Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) famously botched the record-breaking public comment period on net neutrality thanks to its crapy technology. Now, the agency has launched a slick new system to ensure that doesn’t happen again. Too bad they’re about eight months late to the launch.
The new, easy-to-navigate site (a.k.a. the Consumer Help Center) makes filing a complaint about an FCC-related issues a two-click process. One quick glance back at the old site shows how much of an improvement the facelift offers. Citizens can also easily learn about common issues the FCC faces and file complaints directly from those articles. The streamlined process is not unlike filing a customer service complaint. That makes total sense because the new FCC site’s source code reveals that the system is powered by Zendesk, a one-shop for customer service needs.
The new site is pictured at the top of this post. It includes separate links for six main areas of interest: TV, phone, internet, radio, accessibility and emergency services. The FCC says the new system is designed to spot trending concerns before they become big problems. Regardless of what’s happened on the back end, the site itself is a huge improvement over the old front page:
The above image is actually the nice part of the old site too. This is what the actually comment system looked like when the net neutrality commenting period opened:
This is all good news — fingers crossed. If the new FCC commenting system’s back end got as much of an upgrade as the front-facing site, there’s a chance that the days of the FCC mysteriously losing hundreds of thousands of comments or simply crashing for days at a time are over. There’s a chance the public’s comments might actually get to matter. The bummer, of course, is that the public comment period for net neutrality ended weeks ago. So this new site would have been even better news if it had happened six months ago, when it might’ve actually mattered in the net neutrality debate.
But that’s what we’ve come to expect from the US government’s websites.[Thanks Jon!]