Consistent with the Chairman's Strategic Plan, the Enforcement
Bureau has focused on three broad areas: consumer protection
enforcement; competition enforcement; and spectrum enforcement. In
each of these areas, through actions taken by the Commission or the
Bureau, or through pending investigations, a strong signal has been
sent to the relevant industries that significant violations of the
Communications Act, FCC rules or other requirements will lead to swift
and strong enforcement action. Highlights of actions taken in each of
these three areas are set out below.
- Consumer Protection Enforcement
Through fines or consent decrees, enforcement action
against nine carriers totaling over $13 million. The $13 million in
enforcement action is more than the total of all prior FCC slamming
enforcement actions combined.
- Included historic consent decree with
million (highest enforcement payment in Commission history) and major
pro-consumer changes in MCI WorldCom's operating practices.
- Third Party Verification: Entered into a consent decree with
for $250,000 regarding maintenance of third party verification
records as required by the Commission's anti-slamming rules; decree
included enhanced assurances of proper verification of consumer carrier
- Misleading Advertising:
Joint Policy Statement with Federal Trade
Commission on Truth-in-Advertising for long distance industry.
into $100,000 consent decree with
advertisements. This decree included modifications to advertising
Unsolicited ``Junk'' Faxes:
Issued or proposed fines against four
companies totaling over $450,000. Also issued 25 citations.
- Telephone Solicitations: Found that AT&T had violated
``do-not-call'' list requirements, particularly regarding applicability
of requirements to entire household, not just individual who requests
being put on ``do-not-call'' list.
- Operator Service Provider Disclosures to Consumers: Entered into
consent decrees with
U.S. Long Distance ($150,000),
relating to disclosure requirements for
consumers using payphones or hotel/motel telephones; decrees included
strengthened compliance plans. Also issued over 100 citations to
hotels, motels, and payphone owners for violations of consumer
information posting and unblocking requirements. Worked with American
Hotel and Motel Association on education and compliance campaign.
Universal Service Fund Non-Payment:
Issued or proposed fines, or
entered into a consent decree, with five carriers, totaling
- Disabilities: Worked with Maryland and other states on
Telecommunications Relay Service carrier-of-choice issues.
Issued or proposed fines against 10 stations
for a total of over $100,000.
Misleading Broadcaster Contests:
Issued or proposed fines against
Privacy Protection Regarding Broadcast of Telephone
Issued or proposed fines against eight stations.
- DBS Public Interest Programming: Proposed and collected an
$11,000 fine against
for failure to comply with DBS public
interest programming requirements on a timely basis.
- Competition Enforcement
- Local Market Opening Requirements of Section 271
- Entered into a consent decree with
Bell Atlantic-New York
million regarding problems Bell Atlantic had processing electronic
orders of its local competitors for unbundled network elements.
Consent decree included performance measurements that would have
resulted in penalties of an additional $27 million had Bell Atlantic
not promptly complied over the next several weeks.
- Granted a formal
complaint by MCI
that Ameritech violated section
271 by providing long distance service prior to receiving Commission
approval in connection with its 1-800-AMERITECH service.
- Collocation Rules: Entered into a $2.7 million consent decree
GTE (now Verizon)
regarding compliance with the Commission's rules
on ``cageless'' collocation (placement of local competitor's equipment
in GTE's central offices). GTE agreed to speed up compliance with
performance standards set out in the Bell Atlantic/GTE merger order or
be subject to automatic penalties sooner than provided in that order.
- Good Faith Negotiation Rules: Entered into a $750,000 consent
regarding its negotiation with a local service
competitor; Bell South also agreed to take steps to improve compliance
with good faith negotiation requirements.
- Reciprocal Compensation: Concluded in a formal complaint that
defendant local exchange carriers (LECs) improperly charged paging
carriers for facilities used to deliver LEC-originated traffic, in
violation of the Commission's 1996 Local Competition Order.
- Payphone Compensation: In response to a formal complaint, found
that Frontier (now Global Crossing) had failed to make required
payphone compensation. In addition to availability of damages for
affected parties, entered into
Consent Decree for $80,000
agreement by Global Crossing to provide additional information to
payphone service providers to assist in calculations of payments due.
- Informal Dispute Resolution/Settlement: Through the Accelerated
Docket and other informal dispute resolution efforts, the Bureau has
facilitated the settlement of approximately 40 disputes without formal
complaints ever being filed. This includes settlement of disputes in
areas such as collocation, provisioning of network elements and
services to local competitors, and local competitors using existing
interconnection agreements with incumbent carriers.
- Formal Complaints Backlog Reduction: When the Bureau was
launched, it had approximately 160 formal complaint matters pending.
Through aggressive backlog reduction efforts, such as intensive
settlement/mediation discussions or written decisions on the merits, we
are now down to less than 50 pending matters, even though about 80 new
matters have been filed since the Bureau's inception. So now we're in
a position to respond quickly to new complaints.
- Spectrum Enforcement
Shut down over 180 pirate broadcast stations
through seizure of equipment or following inspections and issuance of
warnings. This number is the highest ever achieved. In addition,
investigations conducted by the Enforcement Bureau have resulted in the
issuance of eight injunctions against pirate broadcasters by federal
courts and arrests of two pirate broadcasters by law enforcement
- Enhanced-911: Entered into Consent Decrees with
regarding compliance with E-911 manufacturing
requirements for wireless handsets.
Emergency Alert System:
Issued or proposed 17 fines against
broadcasters or cable operators, and issued approximately 160 Notices
Tower Painting and Lighting:
Issued or proposed 11 fines against
licensees or tower owners, and issued approximately 500 Notices of