Click here for Adobe Acrobat version
Click here for Microsoft Word version
This document was converted from Microsoft Word.
Content from the original version of the document such as
headers, footers, footnotes, endnotes, graphics, and page numbers
will not show up in this text version.
All text attributes such as bold, italic, underlining, etc. from the
original document will not show up in this text version.
Features of the original document layout such as
columns, tables, line and letter spacing, pagination, and margins
will not be preserved in the text version.
If you need the complete document, download the
Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat version.
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Falcon Cablevision LP ) File No.
Los Angeles, California ) NAL/Acct.
) FRN 0001-5308-72
Charter Communications VI LLC ) File No. EB-01-
St. Louis, Missouri ) NAL/Acct. No.
) FRN 0001-6091-48
Subsidiaries of Charter Communications )
St. Louis, Missouri )
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Adopted: April 23, 2002 Released: April
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture
(``NAL''), we find the captioned subsidiaries of Charter
Communications (``Charter'') apparently liable for forfeitures
totaling twenty-four thousand dollars ($24,000) for willful
violation of Section 76.605(a)(12) of the Commission's Rules
(``Rules'') relating to cable television signal leakage by
Charter subsidiary Falcon Cablevision LP (``Falcon''), and for
repeated and willful violation of the same section by Charter
subsidiary Charter Communications VI LLC (``Charter VI'').1
2. We find that during the period from May 9, 2001, through
October 13, 2001, the captioned Charter subsidiaries apparently
violated Section 76.605(a)(12) of the Rules (excessive cable
television signal leakage) in two locations in different parts of
3. The apparent violations here come within six months
following a notification of a similar prior cable leakage
violation by captioned Charter subsidiary, Charter VI.2 They
also come within approximately six months following notification
of a similar prior cable leakage violation by Charter subsidiary
Falcon Cable Media. Our rules relating to cable leakage are
important to public safety. The apparent inability of Charter's
subsidiaries to comply with these rules on a consistent basis
causes a significant concern that Charter is not exercising
adequate oversight. Future violations may lead to significantly
stronger enforcement action.
4. The Commission has established cable signal
leakage rules to control emissions that could cause interference
to aviation frequencies from cable systems. Protecting the
aeronautical frequencies3 from harmful interference is of
paramount importance.4 To this end, the Commission established
basic signal leakage standards.5 The Commission has determined
the tolerable levels of unwanted signals on the aeronautical
frequencies in two ways. Signal leakage levels that exceed these
thresholds are considered harmful interference. First, leakage
must not exceed 20 microvolts per meter (``mV/m'') at a distance
of at least three meters from the leak.6 Second, the Commission
set basic signal leakage performance criteria for the system as a
prerequisite for operation on aeronautical frequencies. This is
the system's Cumulative Leakage Index (``CLI''). The Commission
requires annual measurement of each system's CLI to demonstrate
safe levels of signal leakage,7 the results of which must be
reported to the Commission.8 The Commission also requires
routine monitoring of the system to detect leaks.9 Whenever
harmful interference occurs, the cable system operator must
eliminate it.10 Further, should the harmful interference not be
eliminated, the Commission will intervene and require suspension
of operation of the portion of the system involved or reduction
of power11 below the levels specified in Section 76.610 of the
5. Commission field agents regularly inspect cable
television systems to determine compliance with the Commission's
cable signal leakage rules. On April 17, 18 and 27, 2000, an
agent from the Commission's Denver, Colorado, Field Office
(``Denver Office) inspected a cable system operated by captioned
Charter subsidiary, Charter VI in Burlington, Colorado. On each
of those dates the agent determined that cable signal leakages
exceeded 20 mV/m at a distance of at least three meters from each
leakage, in violation of Section 76.605(a)(12) of the Rules. On
April 17, 2000, the agent also found that the system did not
conform to the cumulative signal leakage performance criteria, in
violation of Section 76.611(a) of the Rules. On April 18, 2000,
the agent determined that Charter VI had failed to comply with a
directive to cease operation on aeronautical frequencies or
reduce power until cable signal leakages were repaired. These
violations resulted in an Official Notice of Violation (``NOV'')
against Charter VI issued on June 7, 2000, and a $20,000 NAL13
released on April 16, 2001. Additionally, on March 21, 2001, an
agent from the Commission's Atlanta, Georgia, Field Office
(``Atlanta Office'') inspected a cable system operated by a
Charter subsidiary, Falcon Cable Media, in Lake Park, Georgia.
The agent determined that, at 16 locations, cable signal leakage
on 127.225 and 127.2625 MHz exceeded 20 mV/m at a distance of at
least three meters from the leakage. On April 9, 2001, the
Atlanta Office issued an NOV to Charter as the parent of Falcon
Cable Media citing violation of Section 76.605(a)(12). In its
April 16, 2001, reply to the NOV, Charter stated that its
technician repaired the leakages on March 22, March 26, and April
6. In the past year, Commission field agents have issued
two more NOVs to Charter for such violations by its subsidiaries.
