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Directlink, LLC

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Released: February 21, 2014

Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-224


Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
Directlink, LLC
) File No: EB-FIELDWR-12-00002815
) NAL/Acct. No.: 201332800001
Parker, Colorado
)
FRN: 0020233508
)

FORFEITURE ORDER

Adopted: February 20, 2014

Released: February 21, 2014

By the Regional Director, Western Region, Enforcement Bureau:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
In this Forfeiture Order (Order), we issue a monetary forfeiture in the amount of twenty
thousand dollars ($20,000) to Directlink, LLC1 (Directlink), operator of an Unlicensed National
Information Infrastructure (U-NII) transmission system in Elizabeth, Colorado, for willful and repeated
violation of Sections 301 and 302(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, (Act) 2 and
Sections 15.1(b) and 15.1(c) of the Commission’s rules (Rules).3 The violations involved Directlink’s
operation of an intentional radiator without a license and in a manner inconsistent with Part 15 of the
Rules4 and the device’s equipment authorization.5

II.

BACKGROUND

2.
On January 4, 2013, the Enforcement Bureau’s Denver Office (Denver Office) issued a
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order (NAL)6 to Directlink for its operation of a U-NII
device on a frequency for which the device was not authorized and without a license. As discussed in detail
in the NAL in this case,7 on January 10, 2012, while searching for the source of interference to the Federal
Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) serving the Denver
International Airport, Denver Office agents used direction-finding techniques to determine that radio
emissions on frequency 5630 MHz were emanating from the Red Fox Circle communications site in

1 Directlink, LLC, holds three FCC licenses for microwave operations (call signs WQPL428, WQPL429, and
WQPL430).
2 47 U.S.C. §§ 301, 302a(b).
3 47 C.F.R. § 15.1(b), (c).
4 47 C.F.R. §§ 15.1 et seq.
5 47 C.F.R. §§ 15.1, 15.407.
6 Directlink, LLC, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, 28 FCC Rcd 37 (Enf. Bur. 2013) (NAL). A
comprehensive recitation of the facts and history of this case can be found in the NAL and is incorporated herein by
reference.
7 See 28 FCC Rcd at 38–40, paras 2–4.

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DA 14-224

Elizabeth, Colorado.8 On January 12, 2012, the agents used those same techniques in combination with
Directlink’s involvement to confirm that the interference was emanating from the U-NII transmission
system operated by Directlink.9 On January 12, 2012, an FCC agent’s telephone call to the FAA confirmed
that the U-NII interference had ceased when Directlink changed its center frequency from 5630 MHz to
5785 MHz during the Denver Office investigation. The U-NII system utilized a transceiver module, model
Rocket M5, an intentional radiator manufactured by Ubiquiti Networks, Inc.10 The FCC Equipment
Authorization for the Ubiquiti Rocket M5 transceiver limits the device to operations within a frequency
range of 5745 MHz to 5825 MHz.11 During the inspection, however, the FCC agents observed that the
transceiver was operating on a center frequency of 5630 MHz, which is outside the authorized frequency
range of the device. Subsequently, Directlink remotely adjusted the device’s operating frequency from 5630
MHz to 5785 MHz which ceased the interference impacting the Denver TDWR installation.12
3.
In order to avoid interference to the FAA’s TDWR installations, the Commission requires
that U-NII devices operating in the 5.25 – 5.35 GHz and 5.47 – 5.725 GHz bands have Dynamic Frequency
Selection (DFS) radar detection functionality, which allows them to detect the presence of radar systems and
avoid co-channel operations with radar systems.13 As the inspection continued on January 12, 2012, FCC
agents also observed and were advised by Directlink’s representative that the transceiver was not operating
with DFS functionality.
4.
Directlink submitted a response to the NAL requesting cancellation or reduction of the
proposed $25,000 forfeiture,14 asserting that it was entitled to a citation or warning prior to the NAL;15 that
there were no aggravating factors that required an upward adjustment of the forfeiture;16 that the

