Commission extends due dates in advance of upgrade of all electronic filing systems and electronic dockets.
If you’ve got something due to be filed at the FCC between September 2-8, 2015, you just got an extension … to September 9. Happy Labor Day! For this you can thank the Commission’s IT gurus, who are going to perform “upgrades and improvements” to the various computer systems with which the Commission routinely operates. The upgrade process is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, September 2; the Commission is figuring everything will be hunky-dory, with all systems back up on-line, by 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 8. (Sounds like an excellent opportunity for you to set up a pool in your office – when, exactly (to the hour) will filings really be accepted across the board?)
During the down-time, “all electronic filing systems and electronic dockets” will be inaccessible (although Network Outage Reporting System, the Consumer Help Center and the Disaster Information Reporting System will remain up and running, as will the FCC’s 24/7 Operations Center). What systems are we talking about? Take a deep breath and start reading: the Universal Licensing System (ULS), the Electronic Comment Filing System, the Electronic Document Management System, the Equipment Authorization System, the Electronic Tariff Filing System, the Experimental Licensing System, the Consolidated Database System, the Licensing and Management System, the International Bureau Filing System, the Section 43.62 Online Filing System, the Tower Construction Notification System (TCNS), the Antenna Structure Registration System (ASR), the Electronic Section-106 System (E-106), Fee Filer, the Commission Registration System and the 911 Reliability Certification System. (Note that ULS, ASR, E-106 and TCNS will technically shut down as of 12:01 a.m. on September 2.)
As a result, all “regulatory and enforcement” deadlines that would have fallen between September 2-8 (except for Network Outage Reports) have now been extended to September 9. Deadlines for pleadings responsive to any pleading subject to this extension will be extended an equivalent amount of time. The Commission has also indicated a willingness to consider extension requests, where appropriate. (And a further benefit for regulators and regulatees alike: during the down-time, “most Commission staff will not have access to e-mail”!)
One limited set of exceptions: filings subject to statutory deadlines. Since the FCC technically doesn’t have the authority to overrule Congressionally-established deadlines, it can’t extend them. But no worries: in order to give folks with statutory deadlines the same break that everybody else is getting, the Commission has declared that it will deem itself not to be open for the purpose of filing documents with statutory deadlines of September 2-4; such filings will have to be filed by September 8.
And another exception: payments that are not required to be submitted through Fee Filer. That limited universe of payments will still have to be made between September 2-4 the old-fashioned way, through the U.S. Bank.
Getting an extra couple of days tacked onto a long holiday weekend is generally welcome news to most working stiffs. Ditto for the news that old and creaky systems (um, CDBS, anybody?) may finally be getting dragged into the 21st Century. And anyway, what could possibly go wrong with a major league upgrade of complex computer systems? (Let’s not focus on the fact that, in the last month alone system upgrades have been blamed for major problems in the air traffic control system, the New York Stock Exchange, and even the Bitcoin market.)
So change your travel plans, extend your Labor Day stay at the beach, and keep your fingers crossed that things will be up and running when you get back.