FCC Pushing for Fee Increase for 2025 Budget 

By Jason Lee

This week, the FCC publishes its 2025 budget estimates for its funding from Congress. In its budget breakdown, the FCC plans to have a base increase of $30,000,000 in 2025. This is a massive increase over the Commission’s $2,450,000 base increase in fiscal year 2024. According to the 2025 budget handbook, the FCC is planning to spend the $30,000,000 plus-up on Broadband DATA collection.  

Broadband DATA collection was authorized by a Trump-era law signed in 2020 to update the FCC’s broadband coverage maps. According to the handbook: 

The President signed into law the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act (Broadband DATA Act), P. L. 116-130, on March 23, 2020. The Broadband DATA Act is important legislation that directs the FCC to improve the way broadband availability data is collected, verified, and reported, so that the FCC, other federal agencies, state, local and Tribal governments and other stakeholders have a precise and accurate view of where broadband is, and is not available, across the United States and Territories.

The FCC spending such vast sums of money to deliver broadband to unserved and underserved areas, even as the BEAD program provides more than $40 billion for that purpose through NTIA, can be justified by the need to keep accurate data on broadband nationwide broadband coverage. More accurate maps will mean that BEAD money is spend as efficiently as possible. That said, the fees do introduce inefficiencies into the communications marketplace and raise costs for consumers. As stated in the budget handbook, the FCC wants to “pursue policies to help bring affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to 100 percent of the country.”  

As we are living in an inflationary time, Congress needs to conduct diligent oversight over whether the FCC’s goals are workable and feasible, as no taxpayers should have to pay for waste, fraud, and abuse from these unusually large sums.  

Read the full budget here