8 The unauthorized emissions on frequency 5630 MHz impacted the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA)
Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) system that serves the Denver International Airport. TDWR
installations exist at 45 major airports in the United States and Puerto Rico. These radar installations assist air
traffic controllers in detecting low-altitude wind shear that can pose a risk to aircraft. See MIT Lincoln
Laboratories, http://www.ll.mit.edu/mission/aviation/faawxsystems/tdwr.html (last visited June 15, 2012).
9 47 C.F.R. § 15.403(s) (defining U-NII devices as “[i]ntentional radiators operating in the frequency bands 5.15-
5.35 GHz and 5.470-5.825 GHz that use wideband digital modulation techniques and provide a wide array of high
data rate mobile and fixed communications for individuals, businesses, and institutions”). Although Directlink’s
device was not authorized to operate in the U-NII bands, it was subject to the U-NII rules (47 C.F.R. 15.401-15.407)
because Directlink operated it as a U-NII device.
10 The device was a Ubiquiti model Rocket M5, FCC ID SWX-M5. Ubiquiti Networks, Inc., was issued a Grant of
Equipment Authorization for the Rocket M5 by MET Laboratories, Inc., under the authority of the FCC, on August
14, 2009.
11 The Equipment Authorization for the Ubiquiti Rocket M5 transceiver states that the device is certified for use
pursuant to Part 15, Subpart C of the Rules (Intentional Radiators). The datasheet published by Ubiquiti for the
Rocket M5 states that the device can operate in the 5470-5825 MHz band, noting that “[o]nly 5745 - 5825 MHz is
supported in the USA” and that “[i]t is the installers responsibility to follow local country regulations including
operation within legal frequency channels, output power, and Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) requirements.”
Ubiquiti Networks Rocket M Datasheet, 2011, at 7 and 10 (Rocket M Datasheet).
12 Directlink changed the operating frequency of this system from 5630 MHz to 5785 MHz during the FCC
investigation on January 12, 2012. As noted above, the Ubiquiti Rocket M5 transceiver is authorized to operate only
within a frequency range of 5745 MHz to 5825 MHz.
13 See 47 C.F.R. § 15.407(h)(2).
14 Response of Directlink, LLC, (Feb. 15, 2013) (on file in EB-FIELDWR-12-00002815) (NAL Response).
15 Id. at 5–7.
16 Id. at 7–8.
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DA 14-224

downward adjustment factors were not applied to the proposed forfeiture;17 and that the proposed
forfeiture was not consistent with actions taken against similarly situated violators.18

III.

DISCUSSION

5.
The proposed forfeiture amount in this case was assessed in accordance with Section
503(b) of the Act,19 Section 1.80 of the Rules,20 and the Forfeiture Policy Statement.21 In examining
Directlink’s response, Section 503(b)(2)(E) of the Act requires that the Commission take into account the
nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation and, with respect to the violator, the degree of
culpability, any history of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other such matters as justice may require.22
As discussed below, we have considered Directlink’s response in light of these statutory factors, and find
that a reduction of the forfeiture based on its history of compliance is justified.
6.
We find that the evidence supports the Denver Office’s findings that, on January 10 and
January 12, 2012, Directlink operated its Ubiquiti Rocket M5 transceiver on a frequency for which that
device was not certified, and without DFS functionality. Directlink first argues that it should have received
a warning or citation pursuant to Section 1.80(d) of the Rules, because Directlink was operating in
“unlicensed” spectrum.23 Directlink is incorrect. The preliminary procedure required under Section 1.80(d)
is not applicable if the subject “is engaged in (and the violation relates to) activities for which a license,
permit certificate or other authorization is required . . . .”24 Directlink does not dispute that it was operating
its Ubiquiti Rocket M5 transceiver on a frequency for which the device was not certified and, therefore, in
violation of the Part 15 Rules.25 Pursuant to Section 15.1(b) of the Rules, the operation of a Part 15 device
in a manner that is inconsistent with the Part 15 Rules requires a license pursuant to Section 301 of the
Act.26 Therefore, Directlink was engaged in activities for which a license was required and, consequently, is
not eligible for the preliminary procedure outlined in section 1.80(d).27

