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FCC's New Website: Extra Developer-Friendly

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, September 7 2010

Federal Communications Commission Chair Julius Genachowski just ceded the Gov 2.0 stage at the Grand Hyatt Washington to Steve VanRoekel, a former Microsoftie now serving as the commission's geeky managing director, so that VanRoekel could describe a much anticipated redesign of the criminally horrendous and user-unfriendly FCC.gov that, in his telling, will focus on publishing more and better data about broadcast licensing, broadband access, and other areas under the agency's purview. The new FCC.gov is expected to launch by the end of the year, the site's first redesign in ten years.

VanRoekel ran through slides describing new additions to the FCC website, including an API that opens up data on broadcasting licenses (tied to single registration numbers that make clearer which companies and interests own which TV and radio stations across the country) and access to the data collected by the agency's testing of home broadband speeds. New as well: FCC.gov/developer. Judging from VanRoekel's slides, the new FCC.gov site's look at feel will mimic that of Broadband.gov.

If VanRoekel's presentation is reflective of reality, the FCC has made an interesting choice -- focusing on developers, and the numbers and hard data that they hunger for, rather than on making it easier for average folks to find information, and deliver input, on the incredibly important work the FCC does to shape the modern media landscape in communities across the United States.