The Enterprise Wireless Alliance recently sent a letter to Austin Schlick, the Federal Communications Commission’s general counsel, asking for clarification regarding the commission’s rules concerning customer proprietary network information, or CPNI. Specifically, the EWA wants confirmation that wireless carriers providing services that do not connect to the public switched telephone network, or PSTN, are not subject to CPNI rules and that they do not need to file annual certifications.

The trade group believes that the certifications impose an “unnecessary administrative burden” on such carriers, according to Mark Crosby, EWA’s president. Typically these are radio dealers that are providing push-to-talk services to local businesses and public-safety agencies that are too small to operate their own systems.

“The CPNI regulations are needed — no one is disputing that,” Crosby said. “If you’re a telecommunications provider that’s connected to the PSTN and you have customer records, those need to be protected. But the rule — which we’ve been fighting for a couple of years — asks people who aren’t interconnected to comply, when they don’t have the data that you’re trying to protect.”

According to Crosby, the EWA decided to press the issue after the FCC issued an order in December 2010 that waived $20,000 fines that had been imposed upon numerous organizations that previously had filed either incomplete CPNI-compliance certifications, or didn’t file them at all. “After doing a little research, we discovered that many of them didn’t appear to be connected to the PSTN,” he said.

Crosby called the procedures that carriers have to carry out in order to comply with the CPNI regulations “certainly necessary” for those that are obligated to file, but “elaborate and expensive” for those that shouldn’t have to file.

“They have to have a training program in place for their personnel and a process for protecting the data,” he said. “Plus, there’s a lot of paperwork — they’re killing a lot of trees unnecessarily. It’s an unnecessary waste of time and money for companies that are not interconnected with the PSTN.”