FCC ProposesUnified Fee Theory

Considers charging the same regulatory fees to UHF stations as VHF, as well as charging regulatory fees for OTT providers
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The Federal Communications Commission is considering charging the same regulatory fees to UHF television stations as it does to VHFs, and, for the first time, would charge a regulatory fee to over-the-top providers. The fees for VHF stations would be reduced, while those for UHFs would increase.

The single TV fee would take effect this year, while over-the-top providers would not have to pony up until fiscal year 2014.

The commission released a notice of proposed rulemaking suggesting a number of fixes to the annual fee-collecting mechanism. The FCC covers its expenses for regulating out of the fees it collects from those being regulated and based on how much time each full-time employee of a commission bureau—media, wireless, wire-line or international—devotes to each service.

The FCC is also suggesting that direct-broadcast satellite operators be assessed a persubscriber fee, the same as cable operators, rather than a per-geo stationary orbit fee. The American Cable Association, for one, has asked the FCC to apply the same standard to satellite and cable MVPDs.