FCC Adopts FY2006 Regulatory Fee Schedule
The FCC announced today that regulatory fees for the 2006 fiscal year (which began October 1, 2005) are due from all nonexempt FCC licensees and permittees as well as cable operators by September 19, 2006. After that date, a 25% late payment penalty will be imposed on all fees due. Governmental and nonprofit entities are generally exempt from paying regulatory fees. Payments may be made online via check or direct debit from a bank account; or by check, money order, credit card (if less than $100,000) or wire transfer. FCC Form 159 must accompany all regulatory fee payments. Feel free to contact us for more detailed instructions on the various payment methods and amounts, or on proving entitlement to an exemption from regulatory fees.
Earlier this month, the FCC released its revised schedule of regulatory fees for fiscal year ("FY") 2006. Congress mandated that the FCC collect nearly $289 million in regulatory fees for FY 2006. The FCC has added an additional $10 million to that amount to satisfy its obligation to reduce the public debt. With some minor adjustments, the Commission has prorated the increase (approximately 6.67%) across all services.
1. FM and AM Radio
As it has done since 1998, the FCC divides broadcast station regulatory fees by type of service and population. The fees for radio also differentiate between stations based on class of station and population served within each station's protected service area. A summary of the regulatory fees is shown below. However, this is not a complete list of all regulatory fees due for all FCC-licensed services. Fee information for specific stations can be obtained from us or online from the FCC at http://www.fcc.gov/fees/regfees.html.
|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|
AM Construction Permits: $395 (2005 fee: $310)
FM Construction Permits: $575 (2005 fee: $550)
2. VHF Commercial Television
3. UHF Commercial Television
|Markets 1-10||$20, 025||$20,750|
4. Satellite TV Stations (all markets): $1,150 (2005 fee: $1075)
5. LPTV, Class A TV, TV/FM Translators & Boosters: $420 per license (2005 fee: $395)
6. Broadcast Auxiliary Stations: $10 per license (NO CHANGE)
B. CABLE SERVICES
Cable operators who paid regulatory fees last year will be sent letters and (if the FCC has an email address) emails with assessments based on FY2005 subscriber counts. However, cable operators should base fees on subscribers as of December 31, 2005. The FCC will continue to allow cable operators to base fees on aggregate subscriber counts without requiring a breakdown by community unit.
1. Cable Television Systems: 79¢ per subscriber (2005 fee: 72¢)
2. Cable Antenna Relay Service (CARS): $175 per call sign (2005 fee: $155)
C. WIRELESS SERVICES
1. CMRS Mobile/Cellular Services
All commercial mobile radio services (CMRS) are assessed a regulatory fee of 20¢ per unit (each mobile or cellular call sign or telephone number is considered a "unit"), down from 22¢ per unit last year. CMRS Mobile Services include the Cellular Radiotelephone Service, the Personal Communications Service (PCS), and the Specialized Mobile Radio Service (SMRS). For these licensees, regulatory fees will be based on subscriber counts shown in their Numbering Resource Utilization Forecast (NRUF) reports, subject to correction by the carriers.
2. CMRS Messaging Services
CMRS messaging services (formerly "one-way paging" services) must pay a regulatory fee of 8¢ for each paging unit under the Commission's order. CMRS Messaging Services include Private Paging; qualifying interconnected Business Radio Services; 220-222 MHz Land Mobile Systems; Public Mobile One-Way Paging; PCS one-way and two-way paging; and 900 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio Services.
Microwave licensees will pay an $85 (2005 - $60) 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. Thus, the total regulatory fee due would be $850 for a ten-year license term.
4. Rural Radio (previously listed under the Land Mobile category)
Licensees for rural radio services (all stations not covered by CMRS or PMRS) will pay a $10 annual regulatory fee per license, payable for an entire ten-year license term at the time of application for a new, renewal or reinstatement license. The 2005 fee was $5. Thus, the total regulatory fee due is $100 for a ten-year license term.
5. Broadband Radio Service (formerly MMDS/MDS)/Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS)
Licensees, which include the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) (formerly ITFS), will owe $275 per authorization. This is up from $255 per authorization in 2005.
D. INTERNATIONAL SERVICES
1. (Transmit) Earth Stations: $215 (2005 Fee: $205)
(No fee for receive-only earth stations)
E. PROCEDURAL MATTERS
Generally, a station's status as of October 1, 2005 is the date for determining the amount of the fee due. However, all fees based on numbers of subscribers or units (e.g. cable subscribers) are based on numbers as of December 31, 2005. There is no prorating of regulatory fees. In instances where a license or other FCC authorization is transferred or assigned after the relevant date, the fee must be paid by the licensee or holder of the authorization on the date that the fee payment is due (i.e., the current licensee or owner).
The Commission highly recommends that entities submitting more than twenty-five (25) fee payment Continuation Forms (Form 159C) pay regulatory fees online using the electronic fee filer program. Also, those who are paying $100,000 or more in regulatory fees must pay by check or wire transfer. The U.S. Treasury will not accept credit card payments exceeding $99,999.99.
The Commission will continue to mail regulatory fee assessment cards to media service entities (radio, TV and LPTV licensees and permittees) but not for broadcast auxiliary stations. Government entities, non-profit entities under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code, and all noncommercial AM, FM and TV licensees and permittees are exempt from paying regulatory fees. Regulatees whose total fee liability amounts to less than $10 are also exempt from fee payment obligations.
Those who do not pay their regulatory fees will be subject to the FCC’s “red light” rules under the Debt Collection Improvement Act (“DCIA”). Under these rules, the Commission will withhold action on any pending applications until all delinquent non-tax debts are paid. Subject to certain exceptions (most notably, taxes), this includes debts owed to other branches of the federal government as well as the FCC. Any delinquencies not resolved within 30 days will result in dismissal of those applications. The DCIA also provides for use of private collection agencies, reporting of debts to consumer credit bureaus and possible referral to the Department of Justice to litigate claims of $2500 or more.
If you have any questions concerning the FCC's regulatory fees (including calculations or payment procedures), please contact us. The FCC’s regulatory fees are also available online at http://www.fcc.gov/fees/regfees.html.