Archive for January, 2015

City and county Broadband: A Snapshot

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Those who wish to preempt state laws impacting municipal broadband systems often cite up to 21 says that have limitations or restrictions on such networks. A closer examination of the specific state laws being criticized, however , offers a much different image regarding the scope and particulars of the specific state limitations. In other words, if the Commission were to preempt state laws and regulations (assuming it has requisite authority), what “barriers” would it be preempting? An FCC filing by the Coalition designed for Local Internet Choice (CLIC), an advocate of municipal broadband systems, is a good place to start this analysis. The particular chart below reflects CLIC’s most recent filing with the Commission and organizations individual states based on common restrictions or restrictions (states with multiple limitations are reflected in the chart below).

Upon evaluation, it is clear that many of the restrictions or restrictions appear to be justified practices by state governments and should end up being excluded from any preemption conversation. Beyond the extensive rhetoric and absent Congressional direction, nullifying state-enacted taxpayer protections to further a politics goal sends the Commission down an extremely troubling path.


General Limitation

States Applicable

Comment

Needs a referendum by individual localities inside a state seeking to offer broadband providers.

Colorado

Louisiana Minnesota

North Carolina

This doesn’t appear to be an unreasonable or unachievable burden. For instance, a number of Colorado localities effectively conducted the requisite referendums within November’s election. Any added costs or time would be offset from the protections of local taxpayer financing and assurances of community assistance for such networks.

Requires public hearing(s). Wisconsin and Florida also require an evaluation of the costs and benefits.

Louisiana

Wisconsin

Florida

This doesn’t seem to be an unreasonable or unachievable burden. Many localities currently conduct public hearings whenever taxpayer funding would be used to compete with private providers.

Prohibits localities above certain population from offering of “telecommunications service, ” because defined by federal law.

The state of nevada

Broadband is not treated currently like a telecommunications service by the FCC, so this isn’t a limitation.

Prohibits selling or leasing telecommunications services to the public or telecommunications facilities to other providers, with some exclusions, including the ability to provide “Internet-type services”.

Missouri

Not clear that this would actually restrict municipal broadband.

Requires locality within a state to have the local private provider a right associated with first refusal, requires locality in order to solicit bids from private companies or prohibits if private company is offering service. Florida merely demands consideration of whether there are other companies offering similar services.

California

Michigan Pa

Montana

Lakewood ranch

This seems to be a decision that the state governments have made to ensure private companies do not face unfair competition simply by government-sponsored municipal broadband offerings. It also appears consistent with FCC decisions never to provide USF funding in places that are already served.

Requires a written business plan (Florida) or feasibility study (Utah and Louisiana)

Florida

Utah

Louisiana

This seems to be a choice that the state governments have made to make sure that projects will be sufficiently viable to meet bond obligations. It also appears much like certain FCC requirements that make certain USF funding recipients are economically and technically qualified.

Prevents cross-subsidization and/or imposes some other accounting, funding, or advertising restrictions.

Alabama Wisconsin Virginia

North Carolina

South Carolina

Utah

Louisiana

These numerous limitations need to be examined in nearer detail. Restrictions truly designed to prevent cross-subsidization are consistent with existing marketing communications policy.

Adds additional taxes on municipal telecommunications providers.

Florida

Any FCC authority in order to preempt restrictions on municipal broadband networks would unlikely extend to mention tax policies, even discriminatory taxes.

Authority for a city and county government entity to provide broadband runs out if a private entity steps ahead.

California

This prohibition ensures that city and county broadband networks do not displace initiation of private sector broadband choices.

Prohibits public energy districts from providing service directly to consumers.

Washington

This has been construed to restrict municipal broadband.

Limits which types of entities may provide municipal broadband service and/or where it is provided.

Nebraska

Tennessee

North Carolina

Arkansas

Arkansas also prohibits the provision associated with basic local exchange service simply by certain entities, but it is ambiguous whether that has limited the provision of broadband.

