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Chairman asks lawmakers for $293 million to fund FCC next year

Chairman Michael Powell went to Capitol Hill last week to ask lawmakers to approve the FCC’s request for nearly $293 million in funding for fiscal year 2005.

Testifying before the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary, Powell sought spending authority of $292,958,000 with a direct appropriation of $20 million. Most of the $293 million will come from regulatory fees paid by licensees. For fiscal year 2004, the FCC received $1 million in direct appropriations.

The 6.9 percent increase in spending for next year is “necessary both to provide the Commission with the resources to accomplish its mission and to set appropriate regulatory and productivity goals,” according to Powell.

About $6 million of the increase will be used for “uncontrollable operating increases” to maintain FCC service and activities at 2004 levels. The rest of increase — about $13 million — will be used for technology initiatives, lifecycle replacement of enforcement vehicles, upgrading monitoring equipment in those vehicles, upgrading testing capabilities and training.

The FCC also sought full apportionment of $91 million for auctions funding. According to Powell, this program has raised $14 billion for the U.S. Treasury and uses 3 percent of total revenues for operating costs.

Among the Commission’s strategic plan and objectives for fiscal 2005 are:

  • Spectrum: The use of domestic and international spectrum policy to encourage growth and rapid deployment of innovative, efficient communications technologies.
  • Media: Facilitating the DTV transition and implement Congress’s directive to review ownership regulations. Additionally, the increased allocation of resources for indecency enforcement.

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