Update September 24, 2021: The FCC has extended the deadline for regulatory fee payments to September 27 at 11:59 P.M. Eastern time.
The FCC Regulatory Fees applicable to most regulated entities must be paid by 11:59 pm Eastern time on September 24. As in past years, the FCC will not be mailing out any notices of fees due. It is up to each licensee, permittee, cable operator, telecom or VoIP provider, or other regulatee to log in to Fee Filer and ensure that these fees are timely paid.
Fees paid even one day late will be subject to a 25 percent penalty plus administrative processing charges, so timely payment is critical. Parties that fail to pay their regulatory fees in full will not be able to obtain FCC action on any subsequently filed applications or receive disbursements from the federal universal service programs such as E-rate, pursuant to the Commission's "red light" policy until all fees and penalties are paid.
Regulatory fees can only be paid by wire, online ACH payment, debit card (Visa/MasterCard), or online credit card, and all payers will need both an FCC Registration Number (FRN) and a completed "Fee Filer Form" 159-E prior to filing. The FCC no longer accepts checks or paper filings. Also, credit card payments are limited to $24,999.99, although debit card payments have no limit.
For most services, fees are based on FCC licenses and permits held as of October 1, 2020 (the first day of the FCC's 2021 fiscal year). Under the FCC's Report and Order setting regulatory fees due for the 2021 fiscal year, the FCC completed its transition to a single per-subscriber fee applicable to all multichannel video programming distributors, including cable operators, DBS satellite providers, and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) providers.
The FCC set the 2021 regulatory fee for these providers at 98 cents per subscriber served as of December 31, 2020, per year, raised from 72 cents per subscriber for DBS providers and from 89 cents per subscriber for cable TV in 2020. The FCC maintained its existing bulk rate calculation for multiple dwelling unit subscribers.
The interstate telecommunications service provider/VoIP fees are based on the 2020 revenues reported on the entity's 2021 FCC Form 499-A. Noncommercial stations and all nonprofit entities, along with state and local government entities, are exempt from paying regulatory fees. For TV stations, the FCC completed its 2020 transition from a DMA-based to a population-based method for calculating broadcast television regulatory fees, charging .7793 of one cent ($.007793) for each person within a station's projected noise-limited service contour, a decrease from the 2020 regulatory fee.
The FCC is keeping the de minimis threshold for regulatory fees at $1,000—meaning that any person or entity that owes $1,000 or less is exempt from having to pay regulatory fees. As has been the case for several years now, broadcast auxiliary licenses are also exempt from regulatory fees.
Although a summary of fees is shown below, the FCC website contains links to more information about the fees owed, including fees for services not mentioned below. Due to the ongoing economic effects of COVID-19, the FCC extended its 2020 COVID-19 relief measures into 2021, and relief or deferral of regulatory fee payment may be available. If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, please contact us about the possibility of seeking a fee waiver or deferral on your behalf.
AM and FM Radio
FY 2021 RADIO STATION REGULATORY FEES
|Population Served||AM Class A||AM Class B||AM Class C||AM Class D||FM Classes A, B1 & C3||FM Classes B, C, C0, C1 & C2|
|25,001 - 75,000||$1,465||$1.050||$915||$1,000||$1,605||$1,830|
|75,001 - 150,000||$2,195||$1,575||$1,375||$1,510||$2,410||$2,745|
|150,001 - 500,000||$3,295||$2,365||$2.060||$2,265||$3,615||$4,125|
|500,001 - 1,200,000||$4,935||$3,540||$3,085||$3,390||$5,415||$6,175|
|1,200,001 - 3,000,000||$7,410||$5,320||$4,635||$5,090||$8,130||$9,270|
|3,000,001 - 6,000,000||$11,105||$7,975||$6,950||$7,630||$12,185||$13,895|
|AM Construction Permits||$610|
|FM Construction Permits||$1,070|
Digital Television, VHF, and UHF Commercial
The FCC is calculating FY 2021 regulatory fees using a population-based fee for each full-power broadcast television station, including each satellite station. See here at pgs. 64-121.
|Fee Category||Annual Regulatory Fee|
|Digital TV (47 CFR part 73) VHF and UHF Commercial Construction Permits
|LPTV, Class A, TV/FM Translators & Boosters
||$320 per license (2020 = $315)
|Broadband Radio (MDS/MMDS) & LMDS
||$605 per call sign (2020 = $560)
|Cable Television Systems (including IPTV, DBS)||98¢ per subscriber (2020 = 89¢ for cable; 72¢ for DBS)|
|Cable Antenna Relay Service (CARS)||$1,555 (2020 = $1,300)|
|CMRS Mobile/Cellular Services||15¢ per unit (2020 = 17¢)|
|CMRS Messaging Services||8¢ per unit (unchanged)|
|Microwave (includes Domestic Public Fixed Radio)
||Microwave licensees must pay a $25 annual regulatory fee per year, payable for an entire 10-year license term at the time of application for a new, renewal or reinstatement license. The total regulatory fee due is $250 for the 10-year license term. (unchanged)
Telecommunications Service Providers
|Interstate Telecommunications Services||
$0.00400 per revenue dollar
These fees are assessed on interconnected VoIP services, as well as traditional services such as local exchange, interexchange (long distance) and resold services.
|Earth Stations||$595 (2020 = $560)|
- NO FEE FOR RECEIVE-ONLY EARTH STATIONS