The Need to Modernize the FCC’s IT Systems

It’s amazing that more than 900, 000 Americans have expressed their opinions in the first round of Open Internet comments. The Commission’s decision to increase until Friday the period for public comments on the Open Internet proceeding reflects both the public’s interest in the topic as well as the antiquated IT capabilities of the agency that have not been able to take care of the surge of comments.

The FCC has been compelled by budget restrictions to operate with the IT infrastructure that would be unacceptable to any well-managed business. Efforts to upgrade this IT capability were the casualty of sequestration. Most recently, the agency requested of Congress approximately $13 million for IT upgrades in the FY 2015 appropriation. I value that the Senate subcommittee has provided the Commission with full funding in its FY 2015 spending bill, to ensure that we can make these important improvements. Unfortunately, the appropriations bill transferred by the House today would finance the FCC at $17 million below current levels and $53 million below our overall budget demand, dramatically undermining any effort in order to modernize our IT systems.

The ability to improve the FCC’s inner procedures – an important priority with regard to Congress – will be hurt without having 21st Century IT infrastructure.

The ability of the public to speak with their government has – as seen – already has been harm by the inability of the FCC to get all of their comments without complication.

The ability of those companies the FCC regulates to express their views is similarly hurt by an infrastructure none of them would tolerate within their own companies, even though their costs pay for the FCC budget without having touching tax dollars.

It is particularly distasteful that the FCC – the agency entrusted along with promoting a world-class broadband infrastructure for the nation – could actually be incapable of dealing with Americans conveying themselves via that broadband ability.

I am hopeful that will leaders in Congress, recognizing the significance of these systems to the public’s ability to communicate their views to the FCC without complication or delay, can ultimately reach agreement on funding levels that ensure we have the resources to modernize and upgrade our IT systems.

Make no mistake about it. The particular impact of outdated IT is important since we want to hear from the American individuals. That citizens take the time to reach out to their government is democracy in action. Certainly, we are fighting for an Open Internet precisely because it is needed in order to advertise and protect the unrestricted movement of diverse ideas (as properly as innovative products and services from the edges of the network ). We best serve that will ideal, and the American people, by putting the resources to bear to ensure that their opinion on any issue can reach the FCC immediately. I hope that the outpouring of remarks this week will help drive that summary home.


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