Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Blog Posts by Dr. David A. Bray

Your Feedback is Building a Better

by Dr. David A. Bray, FCC CIO
October 9, 2015 - 11:00 AM

You spoke; we listened. Since our last update on our modernization project, we built a new Beta (i.e. test) version of based on your input, and we need your feedback again. Building upon the foundation of extensive user research done earlier this year – and coupled with additional input we will receive during this Beta period – the new will be more useful and accessible to FCC stakeholders.

Check out the Beta site at and please tell us what you think. What works? What doesn't? And don't worry: you can still access the old content and features at while we perfect the new site.

What's New?

The new Beta site is Drupal-based and responsive, meaning the display will optimize based upon the device you are using to view the site such as PC, mobile phone, or tablet.

The Beta website is also connected to our document databases, EDOCS and ECFS, via application programming interfaces (APIs). The APIs allow real-time EDOCS and ECFS updates to display in 'Headlines' and 'Most Active Proceedings'. FCC applications will also be updated and increasingly cloud-based, similar to our new Consumer Help Desk.

All of the content that resides on the current has already been migrated to the new, Drupal-based site. We are currently integrating this content into new information architecture, meaning additional and improved ways of accessing and interacting with all the information currently available on

Read more »

Update on FCC's IT Upgrades

by Dr. David A. Bray, FCC CIO
September 8, 2015 - 06:05 AM

Over Labor Day weekend, a dedicated FCC team worked day and night to complete major IT upgrades. This work included physically moving more than 200 different legacy servers out of FCC's headquarters to a commercial service provider.

Why the move? Over the last several years, the FCC has faced ever-increasing costs to maintain its legacy IT systems. This move to a commercial service provider will help reduce the costs to maintain the systems, improve their resiliency, and allow us to shift many of our legacy applications to the cloud – as we did with our Consumer Help Desk.

With a massive server move of this scale – even with detailed planning, independent verification, and backup plans – the opportunity always exists for surprises, especially with legacy IT systems, nearly 400 program applications, and hundreds of servers.

Our servers left FCC headquarters in seven moving vans after midnight and arrived safely at the new commercial data center facility early Friday morning.

While all the data and infrastructure arrived intact, upon arrival we discovered the need for some additional cabling to be done by our commercial partners that took longer than expected. Unfortunately, this delayed completion of all of the system upgrades – even with the FCC team working around the clock throughout the holiday weekend.

The good news is ECFS is available to the public and EDOCS should be available later today. More detail on the systems we are working to make available by Thursday morning can be found here.

We will continue to work diligently and provide updates on these IT upgrades. The entire FCC team and I truly appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to complete all of the upgrades.

Read more »

Modernizing the FCC’s IT

by Dr. David A. Bray, FCC CIO
August 20, 2015 - 11:59 AM

Our world and the technologies we use are changing rapidly. As such, the information technology used by the Federal Communications Commission must change as well. Over the past year, we have made significant progress to upgrade and modernize our infrastructure, and we continue to work on modernizing the FCC’s legacy IT systems with the resources we have available.

Over the Labor Day Weekend, the FCC IT Team will be working to upgrade and modernize the FCC’s legacy infrastructure. Starting Wednesday, September 2nd at 6pm EDT, interactive public-facing web applications hosted at the FCC will not be available. We will work to have these web applications upgraded and available again by the morning of 8am EDT on Tuesday, September 8th.

These web applications will include our Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), Electronic Document Management System (EDOCS), Universal Licensing System (ULS), National Broadband Map, and other public-facing applications. Static content web pages under the domain, like the FCC’s consumer guides, should remain available during this period.

Of note, our cloud-based FCC Consumer Help Desk, recently modernized to a Software as a Service (SaaS) option, will continue to operate uninterrupted. It is our goal to modernize more of the FCC’s legacy IT to SaaS and other cloud-based platform options going forward. This modernization is more flexible, secure and resilient, as well as more cost effective compared to the costs of maintaining on-premise IT solutions. 

