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 ) File No: EB-10-MA-0111
Sling Broadband, LLC ) NAL/Acct. No.: 201132600008
Hollywood, FL ) FRN: 0018006452
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE AND ORDER
Adopted: July 29, 2011 Released: July 29, 2011
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order ("NAL"),
we find that Sling Broadband, LLC ("Sling"), operator of Unlicensed
National Information Infrastructure ("U-NII") transmission systems in
Deerfield Beach, Florida, apparently willfully and repeatedly violated
section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended ("Act"), and
section 15.1(b) of the Commission's rules ("Rules") by operating
intentional radiators not in accordance with Part 15 of the Rules and
without a license. We conclude that Sling is apparently liable for a
forfeiture in the amount of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000). We
further order Sling to submit a statement signed under penalty of
perjury by an officer or director of the company stating that it is
currently operating its U-NII systems in compliance with FCC rules and
2. Part 15 of the Rules allows devices employing relatively low-level
radiofrequency ("RF") signals to be operated without individual
licenses, as long as their operation causes no harmful interference to
licensed services and the devices do not generate emissions or field
strength levels greater than a specified level. Such devices must be
authorized and operated in accordance with the Part 15 Rules. For
example, section 15.5 of the Rules provides that operation of an
intentional radiator must not cause harmful interference. If harmful
interference occurs, the operation of the device must cease upon
notification of such interference. Operating a Part 15 device in a
manner that is inconsistent with the Part 15 Rules requires a license
pursuant to section 301 of the Act. Such operation without a license
violates that provision.
3. As part of its ongoing coordination efforts with the Federal Aviation
Administration ("FAA"), the Enforcement Bureau received a complaint
about radio emissions causing interference to the FAA's Terminal
Doppler Weather Radar ("TDWR") installation serving the Fort
Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport. TDWR installations exist
at 45 major airports in the United States and Puerto Rico and assist
air traffic controllers in detecting low-altitude wind shear that can
pose a risk to aircraft.
4. On January 5, 2011, agents from the Enforcement Bureau's Miami Office
("Miami Office") confirmed by direction-finding techniques that radio
emissions on the frequencies 5425 MHz, 5445 MHz, 5650 MHz, and 5670
MHz were emanating from antennas mounted near the top of ASR number
1019595 in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The owner of the antenna
structure stated that Sling was the only wireless internet service
provider with equipment on the antenna structure and provided copies
of its collocation agreement with Sling, which authorized the
placement of three U-NII transmitters, Ubiquiti Network, Inc. Rocket
M5 transceivers. The Rocket M5 model is certified for use as a Part 15
intentional radiator only in the 5745-5825 MHz band and is not
certified as a U-NII intentional radiator.
5. On January 10, 2011, agents from the Miami Office again confirmed
using direction-finding techniques that Sling operated U-NII
transmitters on the frequencies 5425 MHz, 5445 MHz, and 5725 MHz on
ASR number 1019595. According to Commission records, Sling does not
hold licenses to operate on the frequencies 5425 MHz, 5445 MHz, 5650
MHz, 5670 MHz, and 5725 MHz from ASR number 1019595. Moreover, the
Part 15 Rules do not authorize intentional radiators to operate in the
5.35-5.46 MHz band.
6. On January 10, 2011, Sling's Radio Frequency Engineer informed agents
from the Miami Office that Sling was operating the access point with
three Rocket M5s with three panel antennas for three subscriber
sectors, and one more Rocket M5 for backhaul services. He stated that
on January 7, 2011, he discovered a malfunction in one of the Rocket
M5s, which was causing it to continuously cycle upward though all
channels. Agents from the Miami Office replied that, during their
previous monitoring, they only observed four constant 20 MHz wide
transmissions and did not observe the transmissions cycling up, to
which the engineer had no response. Sling's RF Engineer also stated
that one Rocket M5 transmitter at the site was replaced on January 7,
2011, and that the new one was set to another frequency (centered at
5725 MHz) away from the TDWR band. The FAA confirmed that the
interference to the TDWR serving the Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood
International Airport ceased on January 7, 2010, thereby confirming
that Sling's transmissions on the frequencies 5650 MHz and 5670 MHz
were the source of the interference.
7. The FCC agents further observed that Sling had incorporated high gain
sector antennas into three of its U-NII systems. The addition of a
high gain antenna to such a system can increase the system's effective
isotropic radiated power ("EIRP") to levels not authorized under the
Part 15 Rules. Calculations performed by the FCC agents, based on the
configuration of the Rocket M5s and the sector antennas in use at the
time of the inspection, indicated that the EIRP for all three systems
may have exceeded the maximum EIRP permitted by the Rules for
operation on the frequencies used by Sling.
