On June 5, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC’s” or the “Commission’s”) Enforcement Bureau (“Bureau”) issued a Notice of Apparent Liability against a manufacturer and retailer for marketing non-compliant RF devices, a dozen models of which were capable of operating in restricted spectrum bands.  The FCC proposes to assess a total fine of $2,861,128.00 against ABC Fulfillment Services LLC and Indubitably, Inc. (collectively, “HobbyKing”) for equipment authorization rule violations involving 65 models of recreational audio/video transmitters (“AV Transmitters”) used with model airplanes drones.  But more than $2.2 million of that resulted from the fact that twelve models apparently operates in restricted radio bands and three at higher powers than authorized in other bands. The restricted bands are those in which unlicensed transmitters are not allowed to operate because of potential interference to sensitive radio communications.  In the case of HobbyKing’s  the Commission found that its AV transmitters operated in bands where important government and public safety operations, such as those of the Federal Aviation Administration managing commercial and passenger flight traffic, doppler weather radar, flight testing, and other activities the FCC has determined are particularly worthy of heightened interference protection take place.  In other words, the moral is that marketing devices that do not have proper equipment authorization is bad, but doing so when the devices operate within restricted bands is quite simply “egregious,” as the NAL put it.

Continue Reading

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), through coordination with the FCC and other federal stakeholders, expects by mid-January 2015 to streamline the online process for submitting Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs).  NOTAMs identify towers that are experiencing a lighting outage or otherwise faulty lighting and provide a mechanism for the FAA to alert aviation operations to the outage.  The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued an advisory on December 8th announcing the FAA’s new process which will permit tower owners to individually select the active period for each NOTAM in lieu of the current default of fifteen (15) days.
Continue Reading

The release of three notices of liability in the past two weeks regarding alleged violations of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) antenna structure violations by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) reveals the extent to which size may trump uncooperative and extended non-compliant behavior when it comes to proposed forfeitures.  For violations falling under same category

The FCC on Wednesday found General Communications, Inc. (“GCI”) apparently liable in the amount of $20,000 as a result of an unaddressed lighting malfunction on one of the carrier’s communications towers.  In the Notice of Apparent Liability (“NAL”), the Commission found that as a result of daytime lights on the 56 meter tower being out, GCI committed several rule violations: failure to (1) exhibit the required daytime medium intensity obstruction lighting on its antenna structure, (2) monitor obstruction lighting on a daily basis or maintain a functioning alarm system, and (3) notify the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) of the lighting outage, which the FCC considered as being known as a result of the monitoring requirements.  The matter came to light when an Enforcement Bureau field agent observed the tower structure was not lit during daytime hours on two consecutive days in September 12.  The agent proceeded to contact the FAA and learned that no Notice to Airmen (“NOTAM”) had been issued as a result of the outage.  The FAA issued the NOTAM immediately after being contacted. Only after being contacted by the Bureau’s Anchorage Office did GCI investigate and replace a failing a capacitor on the lighting control board and proceed to install a remote lighting monitoring and alarm system.


Continue Reading