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E&C Democrats Push for Hearing on FCC Website Failures

May 17, 2017
Press Release
Website Was Unable to Handle High Volume of Traffic from Members of the Public Attempting to Comment on Net Neutrality

WASHINGTON, DC — Four Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats today urged their Republican counterparts to hold a hearing to examine the recent failure of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website to handle the high volume of comments on the FCC’s net neutrality proceeding. 


Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Doyle (D-PA), and Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) made their request today in a letter to Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA).


We have serious concerns that the FCC’s website failures deprive members of the public of opportunities to make their voices heard on net neutrality – an issue that affects everyone who uses the internet,” the four lawmakers wrote.  “It is critical for the FCC to be able to facilitate public participation in open rulemaking proceedings.”


The day following the FCC website’s failure, Dr. David Bray, the FCC’s Chief Information Officer, claimed that the FCC “was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks.”  In the letter, the four Committee Democrats request that the FCC’s Chief Information Officer be called as a witness to examine the following issues:


1. What is the FCC doing to address this situation and to monitor developments?


2. How many visitors is the FCC’s comment-filing website designed to accommodate at the same time?


3. How many visitors were unable to access the FCC’s website and file comments during the time the system experienced a “high amount of traffic?”


4. Does the FCC have sufficient resources to keep its servers online during high-profile proceedings?


5. Is the FCC making alternative ways available for members of the public to file comments in the net neutrality proceeding?


6. How did the FCC determine that it experienced denial-of-service attacks? 


7. What measures is the FCC currently taking to protect its website from denial-of-service attacks?


Read the full letter here.