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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
VERIZON FLORIDA, INC. ) File No. EB-00-TS-148
Licensee of Air-Ground Station KWU228 ) NAL/Acct. No.
Tampa, Florida )
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Adopted: January 31, 2001 Released:
February 1, 2001
By the Chief, Technical and Public Safety Division, Enforcement
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture
(``NAL''), we find that Verizon Florida, Inc. (``Verizon''),1 has
apparently violated Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934,
as amended (``Act''), 2 and Section 22.3 of the Commission's Rules
(``Rules''),3 by operating the captioned station without a valid
Commission authorization. We conclude that Verizon is apparently
liable for a monetary forfeiture in the amount of five thousand
2. Verizon's authorization for Air-Ground KWU228 expired on
September 1, 1999. On March 10, 2000, Verizon filed an application
for renewal of the authorization for that station and requested a
waiver of Section 1.949(a) of the Rules.4 Verizon's waiver request
states that it operated the air-ground system without an
authorization between September 1, 1999 and March 10, 2000. On
April 20, 2000, the Commission's Wirless Telecommunications Bureau
granted Verizon's waiver request and reinstated its authority to
operate Station KWU228.
3. Section 301 of the Act sets forth the general mandate that
no person shall use or operate any apparatus for the transmission
of energy or communications or signals by radio within the United
States except under and in accordance with the Act and with a
license. Section 22.3 of the Rules provides, in pertinent part,
that a valid Commission authorization is necessary for one to
operate a Public Mobile Service station such as an air-ground
station. We conclude that Verizon operated an air-ground station
without a valid license between September 1, 1999 and March 10,
2000, in apparent willful and repeated violation of Section 301 of
the Act and Section 22.3 of the Rules.
4. In the Universal Licensing System Memorandum Opinion and
Order on Reconsideration (``MO&O''), 5 the Commission noted that
the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, after reviewing the
circumstances concerning a late filed renewal application, may, in
its discretion, initiate enforcement action against a licensee for
unauthorized operation.6 Moreover, the Commission stated in the
MO&O that applications for renewal received more than 30 days after
the expiration of the license may lead to ``more significant fines
or forfeitures.''7 In this case, Verizon operated without a valid
license for over six months after the license expired.
5. The guidelines contained in 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''), specify a base forfeiture amount of $10,000 for
operation without an instrument of authorization for the service.
Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the Act8 requires the Commission to
consider ``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.'' In this case,
Verizon failed to file an application for renewal and operated a
station under circumstances where the Commission has envisioned
``more significant fines or forfeitures'' for violations in excess
of 30 days. On the other hand, Verizon had previously been
licensed, so this is not comparable to ``pirate'' wireless
operations, (i.e., station operations that have never been licensed
by the Commission), which have been subject to forfeitures of
approximately $10,000.9 Taking these facts into consideration in
conjunction with the factors required by Section 503(b)(2)(D) of
the Act and the Forfeiture Policy Statement, we conclude that a
forfeiture of $5,000 is warranted.
IV. Ordering Clauses
6. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act10 and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the
Rules,11 Verizon is hereby NOTIFIED of its APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A
FORFEITURE in the amount of $5,000 for violation of Section 301 of
the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 22.3 of the
Commission's Rules. The amount specified was determined after
consideration of the factors set forth in Section 503(b)(2)(D) of
the Act and the guidelines enumerated in the Forfeiture Policy
7. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 1.80 of
the Rules, within thirty days of the release of this NOTICE OF
APPARENT LIABILITY, Verizon SHALL PAY the full amount of the
proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking
reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
8. Payment of the forfeiture may be made by a check, or
similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission, and mailed 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.:????? 200132100012.
9. 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, Ref: EB-00-TS-148, NAL/Acct. No.:
10. The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a
forfeiture in response to a claim of inability to pay unless the
respondent submits: (1) federal tax returns for the most recent
three-year period; (2) financial statements prepared according to
generally accepted accounting practices; or (3) some other reliable
and objective documentation that accurately reflects the
respondent'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.
11. 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. 20554.12
12. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT this notice shall be sent, by
certified mail, return receipt requested, to Verizon Florida, Inc.,
Verizon Services Group, Attention Suzanne Carmel, 1850 M. Street,
N.W., Suite 1200, Washington, DC, 20036.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Joseph P. Casey
Chief, Technical and Public Safety
1 We note that the alleged violation occurred when the air-ground
system was licensed to GTE Florida, Inc. However, on June 30,
2000, Bell Atlantic Corporation and GTE Corporation merged into one
company, named ``Verizon Communications,'' and GTE Florida, Inc.
is now operating the captioned station as ``Verizon Florida,
Inc.'' See, GTE Corporation and Bell Atlantic Corporation, 15 FCC
Rcd at 14032 (2000). Although we recognize that Verizon was not
the named licensee at the time of the violation, we nonetheless
refer to Verizon as the licensee throughout this NAL for the sake
2 47 U.S.C. § 301.
3 47 C.F.R. § 22.3.
4 47 C.F.R. § 1.949(a). This Section provides, in pertinent part,
that ``[a]pplications for renewal of authorizations in the Wireless
Radio Services must be filed no later than the expiration date of
the authorization for which renewal is
sought. . . .''
5 Biennial Regulatory Review -- Amendment of Parts 0, 1, 13, 22,
24, 26, 27, 80, 87, 90, 95, 97, and 101 of the Commission's Rules
to Facilitate the Development and Use of the Universal Licensing
System in the Wireless Telecommunications Services, Memorandum
Opinion and Order upon reconsideration, 14 FCC Rcd 11476, 11485-
6 The enforcement responsibilities of the Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau are now with the Enforcement Bureau. See
47 C.F.R. § 0.111.
7 14 FCC Rcd at 11486.
8 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
9 See, e.g., Jean R. Jonassaint, 15 FCC Rcd 10422 (Enf. Bur. 2000).
10 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
11 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, and 1.80.
12 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914