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

In the Matter of                 )
CHICKASAW TELEPHONE CO.          )    File No. EB-01-IH-0017d
OCN# 1980                        )    NAL/Acct. No. 200132080035
                                )    FRN 0003-7326-09

                        FORFEITURE ORDER

   Adopted:  June 7, 2002               Released:  June 11, 2002

By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:

                        I.   INTRODUCTION

In this Order, we issue  a monetary forfeiture against  Chickasaw 
Telephone Co. (``Chickasaw'') for willful violation of 47  C.F.R. 
 52.15(f).  The noted violation involves Chickasaw's failure  to 
report its number utilization and forecast data.  Based upon  our 
review of the  facts and  circumstances of  this case,  including 
Chickasaw's  response  to  our   Notice  of  Apparent   Liability 
(``NAL'') ,1 we conclude that Chickasaw has justified a reduction 
of the proposed forfeiture and that it is liable for a forfeiture 
in the amount of  $4,800.

                         II.       BACKGROUND

On April 24, 2001, the Chief, Enforcement Bureau, acting pursuant 
to delegated authority, issued the NAL to Chickasaw, proposing  a 
$6,000 forfeiture.  We  issued the NAL  because it appeared  that 
Chickasaw had failed to report on its actual and forecast  number 
usage by filing the  FCC Form 502,  the North American  Numbering 
Plan Numbering  Resource Utilization/Forecast  (``NRUF'')  Report 
due on  September 15,  2000.2   The NAL  referenced a  letter  of 
inquiry that we sent to Chickasaw January 29, 2001 concerning its 
apparent failure to file the September 15, 2000 NRUF report.  Our 
NAL also indicated that carriers are required to report for  each 
separate legal entity represented by an Operating Company  Number 
(`OCN''), and referenced one OCN  for which Chickasaw had  failed 
to file an NRUF report.3  We therefore determined that  Chickasaw 
had apparently  violated  section 52.15(f)  of  the  Commission's 
rules, which requires U.S. carriers receiving numbering resources 
from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (``NANPA''), 
a Pooling Administrator,  or another telecommunications  carrier, 
to report  semiannually  on  their  actual  and  forecast  number 

Chickasaw responded  to the  NAL,  and requests  cancellation  or 
reduction of the forfeiture.   Chickasaw claims that its  failure 
to file the NRUF report was inadvertent and not willful.  In this 
regard, Chickasaw argues that it did not receive effective notice 
of its risk  of liability  for failure  to comply  with the  NRUF 
reporting requirements  and  that  it has  no  prior  history  of 
violating  the  Commission's  rules  or  reporting  requirements.  
Chickasaw also  states that  it  has taken  steps to  ensure  its 
future compliance with section 52.15(f)  and that this and  other 
mitigating  circumstances  justify  cancellation  or  substantial 
reduction of the proposed forfeiture. 

                       III.    DISCUSSION

The NAL  explicitly  states  that  the  proposed  forfeiture  was 
assessed in accordance with applicable statutory provisions,  the 
Commission's rules and  the Commission's Forfeiture  Guidelines.5  
Section 503(b) of the Act requires that, in examining Chickasaw's 
response, we 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.6  Although 
Chickasaw has not  justified cancellation of  the forfeiture,  we 
find that a reduction of the forfeiture amount is warranted. 

Chickasaw argues that the $6,000 forfeiture amount is based  upon 
an erroneous finding that it  deliberately ignored the letter  of 
inquiry. Chickasaw claims that this is not the case, and that the 
Bureau's timing and service of the letter of inquiry did not give 
it sufficient notice so that  it could comply with the  reporting 
requirements.  In this regard, Chickasaw claims that because  the 
letter of inquiry was not issued until January 29, 2001, was  not 
sent to its  main office  and was  not served  on its  registered 
agent, it did not have sufficient notice or time to file the NRUF 
report due February  1, 2001, aggravating  its noncompliance  and 
resulting in an upward adjustment  of the base forfeiture  amount 
of $3,000 specified by the Forfeiture Guidelines.

