FCC Makes Open Internet Comments A lot more Accessible to Public

It goes without saying that there has been tremendous interest in the FCC’s Open Web rulemaking. As of yesterday, over 1 . 1 million comments were filed in the docket, both through our Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) and our special openinternet@fcc. gov email address. We welcome and anticipate many more comments in the weeks ahead. And to be clear, every comment will be reviewed as part of the official record of this proceeding.

Because of the sheer number of comments as well as the great public interest in what they state, Chairman Wheeler has asked the FCC IT team to make the remarks available to the public today in a number of six XML files, totaling over 1 . 4 GB of data – approximately two and half instances the amount of plain-text data embodied within the Encyclopedia Britannica. The release of the remarks as Open Data in this machine-readable format will allow researchers, journalists as well as others to analyze and create visualizations of the information so that the public and the FCC may discuss and learn from the comments we have received. Our hope is that these analyses will contribute to an even more knowledgeable and useful reply comment period, which ends on September 10. We will make available additional XML files covering reply comments after that date.

A few other housekeeping issues: First, mailed comments postmarked prior to July 18 are still being scanned and entered into the ECFS and may even not be reflected in the files. We will post an updated XML document when they are completed, so stay tuned. Second, certain handwritten comments may not be searchable. For this reason, source links to comments are included in the files. Finally, we hope that whatever visualizations are usually developed using this open data will certainly comply with the standards that enable use and access by differently-abled individuals. The Chairman and the FCC CIO are committed to ensuring obtainable web content in multiple forms for many.

We recognize that not really everyone may have the requisite technical skills to build visualizations and evaluate raw XML data. (Members from the public will, of course , still have the option of reviewing and searching the record via ECFS). However , we’re expecting that those who do have the technical know-how will develop and share these tools for your public to use. Open Data is a crucial step towards greater transparency in public deliberations. We look forward to seeing and benefitting from the fruits of your initiatives and welcome your ideas on how to make this data even more useful. With the start of second round of comments, we encourage continued submission to the FCC of insights and perspectives in regards to the first round of comments, either through the ECFS or via openinternet@fcc. gov.

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