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                           Before the
                Federal Communications Commission
                     Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of                )
American Tower Corporation      )           File No. EB-00-TP-132
Boston, MA                      )       NAL/Acct.No. 200132700004


Adopted:  January 11, 2001                  Released:             
January 16, 2001                   
By the Commission:

                        I.  INTRODUCTION

     1.   In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, we 
find American Tower Corporation (``ATC''), Boston, MA, apparently 
liable for  a forfeiture  in the  amount of  two hundred   twelve 
thousand dollars ($212,000) for 36 violations of Section 17.4(a), 
Section 17.4(a)(1), Section 17.4(g),  Section 17.45, and  Section 
17.57, of  the  Commission's  rules,  relating  to  construction, 
marking and lighting of antenna structures.1  Respectively, these 
sections require  that radio  antenna structure  owners  properly 
register  existing  antenna   structures,  register  an   antenna 
structure  prior   to   construction,  post   antenna   structure 
registration numbers,  mark  and light  antenna  structures,  and 
report antenna ownership changes. We find that during the  period 
of March 1, 2000  through November 9, 2000  ATC failed to  comply 
with each of these requirements in one or more instances. A  list 
of the specific violations is attached. See Attachment 1.

                         II.  BACKGROUND

     2.   The Commission's antenna  structure painting,  lighting 
and registration  requirements operate  in concert  with  Federal 
Aviation Administration  (``FAA'')  regulations  to  ensure  that 
antenna structures  do not  present  hazards to  air  navigation.  
Generally, our  rules  require that  antenna  structures  located 
close to airports  or that are  greater than 200  feet in  height 
comply with  painting  and lighting  specifications  designed  to 
ensure  air  safety.  We  require  antenna  structure  owners  to 
register structures  with the  Commission and  post  registration 
numbers near the base of structures to allow for easy contact  if 
problems  arise.   The   Commission's  Rules  requiring   antenna 
structure registration for all antenna structures that may pose a 
hazard to air navigation have been in effect since July 1, 1998.2  
We have  repeatedly advised  antenna  structure owners  that  all 
existing, unregistered antenna  structures subject  to our  rules 
must be  registered  immediately  or  the  owners  could  face  a 
monetary forfeiture or other enforcement action.3

     3.   Because  of  the   substantial  public  safety   issues 
involved, we further require antenna structure owners to  monitor 
lights daily or have automatic alarm systems installed to  ensure 
lights function properly.  Finally, antenna structure owners  are 
required  immediately  to  notify  the  FAA  when  major  antenna 
structure lights are inoperative and  can not be repaired  within 
30 minutes.  The FAA then  issues a Notice to Airmen  (``NOTAM'') 
for a  period of  15  days advising  aircraft  that there  is  an 
antenna structure at a specific  location with a temporary  light 

     4.   Commission  field  agents  routinely  inspect   antenna 
structures  to  determine   compliance  with  antenna   structure 
painting and lighting requirements  and respond to complaints  of 
unlit towers. The  FAA also routinely  notifies Commission  field 
offices when owners fail to  either report that lights have  been 
repaired within 15 days or request that a NOTAM be extended.   In 
the course of these routine inspections and investigations of FAA 
reports our  field  agents  uncovered  a  significant  number  of 
violations  of  the  Commission's  antenna  structure   painting, 
lighting  and   registration  requirements   by  American   Tower 

     5.    Attachment 1 summarizes 36 instances between March  1, 
2000 and November  10, 2000 where  Commission field agents  found 
violations by ATC in the course of either following up on reports 
from the  FAA, during  random inspections,  or, in  one case,  in 
response to a report  of an unlit tower.  In each of these  cases 
Notices of Violation were previously  mailed to ATC listing  more 
specific violation details and providing ATC with an  opportunity 
to respond.  The attachment  lists the FCC  case number, date  of 
violation and rules violated.  In  11 cases, ATC did not  respond 
to the Notices of Violation during the time period provided.4  On 
July 26, 2000,  agents from  the Commission's  Tampa and  Atlanta 
Field Offices met with representatives  of ATC to discuss,  among 
other issues,  ATC's  failure  to  file  the  required  ownership 
changes for  acquired  antenna structures  with  the  Commission.  
ATC's representatives indicated that they would do a ``sweep'' of 
purchased antenna structures to ensure that the correct ownership 
information was on record with the Commission.

                        III.  DISCUSSION

     6.   Based on the evidence before us, we find that  American 

Tower Corporation apparently  willfully and repeatedly5  violated 

Section 17.4(a),  Section  17.4(a)(1), Section  17.4(g),  Section 

17.45, and  Section  17.57  of the  Commission's  Rules6  by  its 

failure to  comply  with  the Commission's  Rules  regarding  the 

construction, marking and lighting of antenna structures. 

