FCC Adopts New Schedule of Regulatory Fees for FY2019; Proposes Changes for FY2020

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The FCC has adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Order and FNPRM) that, among other things: (1) adopts a schedule to collect $339 million in congressionally required regulatory fees for fiscal year 2019 (FY2019); (2) adopts several targeted amendments to the FCC rules to conform with the text of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended; and (3) proposes several amendments to the FCC’s schedule of regulatory fees for fiscal year 2020 (FY2020). Each year, Congress requires the FCC to assess regulatory fees in an amount that can reasonably be expected to equal the amount of the agency’s appropriation. Regulatory fees go towards the FCC’s direct costs (such as salary and agency expenses), indirect costs (such as overhead functions), and support costs (such as rent, utilities, and equipment). Regulatory fees also go towards paying the costs incurred by statutorily-exempt entities, such as governmental entities, non-profits, and non-commercial and educational radio and television stations.  The FY2019 regulatory fees for all payors are due by Monday, September 30, 2019. While the FY2019 regulatory fees have been established, and are found in the various appendices to the Commission’s Order, the FCC is seeking comment on several issues that would impact the assessment of future regulatory fees.  Specifically, the Commission is considering whether to assess regulatory fees to space stations, how they should be apportioned within categories overseen by the International Bureau, and potential changes to regulatory fees assessed to TV and radio broadcasters. Comments to the FNPRM are due 30 days after the FNPRM is published in the Federal Register, and reply comments are due 60 days after the FNPRM is published in the Federal Register, which has yet to happen.

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