GAO Report Questions U/V Regulatory Fee Disparity
September 27, 2012
|I've been questioning the FCC's regulatory fees for broadcast TV licenses since the start of the DTV transition. VHF stations pay more--much more--than stations transmitting on UHF channels in regulatory fees even though, as the incentive auction legislation has shown, the UHF channels are more valuable.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recognized this in its recent Report to Congressional Requesters – Federal Communications Commission Regulatory Fee Process Needs to Be Updated. The Report criticizes the FCC for not updating regulatory fees as industries changed.
It states: “According to FCC's estimates, measures of some industries grew by over 50 percent--including the wireless telephone industry, for which the number of subscribers grew by over 400 percent--while measures of other industries declined by over 40 percent, including VHF television stations, for which the number of stations declined by 48 percent.
It continues: “[The] FCC's Office of the Managing Director has published some information that further suggests that FCC is basing its division of regulatory fees among fee categories on data that do not correlate with industry trends and FCC's current workload.”