FCC user fees now a reality

Congress late Friday passed President Clinton’s budget reconciliation bill, thus ensuring that broadcasters and cable TV operators will be paying $ 81 million annually in new FCC “user fees.”

The user fee plan was engineered by John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.).

The new law is designed to force all telecommunications industries to pay the cost of FCC regulation.

Under the proposal, broadcasters will fork over coin according to the size of the station. The fees will range from $ 200 per year for the smallest AM radio stations to $ 18,000 annually for the largest VHF television stations.

The cable industry will take even a bigger hit under the new law. Multisystem operators will pony up $ 370 for every 1,000 cable subscribers. The price tag for small, independently owned cable systems is $ 65 per 1,000 subscribers.

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