AT&T to Pay $450,000 for Unauthorized Wireless Operations

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By Kyle Daly

Sept. 23 — AT&T Inc. agreed to pay $450,000 to resolve a Federal Communications Commission investigation into whether it operated wireless stations without authorization, the agency announced Sept. 23.

The FCC concluded in its investigation that AT&T didn't review certain microwave licenses it acquired between 2009 and 2012, resulting in unauthorized operation of stations by AT&T subsidiaries New Cingular Wireless PCS LLC and AT&T Mobility Puerto Rico Inc. AT&T also agreed to a compliance plan under which it will conduct timely reviews of comparable stations it acquires in the future to ensure they're operating appropriately.

The wireless stations in question were of a type that phone companies typically use to support wireless towers' connections to backbone networks, connecting towers wirelessly in areas where cost or terrain preclude the use of wired connections to bring towers online, according to the commission.

“We expect every person or company that receives a license from the Commission will operate within the parameters of that authorization,” FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc said in a statement. “Any licensee who operates outside those parameters threatens the integrity of communications networks, increases the risk of harmful interference, and breaks the law.”

An AT&T spokesman said in a statement that the unauthorized operations had no impact on consumers or other carriers, and the company made corrective filings after the discrepancies were discovered.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kyle Daly in Washington at kdaly@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bna.com

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