In-Brief

Liberty Puerto Rico faces $10K FCC fine over unlit tower

Liberty Puerto Rico is reviewing the FCC's fine, a company spokesman said. Liberty Puerto Rico is reviewing the FCC’s fine, a company spokesman said.

The Federal Communications Commissions this week issued a $10,000 fine against Liberty Puerto Rico for running an unlit antenna in Vega Baja, in violation of the federal regulations and the agency’s rules.

In the notice, the FCC said last August, agents from its San Juan office noticed that a 200-foot antenna was unlit at night, prompting them to contact Liberty for more information. The company reportedly was unaware of the lighting outage, and the FCC went ahead and issued a Notice of Violation the following month.

“A light went out on one of our towers in a remote location in Vega Baja, probably due to damage suffered in a recent storm. On September 9, 2013, the San Juan FCC Office issued a Notice of Violation,” John Conrad, human resources and legal affairs vice president of Liberty Puerto Rico told this media outlet.

“By then, Liberty had repaired the antenna structure lighting and had also reinforced the protocol to monitor the antenna structure lights on a daily basis. Currently our lawyers are reviewing the Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture issued by the FCC and will respond accordingly,” he said.

FCC rules require antenna structure owners to check the lights on antenna structures once every 24 hours or install and maintain an automatic alarm system designed to detect any failure of such lights and to provide indication of such failure to the owner.

“Because it was unaware of the lighting outage on August 29, 2013 and stated in response to the [Notice of Violation] that it established a process to monitor the structure lights visually, we conclude Liberty was not monitoring the antenna structure lights as required prior to August 29, 2013,” the FCC said in its notice.

As a result, it proposed the base fine for these types of cases, which is $10,000. Liberty has 30 calendar days after the Mar. 19 notification to either pay in full or ask for a reduction or cancellation of the fine in writing.

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