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ARRL Special Bulletin ARLX007 (2003)

ARLX007 FCC upholds vanity fee policy, sets new fee start date

QST de W1AW  
Special Bulletin 7  ARLX007
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  July 31, 2003
To all radio amateurs 

ARLX007 FCC upholds vanity fee policy, sets new fee start date

The FCC has announced that the new Amateur Radio vanity call sign
regulatory fee of $16.30 for the 10-year license term will go into
effect September 9. Until then, applicants for amateur vanity call
signs will continue to pay the current $14.50 fee per vanity call
sign application. The FCC says it expects to collect close to
$160,000 from 9800 Amateur Radio vanity call sign applicants during
Fiscal Year 2003. That's up by almost $30,000 and 800 applications
from FY2002.

In releasing its annual Report and Order on the assessment and
collection of regulatory fees for FY2003, the FCC responded at some
length to comments filed from the amateur community. Some commenters
had questioned the need for the fee, the requirement to pay it when
renewing a vanity call sign and why refunds were not automatic.

Telecommunications Act provisions governing regulatory fee
assessment cover applications for vanity call signs, which, the FCC
said, "are voluntarily requested by licensees" and are "a
value-added benefit not afforded to all licensees." Assessment of a
regulatory fee to cover the FCC's processing and enforcement costs
to make the vanity call sign service available is reasonable, the
FCC concluded.

The FCC said its current policy of assessing "a nominal fee" at the
time of initial application and at each renewal also allows greater
access to vanity call signs. "A high one-time-only fee would be cost
prohibitive for many entities wishing to obtain a vanity call sign,"
the Commission said. The Commission also said it incurs costs to
manage each vanity call sign throughout its existence, not just in
the first 10 years.

Regarding refunds due when the FCC denies an application, the FCC
said its rules require a written request from applicants before it
can process refunds of regulatory fees. "The written request serves
as documentation when cross-referencing each unique file number that
may be entitled to a refund," the FCC added.

The FCC said the documentation was particularly important in the
case of Amateur Radio vanity applications, "because filing trends
indicate that some applicants file several vanity call sign
applications per day for several days on end." Requiring a written
request makes it easier to certify "which fees are to be refunded
for which dismissed applications," the Commission said. In addition,
those processing applications in FCC bureaus and offices don't have
the authority to issue refunds without proper documentation.

A copy of the Report and Order is available on the FCC Web site at,


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