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FCC Fines SES Americom $12,800

SES Americom received a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (DA 09-479) "for operating the Satcom C-3 satellite without Commission authority, in apparent willful and repeated violation of Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended and Section 25.102 of the Commission's rules."

The Notice states SES's authorization for Satcom C-3 expired on Dec. 16, 2007. On March 10, 2008, SES became aware that it had failed to file a modification to extend the terms of its license for the Satcom C-3 satellite. On March 11, 2008 SES filed an application for special temporary authority (STA) to operate the satellite beyond the expiration date. That was followed with a modification application to extend the station authorization until Dec. 31, 2010. That application was granted by the FCC on June 11, 2008. Because it appeared SES operated the satellite past its licensed expiration date, the International Bureau referred the case to the FCC Enforcement bureau for investigation and possible enforcement action.

The apparent liability was reduced from $16,000 to $12,800 to reflect voluntary disclosures to the FCC and the corrective action taken by SES after learning of its violations prior to any FCC inquiring or initiation of enforcement action.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.