Under  Section  503(b)(2)(D)  of  the  Act  and  the   Forfeiture 
Guidelines, the  Bureau has  broad flexibility  to determine  the 
appropriate forfeiture.7  Our NAL  noted that  Chickasaw had  not 
responded to our  letter of  inquiry, but  proposed a  forfeiture 
based upon Chickasaw's  failure to  file the NRUF  report due  on 
September 15, 2000.  Although we reminded Chickasaw that the next 
NRUF report was due  on February 1, 2001,  the letter of  inquiry 
was directed  to the  NRUF  report due  September 15,  2000,  and 
requested proof of the filing  of that report.  In addition,  our 
NAL warned Chickasaw  that its  failure to file  the February  1, 
2001 NRUF report  or to  comply with  section 52.15(f)  reporting 
requirements in the  future could form  the basis for  additional 
notices of apparent liability, but did not propose a sanction for 
its failure to file the February 1, 2001 NRUF report.8  

Our NAL also emphasized the critical importance of consistent and 
accurate reporting of number utilization and forecast data.9  The 
NAL explained that we imposed an upward adjustment based upon the 
potential harm to the  Commission's numbering administration  and 
optimization caused by non-compliance with section 52.15(f).  The 
amount of  the upward  adjustment took  into account  Chickasaw's 
inventory of numbering  resources.10 In this  regard, the  upward 
adjustment creates an incentive for  carriers to report on  their 
number utilization and forecast  data in addition to  recognizing 
the potential harm to  numbering administration and  optimization 
when carriers do  not comply  with section  52.15(f).11 Thus,  we 
also disagree  with  Chickasaw's assertion  that  the  forfeiture 
proposed is unjustifiably punitive.  

Furthermore, Chickasaw does  not contest our  conclusion that  it 
failed to file  the September  15, 2000 NRUF  report, but  argues 
that  its  failure  to   comply  with  the  mandatory   reporting 
requirements of section  52.15(f) was not  willful. However,  the 
term ``willful,'' as used in section 503(b) of the Act, does  not 
require a finding that the rule violation was intentional or that 
the violator was aware that it was committing a rule violation.12 
Carriers are required  to know and  comply with the  Commission's 
rules, and Chickasaw's assertion that the timing of our letter of 
inquiry did not  give it  adequate notice of  the NRUF  reporting 
requirements is unavailing.13  Moreover,  we would not have  been 
precluded from  issuing the  NAL  based on  Chickasaw's  apparent 
failure to file  the September 15,  2000 NRUF report  even if  no 
inquiry  letter  had  been  sent.  Thus,  we  reject  Chickasaw's 
argument that  that ``the  timing and  delivery of  the  Bureau's 
[letter of inquiry] serve to mitigate Chickasaw's culpability.'' 

Chickasaw also presents other factors in support of its  argument 
that a  cancellation or  reduction of  the forfeiture  amount  is 
justified.  In this regard, Chickasaw asserts that it is a  small 
rural telephone company with limited resources and that it  would 
be ``significantly impacted'' by the $6,000 penalty proposed.  As 
set forth in the NAL,  the Commission will not consider  reducing 
or canceling a forfeiture in response to a claim of inability  to 
pay unless adequate documentation is submitted:  (1) federal  tax 
returns for  the most  recent  three-year period;  (2)  financial 
statements  prepared  according  to  generally  accepted  account 
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  be 
specifically identify the basis for the claim by reference to the 
financial documentation submitted.14  Chickasaw has not  provided 
the necessary proof to evaluate its claim of inability to pay. 

Moreover, Chickasaw's implementation of procedures to assure  the 
timeliness of future NRUF filings  does not justify reduction  or 
cancellation of the proposed  forfeiture penalty.15  However,  we 
have verified Chickasaw's claim that it has an overall history of 
compliance with the Commission's  rules which warrants  reduction 
of  the  forfeiture  amount.16   We  have  reviewed   Chickasaw's 
response in light of the  statutory factors set forth above,  and 
conclude that  Chickasaw has  not justified  cancellation of  the 
proposed forfeiture  but  that  its overall  record  justifies  a 
reduction of the forfeiture from $6,000 to $4,800.   

                    IV.     ORDERING CLAUSES

Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant  to 47 U.S.C.  503(b),  and 
47 C.F.R.  0.111, 0.311  and 1.80, that Chickasaw Telephone  Co. 
FORFEIT to  the United  States  the sum  of four  thousand  eight 
hundred dollars ($4,800) for willfully violating the Commission's 
rules that require  U.S. carriers to  report actual and  forecast 
number usage.

