FCC to charge satellite operators per-sub fee just like cable

The FCC wants to charge satellite operators DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) and Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) a per-subscriber regulatory fee, just as it does for cable and IPTV companies.

The Federal Communications Commission released a notice of proposed rulemaking Thursday, seeking comment on proposed fees of nearly $340 million in 2015. Included in the proposal is the possibility of changing the fee structure, with the inclusion of DBS fees lowering the amount cable and IPTV operators pay.

Not surprisingly, groups like the American Cable Association, which have pushed for this change, lauded the proposal. 

"ACA is very pleased with the FCC's decision to adjust its regulatory fee schedule to ensure that DirecTV and Dish will pay fees to share the support burden of the Media Bureau's oversight of cable operators, DBS providers, and IPTV providers," reads a statement issued Thursday by ACA president and CEO Matthew Polka. "It was long unjust to require cable and IPTV providers to foot the regulatory bill for work of the Media Bureau that benefited both cable and satellite TV providers."

Not surprisingly, DirecTV and Dish have opposed the plan, noting that cable companies consume far more of the FCC Media Bureau's regulatory manpower and resources.

"DBS generates nowhere near the regulatory costs of cable," the companies told the FCC in December. "Cable is subject to a variety of regulation that does not apply to DBS. Cable is the dominant (and growing) provider of broadband services and is thus subject to a panoply of regulation that does not apply to DBS. Cable remains the dominant provider of video and is thus subject to competition-based regulation that has never applied to DBS."

For more:
- read this Broadcasting & Cable story

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