FCC proposes to reinstate amateur radio service charges

08/28/2020

[UPDATED 2020-10-27] The ARRL will file comments in strong opposition to an FCC proposal to impose a $ 50 fee on the amateur radio license and application fee. The FCC Notice of proposed regulations (NPRM) MD Docket 20-270 appeared in the October 15 edition of The Federal Register and sets deadlines of November 16 for comment and November 30 for posting reply comments, which are comments on comments already posted. The ARRL has prepared a Guide to Filing Comments with the FCC which includes tips for preparing reviews and step-by-step ranking instructions. Visit www.arrl.org/fcc-fees-proposal. A new updated ARRL story can be found here.

[UPDATED 2020-09-01 @1845 UTC] Amateur radio licensees would pay a fee of $ 50 for each amateur radio license application if the FCC adopted the rules it proposed this week. The FCC’s fee proposal includes requests for new licenses, renewals and upgrades of existing licenses, as well as custom call sign requests. Requests for administrative updates, such as changes of address, and annual regulatory fees are excluded.

The FCC’s proposal is contained in a Notice of proposed regulations (NPRM) in MD 20-270, which was passed to implement parts of the Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act 2018 – the so-called “Ray Baum’s number. “

The law requires the FCC to change from a Congress-imposed tariff structure to a cost-based rating system. In his NPRM, the FCC proposed application fees for a wide range of services that use the FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS), including amateur radio service that had been excluded by previous law. The 2018 law excludes the amateur service from the annual regulatory fee, but not from the administration fee.

“[A]personal license applications are mostly automated and do not have individualized personnel costs for entering or reviewing data, ”the FCC said in its NPRM. “For these automated processes – new / major changes, renewal, and minor changes – we offer a nominal application fee of $ 50 due to process automation, routine ULS maintenance, and limited cases where staff input is required.”

The same $ 50 fee would apply to all requests for amateur service, including those for custom call signs. “Although there is currently no charge for vanity call signs in the amateur radio service, we find that these requests impose similar aggregate costs on Board resources as new requests and therefore propose a $ 50 fee, ”the FCC said.

The FCC does not offer to charge for administrative updates, such as mailing address changes for amateur requests, and amateur radio will remain exempt from annual regulatory fees. “For administrative updates [and] changes, which are also highly automated, we believe it is in the public interest to encourage licensees to update their [own] toll-free information, ”the FCC said.

The FCC is also proposing to charge a fee of $ 50 for people who want a printed copy of their license. “The Commission has proposed to eliminate these services – but to the extent that it does not do so, we are proposing a fee of $ 50 to cover the costs of these services,” said the FCC.

The Ray Baum’s Act does not exempt filing fees in the amateur radio service. The FCC abandoned the assessment of charges for vanity call signs several years ago.

The ARRL is reviewing the matter and intends to file opposing comments.

The deadlines for comments and responses to comments will be determined once the NPRM appears in the Federal Register. Interested parties may file comments using the FCC’s electronic comment filing system (ECFS), posting in MD file # 20-270. This file is already open to accept comments, although the deadlines have not yet been set.


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