The public-facing portion of the FCC’s online public inspection file system for broadcast TV stations apparently was unavailable for part of the day on Wednesday. Although the outage was fairly brief — we first saw the error below late in the morning, and we could access the system again by mid-afternoon — it is a reminder that outages are possible.
Stations are not required to maintain backup copies of most public-file materials. However, the FCC order adopting the online-public-file rules did require stations using the online political file to maintain a backup of that portion of the file. These stations must provide public access to the backup political file if the FCC-hosted file is unavailable. (As a reminder, only stations that are both associated with ABC, CBS, NBC, or Fox and located in a top-50 DMA are currently required to use the online political file. Other stations are permitted to switch to the online political file now, and under the current rules will be required to switch in July 2014.)