House panel looking into FCC backlog


The House Subcommittee on Communications has been nothing if not diligent in its oversight of the FCC this year, and even as the calendar ticks down toward the rollover into 2012 it’s still on the job. This time, it wants to know why there are so many items requiring attention that have not gotten it.

This time, Greg Walden of Communications was joined by Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) in the FCC oversight effort.

The legislators said that the FCC has made great strides in efficiency and transparency under the guidance of Chairman Julius Genachowski, but added that there is still a long way to go and this is one of the many concerns going forward.

They stated, “There is growing consensus that FCC processes need to be reformed. Under both Democratic and Republican chairmen, the FCC has fallen into practices that weaken decision-making and jeopardize public confidence. The data reported to the Committee on Energy and Commerce in July 2011 demonstrated that there have been substantial improvements in the handling of the Commission’s workload since Chairman Genachowski joined the Commission.

“Nevertheless, the Commission still faces significant challenges in its work, including a significant backlog of unanswered petitions and unheard consumer complaints. For example, the Commission had 5,328 petitions, more than a million consumer complaints, and 4,185 license applications that had been sitting for more than two years as of July 2011. This letter seeks updated data regarding the FCC’s current workflow.”

RBR-TVBR observation: One thing we noticed was the citation that there are over 1M consumer complaints. We strongly suspect that the FCC is lacking the personnel to handle each one of these individually, particularly since we also strongly suspect that the vast majority of them were generated by various click-and-send campaigns on things like ownership, indecency and net neutrality. Backlog? Of course there’s a backlog, and it’s likely permanent! Just sayin’…