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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of File Number: EB-05-SD-010
Uniradio Corporation NAL/Acct. No.: 200532940013
San Diego, California FRN: 0010621829
Adopted: September 8, 2006 Released: September 12, 2006
By the Regional Director, Western Region, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Forfeiture Order ("Order"), we issue a monetary forfeiture in
the amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) to Uniradio Corporation
("Uniradio") for willful and repeated violation of Section 301 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended ("Act"). On September 28, 2005,
the Enforcement Bureau's San Diego Office issued a Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL") in the amount of $10,000 to Uniradio
after determining that Uniradio apparently willfully and repeatedly
operated an unlicensed microwave radio station on microwave channels
21225.0 MHz and 22464.75 MHz in San Diego, California. In this Order,
we consider Uniradio's argument that Commission staff had assured
cross-border microwave operators, and Uniradio, by association, that
the Commission would not take enforcement action against them.
2. On December 14, 2004, an agent from the Commission's San Diego Office
was investigating allegations that companies in the San Ysidro area of
San Diego were using unauthorized microwave radio stations to
communicate with sister companies across the U.S. - Mexico border in
Tijuana, Mexico. The agent monitored and measured the transmissions of
a microwave radio station operated by Uniradio at an unattended
transmitter site at 4630 Border Village Road, San Diego, California.
The frequency measurement revealed that this microwave radio station
was operating on microwave channel 21225.0 MHz.
3. A review of the Commission's database revealed that Uniradio has no
authorization to operate a point-to-point microwave radio station.
However, a pending license application, filed by Uniradio on May 19,
2004 and amended on September 29, 2004, for frequency 22464.75 MHz at
the 4630 Border Village Road location was found.
4. On January 25, 2005, the San Diego agent returned to the Uniradio site
and found the microwave radio station operating on microwave channel
21225.0 MHz. At this time, the agent conducted an inspection of the
radio station with the building management. The information provided
by the building management and others confirmed that this transmitter
was operated by Uniradio.
5. On March 11, 2005, the San Diego Office sent a Letter of Inquiry
("LOI") to Uniradio concerning its operation on an unauthorized
frequency of 21225.0 MHz, in violation of Section 301 of the Act. On
March 23, 2005, an agent of the Commission's San Diego Office returned
to the Uniradio site at 4630 Border Village Road and found that the
station was operating on microwave channel 22464.75 MHz. The San Diego
Office received a reply to the LOI on April 19, 2005. In its reply,
Uniradio stated that it "never had or applied for an authorization or
license to transmit in the U.S. at the 21225 MHz frequency" and that
it began operating the station on 21225 MHz in May 2004. It
acknowledged that it had a pending application to use 22464.75 MHz.
Uniradio indicated that the equipment company that installed the radio
transmitter had inadvertently switched the receiver and transmitter
frequencies as the station should be operating on 22464.75 MHz.
Finally, Uniradio stated that it had applied to the FCC for a special
temporary authority and that it had corrected the transmitter
6. Agents confirmed that Uniradio did apply for a special temporary
authority on March 22, 2005. The pending Uniradio application for a
Private Operational Fixed Point-to-Point Microwave radio station on
22464.75 MHz, located at 4630 Border Village Road, San Diego,
California, was granted on May 18, 2005 under call sign WQCT284.
7. On September 28, 2005, the San Diego Office issued a NAL in the amount
of $10,000 to Uniradio. In the NAL, the San Diego Office found that
Uniradio apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Section 301 of
the Act by operating an unlicensed microwave radio station on
microwave channels 21225.0 MHz and 22464.75 MHz in San Diego,
California. Uniradio filed a response to the NAL on October 28, 2005
("Response"). In this Response, Uniradio argues that other potential
cross border microwave operators had been assured by staff from the
Commission's International Bureau, in 2001, that the International
Bureau would no longer grant special temporary authority ("STA") to
cross-border microwave operators, such as Uniradio, but that no
enforcement action would be taken against these operators either.
Uniradio argues that its operations in 2004 and 2005, which are the
basis of the San Diego Office's NAL, were done in reliance on this
advice and therefore the proposed forfeiture should be cancelled.
Uniradio attaches affidavits from its counsel and consulting engineer
detailing what they were told by International Bureau staff in 2001,
along with an STA request filed by its counsel for another 23 GHz
cross-border operator in 2001.
8. The proposed forfeiture amount in this case was assessed in accordance
with Section 503(b) of the Act, Section 1.80 of the Rules, and The
Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80
of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines. In examining
the 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 other
such matters as justice may require.
9. Section 301 of the Act requires that no person shall use or operate
any apparatus for the transmission of energy or communications or
signals by radio within the United States except under and in
accordance with the Act and with a license. On December 14, 2004,
January 25, 2005, and March 23, 2005, measurements made by San Diego
agents revealed that Uniradio was operating a microwave radio station
on microwave channels 21225.0 MHz and 22464.75 MHz. A review of
Commission records indicated that Uniradio had no authorization to
operate on 21225.0 MHz. The review also indicated that Uniradio had a
pending application, but no authorization, to operate on 22464.75 MHz
prior to May 18, 2005. On April 19, 2005, Uniradio acknowledged
operating a microwave station on the frequencies of 21225.0 MHz and
22464.75 MHz since May 2004. Uniradio also acknowledged that at that
time it had no license, only pending applications, to operate such a
10. In its Response, Uniradio does not claim that it held a valid
authorization to operate its microwave station during the 2004 and
2005 time period detailed in the NAL. Indeed, Uniradio does not deny
operating repeatedly without a license. Uniradio also does not discuss
its May 19, 2004 application. Instead, Uniradio argues that it should
not be liable for a forfeiture because it was relying on oral advice
given to its counsel by Commission staff in 2001, concerning other
potential cross-border situated microwave operators. Uniradio also
argues that the Commission should have issued a public notice
announcing its intention to enforce Section 301 against cross-border
operators in 2005 and by not doing so it placed Uniradio in a
"Catch-22 situation by refusing for years to issue STAs or licenses
for microwave links in the 23 GHz band and insisting that it would not
undertake enforcement actions."
