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Government Shutdown Curtails Some FCC Operations

Doug Lung

If you visited the FCC website Sunday, you'd have been greeted with the message: “We regret the disruption, but during the Federal Government-wide shutdown, the FCC is limited to performing duties that are immediately necessary for the safety of life or the protection of property. FCC online systems will not be available until further notice.”

While all of the FCC websites are down, as of Sunday the Commission's FTP site was still available, allowing download of databases and documents created prior to the shutdown. This week's RF Report uses the FTP site links, rather than the http links, in its articles. However, please keep in mind that some corporate firewalls block FTP access, so the links may not work on all browsers or at all locations.

During the shutdown, the FCC is not accepting applications. Details are available in the Procedures for Filings in the Event of a Lapse In Funding. It states, “In the event of a Government-wide lapse in funding, the Commission’s filing window, mail room, and all electronic filing systems, with the exception of the Network Outage Reporting System (NORS), will be unavailable until normal government operations resume. In addition, we expect that in the event of a suspension of regular Commission operations, materials sent to the Commission by private delivery services may be returned to the sender.”

What if you have a filing that’s due during the shutdown?

The FCC says, “In this event, any materials, with the exception of NORS filings, that otherwise would be required to be filed with the Commission (at its headquarters, Gettysburg, Pa or U.S. Bank) during the suspension of operations or on the day of return to normal operations, will be due on the business day following the day of return to normal operations.”

The shutdown has resulted in the postponement of the Oct. 2, 2013 E911 Location Accuracy Workshop.

While most of the FCC websites are unavailable, the links on the Procedures for Filings webpage do work.

If you’re interested in exactly how departments will be staffed during the shutdown see the Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations. Most of the bureaus were allowed a staff of one during the shutdown, although the Enforcement Bureau was allowed additional staff during emergencies: “EB Field Supervisors* and EB Field Staff to respond to emergencies involving the protection of life or property (e.g., interference with aircraft frequencies)”