8. Section 503(b) of the Act provides that any person who willfully or
repeatedly fails to comply substantially with the terms and conditions
of any license, or willfully or repeatedly fails to comply with any of
the provisions of the Act or of any rule, regulation or order issued
by the Commission thereunder, shall be liable for a forfeiture
penalty. Section 312(f)(1) of the Act defines willful as the
"conscious and deliberate commission or omission of [any] act,
irrespective of any intent to violate" the law. The legislative
history to section 312(f)(1) of the Act clarifies that this definition
of willful applies to both section 312 and 503(b) of the Act and the
Commission has so interpreted the term in the section 503(b) context.
The Commission may also assess a forfeiture for violations that are
merely repeated, and not willful. The term "repeated" means the
commission or omission of such act more than once or for more than one
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. Part 15 of the Rules,
however, sets forth conditions under which intentional radiators may
operate without an individual license. Part 15 intentional radiators
are not permitted to operate in the 5.35-5.46 MHz band. Pursuant to
section 15.1(b) of the Rules, "the operation of an intentional or
unintentional radiator that is not in accordance with the regulations
in [Part 15] must be licensed pursuant to the provisions of section
301 of the Communications Act...." Thus, if an intentional radiator
fails to comply with all of the applicable conditions set forth in
Part 15 of the Rules, it is no longer covered by the unlicensed
provisions of those Rules and must obtain an individual license
pursuant to section 301 of the Act.
10. On January 5 and 10, 2011, as described above, agents from the Miami
Office observed Sling operate four Part 15 intentional radiators,
Rocket M5s, on the center frequencies 5425 MHz, 5445 MHz, 5650 MHz,
5670 MHz, and 5725 MHz from ASR number 1019595 in Deerfield Beach,
Florida. No Part 15 intentional radiators are permitted to operate on
the frequencies 5425 MHz and 5445 MHz, as they are in a restricted
frequency band. The Rocket M5 device is only certified for use on the
5745-5825 MHz frequency band. Therefore, Sling's operations did not
comply with either the device's Equipment Authorization or Part 15
requirements and thus required a license. According to Commission
records, Sling does not hold a license to operate on the frequencies
5425 MHz, 5445 MHz, 5650 MHz, 5670 MHz, and 5725 MHz in Deerfield
Beach, Florida. Thus, based on the evidence before us, we find that
Sling apparently willfully and repeatedly violated section 301 of the
Act and section 15.1(b) of the Rules by operating unlicensed radio
transmitters on January 5 and 10, 2011.
11. Pursuant to the Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and section
1.80 of the Rules, the base forfeiture amount for operation without an
instrument of authorization is $10,000. In assessing the monetary
forfeiture amount, we must also take into account the statutory
factors set forth in section 503(b)(2)(E) of the Act, which include
the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violations, and
with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history
of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other such matters as justice
12. Because Sling operated four unauthorized U-NII transmitters and caused
interference to the Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International
Airport's TDWR and posed a safety hazard to air traffic, we believe an
upward adjustment in the forfeiture amount for Sling's apparent
unlicensed operation is warranted. On June 9, 2010, Sling operated a
Part 15 radio transmitter on 5650 MHz, a frequency for which it was
not certified, without a license and caused interference to the TDWR
at the Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport, the very
same activity at issue today. Accordingly, we find Sling's apparent
violations to be egregious and deserving of an additional upward
adjustment. Based on these factors, we find that $10,000 is an
appropriate upward adjustment for Sling's apparent unlicensed
operation, resulting in a $20,000 proposed forfeiture for this
13. As discussed above, following the January 5, 2011 inspection by
Enforcement Bureau field agents, Sling modified the frequencies used
by its transceivers to cease any interference with the FAA's TDWR
installation. One of the new frequencies used by Sling, however, was
not authorized by the devices' Equipment Authorization. We also note
that the calculations performed by Enforcement Bureau field agents
raise serious concerns about whether the Sling U-NII devices complied
with the relevant power limits under Part 15. We further order Sling
to submit a statement signed under penalty of perjury by an officer or
director of the company stating that it is currently operating its
U-NII systems in compliance with FCC rules and applicable
authorizations. This statement must be provided to the Enforcement
Bureau at the address listed in paragraph 20 within thirty days of the
release date of this NAL.
