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Ayustar ISP faces $25K FCC fine for crossing signals with LMM safety systems

Internet Service Provider Ayustar Corp. is facing a $25,000 fine from the Federal Communications Commission for allegedly operating a transmission system that is interfering with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Terminal Doppler Weather Radar, News is my Business learned.

The TDWR is a mechanism that helps air traffic controllers detect low-altitude wind shear that can pose a risk to aircraft, a critical element for air traffic safety at the busy Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Carolina.

According to an order the FCC released late last week, Ayustar was found to be operating what is called an “Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure” system out of its Santurce headquarters in a way that violates the agency’s rules.

The problem was uncovered in December 2010, when FCC enforcement agents conducted an investigation on the roof of the Miramar Plaza Condominium building where Ayustar is headquartered. Ayustar denied it was intentionally operating on a frequency that interfered with the TDWR’s operations. However, it admitted to be operating the equipment that caused the problem.

“Thus, based on the evidence before us, we find that Ayustar apparently willfully and repeatedly violated section 301 of the Act and section 15.1(b) of the Rules by operating an unlicensed radio transmitter on December 7 and 8, 2010,” the FCC said.

Ayustar executive Stefan Lechner said Monday he was unable to comment on the FCC’s decision, saying he had yet to formally receive the document and had “to talk to the FCC to see what can be done.”

Ayustar has been doing business on the island since January 2002, as a result of the merger between three former local ISPs, Ahora.Net, Yunque.Net and Starbase Communications. The merger combined the infrastructure and experience of the three companies, enabling Ayustar “to attain economies of scale that allow for a better use of resources, and a heightened level of service,” according to the company’s website.

The company offers wireless broadband, web hosting and collocation services to businesses and individuals.

The amount corresponding to the violations Ayustar incurred typically add up to $15,000. However, because Ayustar caused interference with LMM’s monitoring systems, the agency increased the fine by an additional $10,000. The decision may have been fueled by the fact that Ayustar was involved in a similar violation in 2009, which Lechner said was resolved.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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