The FCC and FTC may be closed for business, but there are existing documents that are still of great interest to many that regularly conduct business with either or both. Some are suggesting the website withdrawals has been done to maximize the pain of the overall government shutdown and are otherwise unnecessary.
RBR-TVBR is among those that regularly uses the FCC in the course of doing its work. Lack of access to the site coincided with the return of this reporter from vacation, and has prevented catch-up work regarding transactions filed during the five missed working days.
Lawyers and lobbyists are cited by Hillicon Valley as among those most missing access to the FCC’s databases. Additionally, members of the public are unable to access comments filed regarding various FCC proceedings, and licensees themselves are unable to check on regulatory matters when they feel the need.
It was noted that other agencies have stopped refreshing data on the websites, but the sites are still available to the public. Among them are EPA, FDA and NTIA.
According to the article, an unnamed Republican attorney believes the decision to withdraw the FCC and FTC websites may be “a political call,” and members of the Republican delegation in the House of Representatives are the ones suggesting the policy is designed to maximize the pain as a leverage-seeking device.
At least one lobbyist who would like access isn’t surprised, however, noting that keeping the websites up and active still incurs expense for bandwidth.