17 Id. at 9–15.
18 Id. at 15–20.
19 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
20 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
21 The Commission’s Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the
Forfeiture Guidelines
, Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recons. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999)
(Forfeiture Policy Statement).
22 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(E).
23 NAL Response at 5 – 6. Section 1.80(d) of the Rule states: “Preliminary procedure in some cases; citations. No
forfeiture penalty shall be imposed upon any person under this section, if such person does not hold a license,
permit, certificate, or other authorization issued by the Commission, and if such person is not an applicant for a
license, permit, certificate, or other authorization issued by the Commission, unless, prior to the issuance of the
appropriate notice, such person: (1) Is sent a citation reciting the violation charged; (2) is given a reasonable
opportunity (usually 30 days) to request a personal interview with a Commission official, at the field office which is
nearest to such person’s place of residence; and (3) subsequently engages in conduct of the type described in the
citation. However, a forfeiture penalty may be imposed, if such person is engaged in (and the violation relates to)
activities for which a license, permit, certificate, or other authorization is required or if such person is a cable
television operator, or in the case of violations of section 303(q), if the person involved is a nonlicensee tower owner
who has previously received notice of the obligations imposed by section 303(q) from the Commission or the
permittee or licensee who uses that tower.” 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(d).
24 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(d). See also 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(5).
25 See NAL, 28 FCC Rcd at 39 – 40, paras. 6–8.
26 47 C.F.R. § 15.1(b). See NAL, 28 FCC Rcd at 37 – 38, para. 2.
27 See NAL, 28 FCC Rcd at 39 – 40, paras. 6–8. We note Directlink became a Commission licensee on June 19,
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7.
Directlink also argues that there were no “aggravating circumstances” pursuant to the
Commission’s adjustment factors and again suggests that a warning letter should have been issued.28 We
disagree. The Denver Office determined that Directlink’s unauthorized operation of an unauthorized
system created interference to the FAA’s TDWR radar system at the Denver International Airport,
creating grave public safety risks.29 Contrary to Directlink’s assertions,30 there is no requirement that the
Commission issue warnings or Notices of Unlicensed Operations (NOUOs) to violators, particularly those
causing interference to FAA radar installations.31
8.
We also disagree with Directlink’s contention that none of the upward adjustment criteria
in the Rules were met by Directlink’s violation and that the forfeiture should be reduced for that reason.32
Directlink does not deny the violations and the Denver Office determined that the unauthorized operation
caused interference to FAA TDWR radar, which, given the obvious public safety concern, meets the
criteria of substantial harm.33 Because that factor was present, we find no error in the upward adjustment
to the proposed forfeiture made by the Denver Office.
9.
Directlink further argues that it is entitled to a reduction or cancellation of the proposed
forfeiture under the downward adjustment criteria in the Rules.34 Directlink claims that its violation was
minor, and it should have received a NOUO, like various other violators have.35 We first note that the
issuance of a NOUO does not mean that a violation is minor. Instead, it puts the subject on notice of its
violation of Section 301 of the Act. Of the NOUOs cited to by Directlink, most were issued in the early
stages of enforcement against illegal U-NII operations.36 On July 27, 2010, the FCC’s Enforcement

