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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
) File No. EB-02-DT-070
Sprintcom, Inc. ) NAL/Acct. No.
Overland Park, Kansas )
) FRN: 0005-5981-07
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: May 24,
By the District Director, Detroit Office, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture
("NAL"), we find that Sprintcom, Inc. has apparently violated
Section 303(q) of the Communications Act of 1934 (``Act''), as
amended,1 and Sections 17.4(g), 17.47(a)(1), 17.47(a)(2),
17.48(a) and 17.51(b) of the Commission's Rules2 (the ``Rules'').
Respectively, these sections require painting and/or illumination
of a radio tower if and when the tower may constitute a menace to
air navigation; posting the Antenna Structure Registration
(``ASR'') number in a conspicuous location so that it is visible
near the base of the antenna structure; observation of the
antenna structure lights each 24 hours; report immediately to the
nearest Flight Service Station or office of the Federal Aviation
Administration (``FAA'') any observed or otherwise known
extinguishment or improper functioning of any top steady burning
light or flashing obstruction light, regardless of its position
on the antenna structure not corrected within 30 minutes; all
high intensity and medium intensity obstruction lighting shall be
exhibited continuously unless otherwise specified. We conclude
that Sprintcom, Inc. is apparently liable for a forfeiture in the
amount of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
2. The Commission's obstruction marking and lighting of
antenna structures and registration requirements operate in
concert with the FAA regulations to ensure that antenna
structures do not present hazards to air navigation. Generally,
our rules require that antenna structures located close to
airports or that are greater than 200 feet in height comply with
painting and lighting specifications to ensure air safety. We
require antenna structure owners to register structures with the
Commission and post registration numbers near the base of
structures to allow for easy contact if problems arise. The
Rules require registration for all antenna structures that may
pose a hazard to air navigation and have been in effect since
July 1, 1998. We have repeatedly advised antenna structure
owners that all existing, unregistered antenna structures subject
to our Rules must be registered immediately or the owners could
face a monetary forfeiture or other enforcement action.3
3. Because of the substantial public safety issues
involved, we further require antenna structure owners to monitor
lights daily or install automatic alarm systems to ensure lights
function properly. Antenna structure owners are required to
maintain lighting equipment and replace or repair inoperative
lights, indicators, and control and alarm systems as soon as
practicable.4 Additionally, antenna structure owners are
required immediately to notify the FAA when major antenna
structure lights are inoperative and cannot be repaired within 30
minutes. The FAA then issues a Notice to Airmen (``NOTAM'') for
a period of 15 days advising aircraft that there is an antenna
structure at a specific location with a temporary light outage.
4. On February 7, 2002, the Detroit Office received
information from a resident in Mount Vernon, Ohio that a flashing
obstruction light was out on an antenna tower, and that it had
been out for more than a week. The resident did not know the ASR
number of the tower. An FCC agent investigated this situation
and on February 8, 2002, verified that the antenna tower was
owned by Sprintcom. The agent contacted the tower owner and was
told by their Network Operations Control Center (``NOCC'') that
the tower was assigned registration number 1205218. The
investigation verified that the ASR number was not posted; the
tower owner was not aware that the tower light was out; and, the
tower light outage had not been reported to the FAA. The NOCC
indicated that the tower light problem was probably due to an
alarm problem with their automatic alarm equipment
5. On March 1, 2002, the Detroit District Director issued
a Notice of Violation (``NOV'') to Sprintcom, Inc., 6450 Sprint
Parkway, Overland Park, Kansas 66251, for failure to post the ASR
number, failure to monitor the tower lights and failure to report
the light outage to the FAA.
6. On March 13, 2002, the Detroit Office received a
response to the NOV from Sprint PCS, 11800 College Blvd.,
Overland Park, Kansas 66210, indicating that the FAA was notified
of the light outage on February 11, 2002.
