FCC Issues NPRM on FY2012 Regulatory Fees

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Washington - May 6, 2012 - The Federal Communications Commission has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in which it proposes to collect $339,844,000 in regulatory fees for fiscal year 2012. Regulatory fees are mandated by Congress and are collected to recover the regulatory costs associated with the Commission's enforcement, policy and rulemaking, user information and international activities. The annual amount of regulatory fees collected is established each year in the Commission's Annual Appropriations Act, which funds the Commission.

In this proceeding, the FCC says it will retain many of the current methods, policies, and procedures for collecting regulatory fees adopted by the Commission in prior years. Consistent with its established practice, the FCC intends to collect these regulatory fees during a September 2012 filing window so it can collect the required amount by the end of its fiscal year.

The FY 2012 NPRM is one of three notices of proposed rulemakings on regulatory fees that the Commission expects to release on or before FY 2013. Because of the complexity of the regulatory fee issues involved, the Commission will seek comment in phases.

The current method for assessing regulatory fees has changed only slightly since its inception in 1994. In FY 2008, the Commission released a further notice of proposed rulemaking, which identified some of the issues raised commenters with regard to the need for fundamental reform of its regulatory fee assessment methodology. In its FY 2011 regulatory fees report and order, the FCC stated it would initiate a further rulemaking to update the record on regulatory fee rebalancing, as well as expand the inquiry to include new issues and services not covered by the FY 2008 further notice of proposed rulemaking.

In re-examining the regulatory fee program, as enacted by Congress and codified in section 9 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. ยง 159, the Commission will undertake two separate notices of proposed rulemakings, which will address the issues in two phases.

In Phase I, the FCC will primarily consider the allocation percentages of core bureaus involved in regulatory fee activity and how it calculates these percentages. In Phase II, the FCC will address other outstanding substantive and procedural issues. Given the breadth and complexity of the issues involved, the FCC says issuing two separate notices of proposed rulemakings will permit more orderly and consistent analysis of the issues and facilitate their timely resolution. The FCC will issue a report and order finalizing its decision on all the issues raised in the reform proceedings, including new cost allocations and revised regulatory fees in sufficient time to allow for their implementation in FY 2013.

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