The Federal Communications Commission has announced a new subdomain to FCC.gov today, Reboot.fcc.gov. “Reboot.gov” is being touted by as the first such website to solicit citizen interaction with the FCC, and follows the launch of broadband.gov and openinternet.gov last year. All three websites are notable for their clean design and integration of new media, like blogs, Twitter or videos from YouTube. The chairman’s introduction is embedded below:
One of the stated aims of Reboot.gov is to gather feedback on how FCC.gov itself can be redesigned, a project that’s long overdue. The announcement of the new site, for instance, showed up in email but was not been posted in plaintext on FCC.gov. Like other releases, it showed up as a Word doc and PDF, although today it showed up more quickly than usual, which is to say on the same day the news was announced.
In fact, the FCC has picked up the pace of its communications of late, as anyone who has followed @FCC on Twitter knows, even if it’s not quite up to “Internet speed” just yet.
Design and social media use aside, open government geeks and advocates are likely to be the most excited about the launch of FCC.gov/data, “an online clearinghouse for the Commission’s public data.”
The FCC has already posted search tools for its documents. Users can sort data by type or by bureau. In a move certain to excite Clay Johnson of the Sunlight Foundation and other data geeks, the FCC is posting XML feeds. And, indeed. Clay tweeted the following earlier today: “Well FCC Data Lovers? Get to it: http://rebootfcc.uservoice.com/pages/37109,” linking to a page on Reboot.gov that asks “What data sets would you like to see the FCC publish on FCC.gov/data?”
If the use of open data from the FCC takes off, this could be a significant movement in open government.
Data categories are linked below:
And bureaus here:
Under the Media Bureau, for instance, visitors can explore DTV Station Coverage Maps, a key issue to many given the recent transition to digital TV. The data there is already a bit dated (and released in PDFs) but I can see some potential down the line here. For instance, my parents don’t get good public DTV reception near Baltimore at the moment. If I can get Dad to report that at Reboot.gov, perhaps that might change.
That kind of interaction is precisely where the potential for these sites can be best realized. So-called “Web 1.0″ tools like websites, email and SMS used to share information about the quality of services and then “Web 2.0″ services like blog comments and social media deployed to gathering feedback from citizens about the delivery of said services.
The press release follows below:
Today, the Federal Communications Commission launched Reboot.FCC.gov, the first-ever Web site dedicated to soliciting public input on ways to improve citizen interaction with the FCC. The launch also includes the first official FCC blog, which will feature posts from FCC employees and each of the five Commission members.
“Transforming the Commission into a model of excellence in government is one of my top priorities,” said Chairman Julius Genachowski. “The success of this transformation depends on strong public participation throughout the process. With the launch of Reboot.FCC.gov, our goal is to get input from all corners of the country on ways to improve usability, accessibility, and transparency across the agency.”
To advance the FCC reform agenda, Chairman Julius Genachowski appointed a team of senior leadership within the agency dedicated to identifying the most needed and important areas for improvement. Reboot.FCC.gov highlights five key elements of FCC reform for public discussion and feedback:
Redesign of FCC.gov: As part of a long-overdue redesign of the FCC.gov Web site, the FCC is asking for ideas on how best to streamline and improve the experience for all site visitors.
Data: Because data underlies all agency proceedings, the FCC is launching FCC.gov/data, an online clearinghouse for the Commission’s public data, and looking for additional ways increase openness, transparency, efficiency and public oversight.
Engagement: The FCC is reevaluating how citizens engage in government and exploring new ways to increase public participation through the use of new media tools, e-rulemaking, and expanding our audiences.
Systems: The FCC is overhauling and reforming the systems available at FCC.gov — from the Electronic Comment Filing System to creating a Consolidated Licensing System — and wants feedback on ways to make them easier to navigate and more useful.
Rules and Processes: The FCC aims to modernize and grow the efficiency of agency proceedings, and seeks input on ways to improve the quality of agency decision-making, reduce backlogs, and enhance the public’s ability to understand and participate in Commission proceedings.