Rollout of new technology hampered by government shutdown

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The longest government shutdown in American history has stretched into its 25th day. There are ramifications beyond federal workers not getting their paychecks and national parks being shut down.

It also affects corporate America’s ability to market new items.

Super Bowl commercials are a big draw for millions of viewers. Companies spend millions of dollars on them, but the government shutdown could prevent some TV spots from airing. 

From laptops to Wi-Fi routers to cellphones, the Federal Communications Commission approves new products before they can be advertised.

A red banner atop the FCC’s website alerts users that the agency isn’t working due to the shutdown. The banner reads: “Due to the partial government shutdown, the FCC suspended most operations at midday Thursday 3 Jan, 2019.”

Last year, Super Bowl advertisers spent more than $5 million for a 30-second advertisement. That included companies like Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile, which eventually want to offer phones with 5-G high-speed wireless technology. 

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel expressed on Twitter her frustration about the shutdown. She wrote: “Go ahead, take a look at the back of the nearest electronic device. You’ll see an FCC number. The agency certifies every innovative mobile phone, television, and computer that emits radio frequency before they can head to market. Guess what is not happening during the shutdown?”

The rollout of 5-G is among the innovations affected.

The agency had to shut down its vital device approval process and the Telecommunications Industry Association is frustrated–saying in a statement:

The unavailability of this process will have a serious and negative impact on the approval of new connected devices that are designed to enable both 5G deployment and the full ecosystem of next generation technologies that 5G will support.

Other FCC functions suspended due to the shutdown include the its consumer complaints center and its cellphone interference reporting system. A complete list if suspended FCC functions is available here.

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