14. Although we could impose larger upward adjustments for Sling's
apparent violations, we decline to do so, based on the particular
circumstances of this case. We caution Sling and other U-NII service
providers, however, that we may do so in future cases if the
circumstances warrant or if our current approach does not serve as a
sufficient deterrent. Applying the Forfeiture Policy Statement,
section 1.80 of the Rules, and the statutory factors to the instant
case, we therefore conclude that Sling is apparently liable for a
forfeiture of $20,000 for unlicensed operation in violation of section
301 of the Act and section 15.1(b) of the Rules.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
15. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and sections 0.111, 0.311,
0.314 and 1.80 of the Commission's rules, Sling Broadband, LLC is
hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the
amount of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) for violations of section
301 of the Act and section 15.1(b).
16. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to section 1.80 of the
Commission's rules within thirty days of the release date of this
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, Sling
Broadband, LLC, SHALL PAY the full amount of the proposed forfeiture
or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of
the proposed forfeiture.
17. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Sling Broadband, LLC SHALL SUBMIT a sworn
statement as described in paragraph 13 to the Enforcement Bureau
Office listed in paragraph 20 within thirty days of the release date
of this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order.
18. Sling Broadband, LLC is HEREBY NOTIFIED that its operation of an
Ubiquiti Network, Inc. Rocket M5 transceiver resulted in harmful
interference to the FAA's TDWR system that serves the Fort Lauderdale
- Hollywood International Airport. Sling Broadband, LLC is HEREBY
WARNED that any further operation of any U-NII device, including the
Ubiquiti Network, Inc. Rocket M5, on any frequency, and at any
location, that results in interference to the FAA's TDWR system
serving the Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport may be
considered a willful violation of section 333 of the Act, which
prohibits willful or malicious interference to any radio communication
of any station licensed or authorized under the Act or operated by the
United States Government.
19. Payment of the forfeiture must be made by credit card, check or
similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal Communications
Commission. The payment must include the Account Number and FRN
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. If you have questions regarding payment
procedures, please contact the Financial Operations Group Help Desk at
1-877-480-3201 or Email: ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov. Sling shall send
electronic notification on the date said payment is made to
20. The written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the
proposed forfeiture, if any, must include a detailed factual statement
supported by appropriate documentation and affidavits pursuant to
sections 1.80(f)(3) and 1.16 of the Rules. The written statement must
be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau,
South Central Region, Miami Office, P.O. Box 520617, Miami, FL 33152
and must include the NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the caption. The
statement should also be emailed to SCR-Response@fcc.gov.
21. The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a forfeiture in
response to a claim of inability to pay unless the petitioner 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 submitted.
22. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture shall be sent by both Certified Mail, Return Receipt
Requested, and regular mail, to Sling Broadband, LLC at 2700 N. State
Road 7, Hollywood, FL 33021.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
P. Michele Ellison
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
47 U.S.C. S: 301; see also 47 C.F.R. S: 15.407.
47 C.F.R. S: 15.1(b).
47 C.F.R. S:S: 15.1 et seq.
Revision of Part 15 of the Rules Regarding the Operation of Radio
Frequency Devices Without an Individual License, First Report and Order, 4
FCC Rcd 3493 (1989).
47 C.F.R. S:S: 15.1(a), 15.5.
47 C.F.R. S: 15.5
47 C.F.R. S: 15.1(b).
MIT Lincoln Laboratories,
visited Jan. 26, 2011).
The collocation agreement referenced Ubiquity Rocket M5 transceivers with
FCC ID SWX-M5.
47 C.F.R. S: 15.403(s) (defining U-NII devices as "[i]ntentional radiators
operating in the frequency bands 5.15-5.35 GHz and 5.470-5.825 GHz that
use wideband digital modulation techniques and provide a wide array of
high data rate mobile and fixed communications for individuals,
businesses, and institutions."). Although Sling's devices were not
authorized to operate in the U-NII bands, they are subject to the U-NII
rules (47 C.F.R. S:S: 15.401-15.407) because Sling operated them as U-NII
devices on U-NII frequencies.
Sling was also operating on the frequency 5745 MHz, a frequency for which
the Rocket M5 is certified. Operation pursuant to section 15.247 of the
Rules, however, must comply with the applicable power limits specified
therein. 47 C.F.R. S: 15.247.
47 C.F.R. S: 15.205(a).
See email from Aaron Tuttle, TDWR & Meteorological Support, FAA, to Miami
Office, dated February 22, 2011.