     7.    Section 503(b)  of the  Communications Act  authorizes 

the Commission to assess a forfeiture  of up to $11,000 for  each 

violation of the Act or of  any rule, regulation or order  issued 

by the Commission under the Act by a non-common carrier or  other 

entity not specifically  designated in Section  503 of the  Act.7  

In exercising such authority, we  are 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 such other matters 

as justice may require.''8 

     8.   Pursuant  to   The   Commission's   Forfeiture   Policy 

Statement  and  Amendment  of  Section  1.80  of  the  Rules   to 

Incorporate  the  Forfeiture   Guidelines  (``Forfeiture   Policy 

Statement'')9, the base  forfeiture amount is  $10,000 for  ATC's 

lighting violation. The base forfeiture amount is $3,000 for each 

of ATC's  26  instances of  failure  to file  required  forms  or 

information (i.e.  failure to  file  an application  for  antenna 

structure registration (two violations) and failure to notify the 

Commission of a change in  ownership of an antenna structure  (24 


     9.   The Commission's Forfeiture  Policy Statement does  not 

establish a base forfeiture amount for violating the Commission's 

rule requiring posting of antenna structure registration numbers. 

Therefore, we must determine what an appropriate amount should be 

for these violations.10 We  conclude that the appropriate  amount 

for this violation  is $2,000.   Posting the  registration is  an 

informational requirement similar to registration. The purpose of 

the posting requirement is to allow for expedited  identification 

of and contact with the antenna structure owner in the event of a 

safety problem with  the structure (e.g.,  an unlit tower).   The 

base forfeiture amount for failure  to file an antenna  structure 

registration form is $3,000.11  However, we believe that  failure 

to post an antenna structure registration number is less  serious 

than failure to file an  antenna structure registration form  and 

we find that the appropriate forfeiture amount for this violation 

is $2,000 for each of ATC's nine instances of failing to post the 

antenna registration  number.  Thus, the  total  base  forfeiture 

amount for all of ATC's violations is $106,000.

     10.   We are  concerned, however, with  the large number  of 

violations by ATC  uncovered by field  agents as demonstrated  in 

Attachment 1. The violations at  issue in this case are  serious. 

Unlit and unmarked antenna  structures can pose  a threat to  air 

safety. For this  reason, we  believe it is  important to  insist 

upon full compliance with  these rules, including those  designed 

to enable us to readily locate antenna structure owners. 

     11.   We are  also concerned that  ATC continues to  violate 

our rules despite  both oral and  written warnings regarding  the 

Commission's antenna structure requirements.  In this regard,  it 

is noteworthy that most of  the failure to file ownership  change 

violations were uncovered after our  field agents' July 26,  2000 

meeting with ATC's representatives.  In fact, slightly more  than 

half of the 36 violations  listed in Attachment 1 were  uncovered 

after this  meeting.  Moreover,  the fact  that these  violations 

occurred in various states across  the country suggests that  ATC 

has not engaged in a ``sweep''  of its antenna structures as  its 

representatives stated that it  would.  Accordingly, in light  of 

the large number of violations  and ATC's apparent disregard  for 

the  Commission's  rules  and   processes,  we  believe  that   a 

significant upward adjustment of the  forfeiture in this case  is 

warranted.  Applying   the  Forfeiture   Policy  Statement    and 

statutory  factors  (e.g,  nature,  extent  and  gravity  of  the 

violation and the  culpability of  the violator)  to the  instant 

case, we find ATC apparently liable for forfeiture in the  amount 

of $212,000.

     12.   Additionally, we are  troubled that our field  agents, 

in the  context  of  routine  enforcement  responses  and  sample 

inspections, continue  to  uncover additional  antenna  structure 

rule violations  by ATC.  Therefore,  we direct  the  Enforcement 

Bureau to conduct a further, more thorough investigation of ATC's 

overall  level  of  compliance  with  the  Commission's   antenna 

structure painting, lighting and registration requirements and to 

take  or  recommend  appropriate  additional  enforcement  action 

against ATC.