Prohibits provision of local exchange phone service, basic local telecommunications services, or switched access service.

Tx

This has been construed to restrict city and county broadband.

A brand new Year’s Resolution: Using Broadband to Get Healthy and Stay Well

Friday, January 30th, 2015

It’s that time associated with year again… resolution time. You often hear that people look forward to 2012 for a new start on old habits. From eating better to being more active, all of us tend to see the New Year as a way to make a fresh (and healthy) begin.

But sometimes comfort is a major factor in making our overall health resolutions stick. That’s where high speed and technology comes in. As proven at the recent Consumer Electronics Show, there are a number of technological advances already being used to improve health and health care. And as we all saw in “Back to the Future, ” technology has the ability to make a single truly “fly” – and in nowadays world, broadband provides the wings.

Recent advances in broadband-enabled sensor technology offer the potential for more convenient, and ultimately less-costly and less-invasive solutions. Some devices, such as the fitness trackers (that many of us got because holiday gifts) can give us that will extra motivation necessary to maintain healthy habits. But there are others, through pill cameras to injectable products that, while less universal, are usually increasingly available from your doctor or even other medical professional. The exciting advances just around the corner can boggle the mind.

These new types of broadband-enabled health technologies are generically called “ingestibles, ” “wearables” and “embeddables. ” It’s worth getting familiar with these technology and talking with your doctor about how exactly digital health tools can help you.

Ingestibles are broadband-enabled digital tools that we actually eat. For example , there are “smart” pills that use wireless technology to help monitor internal reactions to medications. Also, miniature pill-shaped video cameras may one day soon replace colonoscopies or endoscopies. Patients would simply swallow the “pill, ” which would collect and transmit images as it makes its way through the digestive system.

Wearables are usually digital tools you can wear, such as wristwatch-like devices that have sensors to monitor your heart rate and other vital signs. Past medical monitoring, such wearables also may help improve athletic performance, track fitness goals or help prevent dangerous falls in the elderly. We may soon see widespread use of smart clothing – or even smart “tattoo” applications – that use skin-based sensors to measure things such as heart rate, respiration and blood pressure.

Embeddables are miniature devices that are really inserted under the skin or deeper into the body. A heart pacemaker any kind of embeddable device. In the future, embeddables may use nanotechnology and be so small that doctors would simply “inject” them into our bodies. Some encouraging applications in this area could help diabetes patients monitor their blood sugar levels reliably and automatically, without the need to prick their fingertips or otherwise draw blood.

Have you used these types of technology to address health concerns? Share your story.

To learn more about how broadband technology support health, read our Ingestibles, Wearables and Embeddables tip linen.

The Connect2Health fcc Task Force can be working to raise consumer awareness concerning the value of broadband in the health and treatment sectors. Learn about the Connect2HealthFCC Task Force.

Placing Auction 97 in the History Publications

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

The putting in a bid in Auction 97 – the AWS-3 auction – has determined. There will be a lot of discussion about the outcomes over the days, weeks and weeks ahead, and rightly so – this was an historic auction. Although winning bidders must still create payments and submit applications prior to the grant of licenses, by any measure it’s safe to say that the auction was an overwhelming success. In line with the information available at this time, here are the highlights:

  • 65 megahertz of range made available to meet the Nation’s demand for wireless broadband;
  • $7 billion to fund the Nation’s first nationwide broadband public safety system;
  • $300 million for public safety communications research;
  • $115 million in grants for 911, E911, and NextGen 911 implementation;
  • Greater than $20 billion for deficit reduction; and
  • Funding for relocating Federal systems.

With all the buzz about the auction revenues, let’s not forget the ultimate purpose of this auction – to make a lot more spectrum available for wireless broadband. Extra spectrum resources will improve wireless providers’ ability to meet capacity and protection needs across the country. This means better cellular service – faster speeds and greater access – for customers.

