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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
File No. EB-08-IH-1372
In the Matter of )
NAL/Acct. No. 201032080017
Comtel Telcom Assets LP )
FRN No. 0013838701
1. The Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission and
Comtel Telcom Assets LP ("Comtel"), by their authorized
representatives, hereby enter into this Consent Decree for the purpose
of resolving the Enforcement Bureau's investigation of compliance by
Comtel with Section 254(d) of the Communications Act of 1934, as
amended (the "Act"), and section 54.706 of the Commission's rules by
willfully and repeatedly failing to contribute fully and timely to the
Universal Service Fund (USF").
2. For purposes of this Consent Decree, the following definitions shall
a. "Act" means the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C.
S: 151 et seq.
b. "Adopting Order" means an order of the Bureau adopting this
Consent Decree without any modifications adverse to Comtel Telcom
c. "Bureau" means the FCC's Enforcement Bureau.
d. "Commission" or "FCC" means the Federal Communications
e. "Compliance Plan" means the program described in this Consent
Decree at Paragraph 8.
f. "Comtel" or the "Company" means Comtel Telecom Assets LP and its
predecessors-in-interest and successors-in-interest.
g. "Effective Date" means the date on which the Bureau releases the
h. "Investigation" means the Bureau's investigation commenced by the
Bureau's letter of inquiry dated June 26, 2008 to Comtel into
whether Comtel violated, among other requirements, Section 254(d)
of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the "Act"), and
section 54.706 of the Commission's rules, by willfully or
repeatedly failing to contribute fully and timely to the
Universal Service Fund.
i. "Parties" means the Bureau and Comtel.
j. "Rules" mean the Commission's regulations found in Title 47 of
the Code of Federal Regulations.
3. Pursuant to Section 254(d) of the Act and section 54.706 of the
Commission's rules, telecommunications carriers that provide
interstate telecommunications services are required to contribute to
the Universal Service Fund. Comtel has provided interstate,
intrastate, and international telecommunications services within and
throughout the United States since June 2006. In May 2008, USAC
referred Comtel to the Enforcement Bureau ("Bureau") after the company
accumulated a delinquent balance owed to the USF. The Bureau initiated
the Investigation on June 26, 2008, by issuing a letter of inquiry to
Comtel seeking information about Comtel's compliance with USF payment
and other related regulatory obligations. The inquiry letter directed
Comtel to provide documents and information and Comtel responded on
July 28, 2008. In its response, Comtel submitted documents and
information establishing that it failed to timely make full
contributions to the USF. Comtel paid these USF contributions that
were not timely made, in part before and in part after submission of
its response. Comtel also entered into a Tolling Agreement with the
Bureau as well as subsequent extensions in order to resolve the
Investigation with a Consent Decree.
III. TERMS OF AGREEMENT
4. Adopting Order. The Parties agree that the provisions of this Consent
Decree shall be subject to approval by the Bureau by incorporation of
such provisions by reference in the Adopting Order, without change,
addition, modification, or deletion.
5. Jurisdiction. Comtel acknowledges that the Bureau has jurisdiction
over the matters contained in this Consent Decree and the authority to
enter into and adopt this Consent Decree.
6. Effective Date; Violations. The Parties agree that this Consent Decree
shall become effective on the Effective Date. Upon release, the
Adopting Order and this Consent Decree shall have the same force and
effect as any other order of the Bureau. Any violation of the Adopting
Order or of the terms of this Consent Decree shall constitute a
separate violation of a Bureau Order, entitling the Bureau to exercise
any rights and remedies attendant to the enforcement of a Commission
7. Termination of Investigation. In express reliance on the covenants and
representations in this Consent Decree and to avoid further
expenditure of public resources, the Bureau agrees to terminate its
Investigations on the Effective Date. In consideration for the
termination of the Investigations, Comtel agrees to the terms,
conditions, and procedures contained herein. The Bureau further agrees
that in the absence of new material evidence, the Bureau will not use
the facts developed in the Investigation through the Effective Date of
the Consent Decree, or the existence of this Consent Decree, to
institute, on its own motion, any new proceeding, formal or informal,
or take any action on its own motion against Comtel concerning the
matters that were subject of the Investigations. The Bureau also
agrees that it will not use the facts developed in the Investigations
through the Effective Date of this Consent Decree, or the existence of
this Consent Decree, to institute on its own motion, any proceeding,
formal or informal, or take any action on its own against Comtel with
respect to Comtel's basic qualifications, including its character
qualifications to be a Commission licensee or to hold Commission
8. Compliance Plan. Comtel agrees that it will develop and implement a
comprehensive Compliance Plan for the purpose of ensuring its
compliance with Section 254(d) of the Act and section 54.706 of the
Commission's rules. The Compliance Plan shall include, at a minimum,
the following components:
a. Compliance Officer. Within 60 calendar days of the Effective
Date, Comtel will designate a Compliance Officer who will
administer the Compliance Plan, supervise Comtel's compliance
with the Commission's Rules, and serve as the point of contact on
behalf of Comtel for all FCC-related compliance matters.
b. Compliance Manual. Within 90 calendar days of the Effective Date,
the Compliance Officer will develop and distribute a Compliance
Manual to Comtel employees and others who engage in activities
related to FCC regulation of Comtel. The Compliance Manual will,
among other things, describe the rules and requirements as they
apply to Comtel regarding the USF contribution requirements. The
Compliance Manual shall require Comtel employees to report
non-compliance with the terms and conditions of this Consent
Decree, Section 254(d) of the Act and section 54.706 of the
Commission's rules to the Compliance Officer and senior executive
management. The Compliance Manual will encourage personnel to
contact Comtel's Compliance Officer or internal regulatory legal
counsel with any questions or concerns that arise with respect to
Comtel's FCC compliance. The Compliance Manual will be updated
from time to time as needed.