Payment of the forfeiture may be made by mailing a check or money 
order,  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,  within  30  days of  the  release  of  this 
Forfeiture  Order.17    The   payment  MUST   INCLUDE   the   FCC 
Registration Number (FRN)  referenced above and  should note  the 
NAL/Acct. No. referenced  above.  If the  forfeiture is not  paid 
within the  period specified,  the case  may be  referred to  the 
Department of Justice for collection pursuant to 47 U.S.C.  504.  
A request for payment of the full amount of this Forfeiture Order 
under an installment plan should  be sent to: Chief, Revenue  and 
Receivables Operations Group, 445 12th Street, S.W.,  Washington, 
D.C. 20554.18

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Forfeiture Order  shall 
be sent by Certified  Mail/Return Receipt Requested, to Larry  D. 
Jones, Corporate  Treasurer,  Chickasaw  Telephone  Co.,  124  W. 
Vinita,  P.O. Box 460, Sulphur,  Oklahoma 73086-0460, and to  its 
counsel, Harold 
Mordkofsky, Esq.  and  Michael  B. Adams,  Jr.,  Esq.,  Blooston, 
Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy  & Prendergast, 2120  L Street,  N.W., 
Suite 300, Washington, DC 20037.



                         David H. Solomon
                         Chief, Enforcement Bureau


1  See Chickasaw Telephone Company, 16 FCC Rcd 8600 (EB 2001).   

2 The NRUF  reports are due on  or before February  1 and on  or 
before August  1 of  each year.   See 47  C.F.R.   52.15(f)(6).  
However, we note that the deadline for filing reports due August 
1, 2000 was extended to  September 15, 2000. Numbering  Resource 
Optimization, CC Docket No. 99-200, 15 FCC Rcd 17005 (2000).

3   See 47 C.F.R.  52.15(f)(3)(ii).  

4 Numbering Resource Optimization, Report and Order and  Further 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking  in CC Docket  No. 99-200, 15  FCC 
Rcd 7574  (2000)(``NRO  Order''); recon.  and  clarification  in 
part, Second Report  and Order, Order  on Reconsideration in  CC 
Docket 96-98 and CC Docket 99-200, and Second Further Notice  of 
Proposed Rulemaking  in  CC Docket  99-200,  16 FCC  Rcd  306  ( 
2000)(``NRO Recon. Order'').

5  47  U.S.C.   503(b);  47  C.F.R.   1.80;  The  Commission's 
Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the 
Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines, 12 FCC Rcd 17087 
(1997),  recon.  denied,  15  FCC  Rcd  303  (1999)(``Forfeiture 
Guidelines'')(codified at 47 C.F.R.  1.80(b)(4) Note).

6   47 C.F.R.  503(b)(2)(D).

7   Id.   See Forfeiture  Policy Statement,  12 FCC  Rcd  17087, 
17100 (1997).  See,  e.g., SBC Communications  Inc., 16 FCC  Rcd 
12306 (2001).

8  Chickasaw Telephone Co., 16 FCC Rcd at 8602.

9   Id.     

10  Chickasaw Telephone Co., 16 FCC Rcd at 8602.

11 See 47 C.F.R.  1.80(b)(4) Note.

12  See, e.g., Valley Page, 12 FCC Rcd 3087, 3088-89 (WTB 1997).     

13  See, e.g.,  Sitka Broadcasting  Co., Inc., 70  FCC 2d  2375, 
2378 (1979), citing Lowndes County  Broadcasting Co., 23 FCC  2d 
91 (1970) and Emporium Broadcasting  Co., 23 FCC 2d 868  (1970).  
Moreover, we  note  that  our  letter of  inquiry  was  sent  to 
Chickasaw's main office in Sulphur, Oklahoma.   

14  Chickasaw Telephone Co., 16 FCC Rcd at 8603,  13.  

15  See Station KGVL, Inc., 42 FCC 2d 258, 259 (1973).  See also 
Coleman Enterprises, Inc., 16 FCC Rcd 10,016, 10,020-21  (2001), 
citing Long  Distance  Services,  Inc., 13  FCC  Rcd  4444  (CCB 
1998)(all common  carriers  are  required  to  comply  with  the 
Commission's  rules,  regardless  of  size  or  resources,   and 
remedial efforts  do not  alter  the  fact that  violations  had 
taken place or justify mitigation). 

16    See, e.g., Page-Comm, 16 FCC Rcd 6842 (EB 2001).

17   See 47 C.F.R.  1.80(h).  

18   See 47 C.F.R.  1.1914.