A brief description of these safety-related violations, which are
the subject of this NAL, follows:
Versailles, Missouri - File No. EB-01-KC-679
7. On May 9, 2001, an agent from the Commission's Kansas
City, Missouri, Field Office (``Kansas City Office'') inspected a
cable system operated by a Charter subsidiary, Falcon, in
Versailles, Missouri. The agent determined that, at eight
locations, cable signal leakage on 133.2625 MHz significantly
exceeded 20 mV/m at a distance of at least three meters from the
leakage. On May 10, 2001, the Kansas City Office issued an NOV
to Charter as the parent of Falcon citing violation of Section
76.605(a)(12). In its May 18, 2001, reply to the NOV, Charter
stated that its technician repaired the leakages on May 10, 2001.
Columbia, Mississippi - File No. EB-01-OR- 283
8. On October 10, 2001, an agent from the Commission's New
Orleans, Louisiana, Field Office (``New Orleans Office'')
inspected a cable system operated by Charter VI in Columbia,
Mississippi. The agent determined that, at six locations, cable
signal leakage on 133.2625 MHz significantly exceeded 20 mV/m at
a distance of at least three meters from the leakage. On October
12, 2001, the New Orleans Office issued an NOV to Charter as the
parent of Charter VI citing violation of Section 76.605(a)(12).
In its October 24, 2001, reply to the NOV, Charter stated that
its technician repaired the leakages on October 10 and 13, 2001.
9. Based on the evidence before us, we find that Charter
subsidiaries, Falcon and Charter VI, have apparently failed to
limit the signal leakage from a cable television system to the
specified amount, in willful violation of Section 76.605(a)(12).
14 We note that the violations of Charter VI were continuing
and thus also repeated.15
10. Section 503(b) of the Act,16 authorizes the Commission
to assess a forfeiture for each willful or repeated violation of
the Act or of any rule, regulation, or order issued by the
Commission under the Act. In exercising such authority, we must
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.''17
11. Excessive cable television signal leakage in the
aeronautical bands constitutes harmful interference to distress
and safety frequencies.18 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'')19 and Section 1.80 of the Rules,20 the base
forfeiture amount for violations of rules relating to distress
and safety frequencies is $8,000 per violation. Application of
the base amount to the captioned Charter subsidiaries' violations
results in a base forfeiture amount of $8,000 for each. The
total base forfeiture amount for violations by the captioned
Charter subsidiaries is $16,000.
12. We are concerned with the pattern of apparent
violations by Charter's subsidiaries. We have previously
stressed the importance of full compliance with the cable signal
leakage rules because of the potential danger to air traffic
safety.21 Failure to limit the signal leakage from cable
television systems to the amount permitted by Section
76.605(a)(12) is a serious threat to air traffic safety.
13. We are also concerned that companies controlled by
Charter continue to violate the cable leakage rules despite our
notifying Charter of two prior instances of cable leakage
violations by Charter subsidiaries Charter VI and Falcon Cable
Media. The violations on which this NAL is based occurred
approximately six months or less after the notifications. The
multiple violations of the cable signal leakage requirements
evince a pattern of non-compliance with the rules. Accordingly,
we believe an upward adjustment of the base forfeiture amount is
warranted.22 Applying the Forfeiture Policy Statement23 and
statutory factors24 (e.g., nature, extent and gravity of the
violation and the history of prior offenses) to the instant case,
we find that the proposed forfeiture amounts for the Section
76.605(a)(12) violations by Falcon and Charter VI should be
$12,000 each - 50% greater than the base amount.25
14. Based on the above, we find Falcon and Charter VI
apparently liable for a forfeitures in the amount of $12,000
each. The total amount of these proposed monetary forfeitures to
the captioned Charter subsidiaries is $24,000.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
15. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act, and Section 1.80 of the Rules, each of the
captioned subsidiaries is hereby NOTIFIED of its APPARENT
LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE as follows:
(a) Falcon Cablevision LP in the amount of twelve thousand
dollars ($12,000) for willfully violating Section 76.605(a)(12)
of the Rules; and
(b) Charter Communications VI LLC in the amount of twelve
thousand dollars ($12,000) for willfully and repeatedly violating
Section 76.605(a)(12) of the Rules.
16. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 1.80 of
the Rules, within thirty days of the release date of this NAL,
each of the captioned subsidiaries SHALL PAY the full amount of
its proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking
reduction or cancellation of its proposed forfeiture.26
17. Payment of the forfeitures may be made by mailing (a)
check(s) or similar instrument(s), 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(s) should
note the following:
(a) Falcon -- NAL/Acct. No. 200232320001 and FRN 0001-5308-
(b) Charter VI -- NAL/Acct. No. 200232320002 and FRN 0001-
A request for payment of the amounts related to the NAL under an
installment plan should be sent to: Federal Communications
Commission, Chief, Revenue and Receivables Operations Group, 445
12th Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20554.27
18. The response(s), if any, must be mailed to Office of
the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th
Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20554, ATTN: Enforcement Bureau -
Technical and Public Safety Division. The response(s) must
include the NAL/Acct. Nos. and FRN numbers specified in Paragraph
19. 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 (``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
20. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT copies of this NAL
shall be sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested,
to Charter Communications and Charter Communications VI LLC
at 12444 Powerscout Drive, Suite 100, St. Louis, Missouri
63131; and to Falcon Cablevision LP at 10900 Wilshire
Boulevard, Suite 1500, Los Angeles, California 90024.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David H. Solomon
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
1 47 C.F.R. § 76. 605(a)(12)
2 See ¶ 5 and note 13, infra.
3 The aeronautical bands are 108-137 MHz and 225-400 MHz. These
frequencies encompass both radionavigation frequencies, 108-118
MHZ and 328.6-335.4 MHz, and communications frequencies, 118-137
MHz and 225-328.6 MHz and 335.4-400 MHz. Deserving particular
protection are the international distress and calling frequencies
121.5 MHz, 156.8 MHz, and 243 MHz. See 47 C.F.R. §76.616. These
frequencies are critical for Search and Rescue Operations
including use by Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT) on planes
and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) on boats.
See generally 47 C.F.R. Part 80, Subpart V and 47 C.F.R. §§
4 Harmful Interference includes any interference that "endangers
the functioning of a radionavigation service or of other safety
services." See 47 C.F.R. §§ 2.1 & 76.613(a).
5 Memorandum Opinion and Order, Amendment of Part 76 of the
Commission's Rules to Add Frequency Channelling Requirements and
restrictions and to require Monitoring for Signal Leakage from
Cable Television Systems, Docket No. 21006, 101 F.C.C.2d 117,
para. 14 (1985) [hereinafter MO&O].
6 47 C.F.R. §76.605(a)(12).
7 47 C.F.R. §76.611(a).
8 47 C.F.R. §76.1804(g).
9 47 C.F.R. §76.614.
10 47 C.F.R. §76.613(b).
11 47 C.F.R. §76.613(c).
12 47 C.F.R. §76.610.
13 Charter Communications VI, LLC, 16 FCC Rcd 8485 (Cable
Services Bureau 2001), response pending.
14 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, 4387-4388 (1991).
15 See id.at 4388; as defined in the Act, the term ``repeated,''
when used with reference to the commission or omission of any
act, ``means the commission or omission of such act more than
once or, if such commission or omission is continuous, for more
than one day.'' 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(2).
16 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
17 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
18 See, e.g., Callais Cablevision, Inc., 16 FCC Rcd 1359, 1363
(2001), response pending.
19 12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999).
20 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
21 Cf. Callais Cablevision, Inc., supra, at 1359-1360 (NAL issued
for violation of Sections 11.11, 76.605(a)(12), 76.611(a) and
76.612 of the Rules).
22 Cf., American Tower, 16 FCC Rcd at 1285 (base forfeiture
amount doubled); TeleCorp Communications, Inc., 16 FCC Rcd 805,
807 (Enf. Bur. 2001) (base forfeiture amount doubled). We note
that our concern is with the underlying facts of these prior
violations, not the fact that we issued an NAL with respect to
some of these prior violations. See Forfeiture Policy Statement,
recon. at 303-305.
23 See also 47 C.F.R. § 1.80, Note to paragraph (b)(4): Section
II. Adjustment Criteria for Section 503 Forfeitures.
24 See 47 USC § 503(b)(2)(D).
25 Falcon and Charter VI are subsidiaries of Charter. When
Charter responded to the NOVs issued on May 10 and October 12,
2001, it identified each (Falcon and Charter VI) as ``an entity
of Charter.'' In addition, a filing by Charter with the
Securities Exchange Commission identifies Falcon and Charter VI
as Charter subsidiaries (Form 10-K405, Exhibit 21.1, filed March
29, 2002). The violations by Falcon's sister company, Charter
VI, are also part of Falcon's violation history. See, e.g., Mega
Communications of St. Petersburg, Licensee, Inc., 16 FCC Rcd
16662 (Enf. Bur., 2001); KGNT, Inc., 16 FCC Rcd 4656 (Enf. Bur.,
2001); Capstar Limited Partnership, 16 FCC Rcd 901(Enf. Bur.,
26 Alternatively, Charter may pay the full amount of the
captioned subsidiaries' proposed forfeitures or file a written
statement on behalf of the captioned subsidiaries seeking
reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeitures.
27 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.