                      IV.  ORDERING CLAUSES

     13.   Accordingly, IT IS  ORDERED THAT, pursuant to  Section 

503(b) of  the  Act,12  and  Section  1.80  of  the  Commission's 

Rules,13 American Tower  Corporation is hereby  NOTIFIED of  this 

APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of two  hundred 

twelve thousand dollars ($212,000) for violating Section 17.4(a), 

Section 17.4(a)(1), Section 17.4(g),  Section 17.45, and  Section 

17.57  of the Commission's Rules.14

     14.   IT IS FURTHER ORDERED  THAT, pursuant to Section  1.80 
of the Commission's  Rules,15 within thirty  days of the  release 
date  of  this  NOTICE  OF  APPARENT  LIABILITY,  American  Tower 
Corporation SHALL PAY the full amount of the proposed  forfeiture 
or  SHALL  FILE   a  written  statement   seeking  reduction   or 
cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.

     15.   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 above.

     16.  The response, if any, must  be mailed to Office of  the 
Secretary, Federal  Communications Commission,  445 12th  Street, 
S.W., Washington, D.C.  20554, ATTN: Enforcement  Bureau -  TPSD, 
NAL/Acct. No., and must include the NAL/Acct. Number.

     17.   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 

     18.   Requests for payment of the full amount of this Notice 
of Apparent Liability  under an installment  plan should be  sent 
to: Chief, Credit  and Debt Management  Center, 445 12th  Street, 
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.16

     19.   IT IS FURTHER  ORDERED THAT a copy  of this NOTICE  OF 
APPARENT LIABILITY shall be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt 
Requested to American Tower  Corporation, 116 Huntington  Avenue, 
11th  Floor,  Boston,  MA  02116,  ATTN:  Doug  C.  Wiest,  Chief 
Operating Officer.

                              FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

                              Magalie Roman Salas
                              Secretary                           Attachment 1

Notices of Violation (NOVs) issued to ATC from March 1, 2000, to 
November 10, 2000.

Case Number  Date    Rule    Tower City                 Comment
         of      Vio-    Registration 
         Viola-  lated   Number

EB-00-PO-    03/28-  17.4(-  Booneville, ID     Failed to register 
036          /00     a)                         existing tower
EB-00-DT-    07/03-  17.4(-  Beaver Creek, MI   Failed to register 
492          /00     a)(1)                      tower before 
EB-00-KC-    09/18-  17/4(-  Troy, MO           Failed to post 
148          /00     g)                         registration number
EB-00-DV-    04/18-  17.4(-  Seibert, CO        Failed to post 
185          /00     g)                         registration  number
EB-00-DV-    07/19-  17.4(-  Moriarty, MN       Failed to post 
399          /00     g)                         registration  number
EB-00-AT-    06/23-  17.4(-  Kershaw, SC        Failed to post 
635          /00     g)                         registration  number
EB-00-NY-    03/29-  17.4(-  Plainview, NY      Failed to post 
117          /00     g)                         registration  number
EB-00-AT-    07/20-  17.4(-  Chattanooga, TN    Failed to post 
814          /00     g)                         registration number
EB-00-DV-    07/19-  17.4(-  Tijeras, NM        Failed to post 
403          /00     g)                         registration number
EB-00-NY-    10/18-  17.4(-  Shirley, NY        Failed to post 
501          /00     g)                         registration number
EB-00-TP-    08/09-  17.4(-  Jacksonville, FL   Failed to post 
581          /00     g)                         registration number
EB-00-CF-    10/12-  17.45   Washington, DC     Failed to light tower 
548          /00                                during construction
EB-00-TP-    05/11-  17.57   Green Cove         Failed to change 
334          /00             Springs, FL        ownership
EB-00-TP-    05/24-  17.57   Palm Bay, FL       Failed to change 
380          /00             1040915            ownership
EB-00-TP-    04/24-  17.57   Live Oak, FL       Failed to change 
391          /00             1039333            ownership
EB-00-TP-    07/07-  17.57   Zephyrhills, FL    Failed to change 
498          /00             1047967            ownership
EB-00-KC-    06/07-  17.57   Campbell, MO       Failed to change 
080          /00             1005485            ownership
EB-00-DL-    08/30-  17.57   Tyler, TX          Failed to change 
255          /00             1059063            ownership
EB-00-DL-    08/30-  17.57   Camp Hill, TX      Failed to change 
256          /00             1059059            ownership
EB-00-DL-    08/30-  17.57   Longview, TX       Failed to change 
257          /00             1059439            ownership
EB-00-DL-    08/30-  17.57   Marshall, TX       Failed to change 
258          /00             1060319            ownership
EB-00-DL-    08/30-  17.57   Carrier, OK        Failed to change 
260          /00             1011570            ownership
EB-00-TP-    08/29-  17.57   Croom, FL          Failed to change 
155          /00             1036013            ownership
EB-00-TP-    08/02-  17.57   Caniville, FL      Failed to change 
194          /00             1044466            ownership
EB-00-TP-    04/20-  17.57   Lake City, FL      Failed to change 
294          /00             1051847            ownership
EB-00-TP-    08/10-  17.57   Lacoochee, FL      Failed to change 
544          /00             1040912            ownership
Eb-00-PA-    08/04-  17.57   Kittanning, PA     Failed to change 
258          /00             1061920            ownership
EB-00-PA-    06/08-  17.57   Butler, PA         Failed to change 
422          /00             1042705            ownership
EB-00-PA-    06/08-  17.57   Corry, PA          Failed to change 
423          /00             1053926            ownership
EB-00-PA-    06/08-  17.57   Nickleville, PA    Failed to change 
424          /00             1042704            ownership
EB-00-PA-    11/01-  17.57   Florence, NJ       Failed to change 
431          /00             1056132            ownership
EB-00-TP-    10/18-  17.57   MacClenny, FL      Failed to change 
130          /00             1200479            ownership
EB-00-TP-    11/01-  17.57   Crescent  City,    Failed to change 
131          /00             FL                 ownership
EB-00-TP-    10/18-  17.57   Ormond Beach, FL   Failed to change 
264          /00             1020470            ownership
EB-00-TP-    10/18-  17.57   Indiantown, FL     Failed to change 
311          /00             1052320            ownership
EB-00-TP-    10/18-  17.57   Monticello, FL     Failed to change 
676          /00             1054118            ownership


