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  • FCC.gov: What a WASTE

    The Heritage Foundation is proud to announce that the FCC is the recipient of the First Annual Wanton Abuse of State-funded Technological Elucidation (WASTE) Award.

    Yes, the name is clunky, but so is their website. If you don’t believe it, see for yourself. The website’s search function leaves much to be desired. Also, as Cynthia Brumfield of IP Democracy has noted, everything on the website is published as a separate file (Word documents, PDF, etc.) to be downloaded by the user.

    The agency that is responsible for the nation-wide broadband strategy ought to be a model, rather than a blight on the digital highway. On Wednesday, Vice President Biden, Secretaries Vilsack and Locke, and newly-installed FCC Chairman Genachowski gathered to announce the “availability of $4 billion…to increase broadband access.” Given the amount of money being spent, shouldn’t the FCC bring itself into the 21st century?

    For too long, businessmen and policy wonks alike have been frustrated, searching in vain for the information they seek. The solution seems clear: make a website that is easily accessible and functional for the user.

    This issue is not new, nor has its mention been limited to individuals of any one political leaning. Heritage’s James Gattuso wrote about this problem almost two years ago. The Benton Foundation (located on the left side of the spectrum) has raised many of the same complaints. The technology blog Ars Technica said that fcc.gov “still looks like it was thrown together six weeks after Netscape went public over a decade ago.”

    These individuals and groups are not alone in their complaints. During the recent Senate confirmation hearings for Chairman Genachowski several senators raised this very issue. Senator Klobuchar suggested updating the website more frequently. Senator Rockefeller cited a GAO report that criticized the lack of transparency on the website. The full hearing can be viewed here. Genachowski has indicated that fixing the FCC website is a priority for him.

    During the confirmation hearing Senator Rockefeller laid down the gauntlet “fix [the FCC]…or we will fix it for you.” Hopefully, the folks at the FCC can fix their own website before the senator is forced to program it himself. We wish them well in this endeavor, and hope that the FCC website will soon no longer be a WASTE.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to FCC.gov: What a WASTE

    1. Clifford Bryan says:

      Digital is the future of civilization

    2. James Boomer, Fort W says:

      The FCC is very weak technically. It's last three Commissioners is are lawyers. Do lawyers understand communications? No! They understand law, but not the laws of physics.

      The FCC should be a technical organization whose primary responsiblity is electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), and interoperability. It has no business "auctioning" frequency spectrum, which just adds cost to consumers.

      Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) is one of its recent fiascos where digital data are coupled to power lines, which act as antennas and radiate energy that interferes with licensed users.

      Let's get good communicators/managers in the FCC Commissioner slot instead of attorneys.

    3. john, west valley, n says:

      I'm sorry but worrying about a website is the last thing you should be spending time on. Get over it already.

    4. a.g.katona Campbells says:

      Just another prime example of how gov cant do anything efficiently,I doubt if they even want to,well except confiscating our money and freedom.

    5. Pingback: FCC.gov: What a WASTE « Conservative Thoughts and Profundity

    6. rich weirton, wv says:

      When has our government agencys done anything right??? They screw up everything they touch, then they want to call it a "crisis" and throw billions or trillions of dollars at the problem to "fix" it.

      We'd best vote these bums out or there will be nothing left of our once proud, prosperess country. We are all now slaves on the government plantation. This is so wrong, as we the people are supposed to run this country, not politicians, special interests, and environmental wackos who won't even let us drill our own oil.

    7. Jerry from Chicago says:

      I think Heritage should be much more concerned about the FCC's power to eliminate talk radio shows. I don't like what Im hearing about the FCC and the 'Fairness Doctrine'.

      As far as I'm concerned, this 'Fairness Doctrine' is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to silence criticism of president Obama and his policies. Apparently it's not enough for him to have won the election, that he has a 60% approval rating and that he has a veto proof Congress. Now he wants to silence all dissent. If you don't believe this President is unable to cope with dissent and/or criticism, look at the way he reacted to the April 15th 'Tea Parties' held across the country, talk about being arrogant, dismissive and derisive, he did his best to minimize these demonstrations and call the participants uninformed, right-wingers organized by talk radio programs. Of course, the liberal media there to 'report' on the demonstrations couldn't restrain themselves from accusatory attacks on the participants.