According to the collocation agreement, the Rocket M5s employed Ubiquiti
Airmax 5G-19-120 sector antennas with a gain of 19 dBi (18.6 dBi according
to the Airmax specifications). The antennas photographed by the agents of
the Miami Office on January 5, 2011 appeared to be Ubiquiti Airmax sector
Section 15.407(a)(2) of the Rules provides:
For the 5.25-5.35 GHz and 5.47-5.725 GHz bands, the maximum conducted
output power over the frequency bands of operation shall not exceed the
lesser of 250 mW or 11 dBm + 10 log B, where B is the 26 dB emission
bandwidth in megahertz...If transmitting antennas of directional gain
greater than 6 dBi are used, both the maximum conducted output power and
the peak power spectral density shall be reduced by the amount in dB that
the directional gain of the antenna exceeds 6 dBi.
Applying the Section 15.407(a)(2) formula, the maximum conducted output
power (total power output) is 250 mW or 24 dBm. Given the antenna gain of
6 dBi as described above, the maximum allowable EIRP is 1 watt or 30 dBm.
Systems operating on U-NII band frequencies are required to adhere to this
Section 15.247 of the Rules provides that the maximum peak conducted
output power of the intentional radiator shall not exceed the following:
15.247(b)(3) For systems using digital modulation in the 902-928 MHz,
2400-2483.5 MHz, and 5725-5850 MHz bands: 1 Watt.
15.247(b)(4) Except as shown in paragraph (c) of this section (fixed point
to point operation), if transmitting antennas of directional gain greater
than 6dBi are used, the conducted output power...shall be reduced below
the stated values...by the amount in dB that the directional gain of the
antenna exceeds 6 dBi.
Applying Section 15.247(b)(3) of the Rules, the maximum conducted output
power (total power output) is 1 W or 30 dBm. Given the antenna gain of 6
dBi as described above, the maximum EIRP is 4 watts or 36 dBm. Systems
operating under Section 15.247 are required to adhere to this limit.
In the configuration of its three systems at Deerfield Beach, Sling
employed antennas specified to have 18.6 dBi of gain, in excess of the
standard 6 dBi gain upon which the operating limits were predicated.
Calculations by the FCC agents revealed that the EIRP of each of Sling's
systems operating on 5650 MHz, 5670 MHz, 5725 MHz and 5745 MHz is
estimated to be 9.1 watts or 39.6 dBm.
See supra n. 15. The calculations assume the minimum average power
specifications for the devices.
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b).
47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(1).
H.R. Rep. No. 97-765, 97th Cong. 2d Sess. 51 (1982) ("This provision
[inserted in section 312] defines the terms `willful' and `repeated' for
purposes of section 312, and for any other relevant section of the act
(e.g., section 503).... As defined ... `willful' means that the licensee
knew that he was doing the act in question, regardless of whether there
was an intent to violate the law. `Repeated' means more than once, or
where the act is continuous, for more than one day. Whether an act is
considered to be `continuous' would depend upon the circumstances in each
case. The definitions are intended primarily to clarify the language in
sections 312 and 503, and are consistent with the Commission's application
of those terms ...").
See, e.g., Application for Review of Southern California Broadcasting Co.,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 6 FCC Rcd 4387, 4388 (1991) ("Southern
California Broadcasting Co.").
See, e.g., Callais Cablevision, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for
Monetary Forfeiture, 16 FCC Rcd 1359, 1362 P: 10 (2001) ("Callais
Cablevision, Inc.") (proposing a forfeiture for, inter alia, a cable
television operator's repeated signal leakage).
Section 312(f)(2) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(2), which also applies
to violations for which forfeitures are assessed under section 503(b) of
the Act, provides that "[t]he 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. S: 301.
See 47 C.F.R. S:S: 15.1 et seq.
47 C.F.R. S: 15.205(a).
47 C.F.R. S: 15.1(b).
12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999); 47 C.F.R.
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(2)(E).
See Sling Broadband, LLC, Notice of Unlicensed Operation and Notification
of Harmful Interference, Document Number W201032600061 (Enf. Bur. rel.
July 20, 2010).
See supra P:P: 6, 7.
See supra P: 11.
47 U.S.C. S:S: 301, 503(b), 47 C.F.R. S:S: 0.111, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80,
47 U.S.C. S: 333.
See 47 C.F.R. S: 1.1914.
47 C.F.R. S:S: 1.80(f)(3), 1.16.
(...continued from previous page)
Federal Communications Commission DA 11-1312
Federal Communications Commission DA 11-1312