Read more »

Modernizing the Website

by Dr. David A. Bray, FCC CIO
April 20, 2015 - 01:14 PM

In August, the FCC team began a six-month research and design project to dramatically improve the usability and functionality of and its subdomains. The outcome of these collaborative efforts resulted in an interactive prototype of what the improved will look like, as well as an outline of how website content will be organized and structured based on our research findings.

Our Research

The focus of our research was to identify and understand what different visitors want from our website and how to optimize the way they search, use, and interact with the website. The first round of research began by analyzing web content and web analytics. This gave us a sense of the web pages with the most traffic and most commonly searched terms by website users.

The second round of research involved several iterations of “card-sorting” with internal and external audience groups. Card-sorting is a method used in website design to help evaluate and determine the navigation and information architecture of a site. The information architecture of a site represents the way content is structured and organized for users. Ultimately, card-sorting helped us better understand how content should be organized on the site and gave us the foundation for the information architecture.

The third round of research was done in parallel. We conducted one-on-one user experience interviews with various external stakeholders, documenting common tasks and areas of concern with the current site. The interviews were invaluable in helping us better understand current user behavior and needs.

Our Findings

Read more »

Setting the Record Straight on Open Internet Comments

December 23, 2014 - 11:22 AM

Over the past week, there have been two reports raising questions about the number of Open Internet comments that were included in a set of XML files the FCC released to the public on October 22.  We made available these XML files so members of the public could analyze the approximately 2.5 million comments filed during the reply comment period of July 19-September 15.  In light of these questions, the Commission undertook a fresh accounting of the comments, and, consistent with our commitment to transparency throughout this process, we wanted to share the results of our analysis.

Before sharing those results, we think it’s important that people understand that much of the confusion stems from the fact that the Commission has an 18-year-old Electronic Comment Filing system (ECFS), which was not built to handle this unprecedented volume of comments nor initially designed to export comments via XML. This forced the Commission’s information technology team to cobble solutions together MacGyver-style.  Thanks to these creative efforts, we have been able to accommodate the surge in comments and release the comments as XML files for the first time in the FCC’s history, but not without some glitches that we will explain in this post.

Here are some key takeaways from our inquiry:

Read more »

On Risks, Breaking Past the Status Quo, and IT Transformation

by Dr. David A. Bray, FCC Chief Information Officer
December 15, 2014 - 04:01 PM

As the FCC presses forward with our plans to transform our IT systems, the question of risk is an important one. Doing anything new inherently is risky. All too often it is easier for folks to say the status quo is good enough, the challenges are too high to overcome, or there's no way to complete a project in time. Such skepticism is healthy—we should always weigh multiple perspectives when deciding the right path to take. At the same time, we must also recognize the risk of doing nothing. At a certain point, the status quo no longer will be good enough. Technology becomes obsolete, further patches on discontinued software will be unavailable, and the total cost of maintaining outdated systems will far exceed moving to something new.

As in most organizations where technology is central to their mission, it's the Chief Information Officer's job to help navigate this landscape. There are risks in embracing new IT, as there are risks in any new effort. To mitigate those risks, we have assembled a strong action plan with controls in place to monitor our progress. We will be working with the agency's stakeholders, both external and internal, to identify and meet their priority needs.

In addition, we have assembled a strong team with staff members who have strengths that complement each other. At the FCC we have a diverse team with backgrounds spanning former military veterans, former Silicon Valley startup entrepreneurs, PhD candidates at prestigious universities who opted instead to support this effort, folks who helped with early Gov 2.0 efforts, and experienced team members who have seen the FCC's IT systems evolve through the 1990s, 2000s, and the present day. This breadth of expertise helps us scan for potential blind-spots and opportunities that we might otherwise have missed as we continue our IT transformation journey.

