FCC Denies Mobile Relay’s Petition for Reconsideration of Fine
Wednesday, August 05, 2020 | Comments

The FCC denied a petition from Mobile Relay Associates to reconsider a $25,000 forfeiture order that the commission levied against the company for failing to monitor interference and avoid causing harmful interference to other radio users.

Mobile Relay Associates operates multiple LMR radio stations in the Los Angeles area in the industrial/business pool. The company operates across several shared channels. In March 2013, after investigating complaints of interference against a Mobile Relay station, the FCC issued a notice of violation to the company for failing to restrict transmissions to the minimum practical transmission time, monitor the transmitting frequencies of other licensees and take other precautions to avoid harmful interference.

In June 2015, a further investigation determined that the station was still causing interference to a company that had complained in 2013. The FCC released a notice finding that Mobile Relay Associates had willfully and repeatedly violated FCC rules because it was operating nearly continuously on the station, using a 95% duty cycle on shared channels. At that point, the FCC issued a forfeiture of $25,000.

In 2015, Mobile Relay Associates argued that it was not operating continuously but merely was heavily using the frequencies. The FCC rejected those claims and determined that mitigation efforts that Mobile Relay had taken were not sufficient.

In August 2015, Mobile Relay Associates argued that its operations did not result in rules violations and that the penalty would be discriminatory for that reason. In its petition for reconsideration, Mobile Relay argued that the FCC did not provide the company notice of its high occupancy rate on the channels, that the FCC treated it differently than other similarly situated licensees and that the commission is punishing Mobile Relay because it often complained about other licenses allegedly causing harmful interference to its operations.

In its denial of the reconsideration, the FCC noted that it is a licensee’s responsibility to become familiar with and comply with the commission’s rules. The FCC noted that it had informed Mobile Relay in 2013 that its operations were causing harmful interference and when agents observed its operations, Mobile Relay was not using any sort of equipment to monitor for harmful interference.

The FCC also noted that the way Mobile Relay was operating did not violate the rules but the rules require licensees to take reasonable precautions to avoid interference and monitor for interference. In its investigation, the FCC determined that Mobile Relay Associates was effectively monopolizing a non-exclusive channel.

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