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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
SpectraSite Communications, Inc.) File No. EB-00-SF-672
Cary, North Carolina ) NAL/Acct.No. 20013276002
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Adopted: January 11, 2001 Released:
January 16, 2001
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, we
find SpectraSite Communications, Inc. (``SpectraSite''), Cary,
NC, apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of seventeen
thousand dollars ($17,000) for violations of Section 17.57 and
Section 17.4(g), of the Commission's rules relating to
registration of antenna structures.1 Respectively, these sections
require that radio antenna structure owners report ownership
changes and properly post antenna structure registration (ASR)
numbers. We find that during the period of July 21, 2000 through
October 27, 2000 SpectraSite failed to comply with the
requirement to 1) change ownership information in three
instances; and 2) post Antenna Structure Registration Numbers in
four instances. A list of the specific violations is attached.
See Attachment 1.
2. 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, 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 designed to
ensure air safety. We require antenna structure owners to
register antenna structures with the Commission and post ASR
numbers at the base of antenna 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, 1998.2 We have repeatedly advised antenna structure
owners that all existing, unregistered antenna structures subject
to our rules must be registered immediately or the owners face a
monetary forfeiture or other enforcement action.3
3. Because of the significant public safety concern
related to antenna structure registration, Enforcement Bureau
field agents regularly inspect antenna structures to determine
compliance with the Commission's registration and antenna
structure painting and lighting requirements. During routine
inspections of antenna structures owned by SpectraSite from July
21, 2000 to October 27, 2000, Bureau field agents discovered four
antenna structures that did not have the ASR numbers posted and
three antenna structures with incorrect ownership information on
file with the FCC. These violations are listed by FCC case
number, date of violation, rules violated, structure location and
ASR number in Attachment 1.
4. Based on the evidence before us, we find that
SpectraSite Communications, Inc. apparently willfully and
repeatedly4 violated Section 17.4(g) and Section 17.57 of the
Commission's Rules5 by its failure to comply with the
Commission's Rules regarding the registration of antenna
structures and posting of antenna structure registration numbers.
5. Section 503(b) of the Act authorizes the Commission to
assess a forfeiture of up to $11,000 for each violation of the
Act or of any rule, regulation, or order issued by the Commission
under the Act.6 In exercising such authority, we are to take
into account "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
such other matters as justice may require.''7
6. 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"), the base amount is $3,000 for each of SpectraSite's
three failures to file required forms or information (i.e.,
failure to file ownership change information). The Commission's
Forfeiture Policy Statement does not establish a base forfeiture
amount for failure to post the antenna structure registration
number.8 The Commission has determined that an appropriate base
amount is $2,000 per violation.9 Application of the base amounts
to each of the seven violations leads to a proposed forfeiture of
$17,000. We find no basis for making any adjustments to this
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
7. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act,10 Section 1.80 of the Commission's Rules,11
and the authority delegated in Sections 0.111 and 0.311 of the
Commission's Rules,12 SpectraSite Communications, Inc. is hereby
NOTIFIED of this APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the
amount of seventeen thousand dollars ($17,000) for violating
Section 17.4(g) and Section 17.57 of the Commission's Rules.13
8. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 1.80
of the Commission's Rules,14 within thirty days of the release
date of this NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY, SpectraSite
Communications, Inc. SHALL PAY the full amount of the proposed
forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking reduction or
cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
9. 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. 20013276002 referenced above.
10. The response if any must be mailed to Office of the
Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street,
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554, ATTN: Enforcement Bureau -
Technical and Public Safety Division and must include the
NAL/Acct. No. 20013276002.
11. 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
12. Requests for payment of the full amount of this Notice
of Apparent Liability under an installment plan should be sent
to: Chief, Credit and Debt Management Center, 445 12th Street,
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.15
13. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this NOTICE OF
APPARENT LIABILITY shall be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt
Requested to Maria Gabriel, Manager, FAA/FCC Compliance,
SpectraSite Communications, Inc., 100 Regency Forest Drive, Suite
400, Cary, NC 27511.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David H. Solomon
Chief, Enforcement Bureau Attachment #1
Notices of Violation (NOVs) issued to SpectraSite from July 21,
2000 to October 27, 2000
Case Number Viola- Rule Tower City Comment
tion Vio- Registration Number
EB-00-AT- 10/27- 17.57 Forsyth, GA Failed to
1308 /00 1028029 change
EB-00-AT- 10/23- 17.57 Fairburn, GA Failed to
1297 /00 1021656 change
EB-00-DT- 9/27/- 17.4(- Washington Court Failed to post
775 00 g) House, OH registration
EB-00-OR- 8/21/- 17.4(- Collinsville, MS Failed to post
135 00 g) 1214339 registration
EB-00-DT- 8/16/- 17.4(- Conover, OH Failed to post
584 00 g) 1209107 registration
EB-00-DV- 7/21/- 17.4(- Bernalillo, NM Failed to post
413 00 g) 1063675 registration
17.57 number; Failed
1 47 C.F.R. §§ 17.57 and 17.4(g).
2 47 C.F.R. § 17.4(a)(2).
3 Antenna 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
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 Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. § 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 ....'' See Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC
Rcd 4387 (1991). The term ``repeated'' is the commission or
omission of an act more than once. 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(2).
5 47 C.F.R. §§ 17.4(g) and 17.57.
6 Section 503(b)(2)(B) provides for forfeitures up to $10,000 for
each violation. See 47 U.S.C. § 503(b); 47 C.F.R. § 1.80. The
Commission amended its Rules by adding a new subsection to its
monetary forfeiture provisions that incorporates by reference the
inflation adjustment requirements contained in the Debt
Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-134, Sec. 31001,
110 Stat. 1321), enacted on April 26, 1996. Thus, the
statutory maximum pursuant to Section 503(b)(2)(B) increased from
$10,000 to $11,000. See amendment of Section 1.80 of the
Commission's Rules, 12 FCC Rcd 1038 (1997).
7 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D); Commission's Forfeiture Policy
Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to
Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines, Report and Order, 12 FCC
Rcd at 17087, 17100-01, para. 27 (1997).
8 The fact that the Guidelines do not specify a base amount does
not indicate that no forfeiture should be imposed. The
Guidelines state that "... any omission of a specific rule
violation from the . . . [forfeiture guidelines] . . . should not
signal that the Commission considers any unlisted violation as
nonexistent or unimportant. Forfeiture Guidelines, at 17,099,
para. 22. The Commission retains the discretion, moreover, to
depart from the Guidelines and issue forfeitures on a
case?by?case basis, under its general forfeiture authority
contained in section 503 of the Act. Id.
9 American Tower Corporation, FCC 01-9 (released: January 16,
10 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
11 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
12 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311.
13 47 C.F.R. §§ 17.4(g) and 17.57.
14 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
15 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.