The FCC has released a notice of proposed rulemaking concerning the FY 2010 regulatory fee obligations for regulated entities. The FCC is seeking comment on its proposed methodology for collecting regulatory fees this year. The FCC has not proposed any major changes from the methodology and procedures it used last year. In some cases the proposed fees have increased, such as for interstate telecommunication service providers (raised to $.00351 per revenue dollar), and in other cases they have decreased ($218,600 for 20 Gbps or greater cable systems versus $241,025 in 2009). Please contact us if you would like a copy of the proposed fees.
One important minor change is the FCC proposes to collect fees this year in August, instead of September. Regulatory fee payments may be submitted at any time, but any payments not received by the due date are subject to an automatic 25% penalty.
The FCC is proposing to follow last year’s practice of not mailing any pre-bills. Instead, the FCC will issue a Public Notice when the Fee Filer system is available on its website. At that time, a licensee may log onto the Fee Filer, and review its pre-bill. Carriers will be instructed to review the pre-bill and, if undisputed, to pay the calculated amounts. Even if no pre-bill is available, all licensees with regulatory fee payment obligations will be required to use the Fee Filer system to pay their regulatory fees. The FCC notes that last year a number of carriers were caught unaware of this change, and missed the deadline for paying their fees. The FCC seeks comment on ways to improve outreach to carriers on their fee obligations.
As in previous years, failure to submit the required regulatory fee in a timely manner will subject licensees to a late payment penalty of 25 percent in addition to the required fee. If payment is not received, new or pending applications may be dismissed, and existing authorizations may be subject to rescission. Before rescinding any authorization, the FCC will first notify licensees that the fee has not been paid, and give them the opportunity to pay it with the late payment penalty and potentially additional fines.
If you have questions regarding regulatory fees or would like to file comments on the proposed methodology, please contact the following lawyers in our Telecommunications, Media & Technology Group: