FCC Imposes $20k Fine Against GCI

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The FCC has imposed a penalty of $20,000 against General Communications Inc., a former tower owner of an antenna structure in Fairbanks, Alaska, for failing to monitor and exhibit the required lighting on the structure and not notifying the FAA of the outage. The FCC explained, “GCI does not deny the violations, but requests that we reduce the proposed forfeiture because of its good faith efforts to correct the lighting issues, which we deny given that GCI’s corrective actions were taken after being notified of the light outage by FCC agents. After reviewing GCI’s response to the NAL [Notice of Apparent Liability], we find no reason to cancel, withdraw, or reduce the proposed penalty, and therefore we assess the $20,000 forfeiture the Bureau previously proposed.” On September 12 and 13, 2012, FCC agents observed that the lighting required for aircraft safety was unlit during daytime hours. The FCC contacted the FAA and learned that a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) had not been issued by GCI, On July 10, 2013, the Commission issued the NAL proposing a $20,000 forfeiture for GCI’s “apparent willful and repeated violation…for failing to monitor the Antenna Structure’s obstruction lighting on a daily basis.” GCI filed a response to the NAL on October 28, 2013, requesting the NAL be reduced because they had made efforts to resolve the light outage after notification. GCI also argues that the upward adjustment of $10,000 that was made to the proposed forfeiture because of the size of GCI was unnecessary as GCI “takes its obligations seriously and clearly considers a $10,000 forfeiture to be a deterrent and not merely `a cost of doing business.'” (FCC)

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