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FCC issues $34K in fines against 2 local co.’s for interfering with doppler radar

The Federal Communications Commission issued two separate fines totaling some $34,000 against two local companies — WinPR Inc. and Caribbean Network Solutions Inc. — for operating systems that cause interference to the doppler weather radar in San Juan.

In the notice informing WinPR’s $25,000 penalty, the FCC said it was for “willfully operating two Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices in an unauthorized manner” that caused the problem with the Federal Aviation Administration’s weather facility.

The FCC issued a notice of apparent liability against WinPR, which is based in San Juan, on Aug. 22, 2019, when it said the company’s U-NII devices “were not configured to sense the presence of the FAA’s terminal doppler weather radar station and to move to a non-interfering frequency.”

WinPR did not respond to the notice, so the FCC moved ahead with the fine, which WinPR must pay within 30 calendar days, as of Nov. 14.

In a separate order against Caribbean Network Solutions Inc. — based in Bayamón — the FCC explained that it had issued a notice of apparent liability against the company on May 20, 2019, establishing a $20,000 fine for a similar violation.

The company was operating two U-NII devices without a license, which also interfered with the FAA’s doppler radar.

“Caribbean does not dispute the Bureau’s findings, but instead requests the cancellation or reduction of the proposed fine,” the FCC said, adding the company claimed a “lack of awareness that it was causing interference.”

Caribbean took steps to remedy the interference after receiving the notice, which the FCC took under consideration, as well as its overall history of compliance with the FCC rules, and its inability to pay the proposed forfeiture.

“After reviewing Caribbean’s financial condition, we find that reducing the forfeiture to $7,912 is appropriate in this matter,” the FCC said.

“The Commission has previously determined that, in general, gross income or revenues are the best indicators of an entity’s ability to pay a forfeiture. Based on the financial documentation provided in the Response, we find that Caribbean’s average gross income over its past three fiscal years supports a reduction of the forfeiture to $7,912,” it added.

Caribbean Network Solutions also has 30 calendar days to pay its penalty.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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