FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
News media information 202/418-0500
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
January 16, 2001
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:|
John Winston (202) 418-7450
Washington, DC - Today, the Commission proposed a fine in the amount of $212,000 against American Tower Corporation for 36 separate violations of the Commission's antenna structure rules. The Commission found that ATC failed to properly light one antenna structure during construction, failed to register two existing antenna structures with the Commission, failed to notify the Commission of ownership changes regarding 24 antenna structures and failed to post the antenna structure registration number on nine other antenna structures. In addition, the Commission ordered the Enforcement Bureau to conduct an additional, more thorough, investigation of ATC's compliance with these rules.
The Commission's action resulted from routine investigations and inspections conducted by the Enforcement Bureau's Field Offices. In proposing the fine, the Commission noted that field agents had repeatedly notified American Tower Corporation regarding its non-compliance with the Commission's antenna structure rules and had met with representatives of ATC to discuss its antenna structure problems. The Commission expressed concern that in spite of notifications to ATC regarding its noncompliance and statements by ATC representatives that they would address the issue, Enforcement Bureau field agents continue to find violations of the antenna structure rules.
In separate similar actions, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau proposed fines to Telecorp Communications, Inc. ($80,000), AT&T Wireless Services, Inc. ($18,000) and SpectraSite Corporation ($17,000) for violations of the antenna structure rules. The Bureau found that Telecorp failed to properly light antenna structures on four occasions, that AT&T Wireless had failed to post antenna structure registration numbers on nine occasions and that SpectraSite had failed to post antenna structure registration numbers on four occasions and failed to notify the Commission of ownership changes on three occasions. These violations were uncovered by the Bureau's field agents during routine investigations and inspections of these entities' antenna structures.
The Commission's antenna structure painting, lighting and registration requirements operate in concert with Federal Aviation Administration (``FAA'') regulations to ensure that antenna structures do not present hazards to air navigation. Generally, FCC rules require that antenna structures located close to airports or that are greater than 200 feet in height comply with painting and lighting specifications designed to ensure air safety. Because of the substantial public safety issues involved, the Commission further requires antenna structure owners to monitor lights daily or have automatic alarm systems installed to ensure lights function properly. Antenna structure owners are required to immediately notify the FAA when major antenna structure lights are inoperative and can not 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.
Antenna structure owners are required to register structures with the Commission and post registration numbers near the base of structures to allow for easy contact if problems arise. The Commission's Rules requiring antenna structure registration for all antenna structures that may pose a hazard to air navigation have been in effect since July 1, 1998. The Commission has 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.
Commission field agents routinely inspect antenna structures to determine compliance with antenna structure painting and lighting requirements and respond to complaints of unlit towers. The FAA also routinely notifies Commission field offices when owners fail to either report that lights have been repaired within 15 days or request that a NOTAM be extended.
American Tower Corporation
Action by the Commission, January 11, 2001, by Notice of Apparent Liability, FCC 01-9 Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell and Tristani.
File No. EB-00-TP-132
Telecorp Communications, Inc.
Action by Chief, Enforcement Bureau, January 11, 2001, by Notice of Apparent Liability, DA 01-85.
File No. EB-00-SJ-108
Action by Chief, Enforcement Bureau, January 11, 2001, by Notice of Apparent Liability, DA 01-86.
File No. EB-00-SF-672
AT&T Wireless Services
Action by Chief, Enforcement Bureau, January 11, 2001, by Notice of Apparent Liability, DA 01-87.
File No. EB-00-SF-671
Enforcement Bureau contacts:
John Winston at (202) 418-7450
Lisa Fowlkes at (202) 418-7450