Updated: Feb 9, 2018
The Commission has released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) regarding the assessment and collection of regulatory fees for fiscal year (“FY”) 2017. The Commission proposes and seeks comment on its proposal to collect $356,710,992 in regulatory fees for FY 2017. The proposed regulatory fee schedule is available in Appendix A of the NPRM.
Comments are due June 22, 2017.
Reply Comments are due July 7, 2017.
As required by Congress, the Commission assesses regulatory fees each year in an amount that can be reasonably expected to equal the amount of its appropriation. To calculate regulatory fees, the Commission allocates the total collection target across all regulatory fee categories. The allocation of fees to fee categories is based on the Commission’s calculation of full time employees (FTEs) in each regulatory fee category. FTEs are classified as “direct: if the employee is in one of the four “core” bureaus; otherwise, that employee is considered an “indirect” FTE. The total FTEs for each fee category includes the direct FTEs associated with that category, plus a proportional allocation of the indirect FTEs. Each regulate within a fee category pays its proportionate share based on an objective measure, e.g., revenues or number of subscribers.
The NPRM seeks comment on the following:
- The Commission proposes to collect $356,710,992 in regulatory fees for FY 2017. (In FY 2016, the Commission proposed $384,012,497 in regulatory fees).
- Of this amount, the Commission projects approximately $22.2 million in fees from the International Bureau regulatees, $88.7 million from the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“WTB”) regulatees, $130.3 million from the Media Bureau regulatees, and $115.5 million from the Wireline Competition Bureau (“WCB”) regulatees.
- The Commission believes that changes to USF regulatory landscape requires a reevaluation of treating Universal Service Fund FTEs as direct FTEs, and seeks comment on its proposal to reallocate 38 FTEs associated with non-high-cost programs of the Universal Service Fund as indirect.
- The Commission estimates that 7-8 FTEs in the WCB work on numbering issues, and proposes to reallocate four of these FTEs to the WTB as direct FTEs for regulatory purposes.
- The NPRM also seeks comment on adjustments to Broadcaster and International Bearer Circuit (“IBC”) regulatory fees.
- The Commission seeks comment on increasing the de minimis threshold from $500 to $1,000 to improve the cost effectiveness of the Commission’s collection of regulatory fees and to provide regulatory fee relief to smaller entities, particularly those that have little Commission regulation or oversight.
- The Commission seeks comment on whether it should include multi-year wireless licenses in the de minimis threshold; and if so, whether the threshold should be based on fee, number of licenses, frequencies, or paths the licensee holds. It also seeks comment on whether a de minimis threshold should be adopted based on number of cable television subscribers.
- The Commission seeks comment on eliminating regulatory fee categories, such as CMRS Messaging (Paging), as its amounts to a negligible value in regulatory fees.
- The Commission seeks comment on ways to further improve the regulatory fee process, to make it less burdensome for all entities; and seeks comment on ways it can communicate better with smaller regulatees, such as through mass emails.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.