The FCC has announced its proposed regulatory fees for Fiscal Year 2015. Rather remarkably, for the second year in a row radio fees are not to increase, although most television fees are to rise modestly. A list of the planned revised fees is attached.
As it had proposed last year, the FCC has eliminated its prior $10 fee for broadcast auxiliary microwave stations. Licensees are to be exempt from regulatory fee payments if their total liability is below $500. Although the fees for all full-power broadcast facilities exceed that amount, licensees of a single FM or TV translator or booster ($435), Low Power or Class A TV station ($435) or earth station ($340) may be able to benefit from the exemption.
Also effective this year, the FCC will transfer licensee debts to the Treasury Department for collection after 120 days rather than 180 days. Timely payment remains important so as to avoid the 25% late payment penalty plus interest and administrative fees, but it is more costly and complicated to deal with the Treasury Department than the FCC over delinquencies.
Other changes involve eliminating the former fees for amateur radio vanity call signs and the General Mobile Radio Service. New fees are to be added for toll-free numbers and Direct Broadcast Satellite providers. The latter is to be phased in so as to address concerns raised by DISH and DIRECTV that the proposed amount (one cent per subscriber per month) would cause “rate shock.”
The due date for this year’s payments is yet to be announced, but is expected to be in early to mid-September. Fees will be due on all authorizations issued and based upon their status as of October 1, 2014.
For future consideration, the FCC has proposed adjustments based on an updated calculation of the number of FCC full-time employee (FTE) equivalents (i.e., FCC staff) devoted to regulating each category of payor. It also suggests basing radio fees on market size rather than type, class and population served or, alternatively, adjusting the population dividing points for radio fee categories. These changes in methodology would not take effect until next year at the earliest.
Comments to the FCC on the FY 2015 proposals are due by June 22 and replies by July 6. A copy of the full Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Report and Order, and Order (FCC 15-59) is available on the FCC website.
Clic here to view comparison of regulatory fees - chart