The FCC has released its annual Report and Order showing the regulatory fees due for the 2022 fiscal year. Regulated licensees and telecom and video service providers must pay the fees by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on September 28, 2022. The FCC's CORES payment module is accepting fee payments now.
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 the CORES payment module and ensure that these fees are timely paid. Fees paid even one day late will be subject to a 25% penalty plus administrative processing charges, so timely payment is critical. Pursuant to the Commission's "red light" policy, 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, until all fees and penalties are paid.
Regulatory fees can only be paid by wire, Pay.gov, online ACH payment, debit card (Visa/MasterCard) or online credit card, and all payers will need a CORES Username Account, 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 $24,999.99, although debit card payments have no limit.
By statute, the FCC is required to collect regulatory fees covering all of the agency's salary and expenses. This is done by allocating the FCC's budget among its full-time employees, referred to as "Full-Time Equivalents" or "FTEs." The regulatory fees for all the services that are regulated by a particular bureau must cover 100% of the costs of that bureau's FTEs plus a proportion of the costs of FTEs not allocated to a particular service, such as the General Counsel's Office, Administrative Law Judges, and the Enforcement Bureau. For example, broadcasters and cable operators must pay regulatory fees contributing to the cost of all FTEs who work in the FCC's Media Bureau plus a percentage of the costs of those FTEs who work on general matters.
For most services, fees are based on FCC licenses and permits held as of October 1, 2021 (the first day of the FCC's 2022 fiscal year), although cable TV rates are based on the number of basic subscribers as of "a typical day in the last full week" of December 2021, rather than on a subscriber count as of December 31, 2021, which is applicable to Direct Broadcast Service (DBS) and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) providers. The interstate telecommunications service provider/VoIP fees are based on the 2021 revenues reported on the entity's 2022 FCC Form 499-A. Noncommercial stations and all nonprofit entities are exempt from paying regulatory fees.
For TV stations, the FCC has adopted the use of a population-based method for calculating broadcast television regulatory fees. The FCC had proposed charging .88 of one cent ($.008803) for each person within a station's projected noise-limited service contour; however, a lower fee factor of .84 of one cent ($.008430) has been adopted for the 2022 fiscal year.
This year, the FCC is again increasing the regulatory fee for DBS providers, from 98 cents to $1.16 per subscriber, and also increasing the cable TV rate from 98 cents to $1.16 per subscriber. The FCC has phased in an increase in the DBS regulatory fee over the past several years. The phased-in increase was completed last year, and the FCC, since 2021, assesses the same regulatory fee for DBS, cable television, and IPTV. The FCC maintains its existing bulk rate calculation for multiple dwelling unit subscribers.
The FCC is keeping the de minimis threshold for regulatory fees at $1,000.00, meaning that any person or entity that owes a total of $1,000.00 or less for all licenses held is exempt from having to pay regulatory fees. For example, if an entity holds three licenses, the regulatory fees for each being $500.00 and the total being $1,500.00, then the entity would not be exempt. As has been the case for several years now, broadcast auxiliary licenses are totally 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 listed below. Due to the ongoing economic effects of the pandemic, relief or deferral of regulatory fee payments may be available. If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, please contact us about the possibility of seeking a fee waiver and deferral.
A. BROADCAST SERVICES
AM and FM Radio
FY 2022 RADIO STATION REGULATORY FEES
|Population Served||AM Class A||AM Class B||AM Class C||AM Class D||AM Class A, B1, & C3||AM Class B, C, C0, C1, & C2|
|25,001 – 75,000
|75,001 – 150,000
|150,001 – 500,000
|500,001 – 1,200,000
|1,200,001 – 3,000,000
|3,000,001 – 6,000,000
|AM Construction Permits||$655|
|FM Construction Permits||$1,145|
Digital Television, VHF and UHF Commercial
The FCC is calculating FY 2022 regulatory fees using a population-based fee for each full-power broadcast television station, including each satellite station. See here at Appendix G, pgs. 85-142.
|Fee Category||Annual Regulatory Fee|
|Digital TV (47 CFR part 73) VHF and UHF Commercial Construction Permits
|LPTV, Class A, TV/FM Translators & Boosters
||$330 per license (2021 = $320)
|Broadband Radio (MDS/MMDS) & LMDS
||$590 per call sign (2021 = $605)
|Cable Television Systems (including IPTV, DBS)||$1.16 per subscriber (2021 = 98¢)|
|Cable Antenna Relay Service (CARS)||$1,715 (2021 = $1,555)|
|Directed Broadcast Service (DBS)||$1.16 per subscriber (2021 = 98¢)|
|CMRS Mobile/Cellular Services||14¢ per unit (2021 = 15¢)|
|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 ten-year license term at the time of application for a new, renewal or reinstatement license. The total regulatory fee due is $250 for the ten-year license term. (unchanged)
Telecommunications Service Providers
|Interstate Telecommunications Services||
$0.00452 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||$620 (2021 = $595)|
- NO FEE FOR RECEIVE-ONLY EARTH STATIONS
Please contact us if you have any questions or if you desire any assistance in connection with the regulatory fee filing process.