The FCC has released its annual Report and Order showing the regulatory fees due for the 2019 fiscal year. Fees must be paid by 11:59 pm Eastern time on September 24, although the FCC‘s Fee Filer 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 or regulatee to insure 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.
Licensees or permittees that fail to pay their regulatory fees in full will not be able to get 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 $24,999.99, although debit card payments have no limit.
For most services, fees are based on FCC licenses and permits held as of October 1, 2018 (the first day of the FCC’s 2019 fiscal year), although cable TV rates are based on the number of basic subscribers as of “a typical day in the last full week” of December 2018, rather than on a count as of December 31, 2018, and the interstate telecommunications service provider/VoIP fees are based on the 2018 revenues reported on the entity’s 2019 FCC Form 499-A. Noncommercial stations and all nonprofit entities are exempt from paying regulatory fees.
For TV stations, the FCC is transitioning from a DMA-based to a population-based method for calculating broadcast television regulatory fees, charging .72 of one cent ($.007224) for each person within a station’s projected noise-limited service contour. To facilitate that transition, the FY 2019 fees for full power broadcast television stations is based on an average of the former DMA methodology and the population covered by the station’s contour.
This year, the FCC is again increasing the regulatory fee for DBS providers from 48 cents to 60 cents per subscriber and also increasing the cable TV rate from 77 cents to 86 cents per subscriber in an attempt to bring those rates closer together. Following a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued last year, the FCC decided to maintain its existing bulk rate calculation for multiple dwelling unit subscribers.
For the third year in a row, 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.
A. BROADCAST SERVICES
1. AM and FM Radio
|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, 425||$1,000||$895||$985||$1,575||$1,800|
|75,001 - 150,000||$2, 150||$1,550||$1,350||$1,475||$2,375||$2,700|
|150,001 - 500,000||$3,200||$2,325||$2,000||$2,225||$3,550||$4,050|
|500,001 - 1,200,000||$4,800||$3,475||$3,000||$3,325||$5,325||$6,075|
|1,200,001 - 3,000,000||$7,225||$5,200||$4,525||$4,975||$7,975||$9,125|
|3,000,001 - 6,000,000||$10,825||$7,800||$6,775||$7,450||$11,950||$13,675|
|AM Construction Permits||$595|
|FM Construction Permits||$1,000|
2. Digital Television, VHF and UHF Commercial
The FCC is calculating FY 2019 regulatory fees based on the average of the DMA-based fee and population-based fee for each full-power broadcast television station, including each satellite station. See here.
|Fee Category||Annual Regulatory Fee|
|Digital TV (47 CFR part 73) and UHF Commercial|
3. LPTV, Class A, TV/FM Translators & Boosters$345 per license (2018 = $380)
4. Broadband Radio (MDS/MMDS) & LMDS$690 per call sign (2018 = $600)
B. MVPD SERVICES
- Cable Television Systems
86¢ per subscriber (2018 = 77¢)
- Cable Antenna Relay Service (CARS)
$1,225 (2018 = $1,075)
- Direct Broadcast Service (DBS)
60¢ per subscriber (2018 = 48¢)
C. WIRELESS SERVICES
- CMRS Mobile/Cellular Services
19¢ per unit (2018 = 20¢)
- 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).
D. TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDERS
- Interstate Telecommunications Service
$0.00317 per revenue dollar
(Based on revenue reported on 499-A)
(2018 = $0.00291 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.
E. INTERNATIONAL SERVICES
- Earth Stations
$425 (2018 = $325)
- NO FEE FOR RECEIVE-ONLY EARTH STATIONS