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FCC FY2013 Budget Request Submitted to Congress

New spectrum fees, signal analysis gear is on agency’s wish list

The FCC has asked Congress to approve a fiscal year 2013 budget of $346.78 million. That compares to the actual $339.8 million the agency received for fiscal 2012.

The agency’s budget request is part of President Obama’s total budget submission of $3.8 trillion for FY2013, which begins Oct. 1.

If approved as is by Congress, there would be 141 new FCC staff members, bringing the total to 1,917 over the current 1,776; the number of full-time staffers at the Media Bureau would increase from 197 to 213. The Enforcement Bureau would go from 276 to 299 and the Office of Engineering & Technology would increase from the current 81 to 87 staffers.

Part of the money would be used for eight new vehicles and to replace obsolete signal analysis equipment with new direction-finding and wireless monitoring gear in those vehicles, which field agents use to detect unauthorized transmissions and resolve interference issues.

The commission would also have new authority to set user fees on unauctioned spectrum licenses as a spectrum management tool. Fees would be phased in over time to determine the appropriate application and the monetary amount. The agency tentatively plans to begin levying such fees this year, and estimate those could total $4.8 billion through 2022.