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                            Before the
                Federal Communications Commission
                      Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of                )  File No. EB-00-IH-0241
                                )  TRS Company Code: 811135
Advanced Telecom. Network, Inc. )  NAL/Acct.             No. 
200132080020
                                 

         NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE

   Adopted: February 28, 2001           Released:  March  2, 
2001

By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:

                      I.  INTRODUCTION

     1.   In this Notice of Apparent Liability for 
Forfeiture ("NAL"), we find that Advanced Telecom. Network, 
Inc. (``Advanced'') has apparently violated 47 U.S.C.  
254(d) and 47 C.F.R.  54.706 by willfully and repeatedly 
failing to contribute to universal service support programs.  
Based on our review of the facts and circumstances in this 
case, we conclude that Advanced is apparently liable for a 
forfeiture in the amount of $46,700.

                       II.  BACKGROUND

     2.   In 1996, Congress amended the Communications Act 
of 1934 (the ``Act'') to require that:

     Every telecommunications carrier that provides 
     interstate telecommunications services shall 
     contribute, on an equitable and nondiscriminatory 
     basis, to the specific, predictable, and 
     sufficient mechanisms established by the 
     Commission to preserve and advance universal 
     service.1
       
In implementing that section, the Commission authorized the 
Universal Service Administrative Company (``USAC'') to 
administer universal service support mechanisms and to 
perform billing and collection functions.2  As to these 
matters, the Commission directed USAC to distribute, receive 
and process the Universal Service Worksheet (now the 
Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) (``Worksheet''), 
which is used to report certain categories of revenue for 
the purpose of calculating a carrier's universal service 
contribution, and to adjust carriers' contributions in 
accordance with factors established by the Commission.3  In 
addition, the Commission gave USAC the authority to bill 
carriers monthly, with the first payment being due in 
February 1998.4  To foster compliance with universal service 
requirements, the Commission's rules provide that a 
carrier's failure ``to submit required . . . contributions 
may subject the contributor to the enforcement provisions of 
the Act and any other applicable law.''5   

     3.   Advanced filed its first Worksheet on September 
23, 1997.  Based upon information in the Worksheet, USAC 
sent ATN an invoice dated January 19, 1998, which set forth 
Advanced's liability to the universal service funds for high 
cost and low income areas, school and libraries, and rural 
health care.  The amount billed was $5,935.28.  USAC 
thereafter sent out monthly invoices to Advanced.  On April 
20, 1998, Advanced submitted a payment of $11,870.56 
covering its required contributions for January and February 
1998.  Through the rest of 1998 and continuing through 
September 1999, Advanced made additional payments, which met 
its obligations only through March 1999.  In calendar year 
2000, Advanced made but one payment, in August, of 
$8,900.78, which USAC credited to the amount billed to 
Advanced in April 1999.  Because of Advanced's chronic 
tardiness in submitting universal service contributions 
since March 1998, USAC has repeatedly alerted Advanced that 
its account was past due. 

     4.   On August 7, 2000, the Enforcement Bureau sent a 
letter to Advanced, which explained that Advanced was 
potentially the subject of an enforcement action.6  Advanced 
failed to respond to our letter.7  As of February 2001, 
Advanced owes a balance of approximately $266,000, which 
represents required contributions and late payment penalties 
billed through December 2000.

                      III.  DISCUSSION

     5.   We conclude that Advanced is apparently liable for 
forfeiture for willful and repeated violations of 47 U.S.C. 
 254 and the Commission's rules governing universal service 
contributions.  Prior to September 1999, Advanced paid some, 
but not all, of its required universal service 
contributions.  From October 1999 to the present, Advanced 
has made one payment of less than $9,000.  Consequently, 
Advanced is more than a year in arrears and its unpaid 
contribution balance has grown to more than $260,000.  As 
noted above, 47 U.S.C.  254(d) and 47 C.F.R.  54.706 and 
54.709 require that interstate telecommunications carriers 
make universal service contributions in the amounts 
calculated by USAC.  Advanced has not done so, and we find 
that Advanced's failures to make the required contributions 
are both willful and repeated.  The term ``willful'' means 
that the violator knew that it was taking the action in 
question, irrespective of any intent to violate the 
Commission's rules,8 and ``repeated'' means more than once.9  
Considering the record before us, it appears that Advanced 
knew of its obligation to contribute to universal service 
programs on a monthly basis but chose repeatedly not to meet 
that obligation. 
     6.   Section 503(b)(1)(B) of the Act provides that any 
person who willfully or repeatedly fails to comply with the 
Act or the Commission's rules shall be liable for a 
forfeiture penalty.10  If the violator is a common carrier, 
47 U.S.C.  503(b)(2)(B) authorizes the Commission to assess 
a forfeiture of up to $110,000 for each violation, or each 
day of a continuing violation, up to a statutory maximum of 
$1,100,000 for a single act or failure to act.11  In 
assessing a forfeiture, 47 U.S.C.  503(b)(2)(D) requires us 
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.12  

     7.   Taking into account the statutory factors, as well 
as Commission precedent, we find Advanced apparently liable 
for a forfeiture of $46,700.  This forfeiture consists of 
two components.  First, we have assessed a base figure of 
$40,000, $20,000 for each of two apparent violations, i.e., 
the failures to pay the November and December 2000 
invoices.13  The Commission established such a base figure 
in order to deter delinquencies regardless of their 
amount.14  Second, consistent with recent Commission actions 
in this area, 15 we have added an amount that is 
approximately one half of the unpaid universal service 
contributions for two representative months.  In this case, 
we have chosen the months of November and December 2000, 
which results in an addition of $6,700 to the base figure.  
This second component of the forfeiture illustrates that a 
delinquent carrier's culpability and the consequential 
damage it causes to the goal of universal service may vary 
with the size of the contributions it fails to make.16

