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Cable Ops to FCC: Time for DBS to Pay Its Share

(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON—Cable operators are calling on the FCC to level the regulatory fee playing field and require satellite operators (DBS) to match their cable fees.

This comes from the latest batch of comments from ACA Connects and NCTA—The Internet & Television Association in response to comments filed by AT&T and Dish opposing the FCC’s proposal to increase their Fiscal Year 2020 DBS regulatory fee by 12 cents per subscriber.

With this particular proposal, ACA and NCTA make the case that DBS providers’ arguments against any raise for this fiscal year are “predictable and remain meritless,” saying the FCC “must again repudiate them.”

In the past, satellite operators’ reg fees were based on per license rather than per sub. However, the FCC decided a half-decade ago that it would begin charging DBS on a per sub basis and raise their fees annually so as to put them on a path toward parity with cable. Cable operators, however, would rather see fees raised to equal levels immediately.

“[T]he commission should assess all MVPDs, including DBS providers, the same regulatory fee to fund the Media Bureau’s activities in FY 2020 and onward,” the comments read. The cable ops argue that there is no reason for the delay other than that the FCC initially adopted the phase-in approach.

To read the full comments from ACA and NCTA, visit the FCC’s ECFS