11. The Commission has consistently held that applicants are responsible
for compliance with the Commission's Rules and that they should not
rely on informal oral opinions from Commission staff. Uniradio
acknowledges in its Response that the advice its counsel received from
Commission staff in 2001 was never put into writing. Moreover, we
disagree that Uniradio, who commenced unlicensed 23 GHz operations in
May of 2004, was placed in a "Catch-22" by the lack of a public notice
announcing that the Commission would enforce Section 301 against
unauthorized cross-border microwave operators.
12. Assuming arguendo that Commission staff did advise Uniradio's counsel
in 2001 that there would be no enforcement actions initiated by field
offices regarding unlicensed cross-border 23 GHz systems in 2001, we
agree with the San Diego Office's determination that Uniradio's
reliance on this advice in 2004 and 2005 was misplaced. Uniradio
argues that in 2001, and "[u]ntil 2005, the International Bureau's
microwave licensing branch had steadfastly refused to grant
applications seeking cross-border 23 GHz links because the licensing
authority in Mexico was not then issuing authorizations for parallel
links from Mexico to the U.S." A review of the Commission's database
shows that Uniradio is mistaken. By January 2004, cross-border
coordination and licensing by both the FCC and the Mexican Ministry of
Communications and Transport ("SCT") was routinely occurring. Indeed,
when Uniradio first filed an application for authority to operate in
the 23 GHz band on May 19, 2004, to replace its prior T1 line
transmissions, cross-border microwave licensing by the FCC was
occurring. Therefore, Uniradio clearly understood that licensing was
required for its cross-border operations in 2004 and 2005, the period
during which the San Diego Office agents observed and questioned
Uniradio's unauthorized operations. Consequently, we find no merit to
13. We have examined the Response to the NAL pursuant to the statutory
factors above, and in conjunction with the Forfeiture Policy
Statement. As a result of our review, we conclude that Uniradio
willfully and repeatedly violated Section 301 of the Act. Considering
the entire record and the factors listed above, we find that neither
reduction nor cancellation of the proposed $10,000 forfeiture is
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
14. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended ("Act"), and Sections 0.111,
0.311 and 1.80(f)(4) of the Commission's Rules, Uniradio Corporation
IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of $10,000 for
willfully and repeatedly violating Section 301 of the Act.
15. Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner provided for in
Section 1.80 of the Rules 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. Payment of the forfeiture must be made
by check or similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission. The payment must include the NAL/Acct. No.
and FRN No. referenced above. Payment by check or money order may be
mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O.
Box 358340, Pittsburgh, PA 15251-8340. Payment by overnight mail may
be sent to Mellon Bank /LB 358340, 500 Ross Street, Room 1540670,
Pittsburgh, PA 15251. Payment by wire transfer may be made to ABA
Number 043000261, receiving bank Mellon Bank, and account number 911-
6106. Requests for full payment under an installment plan should be
sent to: Associate Managing Director - Financial Operations, Room
1A625, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.
16. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall be sent by First
Class Mail and Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to Uniradio
Corporation, at its address of record, and its counsel of record,
Frederick J. Day, Esquire.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Rebecca L. Dorch
Regional Director, Western Region
47 U.S.C. S 301.
47 C.F.R. S 101.147(s).
See File No. 0001742599.
See File No. 0002094917.
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No. 200532940013
(Enf. Bur., Western Region, San Diego Office, released September 28,
47 C.F.R. S 101.147(s).
47 U.S.C. S 503(b).
47 C.F.R. S 1.80.
12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999).
47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(2)(D).
47 U.S.C. S 301.
Pursuant to Sections 101.31(b)(1) and 101.31 (b)(1)(v) of the Rules, 47
C.F.R. SS 101.31(b)(1), 101.31(b)(1)(v), certain applicants for
point-to-point microwave stations, not located within 56.3 kilometers of
any international border, operating in certain frequency bands, are deemed
to have conditional authority to operate their proposed stations during
the pendency of their applications. The frequency proposed for use by
Uniradio in its applications is not contained in these frequency bands.
Also, Uniradio's proposed station is located approximately 0.64 km from
the Mexican border.
Texas Media Group, Inc. 5 FCC Rcd 2851, 2852 (1990) aff'd sub nom. Malkan
FM Associates v. FCC, 935 F.2d 1313 (D.C. Cir. 1991).
47 U.S.C. SS 301, 503(b), 47 C.F.R. SS 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).
47 U.S.C. S 504(a).
See 47 C.F.R. S 1.1914.
Federal Communications Commission DA 06-1669
Federal Communications Commission DA 06-1669