2012. See, e.g., File No. 0005172027, granted June 19, 2012 (call sign WQPL428). See supra note 1; see also NAL,
28 FCC Rcd at 43 n.1.
28 NAL Response at 7–8. Directlink cites to a Citation that was issued to a vendor of non-certified equipment that
caused interference to TDWR systems equipment. A citation was required by Section 1.80(d) of the Rules,
however, because the vendor was not a Commission licensee and was not engaging in conduct that required an FCC
license, permit or authorization. See SECURITY-CAMERAS-CCTV.COM, Citation, 28 FCC Rcd 205 (Enf. Bur.
2013) (citation issued to non-licensee who engaged in the illegal marketing of unauthorized radio frequency
devices).
29 NAL 28 FCC Rcd at 41, para 10.
30 NAL Response at 7 (arguing a warning would be appropriate because this was a first-time violation by the
company).
31 The Commission has found that a policy of providing a warning for all first-time violations is unworkable, stating
that “an approach whereby, except in cases of harm to others or safety of life, we would always issue a warning to
first-time violators would greatly undermine the credibility and effectiveness of our overall compliance efforts.
Licensees must strive to comply with rules. Such an approach could invite some licensees to commit first-time
violations with impunity.” Forfeiture Policy Statement, 12 FCC Rcd at 17102, para. 31.
32 NAL Response at 7–8. See 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(5), Note: Guidelines for Assessing Forfeitures, Section II,
Adjustment Criteria for Section 503 Forfeitures. For forfeitures proposed and assessed under Section 503(b) of the
Act, the adjustment factors included by the Commission in its upward adjustment criteria in Section 1.80 are: (1)
Egregious misconduct; (2) Ability to pay/relative disincentive; (3) Intentional violation; (4) Substantial harm; (5)
Prior violations of any FCC requirements; (6) Substantial economic gain; and (7) Repeated or continuous violation.
Id.
33 NAL 28 FCC Rcd at 41, para 10.
34 NAL Response at 8–15. See 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(5), Note: Guidelines for Assessing Forfeitures, Section II,
Adjustment Criteria for Section 503 Forfeitures (for forfeitures proposed and assessed under Section 503(b) of the
Act, as this one is, the adjustment factors included by the Commission in its downward adjustment criteria in
Section 1.80 are: (1) Minor violation; (2) Good faith or voluntary disclosure; (3) History of compliance; and (4)
Inability to pay).
35 NAL Response at 9–13.
36 See, e.g. Aeronet Wireless, Notice of Unlicensed Operation (Enf. Bur., San Juan Office, rel. Apr. 20, 2009); Sling
4

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Bureau and Office of Engineering and Technology issued a Memorandum to Manufacturers and
Operators of Unlicensed 5 GHz Outdoor Network Equipment, like Directlink, concerning the interference
caused to TDWR by U-NII systems and devices.37 The OET/EB Memo notified wireless internet service
providers, like Directlink, that operate within the vicinity of TDWR installations or line-of-sight of
TDWR installations, of the potential for interference to TDWR installations.38 In particular, providers
operating within 35 kilometers were encouraged to operate 30 MHz away from the TDWR frequency in
use.39 Because complaints from the FAA concerning interference to TDWR operations continued after
the release of the OET/EB Memo, the Enforcement Bureau determined in 2011 that stronger enforcement
action was necessary, including upward adjustments in forfeiture amounts where appropriate.40

