On Friday, September 2, 2022, the FCC released a Report and Order and Notice of Inquiry (“R&O” and “NOI”) on the Assessment and Collection of Fees for Fiscal year (“FY”) 2022. The R&O adopts a schedule of regulatory fees to assess and collect $381,950,000 in regulatory fees for FY 2022. As discussed below, the FCC sets the rounded FY 2022 regulatory fee for CMRS Mobile Services at $.14 per telephone number count/subscriber and for CMRS Messaging Services at $.08 per telephone number count/subscriber. The FCC is required to collect all fees by September 30, 2022; as in prior years, we anticipate a Public Notice setting the Regulatory Fee due date will be released in the coming weeks.
In the NOI, the FCC seeks further comment on the FCC’s methodology for allocating indirect full-time equivalents (“FTEs”). Historically, the Commission has assessed the allocation of FTEs by first determining the number of non-auctions direct FTEs in each “core bureau” (i.e., the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, the Media Bureau, the Wireline Competition Bureau, and the International Bureau) and then attributing all other non-auctions Commission FTEs as indirect. For example, if a core bureau’s contribution to the regulatory fee burden is calculated to be 40% then it is also responsible for 40% of the indirect costs. The NOI seeks comment on expanding the definition of core bureau to include other bureaus and offices, how to calculate whether a FTE is indirect or direct, and how to account for time spent on multiple regulated services at the same time, among other things.
Wireless Services: CMRS Cellular, mobile and messaging services (fees based on number of subscribers or telephone number count): Regulatory fees must be paid for authorizations that were grated on or before October 1, 2021. The number of subscribers, units or telephone numbers on December 31, 2021 will be used as the basis from which to calculate the fee payment. As it did last year, the FCC is including non-geographic numbers in the calculation of subscribers for each CMRS provider for FY 2022. In instances where a permit or license is transferred or assigned after October 1, 2021, responsibility for payment rests with the holder of the permit or license as of the fee due date. For wireless services with multi-year fees, entities pay the fees in advance for the entire amount period covered by the ten-year terms of their initial licenses and pay regulatory fees again only when the license is renewed, or a new license is obtained.
- Appendix B lists the calculations of FY 2022 revenue requirements and the pro-rata fees by category. The FCC sets the rounded FY 2022 regulatory fee for CMRS Mobile Services at $.14 per telephone number (subscriber) count, and for CMRS Messaging Services at $.08 per telephone number (subscriber) count. (See also Appendix C).
- The Commission complies data from the Numbering Resource Utilization Forecast (“NRUF”) report based on “assigned” telephone number (subscriber) counts that have been adjusted for porting to net Type 0 ports (“in” and “out”). This subscriber count information is posted on the FCC’s Commission Registration System (“CORES”) along with the carrier’s Operating Company Numbers.
COVID-19: The FCC has extended the COVID-19 relief adopted in 2020 for FY 2022, which adopted or modified several regulatory fee collection provisions to provide flexibility for regulatory payors whose businesses might have suffered financial harm due to the pandemic. The FCC is:
- Simplifying the filing requirements for waiver, reduction, and deferral requests for FY 2022 fees to ensure regulates needing assistance are not precluded on procedural grounds. Additionally, direct requests may be submitted by email at: [email protected].
- Allowing parties to temporarily request extended payment terms for FY 2022 regulatory fees by email at: [email protected]. Installment payment requests may be combined with waiver, reduction, and deferral requests in a single request.
- Reducing the rate the FCC charges on instalment payments to a nominal rate and exercising its discretion to forego the down payment normally required before granting an installment payment request.
- Directing the Managing Director to work with individuals who have submitted financial documentation as proof of hardship that differs from documentation that the FCC has traditionally accepted to obtain additional documents that may be needed to render a decision.
- Waiving, in part, the red light rule to allow debtors that are experiencing financial hardship to nonetheless request relief with respect to their regulatory fees.
For more information on regulatory fees, visit http://www.fcc.gov/regfees.
The Order will become effective upon publication in the Federal Register.
Comments on the NOI are due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
Reply comments are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
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