1 47 C.F.R.  17.4(a), 17.4(a)(1), 17.4(g), 17.45 and 17.57.

2 47 C.F.R.  17.4(a)(2).

3 Antenna structure owners were required to register existing 
antenna structures as of July 1, 1998 and to register new antenna 
structures prior to construction. Streamlining the Commission's 
Antenna Structure Clearance Procedure, 11 FCC Rcd 4272 (1995). 
Subsequent to the expiration of the filing period, the Commission 
staff issued a Public Notice warning antenna structure owners to 
register any unregistered antenna structures subject to our 
requirements immediately or face possible monetary forfeitures or 
other enforcement action. Public Notice, ``No-Tolerance Policy 
Adopted For Unregistered Antenna Structures,'' 1999 WL 10060 (WTB 

4 In five of these 11 cases, ATC eventually responded, but only 
after follow-up by the Commission's field agents.

5 Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C.  312(f)(1), 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 ....''  See Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC 
Rcd 4387 (1991).  The term ``repeated'' means the commission or 
omission of an act more than once.  47 U.S.C.  312(f)(2).

6 47 C.F.R.  17.4(a), 17.4(a)(1), 17.4(g), 17.45, and 17.57.

7 Section 503(b)(2)(C) provides for forfeitures up to $10,000 for 
each violation by cases not covered by subparagraphs (A) or (B), 
which address fofeitures for violations by licensees and common 
carriers, among others.  See 47 U.S.C. Section 503(b); 47 C.F.R. 
Section 1.80.  The Commission amended its rules by adding a new 
subsection to its monetary forfeiture provisions that 
incorporates by reference the inflation adjustment requirements 
contained in the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (Pub. L 
104-134, Sec. 31001, 110 Stat. 1321), enacted on April 26, 1996.  
Thus, the statutory maximum pursuant to section 503(b)(2)(C) 
increased from $10,000 to $11,000.  See Amendment of Section 1.80 
of the Commission's Rules, 12 FCC Rcd 1038 (1997).  See also  
Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Commission's Rules, FCC 00-347 
(September 19, 2000).

8 47 U.S.C. Section 503(b)(2)(D). 

9 12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999).

10 The fact that the Guidelines do not specify a base amount does 
not indicate that no forfeiture should be imposed. The Guidelines 
state that `` any omission of a specific rule violation from the 
. . . [forfeiture guidelines] . . . should not signal that the 
Commission considers any unlisted violation as nonexistent or 
unimportant.'' Forfeiture Policy Statement, at 17,099 para. 22. 
The Commission retains the discretion, moreover, to depart from 
the Guidelines and issue forfeitures on a case-by-case basis, 
under its general forfeiture authority contained in section 503 
of the Act. Id.

11 See 47 C.F.R. Section 1.80(b)(4) Note (failure to file 
required forms or information).

12 47 U.S.C.  503(b).

13 47 C.F.R.  1.80.

14 47 C.F.R.  17.4(a), 17.4(a)(1), 17.4(g), 17.45, and 17.57.

15 47 C.F.R.  1.80.

16 See 47 C.F.R.  1.1914.