FCC Logo - Return to the FCC Home Page  
  EB - Progress Report, Year One

Help | Advanced


Consistent with the Chairman's Strategic Plan, the Enforcement Bureau has focused on three broad areas: consumer protection enforcement; competition enforcement; and spectrum enforcement. In each of these areas, through actions taken by the Commission or the Bureau, or through pending investigations, a strong signal has been sent to the relevant industries that significant violations of the Communications Act, FCC rules or other requirements will lead to swift and strong enforcement action. Highlights of actions taken in each of these three areas are set out below.

  • Consumer Protection Enforcement

    • Slamming: Through fines or consent decrees, enforcement action against nine carriers totaling over $13 million. The $13 million in enforcement action is more than the total of all prior FCC slamming enforcement actions combined.

      • Included historic consent decree with MCI WorldCom for $3.5 million (highest enforcement payment in Commission history) and major pro-consumer changes in MCI WorldCom's operating practices.

    • Third Party Verification: Entered into a consent decree with Verizon for $250,000 regarding maintenance of third party verification records as required by the Commission's anti-slamming rules; decree included enhanced assurances of proper verification of consumer carrier changes.

    • Misleading Advertising: Joint Policy Statement with Federal Trade Commission on Truth-in-Advertising for long distance industry. Entered into $100,000 consent decree with MCI WorldCom regarding dial-around advertisements. This decree included modifications to advertising practices.

    • Unsolicited ``Junk'' Faxes: Issued or proposed fines against four companies totaling over $450,000. Also issued 25 citations.

    • Telephone Solicitations: Found that AT&T had violated ``do-not-call'' list requirements, particularly regarding applicability of requirements to entire household, not just individual who requests being put on ``do-not-call'' list.

    • Operator Service Provider Disclosures to Consumers: Entered into consent decrees with U.S. Long Distance ($150,000), AT&T ($105,000) and WorldCom ($56,000) relating to disclosure requirements for consumers using payphones or hotel/motel telephones; decrees included strengthened compliance plans. Also issued over 100 citations to hotels, motels, and payphone owners for violations of consumer information posting and unblocking requirements. Worked with American Hotel and Motel Association on education and compliance campaign.

    • Universal Service Fund Non-Payment: Issued or proposed fines, or entered into a consent decree, with five carriers, totaling approximately $500,000.

    • Disabilities: Worked with Maryland and other states on Telecommunications Relay Service carrier-of-choice issues.

    • Broadcast Indecency: Issued or proposed fines against 10 stations for a total of over $100,000.

    • Misleading Broadcaster Contests: Issued or proposed fines against three stations.

    • Privacy Protection Regarding Broadcast of Telephone Conversations: Issued or proposed fines against eight stations.

    • DBS Public Interest Programming: Proposed and collected an $11,000 fine against EchoStar for failure to comply with DBS public interest programming requirements on a timely basis.

  • Competition Enforcement

    • Local Market Opening Requirements of Section 271

      • Entered into a consent decree with Bell Atlantic-New York for $3 million regarding problems Bell Atlantic had processing electronic orders of its local competitors for unbundled network elements. Consent decree included performance measurements that would have resulted in penalties of an additional $27 million had Bell Atlantic not promptly complied over the next several weeks.

      • Granted a formal complaint by MCI that Ameritech violated section 271 by providing long distance service prior to receiving Commission approval in connection with its 1-800-AMERITECH service.

    • Collocation Rules: Entered into a $2.7 million consent decree with GTE (now Verizon) regarding compliance with the Commission's rules on ``cageless'' collocation (placement of local competitor's equipment in GTE's central offices). GTE agreed to speed up compliance with performance standards set out in the Bell Atlantic/GTE merger order or be subject to automatic penalties sooner than provided in that order.

    • Good Faith Negotiation Rules: Entered into a $750,000 consent decree with BellSouth regarding its negotiation with a local service competitor; Bell South also agreed to take steps to improve compliance with good faith negotiation requirements.

    • Reciprocal Compensation: Concluded in a formal complaint that defendant local exchange carriers (LECs) improperly charged paging carriers for facilities used to deliver LEC-originated traffic, in violation of the Commission's 1996 Local Competition Order.

    • Payphone Compensation: In response to a formal complaint, found that Frontier (now Global Crossing) had failed to make required payphone compensation. In addition to availability of damages for affected parties, entered into Consent Decree for $80,000 with agreement by Global Crossing to provide additional information to payphone service providers to assist in calculations of payments due.

    • Informal Dispute Resolution/Settlement: Through the Accelerated Docket and other informal dispute resolution efforts, the Bureau has facilitated the settlement of approximately 40 disputes without formal complaints ever being filed. This includes settlement of disputes in areas such as collocation, provisioning of network elements and services to local competitors, and local competitors using existing interconnection agreements with incumbent carriers.

    • Formal Complaints Backlog Reduction: When the Bureau was launched, it had approximately 160 formal complaint matters pending. Through aggressive backlog reduction efforts, such as intensive settlement/mediation discussions or written decisions on the merits, we are now down to less than 50 pending matters, even though about 80 new matters have been filed since the Bureau's inception. So now we're in a position to respond quickly to new complaints.

  • Spectrum Enforcement

    • Pirate Radio: Shut down over 180 pirate broadcast stations through seizure of equipment or following inspections and issuance of warnings. This number is the highest ever achieved. In addition, investigations conducted by the Enforcement Bureau have resulted in the issuance of eight injunctions against pirate broadcasters by federal courts and arrests of two pirate broadcasters by law enforcement agencies.

    • Enhanced-911: Entered into Consent Decrees with Samsung ($50,000) and Qualcomm ($25,000) regarding compliance with E-911 manufacturing requirements for wireless handsets.

    • Emergency Alert System: Issued or proposed 17 fines against broadcasters or cable operators, and issued approximately 160 Notices of Violation.

    • Tower Painting and Lighting: Issued or proposed 11 fines against licensees or tower owners, and issued approximately 500 Notices of Violation.

last reviewed/updated on Thu Apr 11 12:59:19 EDT 2002
FCC Home | Daily Digest | Search | Agenda | Forms | Fees | E-Filing | Consumer Info
Skip FCC Footer and Contact InfoFederal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554
More FCC Contact Information...
Phone:  888-CALL-FCC (225-5322)
TTY:  888-TELL-FCC (835-5322)
Fax:  202-418-0232
E-mail:  fccinfo@fcc.gov
- Web Policies & Privacy Statement
- Customer Service Standards
- Required Browser Plugins
- Freedom of Information Act