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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of
) File Number: EB-07-PO-055
Metro West Ambulance
) NAL/Acct. No.: 200732920004
Licensee of Station WQBI492
) FRN: 0001592666
Adopted: February 27, 2008 Released: March 3, 2008
By the Regional Director, Western Region, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Forfeiture Order ("Order"), we issue a monetary forfeiture in
the amount of three thousand, two hundred dollars ($3,200) to Metro
West Ambulance ("Metro West"), licensee of station WQBI492, in
Hillsboro, Oregon, for willful and repeated violation of Section
1.903(a) of the Commission's Rules ("Rules"). On June 11, 2007, the
Enforcement Bureau's Portland Resident Agent Office issued a Notice of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL") in the amount of $4,000 to
Metro West after determining that Metro West apparently willfully and
repeatedly operated on 463.2875 MHz, a frequency not authorized by its
license, WQBI492. Metro West filed a response to the NAL on July 2,
2007 ("Response"). In this Order, we consider Metro West's arguments
that the violation was not willful and not repeated, that Metro West
took immediate steps to rectify the situation as soon as it was aware
of the violation, and that Metro West has a history of compliance with
the Commission's Rules.
2. On March 30, 2007, the Enforcement Bureau's Portland Resident Agent
Office ("Portland Office") received a complaint against Metro West
regarding its unlicensed operation on frequency 463.2875 MHz. In
response to the complaint, a Portland Office agent monitored and
recorded radio transmissions exchanged between Metro West's ambulance
vehicles and its dispatch center. When the agent interviewed Metro
West personnel and a communications center manager about their use of
frequency 463.2875 MHz, the Metro West representatives denied such use
and affirmatively stated that Metro West was not operating on 463.2875
MHz. The representatives then provided the agent a copy of the WQBI492
license. The license showed that frequency 151.865 MHz was the only
authorized frequency to Metro West on that license. The agent issued a
verbal warning to Metro West representatives advising that a new
authorization was required if Metro West wanted to use 463.2875 MHz.
In its Response, however, Metro West disputes that the Portland agent
verbally warned Metro West about its unauthorized operation on
3. From April 4, 2007, to April 10, 2007, the Portland Office continued
receiving complaints concerning Metro West's unlicensed operation on
frequency 463.2875 MHz.
4. On April 17, 2007, the Portland agent used mobile radio direction
finding techniques to locate an unauthorized transmitter on frequency
463.2875 MHz operated by Metro West in a communications site, managed
by BEARCOM Communications, in Portland, Oregon. The agent telephoned
the site manager and requested to inspect the station. The site owner
agreed to meet the agent on April 20, 2007. Later on April 17, 2007,
the Portland agent received a phone call from a representative of
Metro West admitting that they were using frequency 463.2875 MHz
without a license. In its Response, Metro West asserts this was the
first time it realized it was in fact operating on 463.2875 MHz. The
Metro West representative indicated that he would apply for a special
temporary authorization ("STA") or a frequency coordination for use of
frequency 463.2875 MHz and that he would sent a copy of the a STA or
frequency coordination approval as soon as he received the documents.
5. On April 18, 2007, the Portland agent monitored frequency 463.2875 MHz
and observed that Metro West was still using the referenced frequency
without a FCC authorization. The agent recorded Metro West's radio
transmissions on April 18, 2007.
6. On April 20, 2007, the Portland agent received a fax copy of a
frequency coordination approval indicating that Metro West had applied
to operate on the new frequency 463.2375 MHz. The agent also received
a voice mail message from a Metro West representative indicating that
Metro West had vacated frequency 463.2875 MHz. The agent then met with
a representative from BEARCOM Communications to inspect Metro West's
transmitter and verified that Metro West had vacated frequency
7. On June 11, 2007, the Portland agent researched the Commission's
databases and found that Metro West's authorization for use of
frequency 463.2875 MHz, under call sign WQBC803, had expired on March
8. On June 11, 2007, the Portland Office issued a NAL in the amount of
$4,000 to Metro West. In the NAL, the Portland Office found that Metro
West apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Section 1.903(a) of
the Rules by operating on 463.2875 MHz, a frequency not authorized by
its license, WQBI492. In its Response, Metro West disputes some of the
facts recited in the NAL, argues that the violation was not willful
and not repeated, that Metro West took immediate steps to rectify the
situation as soon as it was aware of the violation, and that Metro
West has a history of compliance with the Commission's Rules.
9. 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.