Broadband, LLC, Notice of Unlicensed Operation (Enf. Bur., Miami Office, rel. Jul. 20, 2010) (Sling Broadband
NOUO
); NSN Wireless, LP, Notice of Unlicensed Operation (Enf. Bur., Houston Office, rel. Aug. 13, 2010);
Wireless Metro LLC, Notice of Unlicensed Operation (Enf. Bur., Houston Office, rel. Aug. 13, 2010).
37 See Memorandum from Julius Knapp, Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC, and P. Michele
Ellison, Chief, Enforcement Bureau, FCC, to Manufacturers and Operators of Unlicensed 5 GHz Outdoor Network
Equipment Re: Elimination of Interference to Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) (dated July 27, 2010),
available at http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/uniitdwr.pdf (last visited Jan. 24, 2014) (OET/EB Memo). NOUOs cited to
by Directlink that were issued after the release of the OET/EB Memo were typically issued to new entrants, see, e.g.,
Crucito Marrero dba CMARR
, Notice of Unlicensed Operation (Enf. Bur., San Juan Office, rel. Jun. 2, 2011); David
Robles dba dmwireless
, Notice of Unlicensed Operation (Enf. Bur., San Juan Office, rel. Mar. 13, 2012); The WIFI
Store
, Notice of Unlicensed Operation (Enf. Bur., San Juan Office, rel. Mar. 13, 2012); or where the interference
was truly inadvertent because it was caused by a malfunctioning security camera, see ExtraSpace Storage, Notice of
Unlicensed Operation (Enf. Bur., Los Angeles Office, rel. Dec. 20, 2011).
38 OET/EB Memo at 1–2.
39 OET/EB Memo at 2. The OET/EB Memo also listed the locations of the TDWR installations along with the
frequencies in use, including the frequency used by the Denver, Colorado, TDWR of 5615 MHz. OET/EB Memo at
3. Directlink operated its transceiver within 31 kilometers of the Denver, Colorado, TDWR, and operated without
authority on 5630 MHz, within 15 MHz of the Denver, Colorado, TDWR.
40 See Utah Broadband, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 1419 (Enf. Bur. 2011)
($25,000 forfeiture proposed for violations of Sections 301 and Section 302(b) of the Act, utilizing a Ubiquiti
Xtreme Range 5 transceiver with DFS functionality disabled with upward adjustment for public safety harm)
(forfeiture paid) (Utah Broadband NAL); AT&T, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 26 FCC Rcd 1894 (Enf.
Bur. 2011) ($25,000 forfeiture proposed for violations of Sections 301 and Section 302(b) of the Act, utilizing a
Motorola Canopy device without DFS functionality with upward adjustment for public safety harm and revenue of
company) (AT&T NAL) forfeiture assessed in Forfeiture Order, 27 FCC Rcd 10803 (Enf. Bur. 2012) (noting that
even if AT&T did not cause interference to the TDWR operations, it was operating in violation of Section 301 and a
$25,000 forfeiture was appropriate for a company of its size) (AT&T Forfeiture Order); Rapidwave, Notice of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 10678 (Enf. Bur. 2011) ($25,000 forfeiture proposed for
violations of Sections 301 and Section 302(b) of the Act, utilizing a Ubiquiti Xtreme Range 5 transceiver without its
DFS functionality with upward adjustment for public safety harm) (Rapidwave NAL) forfeiture assessed in
Forfeiture Order, DA 14-139, 2014 WL 495195 (Enf. Bur. Feb 7, 2014) (assessing a forfeiture of $20,000 when
taking into the account subject’s history of compliance with the Commission’s rules); Ayustar, Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 10693 (Enf. Bur. 2011) ($25,000 forfeiture proposed for violations
of Sections 301 and Section 302(b) of the Act, utilizing a Motorola Canopy device without DFS functionality with
upward adjustment for egregious conduct because Ayustar had previously been issued sanctions for the same
violations) consent decree issued in Order, DA 13-2080, 2013 WL 6069461 (Enf. Bur. Nov. 18, 2013); Insight
Consulting Group of Kansas City, LLC
, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 10699
(Enf. Bur. 2011) ($17,000 forfeiture proposed for violations of Section 301 of the Act with upward adjustment for
causing hazard to air safety) forfeiture assessed in Forfeiture Order, 27 FCC Rcd 2792 (Enf. Bur. 2012) (assessing a
forfeiture of $16,000 when taking into the account subject’s ability to pay the forfeiture); Sling Broadband, LLC,
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 10686 (Enf. Bur. 2011); ($20,000 forfeiture
proposed for violations of Section 301 of the Act with upward adjustment because Sling Broadband had previously
been warned of violations) (Sling Broadband NAL) forfeiture assessed in Forfeiture Order, 26 FCC Rcd 13062 (Enf.
Bur. 2011) ($20,000 forfeiture assessed when Sling Broadband, LLC, failed to respond to NAL); Argos Net, Inc.,
5

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10.
In 2013, the Commission issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in the
amount of $202,000 against a U-NII operator.41 In the Towerstream NAL, the Commission specifically
stated that the interference created by unauthorized U-NII systems (such as the one operated by
Directlink) creates interference that “poses a clear hazard to air traffic safety and requires aggressive
enforcement.”42 The Commission also stated that for these violations, including operating without
authorization and causing interference, the Communications Act authorizes monetary forfeitures of up to
$16,000 for each violation.43 Given the concerns raised and actions taken by the Enforcement Bureau in
2010 and 2011 concerning the interference from illegal U-NII operations, we find that Directlink’s 2012
violation cannot be considered minor nor can it be dismissed with a warning.
11.
We also disagree with Directlink’s contention that it is being treated differently than
other similarly situated violators.44 According to its website, Directlink was “[f]ounded in 2002, [and] is
one of the leading fixed wireless broadband providers in Colorado.”45 Beginning in 2011, the
Enforcement Bureau put wireless internet service providers on notice that operating illegally on U-NII
frequencies and causing interference to TDWR installations would result in a notice of apparent liability
for forfeiture, and not a warning, for the first violation.46 In particular, prior to Directlink’s violations,
two other wireless internet service providers were issued notices of apparent liability for forfeiture for
operating devices illegally on U-NII frequencies, in violation of Section 301 of the Act, and for not
activating or intentionally disabling the available DFS on Ubiquiti transceivers, in violation of Section
302(b) of the Act.47 Both of these operators received proposed forfeiture amounts of $25,000, the same

Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 2786 (Enf. Bur. 2012) ($25,000 forfeiture
proposed for violations of Section 301 of the Act with upward adjustment for continuing violation after receiving
warning) forfeiture assessed in Forfeiture Order, 28 FCC Rcd 1126 (Enf. Bur. 2013) ($20,000 forfeiture assessed
after taking into consideration Argos Net, Inc.’s history of compliance) affirmed in part in Memorandum Opinion
and Order, DA 14-137, 2014 WL 495194 (Enf. Bur. Feb 7, 2014) (affirming the finding of violation by the subject
but reducing the forfeiture to $12,000 for a demonstrated inability to pay); VPNet, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 2879 (Enf. Bur. 2012) ($15,000 forfeiture proposed for violations of Sections
301 and 302(b) of the Act, including utilizing an incorrect external antenna on device) consent decree issued in
Order, DA 13-2099, 2013 WL 6145557 (Enf. Bur. Nov. 21, 2013); Skybeam Acquisition Corporation, Notice of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 11337 (Enf. Bur. 2012) ($15,000 forfeiture proposed for
violations of Section 301 and 302(b) of the Act including operating a Motorola Canopy device without DFS
functionality) forfeiture assessed in Forfeiture Order, DA 14-161, 2014 WL 495206 (Enf. Bur. Feb 7, 2013)
(assessing a forfeiture of $12,000 when taking into account the subject’s history of compliance with the
Commission’s rules).
41Towerstream Corporation, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, 28 FCC Rcd 11604 (2013)
($202,000 forfeiture proposed for violations of Sections 301 and 333 of the Act for operating U-NII devices without
a license and causing harmful interference) (Towerstream NAL).
42 Towerstream NAL, 28 FCC Rcd at 11606, para 5.
43 Towerstream NAL, 28 FCC Rcd at 11613, para 28. See 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
44 NAL Response at 15–20.
45 http://www.mydl.com/company (last visited Jan 23, 2014).
46 See supra, n.40; see also Utah Broadband NAL, 26 FCC Rcd at 1422–25, paras 7–18 (no warning prior to
issuance of NAL to company that operated a Ubiquiti transceiver with DFS functionality disabled on October 5,
2010, causing interference to Salt Lake City International Airport TDWR installation); AT&T NAL, 26 FCC Rcd at
1895–97, paras. 7–13 (no warning prior to issuance of NAL to company that operated a Motorola Canopy device
without DFS functionality on December 8, 2010, causing interference to San Juan International Airport TDWR
installation); Rapidwave NAL, 26 FCC Rcd at 19680–83, paras. 7–17 (no warning prior to issuance of NAL to
company that operated a Ubiquiti transceiver without its DFS functionality enabled on October 28, 2010, causing
interference to the Denver International Airport TDWR installation).
47 See Utah Broadband NAL, 26 FCC Rcd at 1420–21, para. 5 (during the inspection, Utah Broadband personnel
acknowledged that the required DFS functionality of each of the Ubiquiti transceivers was disabled); Rapidwave
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amount proposed to Directlink for the same violations.48 Given its advertised long term status as a
commercial wireless internet services provider, we see no reason not to treat Directlink as other providers,
who were aware they were operating equipment on unauthorized frequencies and were not operating the
device with the required, and available, functionality to avoid interference with TDWR radar.49
12.
Directlink also argues that the remedial measures it took to correct its violations after
working with the Denver Office agents evidences its good faith,50 however, the Commission will not
reduce forfeiture amounts for remedial efforts taken after Commission involvement.51 We have also
reviewed the tax records provided by Directlink and find that they do not justify a reduction based on
inability to pay. With regard to an individual’s or entity’s inability to pay claim, the Commission has
determined that, in general, gross income or revenues are the best indicator of an ability to pay a forfeiture.52
While the Commission has in a few limited cases looked to other factors, including profits and losses, to
determine ability to pay, those cases involved licensees in severe financial distress.53 Directlink has failed to
demonstrate that it is experiencing a level of financial distress that would qualify for an exception to our

