Comsat loses bid for FCC fee exemption

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Comsat Corp.'s legal bid to be exempt of Federal Communications Commission
regulatory fees was rejected by the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.,
Friday.

In 2000, the FCC removed Comsat's long-standing exemption from space-station
regulatory fees after Congress in March of that year enacted 'ORBIT,' the Open
Market Reorganization for the Betterment of International Telecommunications
Act.

The FCC then assessed Comsat's s space fee at $1,6 million, calculated as
$94,650 for each of its 17 geosynchronous space stations.

Although the judges did not issue an order on the level of fees assessed to
Comsat, they did suggest that the $1.6 million assessment bore 'no relation' to
the regulatory costs created by Comsat's role as the U.S. signatory to Intelsat
Ltd., the international satellite consortium.

The judges suggested that the costs of regulating Comsat amounted to
$442,000, only about one-quarter of the fees actually assessed.

The court noted that the FCC has remained open to re-evaluating Comsat's fee
amount.

Broadcast networks use Comsat to relay cross-continent
transmissions.

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