The FCC has released its annual Report and Order showing the regulatory fees due for the 2017 fiscal year. Fees must be paid by 11:59 pm Eastern time on September 26, although the FCC‘s Fee Filer is accepting fee payments now. As in past years, the FCC will not be mailing out any notices of fees due. It is up to each licensee, permittee or regulatee to insure that these fees are timely paid. Fees paid even one day late will be subject to a 25 percent penalty plus administrative processing charges, so timely payment is critical. Licensees or permittees that fail to pay their regulatory fees in full will not be able to get FCC action on any subsequently-filed applications or receive disbursements from the federal universal service programs such as E-rate, pursuant to the Commission's "red light" policy until all fees and penalties are paid.

Regulatory fees can only be paid by wire, online ACH payment, or online credit card, and all payers will need both an FCC Registration Number (FRN) and a completed "Fee Filer Form" 159-E prior to filing. The FCC no longer accepts checks or paper filings. Also, credit card payments are limited to $24,999.99, although debit card payments have no limit.

For most services, fees are based on FCC licenses and permits held as of October 1, 2016 (the first day of the FCC’s 2017 fiscal year), although cable TV rates are based on the number of basic subscribers as of December 31, 2016, and the interstate telecommunications service provider/VoIP fees are based on the 2016 revenues reported on the entity’s 2017 FCC Form 499-A. Noncommercial stations and all nonprofit entities are exempt from paying regulatory fees.

This year, the FCC is increasing the regulatory fee for DBS providers from 27 cents to 38 cents per subscriber and decreasing the cable TV rate from $1.00 to 95 cents per subscriber in an attempt to bring those rates closer together. The FCC simultaneously released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asking, among other things, whether it should maintain its existing bulk rate calculation for multiple dwelling unit subscribers. Any change would be applicable in future years, since that will not be decided prior to September 26.

The FCC is increasing the de minimus threshold for regulatory fees from $500 to $1000, meaning that anyone who owes $1000 or less is exempt from having to pay regulatory fees. As has been the case for several years now, broadcast auxiliary licenses are also exempt from regulatory fees.

Although a summary of fees is shown below, the FCC website contains links to more information about the fees owed, including fees for services not mentioned below.

A. Broadcast Services

1. AM and FM Radio

Click here to view table.

2. Digital Television

The FCC has eliminated the distinction between VHF and UHF for digital TV regulatory fees, as follows:

Click here to view table.

3. LPTV, Class A, TV Translator & TV Booster $430 per license (2016 = $455)

4. Broadband Radio (MDS/MMDS) & LMDS $800 per call sign (2016 = $725)

1. Cable Television Systems 95¢ per subscriber (2016 = $1.00)

2. Cable Antenna Relay Service (CARS) $935 (2016 = $775)

3. Direct Broadcast Service (DBS) 38¢ per subscriber (2016 = 27¢)


1. CMRS Mobile/Cellular Services 21¢ per unit (2016 = 20¢)

2. CMRS Messaging Services 8¢ per unit (unchanged)

3. Microwave (includes Domestic Public Fixed Radio)

Microwave licensees must pay a $25 annual regulatory fee per year, payable for an entire ten-year license term at the time of application for a new, renewal or reinstatement license. The total regulatory fee due is $250 for the ten-year license term. (unchanged)


1.Interstate Telecommunications Services $0.00302 per revenue dollar

(Based on revenue reported on 499-A)

(2016 = $0.00370 per revenue dollar)

These fees are assessed on interconnected VoIP services, as well as traditional services such as local exchange, interexchange (long distance) and resold services.


1. Earth Stations $360 (2016 = $345)