NAL, 26 FCC Rcd at 10679–80, para. 5 (during the inspection, Rapidwave representatives acknowledged that the
required DFS functionality of Ubiquiti transceiver was not enabled).
48 See Utah Broadband NAL, 26 FCC Rcd at 1424, para. 16; Rapidwave NAL, 26 FCC Rcd at 10683, para 16.
49 Directlink also contends that it should receive a significantly smaller forfeiture amount than AT&T received
because AT&T is “a multi-billion dollar international carrier” and the $25,000 forfeiture, while significant to
Directlink is de minimis to AT&T. See NAL Response at 16 – 19. The Enforcement Bureau acknowledged AT&T’s
size when proposing and assessing the $25,000 forfeiture for its violations, noting that “[a]lthough we could impose
larger upward adjustments for AT&T’s apparent violations, we decline to do so, based on the particular
circumstances of this case. We caution AT&T and other U-NII service providers, however, that we may do so in
future cases if the circumstances warrant or if our current approach does not serve as a sufficient deterrent.” AT&T
NAL
, 26 FCC Rcd at 1897, para. 13. The Bureau also noted AT&T’s size when assessing the $25,000 forfeiture
against the company, stating that even if the Bureau reconsidered its finding that AT&T caused interference, AT&T
violated “Section 301 of the Act [and an] upward adjustment of $10,000 is reasonable given AT&T's substantial
gross revenues.” AT&T Forfeiture Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 10807, para. 11. We also note that Directlink’s argument
that it should receive a forfeiture of $789, because it would be, as a percentage of gross revenue, equivalent to
AT&T’s forfeiture, is inconsistent with the Commission’s base forfeiture amounts, as outlined in 47 C.F.R. §
1.80(b)(5), Note: Guidelines for Assessing Forfeitures, Section I, Base Amounts for Section 503 Forfeitures.
Further, Directlink argues that it should be treated less harshly than Sling Broadband, which received a NOUO and
then a NAL for $20,000. See NAL Response at 16–19. As explained above, Sling Broadband received a NOUO
during the initial U-NII enforcement phase. See infra n.36. The issuance of the Sling Broadband NOUO, however,
was taken into account in the Sling Broadband NAL, and was part of the basis of the upward adjustment of the
proposed forfeiture from $10,000 to $20,000, because unlike Directlink, Sling Broadband was found to have
violated only Section 301 of the Act, not Sections 301 and 302(b) of the Act. See Sling Broadband NAL, 26 FCC
Rcd at 10690, para. 12.
50 NAL Response at 13.
51 LawMate Technology Co., Forfeiture Order, 27 FCC Rcd 15159, 15161, para. 6 (Enf. Bur. 2012); Behringer USA,
Inc.
, Forfeiture Order, 22 FCC Rcd 10451, 10459, para. 19 (2007).
52 See PJB Communications of Virginia, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 7 FCC Rcd 2088, 2089 (1992)
(forfeiture not deemed excessive where it represented approximately 2.02 percent of the violator’s gross revenues);
Local Long Distance, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 15 FCC Rcd 24385 (2000) (forfeiture not deemed excessive where it
represented approximately 7.9 percent of the violator’s gross revenues); Hoosier Broadcasting Corporation,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 15 FCC Rcd 8640 (Enf. Bur. 2000) (forfeiture not deemed excessive where it
represented approximately 7.6 percent of the violator’s gross revenues).
53 See Martin Broadcasting, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 28 FCC Rcd 1923 (Enf. Bur. 2013) (three years of an operating
loss or no taxable income does not qualify as severe financial distress).
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gross revenues policy. Based on our review of the financial documents provided by Directlink, we decline
to reduce on inability to pay grounds.54
13.
Directlink also requests that the proposed forfeiture be reduced based on its history of
compliance with the Rules.55 Prior to this violation, Directlink had no violations of the Act or the Rules
and, therefore, consistent with the adjustment factors,56 we find that reduction of the forfeiture based on
Directlink’s history of compliance with the Rules is warranted and reduce the forfeiture by $5,000.
Therefore, after consideration of the entire record and the factors listed above, we find that a forfeiture in the
amount of $20,000 is warranted.

