John Oliver and Reddit drove so much traffic to the FCC net neutrality open comment page that it crashed. All told, the FCC fielded 3 million responses to its proposed net neutrality policies. But the FCC also offers a portal for complaining about everything else (cable companies sucking, ISPs sucking, wireless carriers ... well, you get the idea). Given how much there is to be frustrated about in the telecom industry, it probably has a heavy load, too, and it just got a makeover.*
The FCC announced Monday that it has overhauled its Consumer Help Center. The agency claims that it has streamlined the process of submitting complaints and checking on their status. The new site also offers thoughtfully organized information about the telecom industry “that will empower consumers to resolve some problems on their own.” LOL.
The agency also says that it will have better access to consumer complaint data so it can analyze trends and better understand consumer priorities in terms of which problems need to be addressed first.
Delara Derakhashani, the policy counsel for Consumers Union—the advocacy division of Consumer Reports that advised the FCC on the redesign—said in a statement, “This is a one-stop shop for consumers, and it’s a real improvement over the old system where forms and information were spread out and hard to find. We’re pleased that more of this complaint data is going to be available to the public, which will help root out problems and raise the bar for companies.”
Can’t hurt for the nation’s Internet regulator to actually have a functioning website—especially because if the redesign isn't solid, John Oliver could be coming for it when Last Week Tonight returns from hiatus on Feb. 8.
*Correction, Jan. 6, 2015: This post originally conflated the FCC Consumer Help Center, which allows consumers to file complaints on things like broadband service and Do Not Call violations, with the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System, which allows people to file comments about FCC policies. They are two separate systems.