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FCC Proposes Fees for HAMS

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In case you have not already heard, the FCC is looking to re-instate fees for Amateur radio licensees. The HAMS would pay a $50 fee for each amateur radio license application if the FCC adopts rules it proposed this week. Included in the FCC’s fee proposal are applications for new licenses, renewal and upgrades to existing licenses, and vanity call sign requests. Excluded are applications for administrative updates, such as changes of address, and annual regulatory fees.

The FCC proposal is contained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) 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.”

“[A]pplications for personal licenses are mostly automated and do not have individualized staff costs for data input or review,” the FCC said in its NPRM. “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.”

The same $50 fee would apply to all Amateur Service applications, including those for vanity call signs. “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,” the FCC said.

The FCC is not proposing to charge for administrative updates, such as mailing address changes for amateur applications, and amateur radio will remain exempt from annual regulatory fees. “For administrative updates [and] modifications, which also are highly automated, we find that it is in the public interest to encourage licensees to update their [own] information without a charge,” the FCC said.

The FCC also proposes to assess a $50 fee for individuals who want a printed copy of their license. “The Commission has proposed to eliminate these services — but to the extent the Commission does not do so, we propose a fee of $50 to cover the costs of these services,” the FCC said.

Deadlines for comments and reply comments will be determined once the NPRM appears in the Federal Register. Interested parties may file comments by using the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), posting to MD Docket No. 20-270. This docket is already open to accept comments, even though deadlines have not yet been set.

If you ain’t crazy about forking over $50 to renew your license, feel free to submit your input to the NPRM, or if you are an ARRL member, fire off a note to your Section Manager and let him/her know you don’t like it. Or, maybe even if you do like it.

Kevin N1KL

Sources: FCC Website, ARRL News bulletin

posted by Kevin in From the Administrator,General Ham Radio News and have No Comments

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