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Vanity Call Sign Fee to Go Up in September

08/10/2011

On August 10, the FCC announced via a Final Rule in the Federal Register that the cost of an Amateur Radio vanity call sign will increase 90 cents, from to $13.30 to $14.20. The new fees take effect 30 days after publication, making September 9, 2011, the first day the new fee is in effect. Earlier this year, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order (NPRM), seeking to raise the fee for Amateur Radio vanity call signs.

“The Commission tries to keep the regulatory fee for Vanity call signs as minimal as possible,” explained the FCC in its Final Rule. “Between FY 2007 and FY 2010, the regulatory fee for Vanity call signs increased from $1.17 (per year) to $1.33 (per year), an increase of $0.16 per year or $1.60 over a ten-year license period. We do not believe this increase is inequitable, and the Commission will continue its efforts to keep this fee as minimal as possible. The fees that are collected from Vanity call signs are used to offset the cost of monitoring and researching new call sign requests to prevent the issuance of duplicate call signs.”

The vanity call sign fee has fluctuated over the 14 years of the current program -- from a low of $11.70 in 2007 to a high of $70 (as first proposed in the FCC’s 1994 Report and Order). In FY 2011, the FCC expects to grant 14,600 vanity call signs, bringing in $207,320 from the vanity call sign program, and looks to recover a total of $336,599,048 in fees from all the Services that it regulates.

The vanity call sign regulatory fee is payable not only when applying for a new vanity call sign, but also upon renewing a vanity call sign for a new term. The first vanity call sign licenses issued under the current Amateur Radio vanity call sign program that began in 1996 came up for renewal five years ago. The FCC is authorized by the Communications Act of 1934, As Amended, to collect vanity call sign fees to recover the costs associated with that program.



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