5 years ago, many people doubted that we would succeed in making AWS-3 spectrum accessible. It is because of dedication, hard work, and compromise that a variety of government and industry stakeholders came together to build up a solution that made much of this spectrum newly available for commercial use. NTIA, the Department of Protection, other Federal agencies, and the White-colored House Office of Science and Technology Policy all played an important role in pushing and shaping a new way for Federal agencies to think about spectrum and spectrum sharing. And these efforts were strongly encouraged with a bipartisan group of leaders from the House and Senate Commerce Committees as well as the House and Senate Armed Solutions Committees. There is much we have discovered from this process that we can create upon in our future efforts in order to free up more spectrum to meet the nation’s wireless needs.

Over the next few weeks the provisionally-winning AWS-3 bidders can file applications and make payments for their winning bids. Our team in the Cellular Bureau will thoroughly review and scrutinize each application to assure that granting each license is in the public interest and, where applicable, that each applicant has complied with the Commission’s bidding credit rules. Licenses will be issued, allowing licensees to use the spectrum consistent with our rules and coordination procedures. The downlink in 2155-2180 MHz will be immediately readily available for use after licenses are granted, and licensees may coordinate along with government users for shared access in the 1755-1780 MHz and 1695-1710 MHz bands as government customers transition their systems (see the Joint Public Notice for information on the coordination process).

As essential as it is to meeting wireless consumers’ broadband needs, making the AWS-3 spectrum available is but a single step toward making more range available for commercial use – an ongoing policy priority for the Commission. Along with AWS-3, over the past few years the Commission auctioned and licensed the 10 megahertz H block, changed guidelines to facilitate wireless broadband in 30 megahertz in the Wireless Communications Service, created new terrestrial cellular broadband rights for 40 megahertz in AWS-4, proposed specific guidelines for innovative shared use of up to 150 megahertz in the 3. five GHz band, and greatly increased the usability of 100 megahertz of unlicensed spectrum in the five GHz band. And, to meet the demand for valuable low-band range, we are well along in the process of developing the rules for the first ever motivation auction, which will begin early next year.

Update on Advance Posting of Commission rate Meeting Items

Friday, January 16th, 2015

In August, I wrote a blog post urging the Commission to publish on its website the actual textual content of the items to be considered at our Open Meetings at the same time they are supplied to Commissioners. I made the particular suggestion because the inability of the community to obtain a complete picture of what exactly is in a pending notice of suggested rulemaking or order routinely results in confusion over what exactly is at stake. Producing matters worse, Commissioners are not allowed to reveal the substantive details to outside parties. We can’t even correct inaccurate impressions that stakeholders may have received, and we are banned from discussing what changes we have been seeking. This barrier to a fulsome exchange can be extremely frustrating for all involved.

Despite positive comments from people at the FCC, outdoors parties, Members of Congress, [1] and the general public, 4 months later, we have yet to publish a single meeting item in advance. Furthermore, the lack of full disclosure and transparency has continued to be a problem as some celebrations have not been fully briefed on recent items, such as the recently adopted 911 Reliability NPRM, while others aren’t briefed at all.

The reason that nothing has happened, We are told, is that there are two simple concerns with the proposal: 1) that it could be harder to comply with the particular Administrative Procedure Act (APA); and 2) that it could be more difficult to withhold documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). I do not find either argument persuasive or impossible.

APA

The BERKAITAN requires reasoned decision-making based on complete and fair consideration of the record. That is, we need to review all of the feedback and ex partes in a going forward and respond to the substantive issues raised.

The problem is that, if we provide a copy of the draft item, we will get more particular comments and ex partes that staff will have to address when finalizing the item. That is, we might actually get constructive feedback based on facts about what exactly is in a draft that require us to roll up our sleeves and describe why we’ve made certain decisions and discarded alternatives. At bottom, that is not a legal issue but a logistical one: whether we can devote sufficient resources to reviewing the particular record and revising a record during the three weeks prior to a Commission rate meeting. Our capable and hardworking staff and managers are up to the task, yet I’m told that it somehow would be unworkable. Such opposition is based on faulty analysis and an unwillingness to challenge the failed status quo.

What’s impractical is the current process where celebrations may have limited or even incorrect understanding of what is in a draft item, and so raise arguments that may be, through no-fault of their own, untimely, unnecessary, or misdirected. That, in turn, requires staff to invest time sifting through red herrings rather than considering focused input that could strengthen the reasoning and eventually the legal sufficiency of the product.

Moreover, if we are usually inundated with feedback and require additional time to address it, the Commission rate may simply consider the item at a later time. That’s not to suggest that we delay items indefinitely, but rather, that we extend consideration for another week or, on the latest, until the next month’s conference. And since the Commission would stay under Sunshine for the item during that time, this would not lead to great cycle of comments and changes requiring further delays. Staff might consider all of the arguments raised before Sunshine and then circulate the modified draft, reflective of the record, to be voted on by the Commissioners.

FOIA

FOIA generally requires government agencies to release their records towards the public upon request. However , certain types of information may be exempted (i. e., withheld from release) which includes internal documents that are part of the “deliberative process” involved in the agency’s decision-making. Employing this exemption, the FCC currently withholds all drafts of Commission items.

The concern is the fact that releasing a single draft – the particular version circulated to Commissioners – would make it harder to warrant withholding other drafts or even inner emails about various drafts. This is a classic slippery slope argument, in fact it is one that can be overcome. The fact that we might disclose one version in one example may make it harder, but in no way impossible, to justify withholding additional versions in other instances. I am self-confident that our talented lawyers at the company can handle it.

Lastly, I sense that there are some unsaid objections to the proposal. In particular, I gather that there is unease about making the process more transparent because celebrations could be in a better position to determine which edits have been requested by which offices. I can’t speak for anybody else, but I’m not troubled by that prospect, should it occur. Having worked on the Hill exactly where members put their names on amendments, I am comfortable being associated with my requested edits. Indeed, I typically discuss the edits I did and did not get on items within my statements.

Therefore , getting heard no serious objections to my suggestion, I renew my call to post the draft text associated with Commission meeting items on our website at the same time that they are circulated to Commissioners. If the Commission fails to do the right thing and address this issue by itself, perhaps the underlying statute needs to be revisited to provide direction on how the Commission rate can be more transparent and efficient.

[1] For instance, see laws introduced last Congress in both the particular U. S. House of Associates (H. R. 3675) and the Senate (S. 1989) that would require the particular FCC to conduct an query on the concept. The House bill flushed that institution by voice election.

Expanding FCC Use of Electronic Communications

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Although a lot of work has been done over the last few years to incorporate some aspects of our modern communications tools into the workings of the Government Communications Commission, more is needed to slow up the Commission’s reliance on the United States Postal Service (USPS). While I have simply no particular problem with the USPS, the proper thing to do is to embrace electronic technologies and set it as the default for virtually any communication or action by the Commission rate, thereby saving a bit of money and promoting efficiency.

Within fairness, the Commission has been positively trying to move forward on electronic licensing. In December, the Commission’s Wireless Telecoms Bureau released a Public Notice, after seeking public input, announcing that, effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, it would implement paperless licensing. Based on an idea raised in Chairman Wheeler’s FCC process reform effort, it was decided which the Commission would stop issuing and mailing paper licenses for present authorizations to licensees and registrants, unless an entity notifies the Commission that it still wants to get official licenses by mail. Below this framework, almost all electronic variations of Commission authorizations stored in two licensing systems (the Universal License System and the Antenna Structure Enrollment System) would be deemed as official Commission documents. Considering that the Commission rate issues almost half a million wireless licenses and authorizations per year in a cost of over $300, 000, this may result in substantial savings. Hopefully, the brand new paperless system will go into impact shortly.

