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The FCC's Budget Outlook

The Philter
The Philter
The Philter

3:30 PM -- FCC chairman Kevin Martin testified before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Science, State, Spam, Justice, Spam, Spam, Commerce, and Spam this morning, and here are interesting bits from his testimony:

The FCC is looking to collect nearly $300 million in regulatory fees next year.

The Commission is requesting spending authority of $304,057,000 for Fiscal Year 2006, with a direct appropriation of $4,823,000. The Commission will raise the remainder, or $299,234,000, through regulatory fees. During the current fiscal year, the Commission has a spending level of $281,098,000, with all but one million dollars being raised through regulatory fees.

The commission is looking to update its computer systems so it can keep its licensing systems in step with converging networks. And it's looking to spend $1.3 million to do that.

Second, the Commission requests $1,350,000 for the Licensing Integration Initiative to provide enhancements to the Commission’s computer systems in order to improve licensing resources and facilitate cross-bureau applications – a program that will enhance consumer interaction with all of the Commission’s licensing systems at a time of increased convergence in telecommunications services.

The commission wants to spend $3 million to 26 full-time people to keep their eye on the Universal Service Fund.

The FCC’s fourth special request is $3,173,000 to hire 26 limited term FTEs to increase Universal Service Fund audit and oversight activities in Fiscal Year 2006. The requested funds would provide for additional FTEs in the Office of Inspector General, the Wireline Competition Bureau, and the Office of Managing Director… We will work with Congress to ensure the requested funds improve the efficiency of the programs and safeguard the USF from waste, fraud, and abuse.

So even after collecting regulatory fees, the FCC will need another $5 million to operate in 2006. Bake sale, anyone? I can bring some lemon bars and a killer strawberry shortcake.

Just trying to help…

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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