Read more »

An Update on the Volume of Open Internet Comments Submitted to the FCC

by Dr. David A. Bray, FCC Chief Information Officer
September 17, 2014 - 01:02 PM

Monday night concluded the second round of comments for the FCC's Open Internet Proceeding. During the last four months, the Commission has received a large number of comments from a wide range of constituents via three methods: (1) the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), (2) the email address, and (3) a recently launched CSV file option for large comment uploads.

In July, at the conclusion of the first round of comments, we provided a look at the daily rate of comments we received in ECFS. We are now providing an updated file to show the daily rate of comments submitted to ECFS since the start of the public comment period in this proceeding. Below is a graphical representation of this data.

As an alternative path to submitting feedback, the Commission also has been receiving comments to a dedicated email inbox at We are providing an updated CSV text file providing the weekly submission rates of those comments, and a graphical representation of the data below.

Read more »

An Additional Option for Filing Open Internet Comments

by Dr. David A. Bray, FCC Chief Information Officer
September 11, 2014 - 04:15 PM

The volume of public feedback in the Open Internet proceeding has been commensurate with the importance of the effort to preserve a free and open Internet.

The Commission is working to ensure that all comments are processed and that we have a full accounting of the number received as soon as possible. Most important, all of these comments will be considered as part of the rulemaking process.  While our system is catching up with the surge of public comments, we are providing a third avenue for submitting feedback on the Open Internet proceeding.

In the Commission’s embrace of Open Data and a commitment to openness and transparency throughout the Open Internet proceedings, the FCC is making available a Comma Separated Values (CSV) file for bulk upload of comments given the exceptional public interest. All comments will be received and recorded through the same process we are applying for the emails.

Attached is a link to the CSV file template along with instructions. Once completed, the CSV file can be emailed to where if it matches the template the individual comments will be filed for the public record with the Electronic Comment Filing System. When you email this file, please use the subject “CSV”. We encourage CSV files of 9MB or less via email.

The Commission welcomes the record-setting level of public input in this proceeding, and we want to do everything we can to make sure all voices are heard and reflected in the public record.

Read more »

The Future of FCC.GOV

by Dr. David A. Bray, FCC Chief Information Officer
September 5, 2014 - 03:47 PM

In August the FCC launched a project to improve and unify all of our related subdomains. The project is focused on enhancing our website to allow the FCC to more effectively meet the needs of our site’s internal and external stakeholders.

To ensure optimal usability for users, the FCC has partnered with industry leaders on user experience, search and analytics. Over the next four months, the project team will conduct research, prototyping, and usability-testing to complete a data and stakeholder-driven design for

The first phase of the project will be completed by mid-January and will include improved search capabilities of the FCC’s current publicly available content and a working prototype of the new Phase one of the project will focus on four key areas:

Read more »

Keeping Track of the Open Internet Comments Submitted to the FCC

by Dr. David A. Bray, FCC Chief Information Officer
July 14, 2014 - 03:04 PM

*Update: The blog post below has been revised to reflect  the extension of the initial Net Neutrality comment period to 7/18.

This week marks the end of the first round of comments in the Commission’s Open Internet Proceeding.  During the past 60 days, the Commission has received a large number of comments from a wide range of constituents – both from the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) and from the email address.  Chairman Tom Wheeler and I both enthusiastically support open government and open data, so with this post I wanted to share the hourly rate of comments submitted into the FCC’s ECFS since the start of public comments on the FCC’s Open Internet Proceeding (Proceeding 14-28). Here’s a link to a Comma Separated Values (CSV) text file providing those hourly rates for all comments submitted to ECFS and those specific to the Open Internet Proceeding; below is a graphical presentation of that same data.

As the data show, the public has been submitting a high-volume of comments into ECFS over the last two months. The FCC IT team rapidly implemented an additional caching feature on June 3 to support some of the highest concurrent commenting levels that ECFS has seen in its 17-plus year history.

Read more »

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.