Cable’s FCC fees move closer to those of satellite

The FCC has proposed a fee rate of 77 cents per subscriber for cable and IPTV operators. (FCC)

The FCC is continuing its effort to establish parity between the fees it charges cable and satellite operators.

Proposing a fiscal 2018 budget in which it plans to collect more than $322 million from broadcasters, cable, IPTV and satellite operators, the commission has proposed a fee rate of 77 cents per subscriber for cable and IPTV operators, and a 48-cent-per-subscriber fee for DBS companies.

The per-sub fee for cable and IPTV operators in 2017 was 96 cents vs. 38 cents for satellite TV companies. 

Broadcasting & Cable was the first to report on the FCC’s newly proposed fee structure. 

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The fee change is part of a multiyear effort by the FCC to establish parity between cable and satellite operator fee rates.

“When we adopted this regulatory fee subcategory for DBS, we observed that numerous regulatory developments had increased the Media Bureau [full time employee] activity involving regulation and oversight of multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), including DBS providers,” the FCC said in a 2016 statement announcing the plan. 

In its proposal, the commission is also seeking comment on changing in 2019 the way it calculates fees for broadcast stations. The FCC is considering a movement away from measuring fees by designated marketing area (DMA) to the population covered by a station’s reach.