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FCC Considers Per-Sub Satellite Fee

The FCC is seeking comment on proposed changes to its regulatory-fee-collection process.

The FCC plans to collect $288,771,000 in regulatory fees from users including broadcasters and cable in 2006.

The commission is considering making DBS pay the same per-sub regulatory fee as cable, though it is setting a pretty high bar for making a change. Satellite companies now pay a per-franchise fee, rather than a per-sub fee.

The Cable industry asked for the same change in 2005 and the FCC declined to make it, saying "no change was warranted. Cable is trying again.

The FCC is now asking whether there is any reason why it should make the change now. "To the extent parties argue the regulatory fee assessment process should be changed," it says, "they should identify the legal basis that would justify a change and explain how the benefits of the proposed change outweigh the costs of the established assessment methodology," as well as identifying an FCC proceeding or change in law that would justify a change in the assessment mechanism.