ACA Praises FCC Change to Satellite-TV Fees

WASHINGTON — The American Cable Association on Friday (June 22) celebrated the Federal Communications Commission's decision to start charging satellite operators user fees that are on par with those levied on cable and telco video distributors.

“ACA is very pleased with the FCC’s decision to adjust its regulatory fee schedule to ensure that DirecTV and Dish [Network] will pay fees to share the support burden of the Media Bureau’s oversight of cable operators, [direct-broadcast satellite] providers, and IPTV providers," ACA president and CEO Matt Polka said.

The ACA, a trade group representing smaller, independent MSOs, has been pushing for the change.

"It was long unjust to require cable and IPTV providers to foot the regulatory bill for work of the Media Bureau that benefited both cable and satellite-TV providers."

Satellite providers had been paying on a per-satellite-license basis, while other multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) paid on a per-subscriber basis.

“Attaining full regulatory fee parity will take some time under the FCC’s new approach,” Polka said. “In fiscal 2015, under the FCC’s proposal, cable and IPTV providers will pay $61.3 million, or $0.95 per video subscriber in regulatory fees, and DBS will pay $4.1 million, or $0.12 per video subscriber, to support the work of the Media Bureau. However, this is a good start. The FCC’s actions will drop the per video subscriber rate for cable-TV systems, including IPTV, by $.04 per video subscriber from fiscal 2014.”

The ACA said it appreciated FCC commissioner Ajit Pai’s support for the regulatory-fee change.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.