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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Crown Castle GT Company LLC )
Owner of Antenna Structure ) File Number EB-02-AT-397
#1037111 in )
Blountville, Tennessee ) NAL/ACCT No. 200332480020
Canonsburg, Pennsylvania )
) FRN 0005-7936-82
Adopted: December 1, 2004 Released: December 3,
By the Assistant Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Forfeiture Order (``Order''), we issue a
monetary forfeiture in the amount of ten thousand dollars
($10,000), to Crown Castle GT Company LLC (``Crown Castle''),
owner of antenna structure registration (``ASR'') #1037111
located at 36º 34' 36.4'' West Longitude / 82º 18' 1.5'' North
Latitude near Blountville, TN for repeated violation of Section
17.51(b) of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'').1 The noted
violation involves Crown Castle's failure to exhibit required
obstruction lighting during daytime hours.
2. On March 13, 2003, the District Director of the
Commission's Atlanta, Georgia Field Office (``Atlanta Office'')
released a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (``NAL'')2
proposing a forfeiture in the amount of ten thousand dollars
($10,000) to Crown Castle for the noted violation. Crown Castle
filed a response to the NAL on April 11, 2003.
3. On October 29 and 30, 2002, an agent from the Atlanta
Office inspected antenna structure registration #1037111 at 1:30
pm and 3:30 pm, respectively, and observed that the unpainted
structure had no obstruction lighting in operation.
4. On March 13, 2003, the District Director of the Atlanta
Office issued an NAL proposing a $10,000 forfeiture to Crown
Castle for failure to exhibit required obstruction lighting on
October 29 and 30, 2002 during the day on the antenna structure
in willful and repeated violation of Section 17.51(b) of the
Rules. Crown Castle filed a response to the NAL on April 11,
2003. Crown Castle contests the underlying facts alleged in the
NAL arguing that there was obstruction lighting, and that the
tower was lighted, but, with the evening lighting rather than the
daytime lighting. Crown Castle explains that the antenna
structure has automatic monitoring equipment which notifies it
when the lighting goes out. Crown Castle states that the
equipment was operational on the dates in question and no alarm
was given because the equipment was operating on a lower
intensity nighttime power level. Crown Castle asserts that
Section 17.51(b) therefore does not apply to the instant
situation and that the forfeiture must be withdrawn or cancelled.
5. Crown Castle provides additional arguments why the
forfeiture should be canceled. Crown Castle argues that it had
inspected the antenna structure on July 31, 20023 and was
scheduled to inspect it on October 31, 2002. Crown Castle also
furnishes advertising information from its equipment manufacturer
stating that the equipment meets FAA specifications for daytime
operation. Crown Castle argues that it performed periodic
inspections and also that the equipment alarm did not indicate
any failure. Therefore, Crown Castle contends it should not be
assessed a forfeiture. Crown Castle further speculates that there
was insufficient light to operate the equipment due to overcast
conditions on the dates of the inspections. Crown Castle
provides data to establish that the days in question were
6. Further, Crown Castle cites Vernon Broadcasting, 60 RR
2d 1275 (1986) for the proposition that the Commission rejects
absolute liability for equipment owners. It also points to its
quick response to the Commission's notification of the violation
and its prompt adjustment of the photo electric cell by its
service technician as grounds for cancellation of the forfeiture.
7. Lastly, Crown Castle argues that its violations should
not be found to be repeated because the Commission should have
notified it of the tower's condition when the Commission first
discovered the violation on October 29, 2002 so Crown Castle
could have remedied the violation and avoided a repeated
8. The forfeiture amount in this case was proposed in
accordance with Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934,
as amended (``Act''),4 Section 1.80 of the Rules,5 and The
Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section
1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines, 12
FCC Red 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Red 303 (1999)
(``Policy Statement''). In examining Crown Castle's response,
Section 503(b) of the Act requires that the Commission 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.6
9. Section 17.51(b) of the Rules provides that all high
intensity and medium intensity lighting shall be exhibited
continuously unless otherwise specified. According to Crown
Castle's ASR, antenna structure #1037111 has specified lighting
requirements that include exhibiting medium intensity white
lighting during daylight hours. On October 29 and 30, 2002, an
agent from the Atlanta Office found that the antenna structure
failed to exhibit the required obstruction lighting during the
10. Crown Castle acknowledges that the registration for its
antenna structure #1037111 requires the structure to meet the
medium intensity daytime lighting specifications in Section
17.51(b) and submitted documentation in its response regarding
its Honeywell Flash Guard 200B medium intensity white lighting
system. The system's specifications provide for a much greater
luminosity during daytime than at night. Crown Castle argues
that the strobes were operating at nighttime luminosity because
of a misaligned photocell during daylight hours and that no
violation occurred. Crown Castle further argues that it was
overcast on the dates of the inspections and that the strobes
were operating, albeit at nighttime intensities. We disagree.
