February 18 has come and gone, and the new application fee schedule which was supposed to go into effect on that day has NOT gone into effect. (By the way, if you want copies of the Commission’s now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t 2009 fee filing guides, let us know – we have a complete set of those bad boys and we’ll be happy to make them available to one and all.)
In response to our February 18 post, we heard from one off-the-record source that the folks charged with updating the on-line CDBS payment process have finished their work, so they’re apparently not the cause of the delay, contrary to our earlier suspicions. We also heard that at least somebody inside the Commission was saying that the effective date had to be postponed from February 18 because of some “legal ‘notice’” (the internal FCC memo reportedly included quotation marks around “notice”) requirement that they supposedly just learned about.
Just learned about? Since we’ve been on this topic like a hobo on a ham sandwich for weeks already – not to mention our original post about the new fees that appeared months ago – that suggests that they haven’t been reading CommLawBlog.com, which hurts us deeply.
But wait a minute – the Commission did put a notice in the Federal Register about the new fees back in January, which suggests that they do know about the notice requirements. Curiouser and curiouser.
We called the Office of Managing Director on February 18 to see what was what. They told us that a public notice had been posted on the Commission’s website addressing the new fee schedule. Since no such notice had, in fact, been posted, that was wrong information, which we pointed out to them. They seemed surprised to learn that the notice that they thought had been posted had not in fact been posted. They then said that some notice would be posted at some point, so we should check back regularly. (We have done that, but so far we have seen nothing.)
We also heard from a seemingly informed source that somebody involved in the fee schedule fol-de-rol has suggested that the Commission may issue an erratum to the original September, 2008 order adopting the new schedule. Careful readers will recall that, in that order, the Commission specifically said the new fees would become effective 90 days after Congressional notification, which would put the effective date at December 30, 2008. The thinking seems to be that the Commission can and should simply say that they didn’t really mean 90 days, but rather some other number which, when calculated out, will make the effective date some time in the future. We’ll let you know if such an erratum pops up.
We still find it hard to understand exactly why the Commission’s folks seem to be so twisted up about how to put the new fee schedule into effect. And we find it even harder to understand why the Commission seems so dead set on not bothering to let the public know what’s going on. Perhaps when the Sure-To-Be-Posted-Someday public notice actually makes an appearance, we’ll all have a better idea.