LED Sign Marketers Reminded to Comply with FCC Rules
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 | Comments

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau called on marketers of light-emitting diode (LED) signs to ensure these lights comply with FCC rules. Since March, the agency has entered into 21 settlement agreements with companies that marketed noncompliant LED signs in violation of the Communications Act and FCC rules.

The settlements yielded approximately $850,000 in penalties paid to the U.S. Treasury and commitments to ensure compliance with the law going forward. Adherence to the FCC’s equipment authorization and marketing rules is critical because RF emissions from the signs may cause harmful interference to licensed communications, such as wireless services.

“In light of these recent settlements, we remind LED sign marketers of their obligations under the law,” said Enforcement Bureau Chief Rosemary Harold. “The FCC takes seriously its responsibility in ensuring that energy-emitting devices like LED lights do not interfere with authorized transmissions.”

LED lights are often used in digital billboards and other commercial and industrial applications, including billboards and large video displays in sports arenas. Given the electrical design of these lights, they may emit RF energy. Prior to being marketed in the United States, LED sign models must be tested for compliance with FCC technical standards and must include the proper labeling, identification and user information disclosures.

The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) oversees equipment authorization process for RF devices, including LED signs.

The Enforcement Bureau investigated hundreds of indoor and outdoor LED sign models and discovered repeated FCC rule violations concerning the failure to market the models with the required equipment authorizations, labeling and user information disclosures.

To settle its respective investigation, each company verified that the models at issue were brought into compliance with FCC rules, agreed to pay a monetary penalty, and committed to abide by a compliance plan to improve internal procedures to avoid future violations. The bureau has settled 21 investigations to date, with penalties as high as $115,000.

For example, the FCC Nov. 27 entered into a consent decree to resolve its investigation into whether Gable Signs & Graphics violated rules by marketing LED signs without the required equipment authorization, labeling and user manual disclosures, and by failing to produce certain required test records. To settle this matter, Gable admits that it violated the commission’s rules, will implement a compliance plan, and will pay a $50,000 civil penalty.

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