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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
BFT Training Unlimited, Inc. ) File No. EB-05-
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Adopted: February 23, 2006 Released: February 27,
By the Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Memorandum Opinion and Order, we admonish BFT
Training Unlimited, Inc. (``BFT''), an FCC-certified Commercial
Operator License Examination Manager (``COLEM'' or ``COLE
Manager''), for conducting commercial operator telegraphy
examinations over the telephone in violation of Part 13 of the
Commission's Rules (``Rules'')1 and its Memorandum of Agreement
(``MOA'')2 with the Commission.
2. In April 1999, the Commission entered into an MOA with
BFT which authorized BFT to administer commercial operator
license examinations. In August 2005, the Commission staff
received a complaint alleging that BFT may have facilitated
cheating and otherwise undermined the integrity of commercial
operator license examinations it has been entrusted to administer
pursuant to its MOA. The complaint alleged, in part, that BFT
administered telegraphy examinations by telephone. On September
1, 2005, the Enforcement Bureau issued a Letter of Inquiry
(``LOI'')3 to BFT.
3. In its September 21, 2005 response, BFT admitted that
it has ``under certain controlled circumstances,'' administered
telegraphy examinations over the telephone to examinees.4 BFT
stated that Telegraphy Elements 1 and 25 were administered over
the phone for those students who had traveled significant
distances to attend commercial operator classes and had passed a
written examination, so that they would not incur an additional
expense of returning to the test location for the telegraphy
examination.6 BFT claimed that it has no knowledge of a
particular rule prohibiting this practice.7 BFT further stated
that prior to administering an examination, each examinee was
identified by voice recognition and telephone number recognition
through Caller ID and then asked to affirm over the telephone:
``I am taking these tests on my own, and without assistance of
any kind or from anyone.''8
1. III. DISCUSSION
4. Section 13.203(b) of the Rules provides that ``a
telegraphy examination must prove that the examinee has the
ability to send correctly by hand and to receive correctly by ear
texts in the international Morse Code at not less than the
prescribed speed ....''9 Section 13.209(a) of the Rules provides
that ``each examination for a commercial radio operator license
must be administered at a location and a time specified by the
COLEM. The COLEM is responsible for the proper conduct and
supervision of each examination.''10 Section 13.211(d) provides
that ``the COLEM may prohibit from the examination area items the
COLEM determines could compromise the integrity of an examination
or distract examinees.''11 Section 13.213 provides that ``no
entity may serve as a COLEM unless it has entered into a written
agreement with the FCC. In order to be eligible to be a COLEM,
the entity must: (a) Agree to abide by the terms of the agreement
2. 5. The MOA states that ``having submitted a
request for certification as a COLEM that includes... the
procedures it will use for administering examinations ... BFT
hereby agrees that it will abide by the terms of its request.''13
The MOA also states that ``any changes to the terms specified in
BFT's request for certification must be agreed to in writing by
both parties.''14 Additionally, the MOA requires BFT to ``comply
... with instructions issued by the FCC.''15 The MOA further
states that ``BFT certifies that it will comply with the
applicable provisions of Part 13 ... and with the following terms
concerning the administration of examinations. BFT must verify
the identity of each examinee....''16
3. 6. In addition, at the time the MOA was
executed, the Commission provided BFT written COLE Manager
Standards which provide detailed instructions for the
administration of commercial operator license examinations.17
The COLE Manager Standards issued by the Commission require the
COLE Manager to administer each examination in a responsible and
professional manner.18 Specifically, the COLE Manager Standards
provide that ``each examination must be administered fairly and
in such a manner as to ensure the integrity of the examination
process.''19 Before administering the examination, the COLE
Manager is required to make positive identification of the
examinee.20 The COLE Manager Standards list the types of
documents that may be used to establish identity.21 The COLE
Manager is also required to prevent cheating during the
examination.22 Cheating includes, but is not limited to, ``using
or attempting to use unauthorized examination aids, obtaining
answers from other examinees (with or without their knowledge),
or taking an examination for another person.''23 Finally, the
COLE Manager is explicitly required to ``prohibit any examinee
from bringing into the examination room or using during the
examination any programmable or printing calculators, books or
other reference material, radios, or cameras.''24
4. 7. Neither the Part 13 Rules, nor the MOA and
COLE Manager Standards explicitly address the administration of
telegraphy examinations over the telephone. Nevertheless, we
find that this practice is patently inconsistent with the general
provisions of Part 13, the MOA and COLE Manager Standards making
the COLEM responsible for ensuring the integrity of the
examination process25 and violates several specific requirements
of Part 13, the MOA and COLE Manager Standards as well.
