The Administration has asked for $388,000,000 for FY2016 in the President's budget, which is what the FCC had proposed. That is up from the $375,380,313 it asked for in FY2015, attributable almost entirely the FCC says to the need to either move to a new headquarters or "restacking" the current space given the expiration of its lease.
Doing so will save the FCC $119 million over 15 years, the FCC said.
The FCC's budget is entirely covered by regulatory fees, in addition to which the commission will be generating billions for the treasury through its ongoing spectrum auctions.
Some of that budget increase is going toward modernizing the IT system and increasing the budget and staff of the Inspector General and improve the National Broadband Map.
The FCC also wants to transfer $25 million from the USF fund to pay for improving oversight and battling waste, fraud and abuse, and wants to keep $117 million from auction proceeds to cover costs of those, including additional staffers to run the broadcast incentive auction and to prevent fraud and abuse in the broadcaster relocation fund, which the FCC is using to cover moving expenses by broadcasters in the station repack after the auction.
The FCC also once again asked for a spectrum user fee, which Congress has excised from all previous requests and is likely to do again.
“The Federal Communications Commission has submitted a responsible budget request to Congress to allow the agency to provide long-term savings to tax payers, improve IT infrastructure to better serve the public, and maintain baseline operational capabilities going forward," said an FCC official. "In addition to keeping up with ongoing public demands for services, the Commission looks for a one-time investment in a cost-saving move of offices and a revitalization of its aging IT system which supports licensing of wireless and broadcast services, as well as enabling input from the public.”
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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.