Sprint's 1900 MHz network faces interference in NYC; carrier gets FCC backing for a resolution

The FCC issued a citation to a man in Queens, New York, for operating equipment that is interfering with Sprint's (NYSE: S) 1900 MHz network there, in violation of the FCC's rules.  

On March 10, the FCC responded to a complaint from Sprint concerning interference to its cellular communications system in the 1900 MHz band in Queens, New York. Agents from the New York office of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau confirmed the interference via direction finding techniques and found that radio emissions in the 1900 MHz band were emanating from a device operated under the direct or indirect control of a man named Jian Chang. The FCC determined that Change was at fault by virtue of the fact that the device was confirmed to be in a property he owned in Queens. Sprint uses the 1900 MHZ band both for FDD-LTE service and CDMA voice service. 

"The device at this location is injecting noise into the Sprint network and degrading or blocking service to Sprint's customers," the FCC said in its citation. "Mr. Chang refused to allow inspection of the offending device."

The FCC asked for Chang's assistance "in locating the source of the interference and requested his permission to examine any possible radio sources within his residence." However, the FCC said Chang "refused to assist the agents and refused to allow the inspection of any offending transmitter."

The FCC then sent Chang a notification about the harmful inference but received no response.

According the FCC, Change is violating rules that state that "operation of an intentional, unintentional, or incidental radiator is subject to the conditions that no harmful interference is caused," and that "any equipment or device subject to the provisions of this part [of the rules]…shall be made available for inspection by a Commission representative upon reasonable request."

Chang's refusal to acknowledge the interference problem and refusal to allow FCC representatives to inspect the offending device violated the rules. Change needs to tell the FCC about specific action or actions he is taking to halt the interference and how long it will take him to do so. The FCC directed Chang to respond in writing, within 30 calendar days after the release date of the citation, which was published Aug. 19, and sign under penalty of perjury.

The FCC said that if Chang fails to respond in writing or provides "an inadequate, incomplete, or misleading response," Chang may be subject to additional sanctions. Chang would need to examine all devices that send out radio signals at his residence and "discontinue the operation until repairs to or replacement of the offending device can be made." If the offending device is found and the interference is resolved, Chang would need to send a complete report on what was found and the actions taken to resolve the interference.

The FCC said that if Chang again violates the rules, the agency "may impose monetary forfeitures not to exceed $16,000 for each such violation or each day of a continuing violation, and up to $122,500 for any single act or failure to act."

For more:
- see this FCC filing

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