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FCC Requests $413 Million in FY2016, May Downsize or Move

Lease at The Portals is expiring

This article originally appeared in TV Technology.

The Federal Communications Commission is requesting $388 million from regulatory fees to run itself in 2016 and to possibly move. An additional $25 million transfer from the Universal Service Fund is requested for a total of $413 million to pay program expenses and salaries for a staff of more than 1,600 people.

The $388 million budgetary request is more than $48 million, or around 14%, more than the 2015 appropriation of nearly $340 million. The commission said that $44.2 million of that difference represents the funds needed for the commission to move or downsize as its lease at The Portals expires.

The General Services Administration is working with the commission to “identify the most-cost effective alternative to the current leasing agreement.” Under GSA requirements, the new lease will comprise 437,000 square feet, a reduction of 28% from “659,030 rentable square feet,” the commission said. The downsize would yield about 180 square feet per person versus 272.

The commission estimates that a move or a downsize, referred to in the budget as a “restack,” would save it up to $119 million over 15 years. The budget also includes an IT upgrade that utilizes more cloud-based applications, further development of the Do-Not-Call registry, and continued “activities in support of the National Broadband Map.”

Another $117 million is being requested from auction proceeds “to administer critical spectrum auctions in furtherance of making more spectrum available for commercial use.” This is up from $106 million in fiscal 2015, with nearly $1.4 million to accommodate 1 to 1.6% raises; $2.5 million for administering the $1.75 billion post-auction broadcaster relocation fund; and $9.6 million for the FCC’s move.