      Mr. Obama has turned nearly every campaign promise he made into a lie. He has quadrupled the budget deficit that existed as of 12/31/08. The stock market remains in the dumpster. Unemployment continues to reach new highs as consumer confidence reaches new lows. He never wanted to run a car company; he never wanted to run the banks, he never wanted to take over the insurance industry, right. And he doesn't want to turn America into a socialist country either.

      Any attempt to limit political criticism from talk radio or any other form of media is a direct attack on our First Amendment freedom of speech rights and should be resisted absolutely. Could you imagine the firestorm of protest that would have occurred if George Bush (or any Republican president) attempted to silence political criticism in the media?

    8. Keith somewhere in t says:

      Do you believe the FCC intends to accurately and completely communicate to the public? Would that increase scrutiny and possibly accountability?

    9. Larry- in the REPUBL says:

      I've made a comment on this issue already. Go figure,the Heritage found reason to "regulate and delete" my 1st amendment right by axing my post comment. Which by the way was spot on had no harsh, cruel language OR derrogatory speech against ANY one person.We don't need a Liberal FCC committee chaired to defeat our rights! The Heritage Foundation seems to be falling into Obama's threat gap.

    10. Barb Faulkner-Davis, says:

      Hello, everyone! Since you're talking about the FCC, I thought I would let you see the comment I received back, after contacting them about ABC using the White House to promote a political agenda, i.e. Obama's Health Care Program…here's what they sent me:

      You are receiving this email in response to your inquiry to the FCC.

      The equal-time rule specifies that U.S. radio and television broadcast stations must provide an equivalent opportunity to any opposing political candidates who request it. This means, for example that if a station gives one free minute to a candidate on the prime time, it must do the same for another candidate.

      However, there are four exceptions: if the air-time was in a documentary, bona fide news interview, scheduled newscast or an on-the-spot news event the equal-time rule is not valid. Political debates not hosted by the media station are considered news events, thus may include only major-party candidates without having to offer air time to minor-party or independent candidates.

      Contact the Political Programming Branch, as follows:

      E-mail: campaignlaw@fcc.gov

      Telephone: 202-418-1440

      Rules: 47 CFR section 315

      Representative Number : TSR09

    11. Barb -mn says:

      Seems government uses more of our money to waste on needless make-work then actual need.

      Increased suspicion arose when government forced an unnecessary change of tv reception that increases energy usage. Kinda hypocritical aren't they? Government gave good reasons, but don't believe it. It's sole government CONTROL, oh and business for China.

    12. Roger S., MA. says:

      Thanks Barb, that says it all. Not their website is the problem, THEY are the problem, all of them. (Excepting, maybe, some technical staff on the science end of their business.)

      James Boomer has it right, too. It's none of their business auctioning frequencies to anybody. It's as if the government were to try to force me to buy the air I breathe. They didn't make the electromagnetic spectrum. It should be rightfully owned by those who created the equipment to make it useful.

      Same goes for the "fairness" doctrine. Another stolen (by Government, who else?) concept.

      If I built a printing press to publish my views more efficiently, what's fair about forcing me to reserve a half-page of newsprint for views I disagree with from somebody I abhor? Nothing! That's what! What's different about a private TV station, radio station, satellite up-link, ISP?

      Nothing at all. On principle, it's all the same issue. Small wonder, the "4 exceptions" they told Barb Faulkner about: There's NO WAY to make an inherently unjust system "fair" in some way.

      Electromagnetic interference and interoperability should be their only concern, in effect fulfilling the Gov.'s policing function. (No jamming allowed ! etc.)

    13. Barb -mn says:

      RE: Fairness Doctrine – No radio station but public broadcasting ask for donations. Ratings says it all. What works brings the ratings.

      No private station asked for any public government aid, yet the government steals the freedom and the rights,to do business. Manipulating the definition of "fairness." Private radio stations doesn't omit opposing views.

      Intentionally restricting the private business owner from conducting his business freely and successfully. Government has no right interfering in our liberties. Government has no right to even suggest interfering with non-threatening freedom of speech. Or interfering with truth since they are no part of it!

      They do have a duty to protect us! ps…digital tv sucks!

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