Two latest Commission consent agenda items demonstrate the downside of using traditional mail to communicate with licensees. In one, the Commission voted to reject a broadcast station owner’s request to reinstate a dismissed application mainly because its petition was over four months late. The station argues that its challenge was well-timed because it was filed within 30 days of receiving letter notification from the decision in the mail. Our reason for denying the request was based, in part, on the argument which the information was widely available via a well-timed released public notice and, pursuant to Commission rules, filing deadlines are computed based on the release day of this public notice. If the public notice constitutes official Commission action, then why should the FCC’s Media Bureau mail notifications? And, if such courtesy notifications continue, electronic communications should be used, especially as the Media Bureau is phasing in a new electronic filing system.

In the other case, applications were dismissed for failure to pay the necessary regulatory fees on time. The permit holders claim that they did not get appropriate notifications of the delinquency mainly because letters were sent to the wrong tackles. Once again, this resulted in untimely petitions for reconsideration of licensing choices. The Commission’s reason for denying the request highlights that it is the burden associated with station owners to maintain accurate emailing addresses with the Commission. But the reason why use mailing addresses at all? Perhaps you should use electronic communications for this kind of notifications? That way any communication between the Commission and an outside party could be fully documented, thereby eliminating the majority of, if not all, factual discrepancies.

In fact , the Report on FCC Process Reform, which was publicly released February 14, 2014, suggests that that all Commission Bureaus along with licensing responsibility move to electronic opportinity for licensing and communicating with licensees and the public (see recommendations 2 . six through 2 . 8). And the particular recommendation put the obligation on the FCC’s Managing Director to convene associates from the applicable licensing bureaus to implement. What is the hold-up on finishing this very reasonable review of our licensing and notification processes, and the reason why haven’t other actions been taken to move towards electronic recordkeeping and communications?

Moreover, we should ensure that our overall effort will be sufficiently broad to incorporate all (or at least most) interactions with all those we regulate. For instance, the Nationwide Association of Manufacturers submitted comments within the record in response to the Wireless Community Notice recommending that the Commission make use of electronic notifications when applications are returned. This seems exceptionally fair and should be seriously considered. Our standard position should be that all communications must be done electronically, unless it is absolutely necessary to try and do otherwise.

I understand that will steps will have to be taken to change our own practices to utilize electronic communications. For instance, licensees may have to maintain current email addresses in Commission databases. But , this is no greater a burden on Commission licensees than today’s necessity to maintain mailing addresses.

In the end, the Commission has the responsibility to update its procedures to ensure better interactions with the licensing local community and save taxpayers money. Leader Wheeler set the Commission to the right path on this particular item, but now we need to follow through at a much swifter pace.

Takeaways from CES2015: Wireless Innovation, Variety and Openness

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Once again, I made my device obsessed friends green with covet by attending the International Electronic devices Show — sacred ground for those who thrive on the business associated with consumer technologies. By the end of TOUS CES, tech journalists and casual guests have identified their favorite gadgets which were created by some of the most hyper-enthusiastic entrepreneurs you may ever meet. To be sure, that 3-D printer capable of producing a dress flawlessly tailored for Mignon made the particular cut, but the main import of this year’s show, were the effective messages that 3, 600 exhibitors are sending about the impact associated with technology in our lives. Below are our top three takeaways.

First, innovation within wireless communications is obliterating our own expectations of what a physical object can do for us. Watches and other wearables will not only allow a diabetic in order to her glucose levels without a pin prick, they also sense when she wakes up and will have her favorite “Cup of Joe” ready before she has even gotten out of bed. Mix industry collaboration is also enabling that will same watch to start a car remotely and have it drive and fulfill you at your doorstep. News adobe flash: The technology to enable the “Internet of Everything” is not two or three many years away. It is here today, but as regulators, we must never forget that every consumers must have access to broadband in order for that virtuous reality exists whenever everyone benefits.