     8.   Although Advanced's failures to pay its 
contributions in months other than November and December 
2000 represent separate violations of the Act and our rules, 
we do not find apparent liability for these apparent 
violations at this time.  Nevertheless, we warn Advanced 
that these violations could form the basis for additional 
notices of apparent liability.17  If Advanced continues to 
violate our universal service rules, such violations could 
result in future NALs proposing substantially greater 
forfeitures, or could result in issuance of a show cause 
order to revoke Advanced's operating authority.18  
      
                    IV.  ORDERING CLAUSES

     9.   Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to 47 
U.S.C.  503(b), and 47 C.F.R.  1.80, Advanced Telecom. 
Network, Inc. is hereby NOTIFIED of its APPARENT LIABILITY 
FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of forty-six thousand seven 
hundred dollars ($46,700) for violating the Act and the 
Commission's rules requiring regular contributions for 
universal service. 

     10.  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to 47 C.F.R. 
 1.80, within thirty days of this NOTICE OF APPARENT 
LIABILITY, Advanced Telecom. Network, Inc. SHALL PAY the 
full amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a 
written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the 
proposed forfeiture.

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. referenced above.

     11.  The response, if any, must be mailed to Charles W. 
Kelley, Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, 
Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 445 
12th Street, S.W, Room 3-B443, Washington DC 20554 and MUST 
INCLUDE the file number listed above.

     12.  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.

     13.  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.  See 
47 C.F.R.  1.1914.IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice of Apparent 
Liability for Forfeiture shall be sent by Certified 
Mail/Return Receipt Requested, to Phillip Krieger, Advanced 
Telecom. Network, Inc., 4 Executive Campus, Suite 200, 
Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08002.
     

                         FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
                    

     

                         David H. Solomon
                         Chief, Enforcement Bureau
_________________________

1  47 U.S.C.  254(d). 

2  See Amendment of Parts 54 and 69 - Changes to Board of 
NECA, Inc., 12 FCC Rcd 18400, 18415 (1997) (``NECA Changes 
Order''); 47 C.F.R.  54.702(b).

3  See NECA Changes Order, 12 FCC Rcd at 18424-25; 47 C.F.R. 
 54.709(a)(1-3), 54.711(a). 

4  See Amendment of Part 54 - Universal Service, 12 FCC Rcd 
22423, 22425 (1997); 47 C.F.R.  54.709(a)(4-5). 

5  47 C.F.R.  54.713. 

6  Letter from David H. Solomon, Chief, Enforcement Bureau, 
to Advanced Telecom. Network, Inc. dated August 7, 2000. 

7  The Enforcement Bureau mailed the August 7, 2000 letter 
to Advanced certified mail, return receipt requested.  The 
return receipt reflects that Advanced received the Bureau's 
letter on August 10, 2000.

8  See Jerry Szoka, 14 FCC Rcd 9857, 9865 (1999); Southern 
California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd 4387 (1991). 

9  See Hale Broadcasting Corp., 79 FCC 2d 169, 171 (1980). 

10  47 U.S.C.  503(b)(1)(B).  See also 47 C.F.R.  
1.80(a)(2).  Recently, the Commission amended section 
1.80(b) of its rules to increase the maximum penalties that 
may be imposed.  Accordingly, for a common carrier, the 
forfeiture limit for each violation is now $120,000, with a 
maximum potential forfeiture of $1,200,000 for a continuing 
violation involving a single act or failure to act.  See 
Amendment of Section 1.80(b) of the Commission's Rules, 15 
FCC Rcd 18221 (2000).   

11  See also 47 C.F.R.  1.80(b)(2). 

12  See also The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement 
and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate 
the Forfeiture Guidelines, 12 FCC Rcd 17087, 17100-01 
(1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999) (``Forfeiture 
Guidelines''). 

13  See ConQuest Operator Services Corp., 14 FCC Rcd 12518, 
12527 (1999) (``ConQuest Forfeiture Order'') (The Commission 
determined that $20,000 should be the general base amount 
for failure to pay the assessed universal service 
contribution in a timely manner). 

14  See id.

15  See America's Tele-Network Corp., 15 FCC Rcd 20903 
(2000) (Notice of Apparent Liability), 15 FCC Rcd 24391 
(2000) (Forfeiture Order); Intellicall Operator Services, 15 
FCC Rcd 15359 (2000) (Notice of Apparent Liability), 15 FCC 
Rcd  21771 (2000) (Forfeiture Order); Matrix Telecom, Inc., 
15 FCC Rcd 15344 (2000) (Notice of Apparent Liability), FCC 
01-48, released February 20, 2001 (Forfeiture Order).  See 
also North American Telephone Network, LLC, 15 FCC Rcd 14022 
(Enf. Bureau 2000) (Notice of Apparent Liability).

16  See ConQuest Forfeiture Order, 14 FCC Rcd at 12527.

17  ConQuest Forfeiture Order, 14 FCC Rcd at 12527. 

18  See CCN, Inc. et al., 12 FCC Rcd 8547 (1997) (the 
``Fletcher Companies'').