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Stratos Offshore Services Company Consent Decree

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Released: July 13, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1010

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

)
In the Matter of
)
File No.: EB-10-SE-132
)
Stratos Offshore Services Company, an
)
Acct. No.: 201232100031
indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of
)
Inmarsat plc
)
FRN: 0002147353

ORDER

Adopted: July 13, 2012

Released: July 13, 2012
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1.
In this Order, we adopt the attached Consent Decree entered into between the
Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) and
Stratos Offshore Services Company, an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Inmarsat plc
(SOSCO). The Consent Decree resolves and terminates the Bureau’s investigation into SOSCO’s
compliance with Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act),1 and
Section 1.903(a) of the Commission’s rules (Rules),2 pertaining to the apparent operation of
certain Wireless Communications Service fixed base transmitters from locations outside of their
authorized service areas.
2.
The Bureau and SOSCO have negotiated a Consent Decree that resolves this
matter. A copy of the Consent Decree is attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference.
3.
After reviewing the terms of the Consent Decree and evaluating the facts before
us, we find that the public interest would be served by adopting the Consent Decree and
terminating the investigation.
4.
In the absence of material new evidence relating to this matter, we conclude that
our investigation raises no substantial or material questions of fact as to whether SOSCO
possesses the basic qualifications, including those related to character, to hold or obtain any
Commission license or authorization.
5.
Accordingly,

IT IS ORDERED

that, pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Act,3 and
Sections 0.111 and 0.311 of the Rules,4 the Consent Decree attached to this Order

IS
ADOPTED

.

1 47 U.S.C. § 301.
2 47 C.F.R. § 1.903(a).
3 47 U.S.C. § 154(i).
4 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311.

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DA 12-1010

6.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

that the above-captioned investigation

IS

TERMINATED

.
7.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

that a copy of this Order and Consent Decree
shall be sent by first class mail and certified mail, return receipt requested, to Bruce Henoch, Vice
President and General Counsel, Stratos Offshore Services Company, 6550 Rock Spring Drive,
Suite 650, Bethesda, MD 20817, as well as to Christine M. Crowe, Esq., counsel for Stratos
Offshore Services Company, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, 2300 N Street, N.W., Suite 700,
Washington, D.C. 20037-1128.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
P. Michele Ellison
Chief, Enforcement Bureau

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1010

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

File No.: EB-10-SE-132
Stratos Offshore Services Company, an
)
indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of
)
Acct. No.: 201232100031
Inmarsat plc
)
)

FRN: 0002147353
)

CONSENT DECREE

The Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission and Stratos
Offshore Services Company, by their respective authorized representatives, hereby enter into this
Consent Decree for the purpose of terminating the Enforcement Bureau’s investigation into
possible violations of Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,1 and Section
1.903(a) of the Commission’s rules,2 with respect to the apparent unauthorized operation of
certain Wireless Communications Service fixed base transmitters from locations outside of their
authorized service area in the Gulf of Mexico.

I.

DEFINITIONS

1.
For the purposes of this Consent Decree, the following definitions shall apply:
(a)
“Act” means the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47
U.S.C. §§ 151 et seq.
(b)
“Adopting Order” means an order of the Bureau adopting the
terms of this Consent Decree without change, addition, deletion,
or modification.
(c)
“Bureau” means the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal
Communications Commission.
(d)
“Commission” and “FCC” mean the Federal Communications
Commission and all of its bureaus and offices.
(e)
“Communications Laws” means collectively, the Act, the Rules,
and the published and promulgated orders and decisions of the
Commission to which Stratos is subject by virtue of its business
activities, including but not limited to, the Licensing Rules.

1 47 U.S.C. § 301.
2 47 C.F.R. § 1.903(a).

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(f)
“Compliance Plan” means the compliance obligations, program,
and procedures described in this Consent Decree at paragraph 9.
(g)
“Covered Employees” means all employees and agents of SOSCO
who perform duties, or supervise, oversee, or manage the
performance of duties that relate to SOSCO’s responsibilities
under the Licensing Rules.
(h)
“Effective Date” means the date on which the Bureau releases the
Adopting Order.
(i)
“Investigation” means the investigation commenced by the
Bureau into SOSCO’s apparent violations of the Licensing Rules,
pursuant to a referral from the Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau in August of 2010 regarding the apparent unauthorized
operation of stations KNLB212, KNLB319, KNLB320, and
KNLB321.
(j)
“Licensing Rules” means Section 301 of the Act and Section
1.903(a) of the Rules, and other Communications Laws that
prohibit the use or operation of a wireless radio station without a
valid Commission authorization or in a manner inconsistent with
such authorization.
(k)
“Operating Procedures” means the standard, internal operating
procedures and compliance policies established by SOSCO to
implement the Compliance Plan.
(l)
“Parties” means SOSCO and the Bureau, each of which is a
“Party.”
(m)
“SOSCO” means Stratos Offshore Services Company, an indirect,
wholly-owned subsidiary of Inmarsat plc, its predecessors-in-
interest and successors-in-interest.
(n)
“Rules” means the Commission’s regulations found in Title 47 of
the Code of Federal Regulations.

