Aiming to modernize its aging information technology (IT) infrastructure, the FCC initiated major improvements and upgrades to its online data and filing systems on Wednesday evening as part of an effort that will shift the agency’s IT systems to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and other cloud-based platforms.

Detailed in an August 20 public notice and in a blog post updated Monday by FCC Chief Information Officer David Bray, the IT system overhaul is so extensive that the FCC took the unusual step of temporarily blocking public access to most “interactive” filing and document retrieval systems offered through the agency’s website to facilitate work on the upgrades. Access to most online FCC systems was shut off at 6 PM on Wednesday, and Bray explained that technicians would work to “have web applications upgraded and available again by . . . 8 AM EDT on Tuesday, September 8.” During this period, most FCC staff members will not have access to e-mail or to voice mail although phones will continue to work and the FCC will remain open for business. Certain critical FCC systems that include the agency’s Network Outage Reporting System and the Disaster Information Reporting System will remain in operation, and the FCC will extend until September 9 deadlines for most regulatory and enforcement filings that would otherwise be due during the upgrade period. (Additionally, operations through the FCC’s Consumer Help Desk, which has already migrated to the SaaS platform, will not be affected.) Once system upgrades are completed, the FCC will issue a public notice to confirm public availability of affected online systems.

In a December 2014 blog post announcing plans for the FCC’s IT transformation, Bray predicted that the agency’s efforts “will improve the agility, resiliency and reliability of the FCC’s . . . services for the public and our stakeholders.” Asserting that the IT system improvements will also “reduce how much we spend on our legacy infrastructure,” Bray remarked that the time has come to bring that infrastructure “into the 21st century.”