Today, TechFreedom filed comments at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the way it assesses regulatory fees to recoup its $375 million annual budget. Hidden in the notice of proposed rulemaking is a suggestion that the FCC can assess regulatory fees on any entity that “benefits” from the work of the FCC.
“The idea that the FCC can require a huge swath of the U.S. economy to pay for the internal operations of the FCC is absurd,” said James E. Dunstan, TechFreedom’s General Counsel. “The courts have been clear for over 50 years that the FCC’s authority over entities stems from its Congressional delegation of power. While the FCC has broad ‘ancillary powers,’ those powers must be rooted in its statutory delegation of authority, lest that power be ‘ancillary to nothing.’”
“Trying to charge ‘large technology companies’ regulatory fees is just another attempt to punish Big Tech,” Dunstan continued. “The companies the FCC wants to go after are largely software and content providers, the exact ‘edge providers’ that both Congress and the FCC have admitted are beyond the scope of the FCC’s authority to regulate. What’s next, putting a coin slot to charge us all a quarter every time we use the Internet?”
“I say ‘push to reject’,” Dunstan concluded.
We can be reached for comment at email@example.com. Read our related work regarding the FCC, including:
- The Arrival of the Federal Computer Commission?, Regulatory Transparency Project (Aug. 27, 2021)
- Our Comments on commercial space launch frequencies, (Sep. 10, 2021)
- Our Comments on expanding flexible use of the 12.2-12.7 GHz band, (Jul. 7, 2021)
- Our Comments on why the FCC has no authority over edge providers such as streaming services, (May 15, 2021)
- Our Comments on rural eConnectivity programs, (Apr. 27, 2021)
- TechFreedom Applauds Supreme Court Decision Upholding Media Deregulation, press release, Apr. 1, 2021)
- Joint letter supporting the FCC’s proposals to expand opportunities for marketing and importing innovative technologies, (Feb. 11, 2021)
- Our Comments on the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, (Jan. 25, 2021)
- Our amicus brief in FCC v. Prometheus Radio Project (Nov. 23, 2020)
TechFreedom is a non-profit, non-partisan technology policy think tank. We work to chart a path forward for policymakers towards a bright future where technology enhances freedom, and freedom enhances technology.