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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Rifkin Acquisition Partners LLC ) File
St. Louis, Missouri ) NAL/Acct.
) FRN 0001-6054-92
Bresnan Telecommunications Company LLC ) File No.
White Plains, New York ) NAL/Acct.
) FRN 0001-6097-34
Interlink Communications Partners LLC ) File
St. Louis, Missouri ) NAL/Acct. No.
) FRN 0001-6219-29
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 ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for repeated and willful
violations of Part 17 of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'')
relating to antenna structure construction, marking and
2. We find that during the period from April 24, 2001,
through January 18, 2002, the captioned Charter subsidiaries
apparently failed to comply with Part 17 requirements in three
locations. In particular, we find that the captioned Charter
subsidiaries are apparently liable for: two failures to post the
Antenna Structure Registration (``ASR'') number in a conspicuous
location so that it is visible near the base of the antenna
structure (Section 17.4(g)); and two failures to notify the
Commission of a change in the ASR ownership information (Section
3. The Commission's antenna structure construction, marking
and lighting requirements operate in concert with FAA regulations
to ensure that antenna structures do not present hazards to air
navigation. Generally, the Commission's 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.3 The Commission
requires 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.4 The
rules requiring antenna structure registration for all antenna
structures that may pose a hazard to air navigation have been in
effect since 1996.5 The Commission and the staff 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
4. Because of the substantial public safety issues
involved, the Commission further requires antenna structure
owners to monitor lights daily or install automatic alarm systems
to ensure lights function properly.6 Antenna structure owners
are required to maintain lighting equipment and replace or repair
inoperative lights, indicators and control and alarm systems as
soon as practicable.7 Additionally, antenna structure owners are
required immediately to notify the FAA when major antenna
structure lights are inoperative and cannot be repaired within 30
minutes.8 The FAA then issues a Notice to Airmen (``NOTAM'') for
a period of 15 days advising aircraft that there is an antenna
structure at a specific location with a temporary light outage.
5. Commission field agents regularly inspect antenna
structures to determine compliance with the antenna structure
construction, marking and lighting requirements. During routine
inspections of antenna structures on August 2 and November 21,
2001, Commission field agents discovered that antenna structures
owned by Charter subsidiaries Bresnan Telecommunications Group
LLC (``Bresnan'') and Interlink Communications Partners LLC
(``Interlink LLC'') did not have the ASR numbers posted as
required. On April 24, 2001, and January 16, 2002, Commission
field agents discovered that the ownership information for towers
owned by Charter subsidiaries Rifkin Acquistion Partners LLC
(``Rifkin'') and Interlink LLC was not current. A brief
description of these safety-related violations follows:
Mount Vernon, Illinois - File No. EB-01-CG-204
6. On April 24, 2001, an agent of the Commission's Chicago,
Illinois, Field Office (``Chicago Office'') received a telephone
call concerning an expired NOTAM at an antenna structure located
at 3000 Caroline, Mount Vernon, Illinois (ASR number 1062266). A
search of Commission records revealed that the structure was
registered to Cablevision Communications, an entity not owned by
or affiliated with Charter. During a second telephone
conversation on the same day, the agent was told that Cablevision
Communications had sold the antenna structure to Charter in
October 1999. On April 24, 2001, the Chicago Office issued an
NOV to Charter citing its failure to notify the Commission of a
change in the ASR ownership information, in violation of Section
17.57 of the Rules. In its May 3, 2001, reply to the NOV,
Charter indicated that, on May 3, 2001, it filed FCC Form 854
changing the ASR ownership information for the Mount Vernon,
Illinois, tower from Cablevision Communications to Rifkin, a
Ely, Minnesota - File No. EB-01-PL-090
7. On August 2, 2001, an agent from the Commission's St.
Paul, Minnesota, Resident Agent Office (``St. Paul Office'')
inspected an antenna structure located 1.8 miles northeast of
Ely, Minnesota. The agent observed no ASR number posted at the
site. A search of Commission records revealed that the structure
was registered to Bresnan, a Charter subsidiary (ASR No.
1024436). On September 28, 2001, the St. Paul Office issued an
NOV to Bresnan citing failure to post the antenna structure's ASR
number, in violation of Section 17.4(g) of the Rules. In its
October 3, 2001 response to the NOV, Charter replied, on behalf
of Bresnan, that it had posted a temporary sign at the site and
had ordered a permanent ASR number sign.
Carrizozo, New Mexico - File No. EB-01-DV-420
8. On November 15, 2001, agents from the Denver Office
inspected an antenna structure located at 1406 South Central,
Carrizozo, New Mexico. The agents observed no ASR number posted
at the site. A search of Commission records revealed that the
structure (ASR number 1002769) was registered to Interlink
Communications Partners, LLP (``Interlink LLP''), an entity not
owned by or affiliated with Charter. On December 18, 2001, the
Denver Office issued an NOV to Interlink LLP for its failure to
post the antenna structure's ASR number, in violation of Section
17.4(g) of the Rules. Because the Denver Office had received no
response to the NOV, an agent made a telephone call on January 4,
2002, to the number listed for Interlink LLP in the ASR
information and left a message; the person who returned the call
told the agent that Interlink LLP had been sold to Charter, and
that she had forwarded the NOV to Charter. In its January 16,
2002, response to the NOV, Charter replied that it had posted a
sign indicating the ASR number and that it would change the ASR
ownership information. The January 16, 2002, response also
indicated that Charter owned the Carrizozo, New Mexico, antenna
structure as of November 15, 2001. On January 16, 2002, the
Denver Office issued an NOV to Charter citing its failure to
notify the Commission of a change in the ASR ownership
information, in violation of Section 17.57 of the Rules. In its
March 15, 2002, reply to the NOV, Charter indicated that, on
January 18, 2002, it filed FCC Form 854 changing the ASR
ownership information for the Carrizozo, New Mexico, tower from
Interlink LLP, an entity not owned by Charter, to Interlink LLC,
a Charter subsidiary.
