FCC Reduces SpectraSite Fine

September 7, 2004
The FCC announced last week that it is reducing a fine it imposed on SpectraSite for a tower lighting violation.

In November 2002 the commission found a 312.8 meter high tower in Richmond, Va exhibited no obstruction markings or paint and had no Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) number displayed. They also found a 180.9-meter tower nearby with chipped and faded paint with the ASR number for the 312.8-meter tower. After the initial investigation, the FCC had proposed fining SpectraSite $120,500 for failing to register and light the two antenna structures on Sesame Street. SpectraSite argued that the fine should be reduced since it was not the owner of the 180.9 meter tower, which it said was not required to be registered under FAA regulations, and because it took remedial measures to correct the lighting outage on the 312.8 meter tower before the FCC notified it of the outage.

Last week, the FCC said, "We now conclude that, notwithstanding its filings to the Commission regarding the 180.9 meter tower and statements by the SpectraSite manager, SpectraSite was not the owner and therefore was not responsible for the registration of the tower. Accordingly, based on our review of SpectraSite's response to the NAL, we conclude that SpectraSite did not willfully and/or repeatedly violate Section 17.4(a) of the Rules with regard to the 180.9-meter tower. We will therefore cancel the proposed forfeiture for that violation."

"Based on our review of the record, we find that SpectraSite is entitled to a reduction in its forfeiture for good faith. SpectraSite had identified and was attempting to correct the electrical problems that led to tower lighting outages, and in fact had scheduled the repairs prior to the agent's inspection. Accordingly, we find that a reduction in the forfeiture amount from the thirty-three thousand dollars ($33,000) imposed by the NAL to thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) is warranted for SpectraSite's good faith efforts to comply with the Rules.

For additional information, refer to the FCC's Forfeiture Order. The October 2003 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, was covered in RF Report for November 3, 2003.

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