APPLICATION: Universal Licensing System
-- Everybody you know is getting a cell phone and a pager. Whether you find this explosion
of wireless services daunting or not, there is no doubt it is happening. The Federal Communications Commission's
(FCC) Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) is in charge of administering most of the wireless programs in the
U.S., including cellular and paging licenses, as well as those licenses designated for emergency services like
police and fire departments.
As the demand for cellular phones and pagers mushroomed, the WTB decided it needed to make changes. Not only
were hundreds of thousands of license applications received annually, but the 40 different licensing forms in circulation
had applicants frequently using the wrong form or entering incorrect information.
To streamline the system, the WTB formed a redevelopment project team, including FCC staff, its development
contractors, Computech Inc. and Sybase Professional Services. In April 1997, they began a project to make the mainframe
data for the 11 wireless service applications available on the World Wide Web to any applicant with a PC, modem
and Web browser. This meant migrating from a mainframe to a new client/server-based system.
The new system is designed to handle current demands, and to be scalable enough to grow with the wireless communications
industry. The Universal Licensing System was built with a Netscape Navigator 4.06-based front end linked to a Sybase
Adaptive Server Enterprise database. The Sybase Adaptive Enterprise Application Server was employed to allow reuse
of existing Java components and
to create a highly scalable environment. These and several other Sybase
data management tools were used to build and manage the databases, which
are housed on Sun Microsystems Enterprise Servers. The client desktops
are HP workstations.
In order to give applicants an easier way to access information about licenses and regions, MapInfo Professional
is used to provide users with online maps of the markets where FCC licenses have been issued. Previously, users
often had to hire a third-party consultant to collect this information.
The WTB estimates that the Universal Licensing System will reduce the total time applicants spend on paperwork
by more than 700,000 hours annually. It will also save the FCC more than $1 million dollars a year in reduced maintenance
-- Rich Seeley
Streamlined applications that can be submitted electronically, saving both
applicants and the FCC money. Online access to maps of markets and licenses,
giving applicants better information quicker. More efficient processing
of applications, allowing for faster turnaround times.
Sybase Corp. tools, including PowerBuilder, jConnect, PowerJ, WEB.SQL and CT-Lib/DB-Lib; Netscape Navigator 4.06;
and MapInfo Corp.'s MapInfo Professional
Microsystems Enterprise Servers with HP