IV.

ORDERING CLAUSES

14.
Accordingly,

IT IS ORDERED

that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Communications
Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314, and 1.80(f)(4) of the Commission’s
rules, Directlink, LLC,

IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE

in the amount of twenty
thousand dollars ($20,000) for violations of Sections 301 and 302(b) of the Communications Act and
Section 15.1(b) and 15.1(c) of the Commission’s rules.57
15.
Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner provided for in Section 1.80 of the
Rules within thirty (30) calendar days after the release date of this Forfeiture Order.58 If the forfeiture is
not paid within the period specified, the case may be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for
enforcement of the forfeiture pursuant to Section 504(a) of the Act.59 Directlink, LLC, shall send
electronic notification of payment to WR-Response@fcc.gov on the date said payment is made.
The payment must be made by check or similar instrument, wire transfer, or credit card, and must include
the NAL/Account number and FRN referenced above. Regardless of the form of payment, a completed
FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice) must be submitted.60 When completing the FCC Form 159, enter the
Account Number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID) and enter the letters “FORF” in block number
24A (payment type code). Below are additional instructions you should follow based on the form of
payment you select:

Payment by check or money order must be made payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission. Such payments (along with the completed Form 159) must be
mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-
9000, or sent via overnight mail to U.S. Bank – Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-
GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101.

Payment by wire transfer must be made to ABA Number 021030004, receiving bank
TREAS/NYC, and Account Number 27000001. To complete the wire transfer and ensure

54 The $25,000 forfeiture falls within the percentage range that the Commission has previously found acceptable.
The $5,000 reduction based on history of compliance with the Rules also reduces the financial penalty imposed
against Directlink.
55 NAL Response at 3–4.
56 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(5), Note: Guidelines for Assessing Forfeitures, Section II, Adjustment Criteria for Section 503
Forfeitures. See infra n.34.
57 47 U.S.C. §§ 301, 302a(b), 503(b); 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80(f)(4), 15.1(b), 15.1(c).
58 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
59 47 U.S.C. § 504(a).
60 An FCC Form 159 and detailed instructions for completing the form may be obtained at
http://www.fcc.gov/Forms/Form159/159.pdf.
8

Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-224

appropriate crediting of the wired funds, a completed Form 159 must be faxed to U.S. Bank
at (314) 418-4232 on the same business day the wire transfer is initiated.

Payment by credit card must be made by providing the required credit card information on
FCC Form 159 and signing and dating the Form 159 to authorize the credit card payment.
The completed Form 159 must then be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O.
Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000, or sent via overnight mail to U.S. Bank –
Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO
63101.
16.
Any request for full payment over time under an installment plan should be sent
to: Chief Financial Officer—Financial Operations, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th
Street, S.W., Room 1-A625, Washington, D.C. 20554.61 If you have questions regarding payment
procedures, please contact the Financial Operations Group Help Desk by phone, 1-877-480-3201, or by
e-mail, ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov.
17.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

that a copy of this Order shall be sent by both First Class
and Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, to Directlink, LLC, 43217 London Drive, Parker,
Colorado, 80138, and to its counsel, Eric J. Cecil, Esquire, Sourcelaw, PC, 9769 W. 119th Dr., Suite 32,
Broomfield, Colorado, 80021.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Rebecca L. Dorch
Regional Director, Western Region
`
Enforcement Bureau

61 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.
9

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