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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
) File Number EB-01-DL-703
Friendship Cable of Texas, Inc. )
) NAL/Acct.No. 200232500002
Physical System ID 005073 )
Vernon, Texas ) FRN 004-9995-61
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
CORRECTED COPY - CORRECTED TO REFLECT ACTUAL RELEASE DATE -
NO ADDITIONAL RESPONSE REQUIRED
Released: February 4, 2002
By the Enforcement Bureau, Dallas Office:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, we
find that Friendship Cable of Texas, Inc. (Friendship) apparently
violated Sections 76.605(a)(12) and 76.611(a) of the Commission's
Rules1 by failure to comply with signal leakage standards. We
conclude that Friendship is apparently liable for a forfeiture in
the amount of eight thousand dollars ($8,000).
2. The Commission has established cable signal leakage
rules to control emissions that could cause interference to
aviation frequencies from cable systems. Protecting the
aeronautical frequencies2 from harmful interference is of
paramount importance.3 To this end, the Commission established
basic signal leakage standards.4 The Commission has determined
the tolerable levels of unwanted signals on the aeronautical
frequencies in two ways. Signal leakage levels that exceed these
thresholds are considered harmful interference. First, leakage
at any given point must not exceed 20 µV/m.5 Secondly, the
Commission set basic signal leakage performance criteria for the
system as a prerequisite for operation on aeronautical
frequencies. This is the system's Cumulative Leakage Index
(CLI). The Commission requires annual measurement of each
system's CLI to demonstrate safe levels of signal leakage,6 the
results of which must be reported to the Commission.7 The
Commission also requires routine monitoring of the system to
detect leaks.8 Whenever harmful interference occurs, the cable
system operator must eliminate it.9 Further, should the harmful
interference not be eliminated, the Commission will intervene and
require cessation of operation of the portion of the system
involved or reduction of power10 below the levels specified in
Section 76.610 of the Commission's Rules.11 Because the
Commission cannot insure that leakage will not occur, the
Commission has also retained the requirement that the signal
carriers of cable systems must be offset from the frequencies
used by aeronautical services.12
3. On September 24 and 25, 2001, an agent from the
Commission's Dallas office conducted an inspection of a portion
of the Friendship cable system serving Vernon, Texas to identify
leaks and determine compliance with the basic signal leakage
criteria. The agent identified and measured six leaks which
ranged from 177 mV/m to 2,415 mV/m. The system was found to have
a CLI (10 log I¥) value of 72.7, which is significantly in excess
of the maximum allowable level of 64.13
4. On September 25, 2001, the Commission's Dallas office
contacted Friendship at their headquarters in Tyler, Texas and
delivered an oral order to cease operation on aeronautical band
frequencies until the leaks were repaired and the system complied
with the basic signal leakage criteria. The oral order was
followed by a written order delivered by facsimile and by regular
5. Friendship informed the Commission's Dallas office on
September 26, 2001, that the system was in compliance with the
leakage restrictions and requested permission to resume normal
operations. The report by Friendship, which requested permission
to resume normal operations, included detailed information
concerning the leaks that they found and repaired while checking
the entire system for leakage. The CLI of the system based on
measurements reported by Friendship was 79.03 prior to repairs
being made. Permission to resume normal operation was granted.
6. On September 27, 2001 an agent from the Commission's
Dallas office conducted a follow up inspection and found the
system in compliance with the basic signal leakage criteria.
7. The Commission assesses monetary forfeitures pursuant
to Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,
(``Act'')14 as implemented in Section 1.80 of the Commission's
Rules.15 A forfeiture may be assessed against a person who the
Commission finds to have willfully or repeatedly failed to comply
with the provisions of the Act or the Commission's Rules.16
``Willful'' in this context means that the person knew that he
was doing the act in question, regardless of intent to violate
the provision.17 ``Repeated'' means commission or omission of an
act more than once or, if the commission or omission is
continuous, for more than one day. Forfeiture amounts are
decided in accordance with Section 503(b)(2) of the
Communications Act and the Commission's forfeiture guidelines in
Section 1.80(b)(4) of the Commission's Rules.18
8. We conclude that Friendship has repeatedly violated the
Commission's cable signal leakage rules. As discussed above, on
September 24 and 25, 2001, the cable system in Vernon, Texas had
leaks that exceeded the maximum allowable field strength of 20
mv/m at 3m, in repeated violation of Section 76.605(a)(12) of the
Commission's Rules.19 On September 24, 2001, Friendship
willfully violated Section 76.611(a) of the Commission's Rules20
by failing to comply with the basic signal leakage performance
9. Based on the evidence before us, we find that
Friendship Cable of Texas, Inc. violated Sections 76.605(a)(12)
and 76.611(a) of the Commission's Rules by failing signal leakage
standards. The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and
Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the
Forfeiture Guidelines, 12 FCC Rcd 17087, 17113 (1997), recon.
denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303(1999) ("Policy Statement"), sets the base
forfeiture amount for violation of rules relating to distress and
safety frequencies is $8,000 per violation; the maximum is
$27,500 for each violation or each day of a continuing
violation.21 Cable signal leakage in the aeronautical bands
constitutes harmful interference to distress and safety
frequencies. Multiple violations of the signal leakage standards
were observed on September 24 and 25, 2001, and the system
violated CLI on September 24, 2001. Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the
Act requires us to 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.''22 Considering the entire record and
applying the statutory factors listed above, this case warrants a
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
10. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,23 and
Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the Commission's Rules,24
Friendship Cable of Texas, Inc. is hereby NOTIFIED of its
APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of eight
thousand dollars ($8,000) for willful or repeated violation of
76.605(a)(12) and 76.611(a) of the Commission's Rules.
11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 1.80 of
the Commission's Rules25, within thirty days of the release date
of this NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY, Friendship Cable of Texas,
Inc. SHALL PAY the full amount of the proposed forfeiture or
SHALL FILE a written statement seeking reduction or cancellation
of the proposed forfeiture.
12. Payment of the forfeiture may be made by mailing a
check or similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission, to the Forfeiture Collection Section,
Finance Branch, Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box
73482, Chicago, Illinois 60673-7482. The payment should note the
NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the letterhead above.
13. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, Office of the Secretary, 445 12th
Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554, Attn: Enforcement Bureau-
Technical & Public Safety Division, and MUST INCLUDE THE
NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the letterhead above.
14. 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
15. Requests for payment of the full amount of this Notice
of Apparent Liability under an installment plan should be sent
to: Federal Communications Commission, Chief, Revenue and
Receivables Operations Group, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington,
16. IT IS
FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY
shall be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to
Friendship Cable of Texas, Inc. at P.O. Box 9200, Tyler, Texas
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
James D. Wells
District Director - Dallas Office
1 47 C.F.R §§ 76.605(a)(12) and 76.611(a)
2 The aeronautical bands are 108-137 MHz and 225-400 MHz. These
frequencies encompass both radionavigation frequencies, 108-118
MHZ and 328.6-335.4 MHz, and communications frequencies, 118-137
MHz and 225-328.6 MHz and 335.4-400 MHz. Deserving particular
protection are the international distress and calling frequencies
121.5 MHz, 156.8 MHz, and 243 MHz. See 47 C.F.R. §76.616. These
frequencies are critical for Search and Rescue Operations
including use by Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT) on planes
and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) on boats.
See generally 47 C.F.R. Part 80, Subpart V and 47 C.F.R.
3 Harmful interference includes any interference that ``endangers
the functioning of a radionavigation service or of other safety
services.'' See 47 C.F.R. §§2.1 & 76.613(a).
4 Memorandum Opinion and Order, Amendment of Part 76 of the
Commission's Rules to Add Frequency Channelling Requirements and
restrictions and to require Monitoring for Signal Leakage from
Cable Television Systems, Docket No. 21006, 101 F.C.C.2d 117,
para. 14 (1985) [hereinafter MO&O].
5 47 C.F.R. §76.605(a)(12).
6 47 C.F.R. §76.611(a).
7 47 C.F.R. §76.615(b)(7).
8 47 C.F.R. §76.614.
9 47 C.F.R. §76.613(b).
10 47 C.F.R. §76.613(c).
11 47 C.F.R. §76.610.
12 47 C.F.R. §76.612. MO&O, supra note 4, at para. 14.
13 A maximum CLI of 64 is the basic signal leakage performance
criteria of Section 76.611(a)(1) of the Commission's Rules.
Leakage that exceeds this level is deemed to pose a serious
threat to air traffic safety communications.
14 47 U.S.C. §503(b).
15 47 C.F.R. §1.80.
16 47 C.F.R. §1.80(a)(2).
17 Southern California Broadcasting Company, 6 FCC Rcd 4387,
para. 5 (1991).
18 47 U.S.C. §503(b)(2), 47 C.F.R. §1.80(b)(4). See also The
Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section
1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate Forfeiture Guidelines, 12 FCC
Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999).
19 47 C.F.R. §76.605(a)(12).
20 47 C.F.R. §76.611(a).
21 47 C.F.R. §1.80(b)(4).
22 47 U.S.C. § 503 (b)(2)(D)
23 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
24 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80.
25 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
26 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.