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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Verizon Wireless (VAW) LLC ) File No. EB-09-AT-0030
Owner of an Antenna Structure in ) NAL/Acct. No. 200932480002
) FRN 0006945687
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: September 18, 2009
By the District Director, Atlanta Office, South Central Region,
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL"), we find
that Verizon Wireless (VAW) LLC ("Verizon"), owner of an antenna
structure located at 2128 Reed Creek Road, in Hartwell, GA, apparently
willfully and repeatedly violated Sections 17.4(a) and 17.21(a) of the
Commission's Rules ("Rules") by failing to register its antenna
structure with the Commission and failing to paint and light that
antenna structure. We conclude, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended ("Act"), that Verizon is
apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of thirteen thousand
2. On August 18, 2009, in response to a complaint of an unlit tower,
agents from the Commission's Atlanta Field Office of the Enforcement
Bureau ("Atlanta Office") inspected an antenna structure located at
2128 Reed Creek Road in Hartwell, GA. Prior to inspecting the tower,
the agents confirmed that no antenna structure located at that address
was registered in the Commission's Antenna Structure Registration
("ASR") database. The agents determined that the antenna structure
exceeded 200 feet in height. The agents observed that the structure
did not have any obstruction marking or lighting and that there was no
ASR number posted at the structure base. The agents contacted the land
owner, who identified the tower owner as Verizon.
3. On August 19, 2009, an agent from the Atlanta Office contacted Verizon
regarding the antenna structure. Verizon measured the antenna
structure and confirmed that the overall height of the antenna
structure was 205 feet above ground level. That same day Verizon
reduced the antenna structure height to 199 feet above ground level by
removing the lightning rod from the top of the antenna structure.
4. On August 20, 2009, Verizon confirmed that the antenna structure was
constructed on or about March 2004 and that Verizon had owned the
tower since its construction. Verizon also stated that it filed for a
determination of no hazard from the Federal Aviation Administration
("FAA") for a planned addition of a lightning rod to the tower, which
would increase its height to 206 feet above ground level.
5. Section 503(b) of the Act provides that any person who willfully or
repeatedly fails to comply substantially with the terms and conditions
of any license, or willfully or repeatedly fails to comply with any of
the provisions of the Act or of any rule, regulation or order issued
by the Commission thereunder, shall be liable for a forfeiture
penalty. The term "willful" as used in Section 503(b) of the Act has
been interpreted to mean simply that the acts or omissions are
committed knowingly. The term "repeated" means the commission or
omission of such act more than once or for more than one day.
6. Section 17.4(a) of the Rules requires that effective July 1, 1996,
the owner of any proposed or existing antenna structure that requires
notice of proposed construction to the FAA register the structure with
the Commission. Section 17.7(a) of the Rules requires that
notification to the FAA must be made for any construction or
alteration of an antenna structure more than 200 feet in height above
ground level. Verizon's antenna structure in Hartwell, GA required
notice of proposed construction to the FAA, because it was more than
200 feet in height. Because it was constructed after 1996, Verizon was
required to register the structure with the Commission. There is no
evidence that Verizon ever registered the structure with the
Commission. Based on the evidence before us, we find that Verizon
apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Section 17.4(a) of the
Rules by failing to register its antenna structure in Hartwell, GA
from the date the structure was constructed in March 2004 until August
7. Section 17.21(a) of the Rules requires that antenna structures be
painted and lighted when they exceed 60.9 meters (200 ft.) in height
above ground level or they require special aeronautical study.
Section 17.6 of the Rules states that the antenna structure owner is
responsible for maintaining the painting and lighting of an antenna
structure. Verizon's antenna structure exceeded 200 feet above ground
level and thus was required to be painted and lighted. Verizon, as
the owner of the antenna structure, is responsible for the structure
obstruction marking and lighting. On August 18, 2009, Verizon's
antenna structure was not painted or lighted, and there is no evidence
that the structure had ever been painted or lighted since its
construction in 2004. Based on the evidence before us, we find that
Verizon apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Section 17.21(a)
of the Rules by failing to paint or light its antenna structure in
Hartwell, GA from the date the structure was constructed in March 2004
until August 18, 2009.
8. Pursuant to The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment
of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines,
("Forfeiture Policy Statement"), and Section 1.80 of the Rules, the
base forfeiture amount for failure to comply with prescribed painting
and/or marking is $10,000 and for failure to file required forms or
information is $3,000. In assessing the monetary forfeiture amount, we
must also take into account the statutory factors set forth in Section
503(b)(2)(E) of the Act, which include the nature, circumstances,
extent, and gravity of the violations, and with respect to the
violator, the degree of culpability, and history of prior offenses,
ability to pay, and other such matters as justice may require.
Applying the Forfeiture Policy Statement, Section 1.80 of the Rules,
and the statutory factors to the instant case, we conclude that
Verizon is apparently liable for a $13,000 forfeiture.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
9. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111, 0.311,
0.314 and 1.80 of the Commission's Rules, Verizon Wireless (VAW) LLC
is hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the
amount of thirteen thousand dollars ($13,000) for violations of
Sections 17.4(a) and 17.21(a) 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 for Forfeiture, Verizon Wireless (VAW)
LLC 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 must be made by credit card, check or
similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal Communications
Commission. The payment must include the Account Number and FRN Number
referenced above. Payment by check or money order may be mailed to
Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO
63197-9000. Payment by overnight mail may be sent to U.S. Bank -
Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St.
Louis, MO 63101. Payment by wire transfer may be made to ABA Number
021030004, receiving bank TREAS/NYC, and account number 27000001. For
payment by credit card, an FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice) must be
submitted. When completing the FCC Form 159, enter the NAL/Account
number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID), and enter the letters
"FORF" in block number 24A (payment type code). Requests for full
payment under an installment plan should be sent to: Chief Financial
Officer -- Financial Operations, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room 1-A625,
Washington, D.C. 20554.8 If you have questions, please contact the
Financial Operations Group Help Desk at 1-877-480-3201 or Email:
ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov. If payment is made, Verizon will send electronic
notification on the date said payment is made to
12. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal Communications
Commission, Enforcement Bureau, South Central Region, 3575 Koger
Blvd, Ste 320, Duluth, GA 30096 and must include the NAL/Acct. No.
referenced in the caption.
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 submitted.
14. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture shall be sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt
Requested, and regular mail, to Verizon Wireless (VAW) LLC, at its
address of record.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
South Central Region
47 C.F.R. S:17.2 (a) "The term antenna structure includes the radiating
and/or receive system, its supporting structures and any appurtenances
47 C.F.R. S:S: 17.4(a), 17.21(a).
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b).
See 47 C.F.R. S: 17.4(g).
Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(1), which applies to
violations for which forfeitures are assessed under 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 or any rule or regulation of the Commission
authorized by this Act...." See Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6
FCC Rcd 4387 (1991).
Section 312(f)(2) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(2), which also applies
to violations for which forfeitures are assessed under Section 503(b) of
the Act, provides that "[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."
47 C.F.R. S: 17.4(a).
47 C.F.R. S: 17.7(a).
But see 47 C.F.R. S: 17.14 (listing exemptions from the notification to
FAA requirement for structures near natural terrain of equal or greater
height and structures or objects approved by the Administrator of the FAA
for use as navigational aids). None of the exemptions listed in Section
17.14 of the Rules apply to the structure in Hartwell, GA.
47 C.F.R. S: 17.21(a).
47 C.F.R. S: 17.6.
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(2)(E).
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b), 47 C.F.R. S:S: 0.111, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80, 17.4(a),
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Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission