CTIA Rejects Higher FCC Regulatory Fees

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The Wireless Association said taxes on wireless consumers are already too high and cable companies should pick up a greater share of the tab that it takes to keep the FCC funded, not the wireless world. The discussion was sparked by the commission’s budgeting process and the “Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for fiscal year 2015.” In its review, the FCC laid out how much it proposes to spend for its Media Bureau ($120.15 million); Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) $132.81 million; Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) $69.07 million; and the International Bureau (IB) $18.56 million.

Both the American Cable Association (ACA) and the NAB have said CTIA-The Wireless Association should pay more. In fact, NAB said it should pay less because if some 200-to-400 TV stations go off the air as a result of the spectrum auction on March 29, the remaining stations will have a higher burden of regulatory fees to pay, said a BNA/Bloomberg report last week. NAB said, “Indeed, the only equitable approach is for the regulatory fees to ‘follow the spectrum.’ The spectrum to be repurposed through the incentive auction will benefit the wireless service providers.”
On Monday, CTIA Vice President of Government Affairs Jot Carpenter said “American wireless consumers are already taxed at over 18 percent, which is two and a half times higher than the general sales tax rate imposed on most other taxable goods and services. Policymakers who want to ensure that every American can fully participate in the digital economy should support efforts to alleviate these discriminatory rates of taxation, and certainly to prevent their extension to new areas.”