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Dish: FCC Fee Hike Constitutes Rate Shock

Dish has told the FCC it has failed to justify its proposal to boost DBS regulatory fees by 125% in 2016—from 12 cents to 27 cents—that the fees would represent the kind of “sudden and large changes in the amount of fees"—rate shock—that the FCC has tried to avoid, and will harm consumers, who will be paying the increase.

That came in comments on the FCC's proposal to double DBS fees as it brings them mroe in line with the per-sub fees paid by cable operators.

Related: ACA to FCC: DBS Should Pay More

Satellite providers had been paying on a per-satellite-license basis, while other multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) paid on a per-subscriber basis, but the FCC in 2015 put DBS in that per-sub MVPD category at 12 cents per sub to start with and plans to phase in increases to bring them more in line with the $1 per sub paid by cable ops.

But Dish says that with the proposed 125% increase, "the Commission now appears to have abandoned the 'phased approach' without providing any reasoning for this departure."

The FCC levies the regulatory fees based on the number of FTE (full time employees) personpower it takes to regulate a particular service. Dish says the FCC has not explained how FTE resource allocation squares with that increased fee. The FCC cited two proceedings, the requirements that MVPDs post public files online and the set-top proceeding. Dish says it is unclear how they "have increased the work load of Media Bureau FTEs sufficient to justify more than doubling the rate that DBS providers must pay."

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.