The FCC must do the part and it can start by changing its voice-only Lifeline adoption program to support broadband. In November, We outlined five principlesto guide this kind of reform, because it is increasingly clear how the divide grows deeper each day we all delay. Focusing on wireless, the FCC has been promoting interoperability and designing auctions that encourage small and large wireless providers to participate. More competition should promote cheaper services.

Second, I saw a little more diversity from CES this year. As I tried to cover the more than 2 . 2 mil net square feet of exhibit space, I could not help but notice that there seemed to be more individuals of color on the floor and introducing at the exhibits than in prior many years. While notable, there is clearly more that can and should be done. According to released reports, African American women in the tech industry receive less than one % of the financing venture capital funds offer each year, which is why, last September, We visited FOCUS100, an event sponsored by Kathryn Finney. Her company, digitalundivided. com, seeks to arm varied female tech innovators from worldwide with the training, mentorship and direct exposure needed to participate successfully in the man dominated industry. And on January 27, the FCC’s Office of Marketing communications Business Opportunities will host a Small Business & Emerging Technologies Conference and Tech Fair which will focus on innovation by fledgling entrepreneurs in information technology and telecom. We will be highlighting small businesses and address the barriers facing group and women-owned tech start-ups. To learn more, contact OCBO at (202) 418-0990 or TechFair@fcc. gov. But what I am thrilled to note-, is the fact that during his keynote address from CES 2015, Intel CEO John Krzanich pledged $300 million to boost the company’s workforce diversity. We are hopeful that other companies will accept his challenge and step up their person efforts as well.

Third, openness is a critical element to promoting wireless development as well as greater diversity. Another exhibitor highlighted its collaboration with SmartThings, — a company that develops software and monitors to connect appliances in your house. Three years ago, this company did not also exist. Its spark came from an incident at the CEO’s family vacation home in Colorado that resulted in $70, 000 worth of damage the result of a home ventilation system. This could are actually prevented, he concluded, if he previously been able to control and monitor that will system remotely. He was therefore surprised that he could not find this type of solution already on the market that he made a decision to create one himself. By creating software for these solutions, he learned there were more than 7, 000 devices being created to connect to the Internet and that the key to developing these options is openness. This means open supply software and open technical requirements. Samsung vowed that all of its future products would be built on platforms which are open and compatible with other products. To make that clear, it acquired SmartThings which is a reminder that great innovation is boundless when businesses make openness a key aspect of their own strategies.

In sum, it is an exciting time with thousands of new innovations here today and on the horizon. Yet what I hope to also report, in the years ahead, is the continued progress we are producing in closing the connectivity and technologies divides that still exists, to ensure that more American consumers are able to accessibility more and more of these life-altering technologies.

Back to Basics: Promoting Public Safety and Protecting Consumers

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Recently, I’ve been at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas getting a sneak maximum at the very latest gadgets and innovations. Enabling new technologies that delight consumers and grow the economy is one of the FCC’s top focal points. While the hottest tech trends might garner the headlines, an equally important part of the FCC’s mission can be basic consumer protections. The Commission’s first open meeting of 2015 will be focused on two core responsibilities: promoting public safety and serving as an effective, accessible advocate meant for consumers.

Since I attained the Commission, one of our best public safety priorities has been enhancing the effectiveness of 911. A particular area of attention has been to improve location accuracy meant for indoor wireless 911 calls.

When the FCC adopted its original wireless 911 rules, many wireless usage occurred outdoors. Yet times have changed, and so has technology. The vast majority of 911 calls now come from wireless phones, increasingly from indoors.

That is why the Commission put forth proposed new area accuracy rules last year.

The record in the proceeding lets us know that there have been significant advances within technology, including technologies that have the potential to locate indoor callers by address, floor, and apartment or space number.

The Payment has studied this problem in depth, along with public safety stakeholders, has developed a mature understanding of the range of credible choices.

