The Federal Communications Commission has created an alternative to its electronic comment filing system (ECFS) for comments on the Comcast/Time Warner Cable/Charter/Spinco transaction, as it did with Internet neutrality comments, and for the same reason.
Comments can now be e-mailed to ComcastTWCMerger@fcc.gov. They will still go into the official record.
An FCC spokesperson said the reason was that given the high-volume of comments on the proposed merger, and to avoid the same problems the FCC had with net-neutrality comments -- more than 3.7 million of them -- which slowed/crashed the system, it wanted another avenue for people to comment rather than having to go through ECFS. The comments will still ultimately be posted in ECFS, however.
As with the net-neutrality comments, the FCC has also created a CSV (Common Separated Values) file for bulk submissions -- template at www.fcc.gov/files/ecfs/14-57/ECFS-Input-Template.csv; instructions at www.fcc.gov/files/ecfs/14-57/ECFS-Input-Fields.txt -- which can then be e-mailed to the same address.
The FCC's ECFS system has been a bit sluggish this week thanks to some "large searches" that download comments sequentially and tend to slow the system response times. An FCC source cited the large influx of comments in a number of dockets, prompting the FCC's information technology folks to look for workarounds.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.