Search Team

Search by Last Name
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

Articles

President Obama's Budget Includes New "Spectrum License User Fee"

March 16, 2009

Articles

President Obama's Budget Includes New "Spectrum License User Fee"

March 16, 2009

Back to News Listing

Buried in President Obama’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year is a single line item announcing a new annual fee on holders of wireless licenses issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Specifically, this line item calls for a “spectrum license user fee” of $50 million in 2009, increasing to $200 million in 2010 and to $550 million by 2013. This proposed fee is projected to generate nearly $4.8 billion in revenue for the government over the next 10 years.

The potential impact of this proposed new fee on holders of FCC licenses could be significant. However, the administration has not yet provided any further details or information regarding the proposed spectrum fee, including whether this fee would be imposed on all holders of FCC spectrum licenses (including private licenses) or only on those with licenses for commercial spectrum and services. The administration’s proposed budget must also be reviewed and approved by Congress before any aspect of this budget, including the proposed spectrum fee, could take effect.

Although spectrum user fees have been proposed in numerous budget proposals over the last 10 years, the current economic climate might increase the likelihood of such fees becoming a reality as Congress looks at all possible ways of slowing the rapidly growing budget deficit. Moreover, with relatively little “prime” spectrum remaining available, Congress may view such user fees as way to replace the revenue previously generated by spectrum auctions.

Additional details concerning the spectrum fee proposal are expected when the administration releases a more detailed budget package in the coming weeks, at which point the impact this fee might have on holders of wireless licenses should become more clear.

Stay current with Fish Sign up for our Newsletter