The four biggest wireless carriers and two national public safety organizations recently submitted their own proposed “roadmap, ” the novel approach that has the potential to close the readiness gap by means of use of known locations of interior wireless nodes. This approach will ultimately result in capabilities that will evolve with the continued change anticipated in the number of ways consumers might call for help in the future.

The plan proposal is a big step forward, yet we also understand and appreciate the valid criticisms raised by some public safety stakeholders.

We have listened and learned from all sides in this debate. Today, I am circulating an order to a fellow Commissioners that takes advantage of the good work done by the carriers, APCO, and NENA, while also delivering confidence-building measures and backstop thresholds that set clear targets and deadlines for improving indoor area and hold parties accountable for results.

We want to harness new technologies not only to enhance 911, but also to make the Commission more accessible to the public and more effective as a customer advocate.

Over the past 30 days, the FCC launched a new on the internet Consumer Help Centerthat replaced the Commission’s previous complaint system using a user-friendly portal for filing and monitoring informal consumer complaints. This will enable consumers who have billing conflicts with their carrier, received unwanted telesales calls, or wish to file the complaint on some other service concern to file their complaint more easily, and track the status of issues 24/7.

Over time, the machine will enable us to track and provide more refined data on customer complaint trends to the public as well as FCC staff, which will help better inform our policymaking and enforcement actions.

At our The month of january meeting, the Commissioners will listen to a presentation from staff at the new Consumer Help Center.

The Commission will continue working to unleash the innovative, new consumer products that we see on the Consumer Electronics Show, but we also remain focused on taking advantage of advances within technology to provide better service meant for consumers and enhance public basic safety, now and in the future.

New Consumer Help Center Is Designed To Enable Consumers, Streamline Complaint System

Monday, January 5th, 2015

The first responsibility from the FCC is to represent consumers. Facilitating consumer interface with the Commission is really a major component of that responsibility. These days, we are proud to announce the launch of a new online Customer Help Center.

The Consumer Help Center will make the FCC more user-friendly, obtainable and transparent to consumers. This particular new capability is part of Leader Wheeler’s comprehensive review of the agency’s processes and operations. A significant goal of this effort is to take advantage of advances in technology to provide better company and support for consumers, now and in the future. The new tool launched today replaces the Commission’s previous complaint system with an easier-to-use, more consumer-friendly portal for filing plus monitoring complaints.

We see the Help Center as a new approach to enhancing marketing communications between the Commission and the public. Not only is it easier to use for consumers, the information gathered will be smoothly integrated with our policymaking and enforcement processes. The result is going to be better results for consumers and much better information for the agency. The insights we gain will help identify trends in consumer issues and allow us to focus Commission time, money, and resources on the issues that issue most.

Here are some key features of the Help Center:

  • Streamlined Process designed for Filing Complaints. The new web-based consumer interface supercedes 18 outdated complaint forms with one web portal. The system is interactive, guiding you toward one of the most relevant options.
  • Integrated Customer Education Tools. Our “one-stop shopping” portal combines complaint intake and educational materials. In some cases, the educational information will enable consumers to immediately solve a problem, without filing a complaint. If not, the complaint portal is right there and makes filing simple.
  • 24/7 Tracking of Complaint Status. You can now track the status of your complaint in real time by creating a unique log-in.
  • Faster Handling of Customer Complaints. The brand new system will promptly serve problems on providers, enabling them to respond more quickly to consumers.
  • More Transparency. The machine will make available to the public and internal staff a much wider array of aggregated consumer-complaint data than in the past, and a much more robust data dashboard will be obtainable in the future. Stay tuned. Tell us what you think. The new portal enables you to give us immediate feedback on your experience, and it is designed to be flexible and adaptable, so we will be able to continually improve our customer service.

We hope you will agree that our new Consumer Help Center is really a big step forward that will enable the FCC to better protect and inform consumers. We are committed to providing you with exceptional service.