7. Section 303(q) of the Act, as amended, requires tower
owners to maintain the painting and/or illumination of the tower
as prescribed by the Commission. Section 17.4(g) requires that
the ASR number be posted in a conspicuous location so that it is
readily visible near the base of the antenna structure. Sections
17.47(a)(1) and 17.47(a)(2) require the tower lights be
monitored. Section 17.48(a) requires reporting the tower light
outage to the FAA and Section 17.51(b) requires the intensity
lighting to be continuously displayed
8. Based on the evidence before us, we find that
Sprintcom, Inc. has willfully5 and repeatedly6 violated Section
303(q) of the Act, as amended, by failure to maintain the
prescribed illumination of its antenna tower; Section 17.4(g) for
failing to post the ASR number in a conspicuous location so that
it is readily visible near the base of the antenna structure;
Sections 17.47(a)(1) and 17.47(a)(2) for failing to monitor the
antenna tower lights; Section 17.48(a) for failing to report the
tower light outage to the FAA; and Section 17.51(b) for failing
to continuously exhibit the intensity lighting. The Commission's
Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the
Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines, 12 FCC Rcd 17087,
17113 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303(1999) (``Forfeiture
Policy Statement'')7, sets the base forfeiture amount at ten
thousand dollars ($10,000) for the lighting violation; and three
thousand dollars ($3,000) for failure to report the tower light
outage to the FAA. The Forfeiture Policy Statement does not
establish a base forfeiture amount for failure to post the
antenna structure registration number. The Commission has
determined, however, that an appropriate base forfeiture amount
for failure to post the ASR number is two thousand dollars
($2,000) per violation.8 In assessing the monetary forfeiture
amount, we must take into account the statutory factors set forth
in Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the Act,9 which include the nature,
circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation, and with
respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history
of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other such matters as
justice may require. Applying the Policy Statement and the
statutory factors to the instant case and applying the inflation
adjustments, we believe that a fifteen thousand dollar ($15,000)
monetary forfeiture is warranted.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
9. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the
Rules10, Sprintcom, Inc. is hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT
LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of fifteen thousand
dollars ($15,000) for willfully and repeatedly violating Section
303(q) of the Act, as amended, and Sections 17.4(g), 17.47(a)(1),
17.47(a)(2) 17.48(a) and 17.51(b) of the Rules.
10. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 1.80 of
the Commission's Rules, within thirty days of the release date of
this NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY, Sprintcom, Inc. SHALL PAY the
full amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written
statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed
11. Payment of the forfeiture may be made by mailing a
check or similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission, to the Forfeiture Collection Section,
Finance Branch, Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box
73482, Chicago, Illinois 60673-7482. The payment should note the
NAL/Acct. No. 200232360006, FRN: 0005-5981-07.
12. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Technical and
Public Safety Division, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C.
20554 and MUST INCLUDE THE NAL/Acct. No. 200232360006, FRN: 0005-
13. The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling
a forfeiture in response to a claim of inability to pay unless
the petitioner submits: (1) federal tax returns for the most
recent three-year period; (2) financial statements prepared
according to generally accepted accounting practices (``GAAP'');
or (3) some other reliable and objective documentation that
accurately reflects the petitioner's current financial status.
Any claim of inability to pay must specifically identify the
basis for the claim by reference to the financial documentation
14. Requests for payment of the full amount of this Notice
of Apparent Liability under an installment plan should be sent
to: Chief, Revenue and Receivables Operations Group, 445 12th
Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.11
15. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this NOTICE OF
APPARENT LIABILITY shall be sent by Certified Mail, Return
Receipt Requested, to Sprintcom, Inc., 6450 Sprint Parkway,
Overland Park, Kansas 66251, and to Sprint PCS, 11880 College
Blvd., Overland Park, Kansas 66210.
James A. Bridgewater
1 47 U.S.C. § 303(q).
2 47 C.F.R. §§ 17.4(g), 17.47(a)(1), 17.47(a)(2), 17.48(a), and
3Antenna structure owners were required to register existing
antenna structures as of July 1, 1998 and to register new antenna
structures prior to construction. Streamlining the Commission's
Antenna Structure Clearance Procedure, 11 FCC Rcd 4272 (1995).
Subsequent to the expiration of the filing period, the Commission
staff issued a Public Notice warning antenna structure owners to
register any unregistered antenna structures subject to our
requirements immediately or face possible monetary forfeitures or
other enforcement action. Public Notice, ``No-Tolerance Policy
Adopted For Unregistered Antenna Structures,'' 1999 WL 10060 (WTB
4 47 C.F.R. 17.56.
Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(1), which
applies to Section 503(b) of the Act, provides that ``[t]he term
`willful', when used with reference to the commission or omission
of any act, means the conscious and deliberate commission or
omission of such act, irrespective of any intent to violate any
provision of this Act ....'' See Southern California
Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd 4387 (1991).
6 Section 312(f)(2), which also applies to Section 503(b),
provides: [t]he term ``repeated'', when used with reference to
the commission or omission of any act, means the commission or
omission of such act more than once or, if such commission or
omission is continuous, for more than one day.
747 C.F.R. § 1.80.
8 See American Tower Corporation, 16 FCC Rcd 1282 (2001).
9 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
10 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, and 1.80.
11 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.