Although FCC actions concerning commercial mobile radio and unlicensed spectrum grab the big headlines, the Commission is addressing the needs of other radio users, too. On October 23, 2018, the Commissioners will vote on plans to make available additional channels for, and remove or reduce other requirements applicable to, private land mobile radio (“PLMR”) operations in the 806-824 MHz and 851-869 MHz bands (the “the 800 MHz Band”) and, to a lesser extent, the 450-470 MHz band. These frequencies are relied upon by, among other entities, public safety agencies, state/local governments, commercial security operations, utilities, and manufacturers for internal radio communications. While the FCC has worked for years on re-banding and other measures designed to increase utilization of fallow spectrum, it is now intent on addressing a number of rule changes to makes these frequencies more readily accessible by a larger number of PLMR entities. Many PLMR rules have remained unchanged since the 1990s or earlier, and eligible entities for years have sought changes to current regulations to foster greater deployment of new equipment and services. The FCC’s draft item made available to the public earlier this month would address a number of these pending proposals.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has just announced in a Public Notice that Interstate Telecommunications Service Providers (ITSP) and Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) providers can now log into the FCC’s Fee Filer system to preview the provider’s FY2016 regulatory fee data. ITSPs and CMRS providers are encouraged to review their proposed fee data and request any necessary revisions.
ITSPs can log into the Fee Filer system to access a preview of the FCC Form 159-W ITSP Report worksheet which identifies revenues based on the provider’s April 1, 2016 FCC Form 499-A filing. These revenues will be used to calculate the provider’s regulatory fees once the FCC’s FY2016 Regulatory Fee Report and Order is adopted and released. If a provider determines the revenue amount is incorrect, it must file a revised Form 499-A with the Universal Service Administrative Company to update the revenue amounts. ITSP revenue adjustments cannot be made through the Fee Filer system.
CMRS providers also can log into the Fee Filer system to preview their subscriber, porting, and Operating Company Number information. The “Net NRUF Telephone Number” subscriber count listed in the system will be used in determining the CMRS provider’s annual regulatory fee. If the provider agrees with the subscriber count, then the provider does not need to take any further action. If the CMRS provider believes its subscriber count is incorrect the provider is able to revise its subscriber count information directly via the Fee Filer system. Any such revisions must be made by August 24, 2016 to allow the Commission time to determine whether to accept or disapprove the revision and enter any approved revisions in the fee filer system. Revisions made after August 24, 2016 will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and must be sent directly to Roland Helvajian.
The Public Notice does not establish a payment deadline for any annual regulatory fees but, based on prior year payment deadlines, these fees likely will be due in late August or September. ITSPs and CMRS providers should be aware that the FCC no longer mails regulatory fee notices or assessment letters and it is the licensee’s responsibility to determine the fees owed. Failure to meet the regulatory fee payment deadline (once established) will result in late payment penalties of 25% being applied and the FCC does not waive late payment penalties.