NYSBA Files Opposing FCC Fee Hikes

As we noted a few weeks ago, despite the pandemic, the FCC has increased its licensing fees.  For years we have argued that a number of other communications companies, especially big tech, have not paid their fair share.  For example many of these companies make billions selling “unlicensed” communications devices that have been authorized by the FCC.  Nonetheless, none of these companies pay regulatory fees.  In our filing, NYSBA and the other state associations noted that a recent court decision will now require the FCC to take these entities into account:

“As the National Association of Broadcasters (“NAB”) and the State Associations have noted in this and prior regulatory fee proceedings, the Ray Baum’s Act (RBA), fundamentally and dramatically changed the way the FCC must undertake its annual task of assessing regulatory fees among payors. However, each year, the FCC has continued to reject that notion, asserting that “the fee assessment structure dictated by the statute fundamentally remains unchanged.” It can no longer do so in light of the Telesat Canada decision.

This means that (i) the FCC must justify requiring broadcasters to shoulder costs unrelated to broadcasting on something more than the mere fact that broadcasters hold a license, and (ii) the FCC must reach beyond the low-hanging fruit of regulatees to whom it has issued a license to those who receive the benefits of the Commission’s regulatory activities without paying a share relative to the benefit they receive. Given that the FCC has not changed its regulatory fee process in response to the requirements of the RBA, the FY2021 NPRM is fundamentally defective, as is its specific proposal to impose increased regulatory fees on broadcasters.”

We believe now is the time for the FCC to take these other services into account when assessing regulatory fees.  To see a copy of our filing with the FCC click HERE.


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