9. Based on the evidence before us, we find that: Rifkin
has apparently failed to notify the Commission of a change in the
antenna structure ownership information, in willful violation of
Section 17.57; Bresnan has apparently failed to post an ASR
number in a conspicuous location so that it is readily visible
near the base of the antenna structure, in willful violation of
Section 17.4(g); and Interlink LLC has apparently failed to post
an ASR number in a conspicuous location so that it is readily
visible near the base of the antenna structure, in willful
violation of Section 17.4(g), and has failed to notify the
Commission of a change in the antenna structure ownership
information, in willful violation of Section 17.57.9 We note
that these violations were continuing and thus also repeated.10
10. Section 503(b) of the Act,11 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 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.''12
11. 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'')13 and Section 1.80 of the Rules,14 the base
forfeiture amount for failure to file required forms or
information (e.g., failure to file an antenna registration form
when there is a change in the antenna structure ownership
information) is $3,000.15
The Forfeiture Policy Statement does not establish a base
forfeiture amount for failure to post the antenna structure
registration number.16 The Commission has determined, however,
that an appropriate base forfeiture amount for failure to post
the ASR number is $2,000 per violation.17
12. Application of the base amounts to the captioned
Charter subsidiaries' violations results in base forfeiture
amounts of : Rifkin, $3,000 for failure to notify the Commission
of change in the ASR ownership information; Bresnan, $2,000 for
failure to post ASR number; and Interlink LLC, $5,000 for failure
to post ASR number and failure to notify the Commission of change
in the ASR ownership information. The total base forfeiture
amount for violations by the captioned Charter subsidiaries is
13. Taking the factors specified by Section 503(b) into
account and the Forfeiture Policy Statement as well, we find the
following Charter subsidiaries apparently liable as follows:
Rifkin for a forfeiture in the amount of $3,000; Bresnan for a
forfeiture in the amount of $2,000; and Interlink LLC for a
forfeiture in the amount of $5,000. The total amount of these
proposed monetary forfeitures to the captioned Charter
subsidiaries is $10,000.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
14. 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) Rifkin Acquisition Partners LLC in the amount of three
thousand dollars ($3,000) for willfully and repeatedly violating
Section 17.57 of the Rules;
(b) Bresnan Telecommunications Company in the amount of two
thousand dollars ($2,000) for willfully and repeatedly violating
Section 17.4(g) of the Rules; and
(c) Interlink Communications Partners LLC in the amount of
five thousand dollars ($5,000) for willfully and repeatedly
violating Sections 17.4(g) and 17.57 of the Rules.
15. 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 listed subsidiaries SHALL PAY the full amount of its
proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking
reduction or cancellation of its proposed forfeiture.18
16. 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) Rifkin -- NAL/Acct. No. 200232320003 and FRN 0001-6054-
(b) Bresnan -- NAL/Acct. No. 200232320004 and FRN 0001-6097-
(c) Interlink LLC -- NAL/Acct. No. 200232320005 and FRN
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 20554.19
17. 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
18. 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
19. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT copies of this NAL shall be
sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, to Charter
Communications, Interlink Communications Partners LLC, and Rifkin
Acquisition Partners LLC at 12444 Powerscout Drive, Suite 100,
St. Louis, Missouri 63131; and to Bresnan Telecommunications
Company LLC at 12444 Powerscout Drive, Suite 100, St. Louis,
Missouri 63131 and at 709 Westchester Avenue, White Plains, New
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David H. Solomon
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
1 47 C.F.R. § 17.1 et seq.
2 47 C.F.R. §§ 17.4(g) and 17.57.
3 47 C.F.R. § 17.21.
4 47 C.F.R. § 17.4.
5 Antenna structure owners were required to register existing
antenna structures during a two-year filing period between July
1, 1996 and June 30, 1998, and to register new antenna structures
prior to construction. Streamlining the Commission's Antenna
Structure Clearance Procedure, 11 FCC Rcd 4272 (1995).
6 47 C.F.R. § 17.47.
7 47 C.F.R. § 17.56.
8 47 C.F.R. § 17.48.
9 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).
10 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).
11 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
12 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
13 12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999).
14 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
15 American Tower Corp., 16 FCC Rcd 1282, 1284 (2001) (``American
16 The fact that the Forfeiture Policy Statement does not specify
a base amount does not indicate that no forfeiture should be
imposed. The Forfeiture Policy Statement states 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 Policy Statement, 12 FCC Rcd at 17099. The Commission
retains the discretion, moreover, to depart from the Forfeiture
Policy Statement and issue forfeitures on a case?by?case basis,
under its general forfeiture authority contained in Section 503
of the Act. Id.
17 See American Tower at 1284-85.
18 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.
19 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.