WASHINGTON — A Kanas City, Mo., cable operation is being
fined $25,000 for violating federal recordkeeping rules. The franchise, owned by
Time Warner Cable and Advance/Newhouse, was cited by the Federal Communications
Commission for “failure to maintain and make available required proof of performance
test data and children’s programming records.”
“Time Warner did not deny that, on July 18, 2011, it
failed to make available these required records to agents from the Enforcement Bureau’s
Kansas City Office, but nonetheless urged reduction of the proposed $25,000 forfeiture,”
according to the Notice of Apparent Liability.
The last kids’ TV
file entry available to investigators was dated March 27, 2008, while proof of performance
test data for both 2008 and 2009 was missing. Time Warner argued that the data wasn’t
provided to field agents on the specified date because the responsible employees
were on leave the day of the inspection. The cable operator also said that it did
gather the required documents by July 21, 2011, and started a voluntary, web-based
public file system soon after.
The base fine for
the recordkeeping violation is $10,000. The FCC adjusted it upward to $25,000 and
declined to reduce it because of TWC’s “ability to pay,” and its previous violation
of the same rules.
“Time Warner further
contended that merely because it ‘is able to pay a higher forfeiture than $10,000
and has previously been subject to isolated enforcement action plainly should not
carry more weight than the gravity of the violation at issue, which [Time Warner]
respectfully submits was relatively minor and must be balanced against TWC’s substantial,
good faith compliance efforts,’” the notice stated.
dice, the commission said.
“We disagree that the Bureau’s upward adjustments were
inappropriate and impose a $25,000 forfeiture,” the commission said. “Time Warner
twice has violated the rules at issue in the NAL. On this third occasion, the Bureau
sought to ensure that the forfeiture amount served as an effective deterrent and
not simply a cost of doing business. For these reasons, the upward adjustment was
appropriate. Moreover, even though Time Warner states that it quickly corrected
the violation by consolidating the missing materials after the inspection, such
corrective actions are expected and do not warrant mitigation of the forfeiture.
Similarly, Time Warner’s efforts to create a ‘web-based public file system’ are
laudable but were also taken after the inspection and do not warrant mitigation
of the forfeiture. Accordingly, we find no
reason to reduce the proposed forfeiture.”