FCC posts data sets, plans site redesign to be more like a dot-com

Application programming interfaces allow visitors to search Internet speeds in counties, broadcast licenses and census data.

The Federal Communications Commission launched on Tuesday a website aimed at unlocking government data previously inaccessible on the Internet and said a redesigned site will go live before the end of the year.

The new website, called FCC.gov/developer, provides developers with access to APIs, or application programming interfaces, which make it easier to create applications. One of the new data sets is the consumer broadband test, which provides Internet speeds for individual counties. Residents can enter a GPS coordinate, say, to compare different network speeds, said Steven VanRoekel, managing director of FCC, at the Gov 2.0 Summit in Washington.

Part of FCC's "commitment [is] unlocking our agency's data, I should say the public's data, in open searchable machine readable format," said Commissioner Julius Genachowski.

The commission also posted FCC License View, an application that gives the public easy access to information about licenses. The license view launched on Tuesday, but an expanded site will go live later this week, VanRoekel said in his presentation. An additional application is Census Block Conversions, which enables users to search demographic information.

VanRoekel also said FCC will redesign its site for the first time in 10 years, providing access to 40,000 links within two clicks. The new site will act more like a dot-com, rather than a dot-gov, by increasing the level of communication and responsiveness between the agency and the public, he added.