The second biggest wireless carrier in America will be paying an amount of $450,000 to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in order to settle an inquiry made by the US government agency regarding charges that AT&T had set up fixed wireless stations without getting the proper authorization or filing the needed license modification notices.
According to the FCC, AT&T had operated several common carrier fixed point to point microwave stations across the United States, and the mobile operator did it in a manner that differed from the stations’ licenses for about four years. The FCC had started its inquiry back in 2012, and eventually found several inconsistencies with regards to how the licensed parameters aligned with the facilities AT&T bought in the years 2009 to 2012 that made full use of fixed microwave licenses.
The FCC further claimed that AT&T did not thoroughly review the acquired licenses in time, and as a result, some of its stations were found to be operating without authorization, including those used for the wireless carrier’s subsidiaries such as New Cingular Wireless PCS and AT&T Mobility Puerto Rico.
As stated by Travis LeBlanc, the chief of the the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, through a press release, every individual or business establishment that is granted a license from the FCC should operate according to the parameters outlined in the authorization. Those who were awarded licenses who proceed to operate beyond the set parameters runs the risk of adversely impacting the consistency of communications network standards, not to mention inviting potentially disruptive interference and of course, directly violating the law.
The FCC has indicated that the stations being investigated are typically used by telecoms companies in order to establish direction connections in between towers. The microwave stations are utilized in supporting long haul backbone connections or in connecting points in the network that can not be connected via wireline or FiOS due to unsuitable terrain or impractical costing considerations.
As for AT&T, the wireless carrier has claimed that when it reviewed its licenses, it discovered minor discrepancies between the records kept by the FCC and the operating parameters detailed in the actual licenses. The company then proceeded to make these discrepancies known to the FCC and also filed for corrections to the licenses. AT&T is stressing that none of them had any impact on any of its subscriber base or on other mobile operators.
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