The Massachusetts Broadcastesr Association, in combination with the state broadcasters associations from every other state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, filed extensive Joint Reply Comments urging the FCC to expand both the types and numbers of parties charged FCC regulatory fees to include all beneficiaries of FCC services, including large technology companies and equipment manufacturers that benefit from selling devices which use unlicensed spectrum and/or are allowed access to the U.S. market only because they have been FCC-certified.
Since the inception of FCC regulatory fees as the manner in which the FCC funds its operations, broadcasters and others holding FCC licenses have paid a disproportionate share of the FCC’s expenses. Particularly in light of changes to the regulatory fee statute made by the RAY BAUM’s Act of 2018 and a recent court decision interpreting it, it is clear that the law requires all “beneficiaries” of FCC activities, not just those holding FCC licenses, to pay annual regulatory fees covering the costs of those FCC activities. The State Associations urged the FCC to modify the process by which it sets and collects regulatory fees to create a fairer system which recognizes the many benefits received by device manufacturers and marketers, and which therefore charges them appropriate annual regulatory fees. Expanding the base of regulatory fee payors in this manner will reduce broadcasters’ share of FCC expenses that must be paid for through regulatory fees, hopefully reducing each station’s future annual regulatory fees significantly.