The Federal Communications Commission should heed the recent call of the Government Accountability Office and adopt a comprehensive approach toward reforming its regulatory fee structure, USTelecom told the commission in comments filed Sept. 17.
GAO highlighted in its report a problem with the commission’s outdated fee structure, which has resulted in companies paying more than they should in user fees for many years. The fee structure was set up in 1994, but the telephone industry has undergone significant changes since then. The wireline telephone revenue that is subject to the fee peaked in 2000 at $74.1 billion. In 2011, revenue was $39.5 billion, so those assessed in the ITSP category have been paying excessive fees for over a decade, the filing said.
The commission also should ask Congress for authority to refund past excess fees, USTelecom said. As of FY 2011, the FCC had deposited excess fee collections of about $66 million into a Treasury Department account.
“Those excess fee collections should be rebated to the payers in proportion to their payment,” said the filing. USTelecom urged the commission to make changes to the fee process in time to allow a reformed fee structure in FY 2013.