II.

BACKGROUND

2.
Section 301 of the Act3 and Section 1.903(a) of the Rules4 prohibit the use or
operation of any apparatus for the transmission of energy or communications or signals by
wireless radio stations except under and in accordance with an authorization granted by the
Commission.

3 47 U.S.C. § 301.
4 47 C.F.R. § 1.903(a).

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3.
SOSCO holds licenses for the operation of 2.3 GHz Wireless Communications
Service systems with the following call signs: (1) KNLB212, (2) KNLB319, (3) KNLB320, and
(4) KNLB321.5 These licenses permit SOSCO to deploy facilities within the Gulf of Mexico
service area, which “extends from 12 nautical miles off the U.S. Gulf coast outward into the
Gulf.”6 In the fall of 2009, SOSCO discovered that certain of its fixed base transmitters were
operating within 12 nautical miles of the U.S. Gulf Coast without valid Commission
authorization. SOSCO thereafter contacted each of the licensees in those coastal areas to seek
their consent to SOSCO requesting Special Temporary Authority (STA) from the Commission to
continue to operate those transmitters on a temporary basis. Shortly after securing the consents of
those coastal area licensees, on February 22, 2010, SOSCO voluntarily disclosed the
unauthorized operation, filing a request for STA with the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
(WTB) seeking to operate the unauthorized fixed base transmitters for a period of 180 days.7
After granting the STA on July 9, 2010, WTB referred this matter to the Bureau on August 11,
2010 for investigation and possible enforcement action. The Bureau and SOSCO entered into
tolling agreements to toll the statute of limitations.8

III.

TERMS OF AGREEMENT

4.

Adopting Order

. The Parties agree that the provisions of this Consent Decree
shall be subject to final approval by the Bureau by incorporation of such provisions by reference
in the Adopting Order.
5.

Jurisdiction

. SOSCO agrees that the Bureau has jurisdiction over it and the
matters contained in this Consent Decree and that the Bureau has the authority to enter into and
adopt this Consent Decree.
6.

Effective Date; Violations

. The Parties agree that this Consent Decree shall
become effective on the Effective Date as defined herein. As of the Effective Date, the Adopting
Order and this Consent Decree shall have the same force and effect as any other order of the
Commission. Any violation of the Adopting Order or of the terms of this Consent Decree shall
constitute a separate violation of a Commission order, entitling the Commission to exercise any
rights and remedies attendant to the enforcement of a Commission order.
7.

Termination of Investigation

. In express reliance on the covenants and
representations in this Consent Decree and to avoid further expenditure of public resources, the
Bureau agrees to terminate the Investigation. In consideration for the termination of the
Investigation, SOSCO agrees to the terms, conditions, and procedures contained herein. The
Bureau further agrees that in the absence of new material evidence, the Bureau will not use the
facts developed in the Investigation through the Effective Date, or the existence of this Consent

5 See File No. 0000057349.
6 47 C.F.R. § 27.6(a)(2).
7 See File No. 0004135160 (filed Feb. 22, 2010, amended June 1, 2010 and June 21, 2010, granted July
9, 2010); Special Temporary Authorizations, call signs WQMD892, WQMD893, WQMD894, WQMD895,
and WQMD896.
8 See, e.g., Tolling Agreement Extension, File No. EB-10-SE-132, executed by and between John D.
Poutasse, Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau, and Bruce Henoch, General
Counsel, Stratos Offshore Services Company (Mar. 30, 2012).

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Decree, to institute on its own motion any new proceeding, formal or informal, or take any action
on its own motion against SOSCO concerning the matters that were the subject of the
Investigation. The Bureau also agrees that in the absence of new material evidence it will not use
the facts developed in the Investigation through the Effective Date, or the existence of this
Consent Decree, to institute on its own motion any proceeding, formal or informal, or take any
action on its own motion against SOSCO with respect to SOSCO’s basic qualifications, including
its character qualifications, to be a Commission licensee or to hold Commission licenses or
authorizations.
8.

Compliance Officer

. Within thirty (30) calendar days after the Effective Date,
SOSCO shall designate a senior corporate manager with the requisite corporate and
organizational authority to serve as Compliance Officer and to discharge the duties set forth
below. The Compliance Officer shall be responsible for developing, implementing, and
administering the Compliance Plan and ensuring that SOSCO complies with the terms and
conditions of the Compliance Plan and this Consent Decree. In addition to the general knowledge
of the Communications Laws necessary to discharge his/her duties under this Consent Decree, the
Compliance Officer shall have specific knowledge of the Licensing Rules prior to assuming
his/her duties.
9.

