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 Read our related work regarding the FCC, including:

About TechFreedom:

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.