The FCC last week announced an extension of the deadline for initial comments in its proceeding to examine the regulatory fees that are paid by VHF television stations. We wrote here about this Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which asked questions including whether VHF television stations and stations in the FCC’s incubator program

The FCC’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on annual regulatory fees was published in the Federal Register this week, setting the comment date in that proceeding as November 22, with reply comments due December 23. As we wrote when the FCC’s fee decision for 2019 fees was released, this Further Notice is

The FCC is beginning to consider the amount of annual regulatory fees to be paid by broadcasters and other entities regulated by the FCC.  These fees should be due in August or September of this year, prior to the start of the government’s fiscal year on October 1.  To begin the review process, the FCC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking setting out its proposed fees for this year, as well as highlighting a few issues for public comment concerning the computation of fees in the future.  Comments on the FCC proposals are due on July 7, with reply comments a week later.

Regulatory fees are to be paid by entities regulated by the FCC in proportion to the costs of their regulation, computed by the number of FCC employees who are tasked with administering the rules for a particular service.  Congress tells the FCC how much the FCC needs to raise from fees, and the FCC divides up that burden by the number of “full time equivalents” (FTEs) who are assigned to regulating a particular service.  The FCC spends much time in its NPRM evaluating how to assign the responsibility for various employees to a particular service in order to arrive at the proper allocation of fees.  The Commission asks for comments on these proposals which, when adopted, might affect the allocation of fees to the entities regulated by the Media Bureau (like broadcasters) and by those regulated by other FCC bureaus.  The Commission also noted a few broadcast-specific proposals.
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