We've Got Hollywood Covered

Maybe They Should Call It ‘Diet FCC’

The Federal Communications Commission worried about its “brand?”

The possibility that the oft arcane and secretive FCC processes could start getting a lot more user friendly to improve its public image was raised Thursday at a commission meeting that included the mention of a decidedly rabble-rousing suggestion: limiting the use of acronyms.

Under pressure from Congress for being anything but transparent in its past deliberations, the reforms included plans to revamp the FCC’s website to let consumers follow debates easier — as well as plans to offer blogs, RSS feeds, tweets, YouTube videos and the ability to talk to FCC officials.


There was also mention of plans to start using English, rather than acronyms, in describing some FCC inquiries.

In one example, the FCC, launching an inquiry into the state of competition in the wireless industry on Thursday, called the inquiry a “Wireless Competition Report” rather than using either acronyms or technical jargon.

The reforms were unveiled by the head of the reform committee, Mary Beth Richards, who said the results were intended to make the FCC a leader in government for user experience and early steps in a broad review of FCC processes from the way the agency collect information to the length of time it takes to make decisions.

Congress has accused the agency of being secretive and using processes so obtuse as to disenfranchise the public. Several legislators have warned the agency to clean up its act or Congress will do it.

The FCC has already tried to be more responsive in its current examination of the state of the country’s broadband. The wireless competition the FCC today is also a broad one and comes amidst Congressional criticism that the FCC wasn’t doing enough in monitoring the text messaging pricing, long contracts for cell phones and contracts that gave providers exclusive contracts to sell certain phones.

That move was praised today by Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s anti-trust panel.

“Strong competition in this market is the only way to ensure that consumers in all parts of the country have access to innovative produces and services at fair prices.  Given some of the concerns that were raised at our hearing earlier this year, I’m pleased that the FCC will be taking a close look at whether there are adequate competition and consumer protections in place in the wireless market,” he said.