The American Cable Association wonders why all cable companies have to pay $0.95 per subscriber to the FCC so that the FCC can regulate them, while Dish and DirecTV provide essentially the same service as they do, yet pay $0.00 per subscriber.
According to a release from ACA, the FCC actually agrees with the ACA position and is thinking about roping in the satcasters for regulatory fees via an NPRM.
“The FCC must reform its fee categories so all multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), including DBS operators, pay their fair share of the costs associated with the Media Bureau’s activities in regulating MVPD services,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. “Fairness also means adoption of an ability-to-pay principle because larger entities have a greater ability to bear these regulatory costs than smaller ones.”
Polka continued, “Although cable operators pay millions of dollars to fund the FCC, the two DBS operators are the second and third largest MVPDs in the country, with more that 33 million customers combined, and pay no fees to cover the cost of Media Bureau oversight. The FCC’s fee reforms should recognize and correct this fundamental problem, which is likely having market-distorting effects.”
The ACA would like to take the rate card a step further, and adjust it according to an MVPD’s ability to pay. It believes that the larger companies are much more able to absorb regulatory costs than are the small cable companies that make up its membership.
“The fact that small businesses are less able to contend with regulation and pay regulatory fees is well documented,” explained Polka. “As the FCC’s NPRM points out, regulatees’ ability to pay varies with their size and revenues, and imposing the same fee on a Fortune 500 company and a local family business would have very different effects on those entities.”