Budget Contains Familiar Spectrum User Fee

The Obama has proposed levying 4.8 billion in new spectrum license user fees over the next decade.

The new federal budget, released today (Feb. 9) includes on page 147 the familiar call for such fees on broadcasters, cable and satellite operators, wireless companies and other spectrum license holders.

Traditionally over the past several years the President has proposed and Congress has disposed of the fee, so it is unlikely to survive the budget process and the ultimate congressional approval needed.

The fee would be $225 million in 2017, escalating annually to $550 million by 2020 and holding at that figure through 2026.

“CTIA is opposed to new spectrum fees," said Jot Carpenter, VP, government affairs, CTIA. "Fees would be a tax that will depress auction revenues, harm investment and do nothing to free up additional bands of spectrum or advance consumers' adoption of wireless broadband services.”

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.