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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
TeleCorp Communications, Inc. ) File Number EB-
1010 North Glebe Street )
Suite 800 )
Arlington, Virginia 22201 ) NAL/Acct. No.
Adopted: March 5, 2001 Released: March
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Forfeiture Order (``Order''), we issue a
monetary forfeiture in the amount of eighty thousand dollars
($80,000) against TeleCorp Communications, Inc.
(``TeleCorp'') for wilfully and repeatedly violating section
17.51 of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'').1 The noted
violations involve TeleCorp's failure to properly light four
of its antenna structures. We also found that TeleCorp
failed to notify the Federal Aviation Administration
(``FAA'') of light outages on four occasions between
February 6, 2000 and November 30, 2000.
2. On January 16, 2001, the Chief, Enforcement
Bureau, issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (``NAL'') for
Forfeiture in the amount of eighty thousand dollars
($80,000).2 TeleCorp PCS, Inc., TeleCorp's holding company
parent, filed a response on February 15, 2001, requesting
that the proposed forfeiture be lowered to $40,000.3
3. On February 6, 2000, at 7:30 p.m., a resident
agent from the Enforcement Bureau's San Juan Resident Agent
Office observed a TeleCorp owned antenna structure in
Candelaria Ward, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.4 The resident agent
noted that the antenna structure's top red obstruction light
was not operating. The local San Juan FAA/Flight Service
Station (``FSS'') advised the resident agent that no Notice
to Airmen (``NOTAM'')5 was in effect for this structure.
4. On September 11, 2000, an agent from the
Enforcement Bureau's New Orleans Field Office observed a
TeleCorp owned antenna structure near Raceland, Louisiana.6
The agent noted that the antenna structure's medium
intensity obstruction light was not operating. The local
DeRidder FAA/FSS advised the agent that no NOTAM was in
effect for this structure.
5. On October 21 and 22, 2000, a resident agent from
the San Juan Resident Agent Office observed a TeleCorp owned
antenna structure near Barceloneta, Puerto Rico.7 The agent
noted that the antenna structure's medium intensity
obstruction light was not operating. The local San Juan
FAA/FSS advised the resident agent that no NOTAM was in
effect for this structure. On October 31, 2000, the
resident agent spoke with a TeleCorp technician who told him
that TeleCorp had begun to repair the antenna structure's
lighting on October 30, 2000, and that TeleCorp would notify
the FAA of the outage for it to issue a NOTAM. For at least
ten days the antenna structure's medium intensity
obstruction light was not operating and no NOTAM was in
6. On November 2, 3, 6, and 15, 2000, a resident
agent from the San Juan Resident Agent Office observed a
TeleCorp owned antenna structure near Juncos, Puerto Rico.8
The resident agent noted that the antenna structure's medium
intensity obstruction lights were not operating. A local
San Juan FAA/FSS agent and a TeleCorp representative advised
the resident agent that a NOTAM for this structure had been
issued on November 21, 2000.
7. TeleCorp does not contest the agents' observations
that its four antenna structures did not comply with our
lighting requirements set forth in section 17.51 of the
(a) All red obstruction lighting shall
be exhibited from sunset to sunrise
unless otherwise specified.
(b) All high intensity and medium
intensity obstruction lighting shall be
exhibited continuously unless otherwise
Consequently, we turn to TeleCorp's request for reduction of
the proposed $80,000 forfeiture to $40,000.
8. TeleCorp argues three points in asking us to
reduce the proposed $80,000 forfeiture, which we had
increased from a $40,000 base amount ($10,000 for each
lighting violation) to a cumulative total of $80,000 because
of the seriousness and repeated nature of the violations.10
First, TeleCorp contends that mechanical failures prevented
its automatic alarm systems from notifying it of the light
outages11 and, as such, evidence no pattern or egregious
misconduct or intentional conduct or lack of good faith.
Section 17.47 of the Rule's requires owners of antenna
structures registered with the FCC and subject to lighting
specifications to inspect and properly maintain their
automatic alarm systems. Specifically, the antenna
(a)(1) Shall make an observation of the
antenna structure's lights at least once
each 24 hours either visually or by
observing an automatic properly
maintained indicator designed to
register any failure of such lights, to
insure that all such lights are
functioning properly as required; or
(2) Shall provide and properly maintain
an automatic alarm system designed to
detect any failure of such lights and to
provide indication of such failure to
(b) Shall inspect at intervals not to
exceed 3 months all automatic or
mechanical control devices, indicators,
and alarm systems associated with the
antenna structure lighting to insure
that such apparatus is functioning
TeleCorp presents no evidence that it had properly inspected
or maintained its automatic alarm systems, which would have
led it to discover the lighting violations. Although we did
not cite TeleCorp for violation of section 17.47 of the
Rules and do not make a finding of any such violation here,
the lack of any evidence by TeleCorp regarding compliance
with this prophylactic rule undercuts its suggestion of good
faith or isolated misconduct as a basis for a downward
adjustment. Moreover, even if the failures were wholly
inadvertent, the fact that there were four of them does
indicate a pattern. Accordingly, we decline to decrease the
proposed $80,000 forfeiture.