Compliance Plan

. For purposes of settling the matters set forth herein, SOSCO
agrees that it shall within sixty (60) calendar days after the Effective Date, develop and
implement a Compliance Plan designed to ensure future compliance with the Communications
Laws and with the terms and conditions of this Consent Decree. With respect to the Licensing
Rules, SOSCO shall implement the following procedures:
(a)

Operating Procedures on Licensing Rules

. Within sixty (60) calendar
days after the Effective Date, SOSCO shall establish Operating
Procedures that all Covered Employees must follow to help ensure
SOSCO’s compliance with the Licensing Rules. SOSCO’s Operating
Procedures shall include internal procedures and policies specifically
designed to ensure that SOSCO obtains any required Commission
authorizations prior to commencing operations on any frequencies and
that SOSCO’s operations on such frequencies are consistent with such
Commission authorizations.
(b)

Compliance Manual

. Within sixty (60) calendar days after the
Effective Date, the Compliance Officer shall develop and distribute a
Compliance Manual to all Covered Employees. The Compliance Manual
shall explain the Licensing Rules and set forth the Operating Procedures
that Covered Employees shall follow to help ensure SOSCO’s
compliance with the Licensing Rules. SOSCO shall periodically review
and revise the Compliance Manual as necessary to ensure that the
information set forth therein remains current and complete. SOSCO
shall distribute any revisions to the Compliance Manual promptly to all
Covered Employees.
(c)

Compliance Training Program

. SOSCO shall establish and implement
a Compliance Training Program on compliance with the Licensing Rules
and the Operating Procedures. As part of the Compliance Training
Program, Covered Employees shall be advised of SOSCO’s obligation to
report any noncompliance with the Licensing Rules under paragraph 10

Federal Communications Commission

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of this Consent Decree and shall be instructed on how to disclose
noncompliance to the Compliance Officer. All Covered Employees shall
be trained pursuant to the Compliance Training Program within sixty
(60) calendar days after the Effective Date, except that any person who
becomes a Covered Employee at any time after the Effective Date shall
be trained within thirty (30) calendar days after the date such person
becomes a Covered Employee. SOSCO shall repeat the compliance
training on an annual basis and shall periodically review and revise the
Compliance Training Program as necessary to ensure that it remains
current and complete and to enhance its effectiveness.
10.

Reporting Noncompliance

. SOSCO shall report any noncompliance with the
Licensing Rules and with the terms and conditions of this Consent Decree within fifteen (15)
calendar days after the discovery of such noncompliance. Such reports shall include a detailed
explanation of (i) each instance of noncompliance; (ii) the steps that SOSCO has taken or will
take to remedy such noncompliance; (iii) the schedule on which such remedial actions will be
taken; and (iv) the steps that SOSCO has taken or will take to prevent the recurrence of any such
noncompliance. All such reports of noncompliance shall be submitted to the Chief, Spectrum
Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th
Street, S.W., Room 3-C366, Washington, D.C. 20554, with a copy submitted electronically to
Jennifer Burton at Jennifer.Burton@fcc.gov and JoAnn Lucanik at JoAnn.Lucanik@fcc.gov.
11.

Compliance Reports

. SOSCO shall file Compliance Reports with the
Commission ninety (90) calendar days after the Effective Date, twelve (12) months after the
Effective Date, and twenty-four (24) months after the Effective Date.
(a)
Each compliance report shall include a detailed description of SOSCO’s
efforts during the relevant period to comply with the terms and
conditions of this Consent Decree and the Licensing Rules. In addition,
each Compliance Report shall include a certification by the Compliance
Officer, as an agent of and on behalf of SOSCO, stating that the
Compliance Officer has personal knowledge that SOSCO (i) has
established and implemented the Compliance Plan; (ii) has utilized the
Operating Procedures since the implementation of the Compliance Plan;
and (iii) is not aware of any instances of noncompliance with the terms
and conditions of this Consent Decree, including the reporting
obligations set forth in paragraph 10 hereof.
(b)
The Compliance Officer’s certification shall be accompanied by a
statement explaining the basis for such certification and must comply
with Section 1.16 of the Rules9 and be subscribed to as true under
penalty of perjury in substantially the form set forth therein.
(c)
If the Compliance Officer cannot provide the requisite certification, the
Compliance Officer, as an agent of and on behalf of SOSCO, shall
provide the Commission with a detailed explanation of the reason(s) why
and describe fully (i) each instance of noncompliance; (ii) the steps that
SOSCO has taken or will take to remedy such noncompliance, including

9 47 C.F.R. § 1.16.

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the schedule on which proposed remedial actions will be taken; and (iii)
the steps that SOSCO has taken or will take to prevent the recurrence of
any such noncompliance, including the schedule on which such
preventive action will be taken.
(d)
All Compliance Reports shall be submitted to the Chief, Spectrum
Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications
Commission, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room 3-C366, Washington, D.C.
20554, with a copy submitted electronically to Jennifer Burton at
Jennifer.Burton@fcc.gov and to JoAnn Lucanik at
JoAnn.Lucanik@fcc.gov.
12.

Termination Date

. