recommended reading

The Government's Technology Agency Admits It Has Lousy Technology

Pavel Ignatov/

The Federal Communications Commission is charged with regulating the nation's technology and telecommunications industries. But in house, the commission's own equipment is so deficient that its leader came to Congress this week pleading for an upgrade.

"We just simply cannot go on this way," the visibly frustrated FCC chairman told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday.

At hearings this week before the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees that handle his agency's budget, Chairman Tom Wheeler told Congress that the FCC needs $13.5 million to upgrade its "antiquated" technology system.

Vulnerability to cyberattacks is a top concern for Wheeler. For example, many of the FCC's computers still use Windows XP, the 13-year-old operating system that Microsoft is ending support for on April 8.

"As a result of my being here today ... we will see a precipitous increase in the amount of attacks on the FCC website," Wheeler said Thursday. "If we have responsibility for the economic engine of the 21st century, we can't be sitting here ... exposed as we are."

The outdated technology is also a drag on the agency's efficiency.

Improving the agency's efficiency and accountability is a high priority for Congress and the new chairman, and even Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai agreed that the sorry state of its IT makes it difficult to achieve those goals.

According to Wheeler, the agency has more than 200 different computer systems and 40 percent of its technology is at least 10 years old. Money not spent on upgrades next year will be spent within two years on expensive maintenance.

Citing his long career in the private sector, Wheeler said, "There is not a business in America that would put up with this."

(Image via Pavel Ignatov/

Threatwatch Alert

Stolen laptop

3.7M Hong Kong Voters' Personal Data Stolen

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.