[amsat-bb] Wheeler Says FCC Needs More Engineers

Eric Rosenberg ericrosenberg.dc at gmail.com
Wed May 21 17:24:03 UTC 2014

>From RadioWorld


Eric W3DQW


Wheeler Says FCC Needs More Engineers
by Leslie Stimson
on 05.20.2014

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler believes the FCC could use more engineers -- and
economists. He said so during testimony today before the House Subcommittee
on Communications and Technology.

It's been six months since Wheeler has faced lawmakers; he was the sole
person to testify during an FCC oversight hearing.

The engineer comment came during an exchange between the chairman and
Vermont Democrat Rep. Peter Welch, who simply asked what the commission
needs to do its job. "Our IT infrastructure is worthy of being in the
Smithsonian," Wheeler replied, noting the agency has computers "that have
known risks."

The commission can't provide an easy way for the public or industry to
accomplish some tasks online, said the chairman, "because our IT system
isn't up to it." That's when he said: "We do need more engineers, and
economists, too."

His definition of engineer includes IT as it does at the station level
these days as well. In previous testimony about the latest budget request,
Wheeler told lawmakers the agency has more than 200 "relic IT systems" that
are costing the agency more to service than they would to replace over the
long term.

The commission asked for a total of 1,790 "Full Time Equivalent" positions
for FY 2015, which includes an additional 10 such positions for Information
Technology programming. Broadcasters would like the agency to have more
technology-related personnel too, believing that would make some
decision-making affecting the industry to go more smoothly.

Discussion of the agency's recent open Internet proposal dominated much of
the discussion.


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