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FCC'S Open Data Initiative: A Bit of Background about the FCC's Data

July 16th, 2010 by Greg Elin - Chief Data Officer

Post: FCC Data Innovation Initiative Journal, Day 17, Washington DC.
For Comment: Media Bureau MB Docket No. 10-103; Wireline Competition WC Docket No. 10-132; Wireless Telecommunication Bureau WT Docket No 10-131.
Resources: reboot.fcc.gov/data/review

Yesterday, the Commission announced a Notice of Public Rulemaking WC Docket No. 10-141 to consider requiring tariff filers to file using the FCC's existing Electronic Tariff Filing System and to standardize tariff filings to ease review by the public and the FCC.
In undertaking this public review and the NPRM to increase electronic filing of tariffs, the Commission is  following the Paperwork Reduction Act's (PRA) requirement that agencies manage information resources to "improve the integrity, quality, and utility of information to all users within and outside the agency."  The relevant PRA's subsection is quite instructive:
(b) With respect to general information resources management, each agency shall--
(1) manage information resources to--
(A) reduce information collection burdens on the public;
(B) increase program efficiency and effectiveness; and
(C) improve the integrity, quality, and utility of information to all users within and outside the agency, including capabilities for ensuring dissemination of public information, public access to government information, and protections for privacy and security;
The Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), passed in 1980, has significant relevance for the FCC's Data Innovation Initiative. The basic law is that we make our information more useful, more effective, and less burdensome to collect.  The Commission requires a tremendous amount of data to pursue its statutory and public interest obligations. The law is that we do not stand still with our information, but continuously improve it to everyone's benefit. The PRA demands we innovate as new tools and methods offer new possibilities for improved information management.
The case for completing the transition to electronic filings of tariffs which disclose the rates, terms, and conditions set by certain carriers, is decreased burden collecting the data. Standardization also decreases collection burdens by enabling vendors to recoup initial development costs of new products and services across many customers instead of just one. Standardization also improves the utility of information to all users within and outside the FCC.
As the Data Innovation Initiative continues, this journal will look into more aspects of FCC data and hopefully provide you with more material to consider in your official comments on our public review of FCC data. 

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