Specifically, BFT is required to abide by the procedures for
administering examinations specified in its request for
certification.26 BFT's request for certification did not state
that it intended to administer telegraphy examinations over the
telephone. In addition, BFT is required to make positive
identification of each examinee before administering the
examination by using documents such as those listed in the COLE
Manager Standards.27 BFT's use of voice recognition and
telephone number recognition to identify an examinee does not
comply with this requirement and in any event is clearly
inadequate to establish positive identification of the examinee
since BFT has no way of knowing who is actually completing the
examination over the telephone. Moreover, BFT is required to
take steps to prevent cheating and the use of unauthorized aids
during examinations.28 Again, BFT has no way of knowing who is
actually completing an examination or whether the examinee is
using any unauthorized aids when administering an examination
over the telephone.29
5. 8. Accordingly, we conclude that BFT violated
Sections 13.209(a), 13.211(d) and 13.213 of the Rules and the
terms of the MOA by conducting telegraphy examinations over the
telephone. We admonish BFT for these violations. In addition,
we caution BFT that future violations of Part 13 or the MOA may
result in further sanctions, including monetary forfeiture or its
decertification as a COLEM.
6. 9. Finally, we note that we are requiring each
of the examinees to whom BFT administered the telegraphy
examination over the telephone to retake the test with another
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
7. 10. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that BFT Training
Unlimited, Inc. IS ADMONISHED for conducting commercial operator
telegraphy examinations over the telephone in violation of Part
13 of the Commission's Rules and its Memorandum of Agreement with
8. 11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that copies of this
Memorandum Opinion and Order shall be sent by Certified Mail,
Return Receipt Requested, to the attention of Mr. J. David Byrd,
CEO, BFT Training Unlimited, Inc., 1318 Redwood Way, Suite 220,
Petaluma, California 94954.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISION
Joseph P. Casey
Chief, Spectrum Enforcement
1 47 C.F.R. Part 13.
2 See Memorandum Of Agreement between The United States
Government, The Federal Communications Commission and BFT
Training Unlimited, Inc., executed by J. David Byrd, CEO, BFT
Training Unlimited, Inc. on April 5, 1999 and D'wana R. Terry,
Chief, Public Safety and Private Wireless Division, Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau, on April 8, 1999.
3 See Letter from Kathryn S. Berthot, Deputy Chief, Spectrum
Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications
Commission, to J. David Byrd, CEO, BFT Training Unlimited, Inc.
(September 1, 2005).
44 See Letter from J. David Byrd, CEO, BFT Training Unlimited,
Inc. to the Federal Communications Commission, Spectrum
Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bureau (September 21, 2005)
(``BFT Response''). BFT indicated that it had administered
telegraphy examinations by telephone to ten examinees. BFT
Response at 3.
5 Telegraphy Element 1 consists of sending and receiving
correctly texts in the international Morse code at not less than
16 code groups per minute. Telegraphy Element 2 consists of
sending and receiving correctly texts in the international Morse
code at not less than 20 words per minute. 47 C.F.R. §
13.203(b)(1) and (2).
6 BFT Response at 2.
7 BFT Response at 1.
8 BFT Response at 2 .
9 47 C.F.R. § 13.203(b).
10 47 C.F.R. § 13.209(a).
11 47 C.F.R. § 13.211(d).
12 47 C.F.R. § 13.213(a).
13 MOA at paragraph 1.
14 MOA at paragraph 2.
15 MOA at paragraph 3.
16 MOA at paragraph 3.
17 Commercial Operator License Examination Manager Standards,
Revision 4, effective December 31, 2002 (``COLE Manager
Standards''). In May 2005, the Commission sent BFT revised COLE
Manager Standards. Commercial Operator License Examination
Manager Standards, Revision 5, effective June 1, 2005. The COLE
Manager Standards cited herein are the Revision 4 Standards,
which were in effect at the time that BFT administered the
telegraphy examinations over the telephone.
18 COLE Manager Standards at paragraph 5.
19 COLE Manager Standards at paragraph 5A.
20 COLE Manager Standards at paragraph 5D.
21 COLE Manager Standards at paragraph 5D(2) and 5D(3).
22 COLE Manager Standards at paragraph 5J.
24 COLE Manager Standards at paragraph 5K.
25 See 47 C.F.R. § 13.209(a) and COLE Manager Standards at
26 See 47 C.F.R. § 13.213(a) and MOA at paragraph 1.
27 See COLE Manager Standards at paragraph 5D.
28 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 13.209(a) and 13.211(d) and COLE Manager
Standards at paragraphs 5J and 5K.
29 We note that numerous Internet web sites translate Morse code
to text and vice versa. Portable devices that translate Morse
code also are available.