Federal Licensing, Inc. – Foul Misinformation

Always looking for an excuse to bamboozle unsuspecting FCC licensees, the folks located down the street from the FCC in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania have again cranked up the tired warning from their “Publication Division” that it is crucial that licensees have in their possession a copy of the FCC’s rules governing Part 90 operations. They claim licensees could face the potential for fines or suspension of “operational privileges” for failure to comply with “major changes to the rules.”  For friends of Rick, they have a special $119 price for a paper copy of the rules.  

This solicitation is so full of foul misinformation, I don’t know where to begin. First, they are not a “leader in licensing preparation.” Second, a copy of the FCC’s rules can be had by accessing the FCC’s web site where the rules, complete with amendments, are available for free here. Third, we have no idea what “major changes to the rules” they are talking about when they threaten licensees with fines for failure to comply. The list of potential violations attached to the letter appear under the heading “current as of October 10, 2017.” These monetary standards have been in effect for decades (adjusted periodically in accordance with the CPNI), as has the list of violations to which they apply. Most don’t come into play for Part 90 licensees, and we are pretty confident that licensees don’t need to read the FCC rules to realize that violations include “failure to engage in required frequency coordination,” “unauthorized discontinuance of service” or “failure to permit inspection.” Whether those violations, if uncovered, would trigger an FCC enforcement action or a fine would depend on the circumstances. And, in my decades in this industry, I have never seen a public safety licensee receive a fine, and the likelihood of the FCC ever shutting down a public safety system for failure to “make required measurements or conduct required monitoring” is effectively zero. On the other hand, if you want the Enforcement Bureau down your neck, purposely interfere with public safety or aeronautical communications that threaten the safety of life.  Those are the kinds of bad actors that get their attention, as they should   

If you want a laugh, a copy of Federal Licensing’s letter may be viewed here. And by the way, revised licensing and forfeiture fees are pending, but will not go into effect until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Advise your customers to be on the alert for Federal Licensing solicitations if they aren’t already. … Mark