This isn’t a broadcast story so much as it is an FCC licensee story, and there is a lesson in here for anybody who holds an FCC license. If an occasion comes up in which the FCC sends you a letter of inquiry, or LOI, it is an extremely good idea to supply the information.
The case at hand involves LDC Telecommunications Inc. The FCC had questions about its billing practices, and sent the letter of inquiry on 10/13/11. In fact, it was concerned about a possible violation of the rules in this regard.
LDC signed for the letter 10/17/11, but did not respond by the 11/2/11 due date. The FCC sent a second letter 11/4/11; LDC acknowledged 11/7/11 that the LOI was received. It still hasn’t responded as of 1/17/12.
So now LDC has to pay $25K, adjusted upward from a $4K base, and it still has to answer the letter of inquiry. The FCC said, “Such apparent disregard for the Commission’s authority and investigatory process appears egregious, intentional, and continuous, and therefore supports an adjustment upward for the base forfeiture for failure to respond to a Commission communication.”
We checked the FCC database, and it appears that the issue at hand involves the Lifeline program, which is designed to provide telephone service to low-income Americans. Violations can results in fines of up to $150K per day to a statutory ceiling of $1.5M.