Canada Railway Ponies $1.21 Million to FCC for Illegal Radios

WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau announced that Canadian Pacific Railway Co. will pay $1,210,000 to resolve an investigation of the railroad’s operation of more than 100 wireless radio facilities in the United States without prior FCC approval, and for failing to obtain FCC authorizations for the transfer of control of thirty wireless radio licenses.

In 2015, Canadian Pacific, formally called Soo Line Corp., conducted an internal audit that revealed extensive noncompliance with FCC licensing regulations, and the company subsequently disclosed its violations to the commission. In addition to paying a monetary civil penalty, the company will also implement a three-year plan to ensure compliance with FCC requirements, and it will continue to maintain an internal compliance plan that the company implemented upon its discovery of the violations.

Soo Line Corp. is the wholly-owned U.S. operating arm of Calgary, Alberta-based Canadian Pacific Railway Corp., which provides rail, passenger and distribution services throughout Canada and parts of the United States. (A representative of the company contacted TV Technology after publication to say that it does not provide a passenger service.)

In 2008, the company acquired several railroad companies in the United States that held FCC authorizations in the wireless radio services. Radio transmitting devices are widely used in the railroad industry for voice and data transmissions related to the safe operation of freight and passenger trains. The company’s 2015 internal audit of its FCC authorizations uncovered unauthorized transactions dating back to 2008, and it also revealed that Soo Line and its predecessors had constructed, relocated, modified, or operated more than 100 wireless facilities without FCC approval, beginning as far back as 1979.

The three-year compliance plan requires that the company designate a senior corporate manager as a compliance officer; establish operating procedures that require employees receive specific training in the areas of unauthorized transfer and operation; maintain a compliance checklist to ensure that covered employees follow specific steps in initiating wireless communications; establish a compliance manual that explains the communications laws that apply to the company; institute a compliance training program for covered employees, and report any additional violations to the commission within 15 days of discovering them.