House to Vet FCC IT Issues, Process Reforms

Problems with FCC IT and contracting practices, IT personnel management "breakdowns" and the functionality of its website identified by the FCC Inspector General are among the topics on tap for a Sept. 17 FCC oversight hearing in the House Communications Subcommittee.

Also on the agenda is a review of ongoing process reform efforts undertaken by current FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and former chairman Julius Genachowski.

That is according to a background memo from the committee's Republican majority staff.

The hearing follows a June 4 request from top subcommittee Republicans for data on the agency's workload and "backlog of issues."

Witnesses in the process reform hearing are FCC Managing Director Jon Wilkins and that FCC Inspector General, David Hunt.

Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) has been a big supporter of FCC process reform, including helping achieve House passage of the FCC Process Reform Act, which passed the House in March.

Wheeler has made reform a priority, including calling for a report on possible reforms that was issued on Feb. 14, with comment solicited through the end of March on its recommendation. The key recommendations were primarily to improve accountability, streamline internal review of FCC processes, reduce backlogs, "rework" licensing, modernize consumer complaint procedures, improve the drafting process for policy documents, improve the IT infrastructure and improve website functionality.

John Eggerton

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.