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Media Contact:
Will Wiquist, (202) 418-0509
For Immediate Release
AT&T Admits It Operated Wireless Stations Differently Than Its License Parameters
WASHINGTON, September 23, 2016 – The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has reached a
$450,000 settlement with AT&T to resolve an investigation into whether AT&T operated fixed
wireless stations without authorization or without filing required license modification notices.
The investigation revealed that AT&T operated numerous common carrier fixed point-to-point
microwave stations throughout the United States in ways that differed from the stations’
licenses for periods ranging from three and a half years to over four years.
“We expect every person or company that receives a license from the Commission will operate
within the parameters of that authorization,” said Travis LeBlanc, Chief of the FCC’s
Enforcement Bureau. “Any licensee who operates outside those parameters threatens the
integrity of communications networks, increases the risk of harmful interference, and breaks
the law.”
The Enforcement Bureau began its investigation of AT&T in 2012. In August 2014, during the
course of the investigation, AT&T reported to the Commission that it had discovered numerous
inconsistencies between the licensed parameters and the constructed facilities of a large number
of fixed microwave licenses that it acquired from 2009 through 2012. AT&T did not timely
review the acquired licenses, which resulted in the unauthorized operation of many of the
stations by its subsidiaries New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC and AT&T Mobility Puerto Rico,
Inc. As a result, the Enforcement Bureau investigated the licensing history of approximately
250 AT&T stations to determine the extent of the unauthorized operations. In January        
2015, the Commission adopted a Notice of Apparently Liability for Forfeiture to AT&T
alleging violations that the company admitted to in today’s settlement.
As part of today’s settlement agreement, AT&T has agreed to implement a compliance plan
through which it will conduct timely reviews of wireless fixed microwave stations acquired in
future transactions to ensure that the stations are operating in accordance with their licensed
parameters, file periodic progress reports on its compliance efforts, and correct any
noncompliance discovered during the review process within 60 days of its discovery.
Wireless stations like those at issue here are generally wireless connections used by phone
companies to connect directly between towers. Such common carrier microwave stations are
generally used to support long-haul backbone connections or to connect points on the telephone
network that cannot be connected using standard wireline or fiber optic cable because              
of cost or terrain. These systems are also used to connect cellular sites to the telephone network,
and to relay television signals.
The Consent Decree is available at:
The Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture is available at:
Office of Media Relations: (202) 418-0500
TTY: (888) 835-5322
Twitter: @FCC
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order
constitutes official action.  See MCI v. FCC, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).