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FCC Won't Increase Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2021


Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission

The FCC will not increase regulatory fees for broadcasters in order to partially offset costs of broadband mapping, which both NAB and State Broadcasters Assoiations argued would hurt broadcast outlets. Several commenters representing the broadcast industry objected to the assessment on broadcasters of any portion of the $33 million designated by Congress to cover the costs of implementation of the Broadband DATA Act as part of the Commission's FY 2021 appropriation.

They argued that broadcasters are not regulated by nor do they benefit from implementation of the Broadband DATA Act. Specifically, NAB stated that the Broadband DATA Act costs are not overhead costs because they pertain only to certain of the Commission's core bureaus and identifiable entities, namely, broadband service providers, that are regulated by and benefit from the Commission's activities implementing the legislation.

Under the FCC's initial regulatory fee proposal for Fiscal Year 2021, broadcasters faced a 5-15% increase in regulatory fees, despite the Commission's general salary and expenses budget increasing by only 0.5%. In a Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued on August 26, the Commission also noted an error pointed out by NAB and State Broadcasters Assoiations that figures were exactly the same in FY 2020 and FY 2021 totals. The correct sum total for AM and FM radio revenues for FY 2021 is $32,337,925, an increase of $2,304,950 which is a 7.67% increase from FY 2020.

NAB Senior Vice President of Communications Ann Marie Cumming said in a statement, "NAB greatly appreciates the FCC's efforts to revise its original regulatory fee proposal that would have required local radio and television broadcasters to subsidize unrelated work at the Commission. The change is not only the right outcome, but critical to the many broadcasters' ongoing service to their local communities.

"NAB and our members look forward to working with the FCC in the coming year to take a deeper look at the regulatory fee process to ensure all stakeholders that benefit from the Commission's work are paying their fair share and that those currently subsidizing the Commission are no longer paying for work unrelated to their industries."

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