2005 FCC Regulatory Fees

Date: Mar 08, 2005

Every fiscal year, the Federal Communications Commission revises its Schedule of Regulatory Fees (Schedule) in order to raise sufficient funds to recover the annual costs associated with the Commission's enforcement, policy and rulemaking, and other activities. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2005, Congress has directed the FCC to collect $280,098,000 through regulatory fees - approximately 2.6% more than the amount mandated for FY 2004. On February 15, 2005, the Commission proposed changes to the Schedule that will enable the agency to meet this requirement. Because the aggregate fee amount is mandated by Congress, the fee schedule ultimately adopted by the Commission (probably by this summer) is unlikely to differ from what has been proposed.

For most private internal radio services (e.g., Private Land Mobile, Microwave, Marine (Ship), Marine (Coast), Aviation (Aircraft), and Aviation (Ground)), the Commission has not proposed any regulatory fee increases for FY 2005. For Satellite Earth Stations, however, the Commission has proposed an increase in annual regulatory fees from $200 to $205 per year.

Licensees in the private wireless services typically pay their regulatory fees in advance for the full term of the license when an initial application or request for renewal is filed. In other words, such applicants pay the amount due for the current fiscal year multiplied by the number of years in the term of the requested license (plus a base application fee). In the event that the required fee amount is adjusted following this fee payment, the licensee would not be subject to the payment of a new fee until filing an application for renewal of the license.

For services such as Satellite Earth Stations where regulatory fees are paid on an annual basis, payments typically are made during a filing window in August or September. The filing window or due date for this year likely will be announced in a subsequent FCC Public Notice. A late payment penalty of 25% of the amount of the required fee will be assessed on the first date following a missed deadline for making a fee payment.

Keller and Heckman LLP regularly assists clients in making regulatory fee payments. If you have any questions about FCC regulatory fees or would like assistance in making a payment, please contact Wayne Black at (202) 434-4130 or black@khlaw.com.