband" as anything above 200kbps.
CPI wants access to Form 477 filings to prove something needs to be done while the agency continues to argue that releasing this confidental business information can damage the companies involved. Regardless of whose side you are on, the matter is now in the hands of a federal judge.
News source: Ars Technica