10. Section 1.903(a) of the Rules requires that stations in the Wireless
Radio Services must be used and operated only in accordance with the
rules applicable to their particular service, and with a valid
authorization granted by the Commission. Metro West's authorization
for use of frequency 463.2875 MHz, under call sign WQBC803, expired on
March 21, 2005. The Metro West land mobile license, WQBI492, provided
by Metro West representatives on March 30, 2007, did not include an
authorization to operate on 463.2875 MHz in the Portland, Oregon
11. In its Response, Metro West states it did not receive a verbal warning
from the Portland agent on March 30, 2007, and attaches to its
Response a signed statement from an employee of Metro West stating
that the only frequency mentioned by the Portland agent was 151.865
MHz. Metro West acknowledges in the Response, however, that the
Portland agent did ask another Metro West employee, its Communications
Center Manager, about Metro West's license for 463.2875 (which had
expired) and the manager told the Portland agent that it was not using
that frequency. Metro West argues that it had no knowledge that
WQBI492 was operating on 463.2875, until it was alerted to this
operation on April 17, 2007, by a communications company which had
been contacted by the Portland agent to obtain access to the Metro
West tower. Metro West states that the communications company then
informed Metro West that WQBI492 was operating on 463.2875 MHz. Metro
West states that it contacted the Portland agent on April 18, 2007, to
clarify the information it had received from the communications
company and again told the Portland agent it was not aware that
WQBI492 was operating on 463.2875 MHz. Because of its lack of
knowledge of its operation on 463.2875 MHz, Metro West argues that its
operation cannot be considered willful. We disagree.
12. A licensee is required to operate on the frequency stated in its
authorization. Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 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 or any rule or regulation
of the Commission authorized by this Act...." Metro West consciously
and deliberately operated WQBI492. Additionally, Metro West
acknowledges the Portland agent did talk to its Communications Center
Manager about the use of 463.2875 MHz on March 30, 2007. Even if the
manager did not understand this communication to be a warning, Metro
West assured the Portland agent that WQBI492 was not operating on
463.2875 MHz, and Metro West took no action to ensure the accuracy of
this statement, until more than two weeks later, when the Portland
agent contacted another company about what appeared to be Metro West's
operation on 463.2875 MHz. We find that Metro West was put on notice
about its potential unauthorized use of 463.2875 MHz by the Portland
agent on March 30, 2007, failed to ensure it was not operating on that
frequency, and, consequently, continued operating on that frequency.
Therefore, we find that Metro West willfully operated on a frequency
not authorized by its license, WQBI492.
13. Metro West also argues that because it was not aware of its operations
on 463.2875 MHz, and was not aware that a violation was occurring, its
violation was not repeated. We disagree. Section 312(f)(2) of the Act
defines "repeated" as "the commission or omission of such act more
than once or, if such commission or omission is continuous, for more
than one day." In this case, the evidence is clear that Metro West
operated WQBI492 on 463.2875 MHz for more than one day. Therefore, we
find no merit to this argument.
14. Metro West also contends that it has a history of overall compliance
with the Commission's Rules. We have reviewed our records and we
concur. Consequently, we reduce Metro West's forfeiture amount from
$4,000 to $3,200.
15. Metro West also argues that it immediately rectified the situation
after it was made aware of the violation of April 17, 2007. That
effort, however, was only made after the Portland agent had contacted
the communications company for access to the Metro West radio tower,
and the communications company then contacted Metro West. While we
appreciate Metro West's efforts, the Commission has consistently held
that a licensee is expected to correct errors when they are brought to
the licensee's attention by the Commission staff and that such
correction is not grounds for a downward adjustment in the forfeiture.
Therefore, we find no merit to this argument.
16. 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 Metro West
willfully and repeatedly violated Section 1.903(a) of the Rules.
Considering the entire record and the factors listed above, we find
that reduction of the proposed forfeiture to $3,200 is warranted.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
17. 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, Metro West Ambulance
IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of $3,200 for
willfully and repeatedly violating Section 1.903(a) of the Rules.
18. 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/Account
Number and FRN Number referenced above. Payment by check or money
order may be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box
979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000. Payment by overnight mail may be
sent to U.S. Bank - Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005
Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101. Payment by wire transfer may be
made to ABA Number 021030004, receiving bank TREAS/NYC, and account
number 27000001. For payment by credit card, an FCC Form 159
(Remittance Advice) must be submitted. When completing the FCC Form
159, enter the NAL/Account number in block number 23A (call sign/other
ID), and enter the letters "FORF" in block number 24A (payment type
code). Requests for full payment under an installment plan should be
sent to: Chief Financial Officer -- Financial Operations, 445 12th
Street, S.W., Room 1-A625, Washington, D.C. 20554. Please contact
the Financial Operations Group Help Desk at 1-877-480-3201 or Email:
ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov with any questions regarding payment procedures.
19. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall be sent by First
Class Mail and Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to Metro West
Ambulance, at its address of record.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Rebecca L. Dorch
Regional Director, Western Region
47 C.F.R. S: 1.903(a).
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No. 200732900004
(Enf. Bur., Western Region, Portland Resident Agent Office, released June
47 C.F.R. S: 1.903(a).
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)(E).
Dominic DeNaples, 19 FCC Rcd 12303 (EB 2004).
47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(1).
See Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd 4387 (1991).
47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(2).
AT&T Wireless Services, Inc. 17 FCC Rcd 21866, 21871-76 (2002).
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b), 47 C.F.R. S:S: 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4), 1.903(a).
47 U.S.C. S: 504(a).
Federal Communications Commission DA 08-474
Federal Communications Commission DA 08-474