Digital Gov

FCC revamping comment system

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The Federal Communications Commission plans to complete its move to a cloud-based comment system by the end of the month.

The new Electronic Comment Filing System has already been available online in beta, and by late June, the FCC plans to have completely transitioned to the new system, wrote Alison Kutler, chief of the agency's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, and CIO David Bray in a June 1 blog post.

"Today, the public expects to be able to easily submit comments in digital form and to have convenient access to all the other input received by the commission, and the commission needs a robust system capable of meeting the public's expectations," they wrote.

"In 1996, when ECFS was first created, it simply replicated the process of filing comments on paper," they added, but since then, the comment volume has increased, and outside organizations have come to expect easier access to government data.

The system will run on Amazon Web Services' cloud computing platform, which offers rapid scalability should a comment surge hit FCC.

It also incorporates a public application programming interface so that external groups can submit comments in large batches.

The final move to a modernized commenting system comes on the heels of FCC's massive push to move all its servers off premises. The slightly delayed transition was ultimately a success, Bray said in a September 2015 internal email message.

"Is there risk in this transformation?" Bray wrote at the time. "Yes. However, there's even more risk in doing nothing to address FCC's aging legacy IT systems. They will eventually break, and the cost of sustaining them will be unsustainable."

About the Author

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.


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