9. Next, TeleCorp cites our reference in the NAL to
American Tower Corp., an antenna structure case in which the
Commission stressed the importance of complying with the
antenna structure rules because of the potential danger to
air traffic safety and doubled the base forfeiture amount to
$212,000.13 TeleCorp attempts to distinguish its conduct
from that detailed in American Tower Corp. However, we
cited American Tower Corp. to support our view that
TeleCorp's violations were serious and repeated, and, as
such, justified an upward adjustment from the $40,000 base
forfeiture amount. While fewer violations are at issue here
than in American Tower Corp., the violations here are more
serious. Specifically, on four occasions Commission agents
found a lighting violation, three of which occurred well
after TeleCorp had notice that it had a problem at one site.
In contrast, American Tower Corp. involved only one
violation for failure properly to light an antenna
10. TeleCorp's last argument for reduction of the
proposed $80,000 forfeiture is that ``given its good faith
in complying with the Commission's lighting requirements and
instituting procedures to safeguard against future
problems,'' the forfeiture amount is ``well above a
forfeiture amount necessary to foster compliance or serve as
a deterrent.'' Contrary to TeleCorp's assertion, it has not
demonstrated any good faith compliance with the lighting
rules. Additionally, although it has apparently rectified
its outstanding violations, we note that its corrective
action will not excuse its past violations.14 After
reviewing Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the Communications Act of
1934 (``Act''),15 as amended, section 1.80 of the Rules,16
the facts, and TeleCorp's response to the NAL, we believe
that the $80,000 forfeiture is warranted.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
11. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to
Section 503(b) of the Act, as amended,17 and sections 0.111,
0.311, and 1.80(f)(4) of the Rules,18 TeleCorp IS LIABLE FOR
A MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of $80,000 for willfully
and repeatedly violating Section 17.51 of the Rules
requiring it to have operating antenna structure lighting.19
12. Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the
manner provided for in section 1.80 of the Rules,20 within
30 days of the release of this Order. If the forfeiture is
not paid within the period specified, the case may be
referred to the Department of Justice for collection
pursuant to section 504(a) of the Act.21 Payment may be
made by mailing a check or similar instrument, payable to
the order of the ``Federal Communications Commission,'' to
the Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 73482,
Chicago, Illinois 60673-7482. The payment should note the
NAL/Acct. No. 200132680003 referenced above. Requests for
full payment under an installment plan should be sent to:
Chief, Revenue and Receivables Operations Group, 445 12th
Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.22
13. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that copies of this Order
shall be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to
TeleCorp PCS, Inc., 1010 North Glebe Street, Suite 800,
Arlington, Virginia 22201, and to its counsel, Nicole
McGinnis, Esq., Wiley, Rein & Fielding, 1776 K Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20006.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David H. Solomon
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
1 47 C.F.R. § 17.51.
2 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture,
NAL/Acct. No. 200132680003 (Enf. Bur., rel. Jan. 16, 2001).
3 See TeleCorp Response to Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture at 1 n.1. We will refer to both entities as
4 Antenna Structure Registration Number 1064593.
5 The FCC requires owners of antenna structures
registered with the FCC and subject to lighting
specifications to notify the FAA of ``any observed or
otherwise improper functioning of any top steady burning
light or any flashing obstruction light, regardless of its
position on the antenna structure, not corrected within 30
minutes.'' 47 C.F.R. § 17.48(a). The FAA then issues a
NOTAM for a period of 15 days advising pilots that there is
an antenna structure at a specific location with a temporary
6 Antenna Structure Registration Number 1206008.
7 Antenna Structure Registration Number 1203643.
8 Antenna Structure Registration Number 1208552.
9 47 C.F.R. § 17.51.
10 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(4) n. Guidelines for
Assessing Forfeitures, Section I.¾Base Amounts for Section
11 TeleCorp states that it has repaired all the faulty
equipment and verified that it is operating.
12 47 C.F.R. § 17.47.
13 American Tower Corp., FCC 01-9 (rel. Jan. 16, 2001).
14 See KGVL, 42 FCC 2d 258, 259 (1973).
15 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
16 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
17 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
18 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).
19 47 C.F.R. § 17.51.
20 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
21 47 U.S.C. § 504(a).
22 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.