The FCC has taken to its own blog to give an update on the development of the latest Electronic Comment Filing System version. The online comment system is heavily used by law firms, industry and public interest groups, the press and citizens to weigh in on commission activities. For the past several months, a prototype of the new ECFS has been tested and according to the FCC, stakeholders who use the current system have been consulted on how to make it better.
In addition to giving an update on that project, the blog post written by Alison Kutler, chief of the FCC’s consumer and governmental affairs bureau, and Dr. David A. Bray, FCC chief information officer, outlines a brief history of the system and how it’s evolved from its inception 19 years ago. The system went from users filing multipage PDF docs to its current state of having multiple functions like the ability to file formal complaints, or submit petitions for rulemaking and transfer-of-control applications.
The blog post also gives some insight into what the new ECFS will fix along with its new features. Users of the current system may have noticed a significant delay in the posting of comments recently, with the new version of the ECFS in place, the FCC is promising greater reliability and improved usability. A public Application Programming Interface will be a new feature for outside groups so they have the ability to submit and pull comments in bulk. The post even hints at possibly including fonts for users with color blindness and dyslexia, a text-to-speech functionality and voice navigation.
For anyone who has some time for a good read, check out this feature story published in March on the IT makeover the FCC underwent.