FCC Application Fee Proposal Proceeding is Open for Comments

The FCC is proposing a new fee schedule for Amateur Radio Licensing.

09/03/2020

Comments are being accepted on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in MD Docket 20-270 (PDF), which proposes application fees for radio amateurs. Formal deadlines for comments and reply comments will be determined once the NPRM appears in the Federal Register. Comments may be filed now, however, by using the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), posting to MD Docket No. 20-270. The docket is already open for accepting comments, even though deadlines have not yet been set.

From the above-linked PDF filing:

RAY BAUM’S Act now requires the Commission to collect fees from several previously uncharged services. As such, several services in the personal licenses category will be subject to new fees. One such example is Amateur Radio Service licenses, which were not listed on the fee schedule in section 8 of the Act, but are now subject to fees under the broader mandate of the RAY BAUM’s Act.
[…]
27. Other applications for personal licenses are mostly automated and do not have individualized staff costs for data input or review. For these automated processes—new/major modifications, renewal, and minor modifications—we propose a nominal application fee of $50 due to automating the processes, routine ULS maintenance, and limited instances where staff input is required. Although there is currently no fee for vanity call signs in the Amateur Radio Service, we find that such applications impose similar costs in aggregate on Commission resources as new applications and therefore propose a $50 fee.

28. For administrative updates modifications, which also are highly automated, we find that it is in the public interest to encourage licensees to update their information without a charge. We thus propose no application fee for administrative updates modifications.

29. In instances where an applicant elects to receive a physical license by mail (including requests for a duplicate license), the Commission incurs costs for printing and mailing the duplicate authorization. The Commission has proposed to eliminate these services 31 —but to the extent the Commission does not do so, we propose a fee of $50 to cover the costs of these services.

It’s worth noting that the FCC is required by law to do this, however, it is apparently up to them to determine what the fees are. The ARRL has an explanation of the prosed fees for amateur radio licensing, and intends to file comments in opposition.