Service providers that offer paid TV using IPTV technology will be required to pay the same regulatory fees as cable TV providers as the result of a report and order adapted by the FCC on August 8 and released Monday.
The fees are designed to recover the costs that the FCC incurs in administering licenses and the like and are based on the number of full-time employees dedicated to such functions on a bureau-by-bureau basis.
Cable TV providers have been subject to these fees for years, but until now IPTV providers were not. The new order creates a new fee category that will include both cable and IPTV providers.
“By assessing regulatory fees on cable television systems, but not on IPTV, we may place cable providers at a competitive disadvantage,” wrote the FCC in the order….”we agree that IPTV providers should be subject to the same regulatory fees as cable providers.”
The commission stopped short of including another group of paid TV providers in the new category. For now direct broadcast satellite video providers are not required to pay the fees. But the FCC said it would revisit the possibility of adding DBS providers to the IPTV and cable category in the future.
Other changes included in the new order are:
• UHF and VHF stations will be consolidated into a single regulatory fee category.
• As the FCC updates how full-time employees are allocated, the increase in the regulatory fee assessment to any individual industry segment is capped at 7.50%.
• The re-allocations and caps are interim measures but the FCC said it intends to “conclusively readjust regulatory fees within three years.”
• The commission said it “shortly” will issue a second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will consider additional reforms to the regulatory fee program.