FYI: The ARRL Letter SPECIAL EDITION | FCC Fees Proposal


John W. Smith
 

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: The ARRL Letter SPECIAL EDITION | FCC Fees Proposal
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2020 18:00:15 -0400 (EDT)
From: ARRL Web site <memberlist@www.arrl.org>
To: kc0hsb@centurytel.net



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*The ARRL Letter SPECIAL EDITION | FCC Fees Proposal*

The ARRL Letter

*October 2**7**, 2020*

*Editor: **Rick Lindquist, WW1ME* <mailto:ww1me@arrl.org>**

ARRL Home Page <http://www.arrl.org/>




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ARRL Urges Members to Join in Strongly Opposing FCC’s Application Fees
Proposal

ARRL will file comments in firm opposition to an FCC proposal to impose
a $50 fee on amateur radio license and application fees. With the
November 16 comment deadline fast approaching, ARRL urges members to add
their voices to ARRL’s by filing opposition comments of their own. The
FCC /Notice of Proposed Rulemaking/ (/NPRM/
<https://tinyurl.com/yyk8f2yp>) MD Docket 20-270 appeared in the October
15 edition of /The Federal Register/ and sets deadlines of November 16
to comment and November 30 to post reply comments, which are comments on
comments already filed. ARRL has prepared a /Guide to Filing Comments
with the FCC/ <http://www.arrl.org/FCC-Fees-Proposal>which includes tips
for preparing comments and step-by-step filing instructions. File
comments on MD Docket 20-270 using the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing
System (ECFS <https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings>).

Under the proposal, amateur radio licensees would pay a $50 fee for each
amateur radio application for new licenses, license renewals, upgrades
to existing licenses, and vanity call sign requests. The FCC also has
proposed a $50 fee to obtain a printed copy of a license. Excluded are
applications for administrative updates, such as changes of address, and
annual regulatory fees. Amateur Service licensees have been exempt from
application fees for several years.

The FCC proposal is contained in a /Notice of Proposed Rulemaking/
(/NPRM/ <https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-20-116A1.pdf>) in
MD Docket 20-270, which was adopted to implement portions of the “Repack
Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act” of
2018 — the so-called “Ray Baum’s Act
<https://www.congress.gov/115/plaws/publ141/PLAW-115publ141.pdf>.” The
Act requires that the FCC switch from a Congressionally-mandated fee
structure to a cost-based system of assessment. In its /NPRM/, the FCC
proposed application fees for a broad range of services that use the
FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS), including the Amateur Radio
Service. The 2018 statute excludes the Amateur Service from annual
regulatory fees, but not from application fees. The FCC proposal affects
all FCC services and does not single out amateur radio.

ARRL is encouraging members to file comments that stress amateur radio’s
contributions to the country and communities. ARRL’s /Guide to Filing
Comments/ <http://www.arrl.org/FCC-Fees-Proposal>includes “talking
points” that may be helpful in preparing comments. These stress amateur
radio’s role in volunteering communication support during disasters and
emergencies, and inspiring students to pursue education and careers in
engineering, radio technology, and communications.

As the FCC explained in its /NPRM/, Congress, through the Ray Baum’s
Act, is compelling regulatory agencies such as the FCC to recover from
applicants the costs involved in filing and handling applications.

In its /NPRM/ the FCC encouraged licensees to update their own
information online without charge. Many, if not most, Amateur Service
applications may be handled via the largely automated Universal License
Service (ULS). The Ray Baum’s Act does not exempt filing fees in the
Amateur Radio Service, and the FCC stopped assessing fees for vanity
call signs several years ago.

See also “FCC Proposes to Reinstate Amateur Radio Service Fees
<http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-proposes-to-reinstate-amateur-radio-service-fees>,”
reported by ARRL in August, and a summary page of the proceeding at
www.arrl.org/FCC-Fees-Proposal <http://www.arrl.org/FCC-Fees-Proposal>.

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