c. Compliance Training Program. Within 90 calendar days of the
Effective Date, Comtel will begin administering a Compliance
Training Program for Comtel employees and others who engage in
activities related to FCC regulation of Comtel. This Compliance
Training Program will be presented to new employees who are
engaged in such activities, within the first 60 calendar days of
employment or as soon as practicable. This Compliance Training
Program will track the Compliance Manual, focusing on proper
implementation of the Compliance Manual and tailored to specific
d. Review and Monitoring. Comtel will review the Compliance Manual
and Compliance Training Program annually to ensure that they are
maintained in a proper manner and continue to address the
objectives set forth therein.
e. Compliance Reports. Comtel will submit a Compliance Report to the
Commission 90 days after the Effective Date and annually
thereafter on the anniversary of the Effective Date until the
Termination Date. Each Compliance Report will include a
certification by the Compliance Officer stating that he has
personal knowledge that Comtel has established operating
procedures intended to ensure compliance with the terms and
conditions of this Consent Decree and with Section 254(d) of the
Act and section 54.706 of the Commission's rules, has been
utilizing those procedures at all times since the previous
Compliance Report was submitted, and is not aware of any
instances of non-compliance. If the Compliance Officer is not
able to so certify, he shall explain fully the reason(s)
therefore. All Compliance Reports shall be directed to the Chief,
Investigations & Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, Federal
Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington,
f. Self-Disclosure. Comtel will report any occurrences of
non-compliance with the terms and conditions of this Consent
Decree and with Section 254(d) of the Act and section 54.706 of
the Commission's rules within one month after Comtel's Compliance
Officer or senior executive management becomes aware of the
matter (whether from a report from an employee or otherwise) to
the Chief, Investigations & Hearings Division, Enforcement
Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, S.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20554, provided that this report shall not be
required if Comtel cures the violation before the report is due.
g. Termination Date. The requirements relating to the Compliance
Plan shall expire 36 months after the Effective Date.
9. Voluntary Contribution. Comtel agrees that it will make a voluntary
contribution to the United States Treasury in the total amount of
$25,000. The payment shall be made within 30 days after the Effective
Date of the Adopting Order. The payment shall be made by check or
similar instrument, payable to the Order of the Federal Communications
Commission. The payment must include the Account Number and FRN Number
referenced in the caption to the Adopting Order. Payment by check or
money order may be mailed to the Federal Communications Commission,
P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000. Payment by overnight mail
may be sent to U.S. Bank-Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005
Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101. Payment by wire transfer may be
made to ABA Number 021030004, receiving bank Federal Reserve Bank of
New York, and account number 27000001. Comtel will also send
electronic notification to Trent Harkrader at Trent.Harkrader@fcc.gov
within forty-eight (48) hours of the date said payment is made.
10. Waivers. Comtel agrees to waive any and all rights it may have to seek
administrative or judicial reconsideration, review, appeal or stay, or
to otherwise challenge or contest the validity of this Consent Decree
and the Adopting Order, provided the Consent Decree is adopted without
change, addition, modification or deletion. Comtel shall retain the
right to challenge Commission interpretation of the Consent Decree or
any terms contained herein. If either Party, or the United States on
behalf of the Commission, brings a judicial action to enforce the
terms of the Adopting Order, neither Comtel nor the Commission shall
contest the validity of the Consent decree or the Adopting Order, and
Comtel shall waive any statutory right to a trial de novo. Comtel
hereby agrees to waive any claims it may otherwise have under the
Equal Access to Justice Act, 5 U.S.C. S: 504 and 47 C.F.R. S: 1.1501
et seq., relating to the matters addressed in this Consent Decree
11. Subsequent Rule or Order. The Parties agree that if any provision of
the Consent Decree conflicts with any subsequent rule or Order adopted
by the Commission (except an Order specifically intended to revise the
terms of the Consent Decree to which Comtel does not expressly
consent) that provision shall be superseded by such Commission rule or
12. Successors and Assigns. Comtel agrees that the terms and conditions of
this Consent Decree shall be binding on its successors, assigns, and
13. Final Settlement. The Parties agree and acknowledge that this Consent
Decree shall constitute a final settlement between the Parties. The
Parties further agree that this Consent Decree does not constitute an
adjudication on the merits or a factual or legal finding or
determination regarding any compliance or noncompliance with the
requirements of the Act or the Commission's Rules and Orders and shall
not be construed as an admission by Comtel.
14. Modifications. This Consent Decree may not be modified without the
advance written consent of both Parties.
15. Paragraph Headings. The headings to the paragraphs in this Consent
Decree are inserted for convenience only and are not intended to
affect the meaning or interpretation of this Consent Decree.
16. Authorized Representative. Each party represents and warrants to the
other that it has full power and authority to enter into this Consent
17. Counterparts. This Consent Decree may be signed in any number of
counterparts (including by facsimile), each of which, when executed
and delivered, shall be an original, and all of which counterparts
together shall constitute one and the same fully executed instrument.
By: _____________________________________ By:
P. Michele Ellison Name
Chief, Enforcement Bureau Title
Federal Communications Commission Comtel Telcom Assets LP
Date: ___________________________________ Date:
47 U.S.C. S: 254(d); 47 C.F.R. S: 54.706.
See Letter from James H. Lister, Birch Horton Bittner and Cherot, to Irene
Flannery, Assistant Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division,
Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, dated July 28,
2008, at 4 ("LOI Response").
Letter from Trent B. Harkrader, Deputy Chief, Investigations & Hearings
Division, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, to James
Cashiola, Chief Executive Officer, Comtel Telcom Assets LP, dated June 26,
Federal Communications Commission DA 10-418
Federal Communications Commission DA 04-3260