FCC more than doubles fees it charges DirecTV and Dish

FCC headquarters

The FCC has more than doubled the annual fees it charges satellite operators DirecTV and Dish Network from 12 cents a subscriber to 27 cents per sub. 

The increased fees, the agency said, are the result of stepped up regulatory activity in the DBS area, which was first charged a 12-cent-per-customer fee last year. 

“When we adopted this regulatory fee subcategory for DBS, we observed that numerous regulatory developments had increased the Media Bureau FTE activity involving regulation and oversight of multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), including DBS providers,” FCC said in its filing detailing the $384 million it will charge telecom operators this year. 

“For example, providers (and cable television operators) are permitted to file program access complaints and retransmission consent complaints. In addition, DBS providers are subject to MVPD requirements such as those pertaining to program carriage89 and the requirement to negotiate retransmission consent in good faith,” FCC added. 

The 27-cent fee is still less than the $1 per-sub fee charged to cable operators. 

Still, the American Cable Association is pleased that the FCC brought satellite operators closer to parity. 

“Achieving this goal will mean that the burden of supporting the FCC's Media Bureau is distributed fairly among all types of MVPDs,” said ACA President and CEO Matthew Polka, in a statement. “As the FCC noted, the Media Bureau's oversight and regulatory work related to cable/IPTV providers and DBS providers are similar. In ACA's view, fee parity is also essential because smaller MVPDs should not be put in a position, by government policy, of subsidizing their largest pay-TV competitors.

Asked for comment, Dish reps referred FierceCable to its August 10 ex parte filing: “Dish explained that the proposed rate increase only serves to harm consumers who will ultimately be forced to shoulder the burden of any increased regulatory fees,” the operator said. 

For more:
- read this FCC filing

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