FCC cuts proposed amateur radio application fee to $ 35

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12/30/2020

The FCC agreed with the ARRL and other commentators that its proposed $ 50 fee for some amateur radio applications was “too high to account for minimal staff involvement in those applications.” In a Report and order (R&R), released on Dec. 29, the FCC reduced the fees for a new license application, temporary special authorization (STA) request, rule deviation request, license renewal request, and request to $ 35. vanity call sign. All charges are per application. There will be no charge for administrative updates, such as a change of mailing address or email.

This fall, the ARRL filed comments in strong opposition to the FCC’s proposal to impose a $ 50 fee on amateur radio license and application fees and urged its members follow suit.

As the FCC noted in its R&R, although some commentators argued that the proposed fee of $ 50 was reasonable and fair, “ARRL and many individual commentators argued that there was no cost-based justification for the application fee in the service amateur radio. ” The cost proposal was 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” of 2018 – the so-called “Ray Baum’s number. “

“After reviewing the file, including the detailed comments filed by amateur radio licensees and based on our revised analysis of the cost of handling the mostly automated processes discussed in our methodology section, we adopt a fee. request of $ 35, an application fee lower than proposed by the Commission. in the NPRM for personal licenses, in recognition that the application process is primarily automated, ”said the FCC in the R&R. “We adopt the proposal of NPRM to assess no additional application fees for minor changes or administrative updates, which are also highly automated. ”

The FCC said it received more than 197,000 personal license applications in 2019, which include not only amateur radio license applications, but also commercial radio operator licenses and general mobile radio service licenses (GMRS ).

The FCC has rejected arguments by some commentators that the FCC should exempt licensees from amateur radio. The FCC said it did not have the authority to create an exemption “where it does not currently exist.”

The FCC also disagreed with those who argued that amateur radio licensees should be exempt from fees because of their contribution to public service during emergencies and disasters.

“[W]We are very much aware of these commendable and important services that amateur radio licensees provide to the American public, “the FCC said, but noted that the specific exemptions provided in Section 8 of the so-called” Ray Baum’s Act ”requiring the FCC to assess fees do not apply to personal amateur radio licenses. “Emergency communications, for example, are voluntary and are not required by our rules,” the FCC noted. “As we noted earlier, ‘[w]Although the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary non-commercial communication service, particularly with regard to the provision of emergency communications, is one of the underlying principles of the amateur service , the amateur service is not an emergency radio service. “

The law requires the FCC to move from a Congress-imposed tariff structure to a cost-based rating system. The FCC proposed application fees for a wide range of services that use the FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS), including amateur radio service, which had previously been excluded. The 2018 status excludes the amateur service of regulatory fresh, but no application costs.

“While the Ray Baum Act amended Section 9 and retained the exemption from regulatory fees for licensees of amateur radio stations, Congress did not include a comparable exemption among the amendments it made to Section 8 of the law, “said the FCC. R&R Explain.

The date of entry into force of the tariff schedule has not been established, but it will be announced at least 30 days in advance. The FCC has requested the Office of the Chief Executive Officer, in consultation with the relevant offices and offices, to draft a notice to be published in the Federal Register announcing when the rule changes will take effect, “once the relevant databases, guides and internal procedures have been updated”.


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