On September 6, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice announcing a payment deadline for annual regulatory fees of no later than 11:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time on September 27, 2016.  Although the regulatory fees will not officially become effective until published in the Federal Register, entities that are required to pay fees have discretion to submit payments at any time before the deadline.  Most federal licensees and other regulated entities must pay one or more categories of regulatory fees which are designed to offset costs associated with the FCC’s enforcement, public service, international, policy, and rulemaking activities.  Fact sheets detailing the types of fees, fee codes, payment methods and options can be found on the FCC’s website.

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iStock_000006131068MediumAlthough the FCC has yet to release this year’s Annual Regulatory Fee Order, the Commission is preparing for the payments to be received next month.  In a public notice released on August 18, 2015, the FCC announced that Interstate Telecommunications Service Providers (ITSP) and Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) providers can now review their annual

On September 16, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (“NAL”) against PTT Phone Cards, Inc., (“PTT”) for a litany of alleged violations of rules applicable to international telecommunications carriers in general and one applicable to pre-paid calling card providers in particular. In short, the NAL alleges that, for over three years, PTT violated “virtually all of [the] regulatory obligations” applicable to international carriers and one specifically applicable to pre-paid calling card providers. The proposed forfeiture of $493,327 was arrived at through a straightforward application of the Commission’s base forfeiture amounts or penalties that the agency has recently applied for similar violations. While the Commission normally considers mitigating and aggravating factors to adjust penalties downward or upward, in the NAL it did not expressly do so, despite what it called “PTT’s apparent pattern of noncompliance” and “the seriousness, duration, and scope of PTT’s apparent violations.”  Instead, it simply proposed standard penalties for each apparent violation, giving a casebook glimpse into what awaits entities that provide international and/or calling card services without first obtaining necessary FCC authority and without making requisite filings with the Commission, contributions into applicable federal funds, and payments of federal regulatory fees.
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