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NAB Pushes Back Hard on FCC Fee Increase

NAB
(Image credit: NAB)

Why should radio and TV stations subsidize the costs of FCC employees who are tasked with pursuing “a 100 percent broadband policy”?

The National Association of Broadcasters is again asking that question (opens in new tab) and others, pushing back against a proposed 13% hike in broadcaster regulatory fees (opens in new tab) that’s pending at the commission.

In reply comments filed Monday, the NAB pressed the FCC to continue to exempt broadcasters from paying for costs associated with the implementation of the Broadband DATA Act, and to exempt broadcasters from paying for Universal Service Fund activities.

It also asked the FCC to ensure that broadcasters are not responsible for costs associated with the 84 direct full-time employees in the Media Bureau that are assigned to execute its broadband policy. “These FTEs [full-time equivalents] should instead be allocated as indirect FTEs or paid for solely by cable/DBS providers to the extent they specially benefit from the broadband work performed.”

And it asked that the commission cap broadcasters’ fee increase at 5% so as not to impair their ability to serve their communities.

“The commission’s proposal to impose a 13% fee increase on broadcasters is unfair, unsustainable and unlawful,” NAB wrote. It echoed a filing by state broadcast associations, pointing out that the proposed increase in broadcast fee revenue “nearly totals the commission’s entire budget increase. This outcome is simply indefensible and the product of an outdated methodology.”

The association said big tech companies and other corporations should bear their share. “Shouting ‘Wi-Fi Tax!’ does nothing to change the equation. These major corporations exploit commission resources to generate substantial revenues, yet rely on other industries to pay the tab.”

This article originally appeared on TV Tech sister brand Radio World.