For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, June 10, 2019 – ACA Connects is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to adopt a regulatory fee schedule for Fiscal Year 2019 in which Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) providers pay the same per-subscriber fee as cable operators and IPTV providers to support the FCC Media Bureau’s activities.
ACA Connects urged this approach in joint comments filed June 7 with NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, a trade organization that also includes cable operators.
“While the FCC has rightfully proposed that DBS providers pay a higher share of regulatory fees this year than last year, the proposal does not go far enough,” ACA Connects President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. “DBS providers and cable operators participate to a comparable degree in Media Bureau proceedings and impose ‘roughly the same’ burdens on staff. Accordingly, there is no basis in law or policy for continuing to require cable operators to pay more than their fair share of the regulatory fees that support the Media Bureau.”
As explained in the joint filing, DBS providers participate actively and have filed comments in a wide range of Media Bureau dockets, including in major proceedings –such as merger reviews — that consume the most staff resources. Indeed, the video marketplace has developed such that nearly every Media Bureau activity affects every media marketplace participant, cable operators and DBS providers alike.
“The time has come for the FCC to adopt a regulatory fee structure that reflects today’s marketplace realities,” Polka said. “Because DBS providers and cable operators are impacted equally by the Media Bureau’s activities and place comparable demands on the time, energy and attention of staff, it is only fair that they pay the same fee to support the Bureau’s work.”
The FCC funds its operations by collecting regulatory fees from regulated entities, such as phone companies, TV stations, cable operators and DBS providers. For fiscal year 2019, the agency has proposed that DBS providers pay $0.60 per subscriber to fund the Media Bureau’s operations. While this is 12 cents higher than the previous year’s fee, the agency has also proposed a 9-cent increase in the fee assessed on cable operators — from $0.77 to $0.86 per subscriber.
About ACA Connects: America’s Communications Association – Based in Pittsburgh, ACA Connects is a trade organization representing more than 700 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to nearly 8 million customers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA Connects’ members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit: https://acaconnects.org