FCC Regulatory Fees Due Sept. 23

Just before the start of the Labor Day holiday weekend, the FCC announced FCC Fiscal Year 2014 Regulatory Fees are due Sept. 23, 2014. The commission also released a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking affecting collection of regulatory fees in FY 2015. One of those changes will greatly simplify broadcasters' fee filings.

FCC licensees pay regulatory fees either at the time their license is granted or renewed or on an annual basis. As the name implies, the fees cover the FCC's cost of regulating these permittees or licensees. Broadcast station licenses, including auxiliary licenses for microwave links, remote pickup, and wireless microphones, are charged a fee on an annual basis. Satellite uplink licenses, including SNG truck licenses, must pay annual regulatory fees. Fees for cell phones and Ka-band uplinks used with ViaSat are paid for by owner of the blanket license for these devices—the cellphone company or satellite providers such as ViaSat.

In its notice on the 2015 regulatory fees, the FCC decided that the cost of collecting the $10 per license fee for broadcast auxiliary licensees exceeded the revenue. “We have also decided to eliminate the broadcast auxiliary fee category beginning in FY 2015 because the Commission spends more resources in monitoring and collecting these very small fees ($10 in FY 2013) than it collects. After we eliminate the fee, licensees will no longer be burdened administratively and financially to identify each of their call signs and to submit payment. Finally, eliminating this fee category benefits the Commission because it will no longer have to devote resources to associate each of the 27,000 call signs with the primary station of ownership.”

For information on how to pay regulatory fees, see the Public Notice Fee Filer is Open for Payment of FY 2014 Regulatory Fees (DA 14-1261). Additional details on the regulatory fee process is available in the FCC's Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 14-129).

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.