FCC to appoint Chief Data Officer, streamline electronic records

Despite its role as the nation's top communications regulator, the Federal Communications Commission is behind the times when it comes to sharing electronic documents and record.

When consumers ask for information, the FCC still prints is out and mails it to them, according to Mary Beth Richards, Special Counsel for FCC Reform.

Last year, the FCC mailed 275,000 consumer responses at a postage cost of more than $200,000.

So the FCC is trying to streamline how it collects and distributes the massive amount of data it gathers to save on printing and paper costs.

At its monthly meeting today, the agency proposed creating a Chief Data Officer position that will lead a team of experts in all of the bureaus and offices. It is one of 75 new positions the FCC hopes to add with its $352 million 2011 budget.

It will continue to make agency data sets available at www.fcc.gov/data. And it is consolidating its licensing system so it can distribute wireless, cable and broadcast licenses electronically.

Richards said the agency's wireless bureau printed 320,000 license authorizations last year. Sprint Nextel alone holds 50,000 licenses, all of which are printed out on paper.