The agent's observations on two occasions establish that the
antenna structure was not lighted with either daytime or
nighttime strobes during the daytime resulting in a violation of
Section 17.51(b).7 Moreover, the overcast conditions did not
prevent the agent from observing strobe lighting operating on a
11. We disagree with Crown Castle's interpretation of
Vernon and find that it is inapposite to the instant case. In
Vernon, although the inspector found the fence to be defective,
the fence had been inspected two days before and was found to be
in good condition. The damage to the fence in Vernon8 was caused
by subsequent vandalism. In the instant case, the lights were
out two days in a row approximately three months after Crown
Castle's own inspection. Additionally, to the extent that Vernon
addresses the question of willfulness, as noted in paragraph 13,
infra, we need not address it herein due to our finding that the
violation was repeated.
12. Crown Castle asserts that it should not be assessed a
forfeiture because it was not notified of the lighting failure in
time to avoid a repeated violation. This argument is without
merit. Contrary to Crown Castle's argument, it is well settled
that there is no requirement that the Commission provide a
violator an opportunity to cure a violation prior to issuance of
an NAL.9 Moreover, the Commission expects full compliance with
the antenna structure rules because of the potential danger to
13. Furthermore, the filing of a NOTAM by Crown Castle
after notification by the Commission does not rectify the
violation because the Commission has repeatedly stated that
remedial measures taken to correct a violation are expected and
as such are not mitigating factors warranting reduction of
forfeiture.11 Crown Castle's remaining arguments go to the
question of willfulness and need not be addressed due to our
finding that the violation was repeated.12
14. After reviewing the record in this case, we conclude
that Crown Castle repeatedly failed to exhibit any obstruction
lighting during daytime hours on October 29 and 20, 2002 on its
tower in violation of Section 17.51(b) of the Rules.
Accordingly, we find that Crown Castle GT Company LLC
repeatedly13 violated Section 17.51(b) of the Rules.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
15. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act, and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80(f)(4) of
the Rules,14 Crown Castle GT Company LLC IS LIABLE FOR A
MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of ten thousand dollars
($10,000) for failure to exhibit required obstruction lighting
during daytime hours in repeated violation of Section 17.51(b) of
16. Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner
provided for in Section 1.80 of the Rules15 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.16
Payment may be made by credit card through the Commission's
Credit and Debt Management Center at (202) 418-1995 or 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 must include the FCC Registration Number
(FRN) and the NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the caption. Payment
by overnight mail may be sent to BankOne/LB73482, 525 West
Monroe, 8th Floor Mailroom, Chicago, Illinois 60661. Payment by
wire transfer may be made to ABA Number 071000013, receiving bank
Bank One, and account number 1165259. The payment must include
the FCC Registration Number (FRN) and the NAL/Acct. No.
referenced in the caption. Requests for full payment under an
installment plan should be sent to: Chief, Credit and Debt
Management Center, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C.
17. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that copies of this Order shall
be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested and by First
Class Mail to Crown Castle USA, Inc., 2000 Corporate Drive,
Canonsburg, PA 15317 and its Counsel, Monica Gambino, Associate
General Counsel, Regulatory Affairs, Crown Castle USA, Inc., 2000
Corporate Drive, Canonsburg, PA 15317.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
George R. Dillon
Assistant Chief, Enforcement Bureau
1 47 C.F.R. § 17.51(b).
2 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No.
200332480020 (Enf. Bur., Atlanta Office, released March 13,
3 Crown Castle provides a copy of its inspection record showing
an inspection on July 31 and a scheduled inspection on October
4 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
5 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
6 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
7 Section 17.51(b) provides that ``All high intensity and medium
intensity obstruction lighting shall be exhibited continuously
unless otherwise specified.''
8 Vernon, supra, contained both a sworn declaration from the
operating engineer regarding inspection procedure and inspection
logs which established an existing maintenance plan for the
9 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.89; AT & T Wireless Services, Inc. 17 FCC Rcd
21866, 21871 n.20 (2002); and WOYK, Inc. 18 FCC Rcd 15181, 15182
n.8 (EB 2003).
10 See SpectraSite Communications, Inc., 17 FCC Rcd 7884, 7888
(2002) (``...[t]he Commission considers violations of the antenna
construction, marking, and lighting rules to be serious safety-
11 See, e.g., AT&T Wireless Services, Inc., 17 FCC Rcd 21866,
21871 (2002); Seawest Yacht Brokers, 9 FCC Rcd 6099 (1994);
Station KGVL, Inc. 42 FCC 2d 258, 259 (1973).
12 47 U.S.C. 503(b)(1)(B) provides for a forfeiture for any
person who willfully or repeatedly failed to comply with any of
the provisions of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, or
any rule, regulation, or order issued by the Commission.
13 As provided by 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(2), a continuous violation
is ``repeated'' if it continues for more than one day. The
Conference Report for Section 312(f)(2) indicates that Congress
intended to apply this definition to Section 503 of the Act as
well as Section 312. See H.R. Rep. 97th Cong. 2d Sess. 51
(1982); see also Western Wireless Corporation, 18 FCC Rcd 10319,
10326 n. 56 (2003); Southern California Broadcasting Company, 6
FCC Rcd 4387, 4388 (1991).
14 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 0.180(f)(4).
1547 C.F.R. §1.80.
1647 U.S.C. § 504(a).
1747 U.S.C. § 1.1914.