FCC Seeks $51 Million for Headquarters Move

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler signaled Tuesday that the FCC is definitely looking to move when its lease runs out in 2017.

He made that clear in testimony to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the FCC's 2016 budget, which will need a boost to deal with that move, he said — the FCC is asking for $388,000,000 in general spending authority, up from $339.8 million in FY 2015 but still all covered by fees paid by regulated licensees.

Wheeler said that if the FCC's lease were not up in 2017, his presentation would have been much different.

"We would have been asking for a modest increase over last year’s funding level dedicated to completing the modernization program of our IT systems," he said.

But, said Wheeler, "our lease is expiring, and that is the biggest reason we are requesting a budget increase."

That is because the FCC is moving out of its Portals headquarters, a move that will cost in the near-term — an estimated $51 million — but will save in the long-run he said — $13 million annually and $119 over the life of a new lease. He did not say where they might be moving. An FCC spokesperson told B&C that no new location has been selected and that the General Services Administration will lead the process in cooperation with the commission.

In the interim, he said, the has hired an agency relocation "specialist" and would be consolidating FCC headquarters staff into smaller space which he said would result in "cost avoidance and savings in FY 2016."

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.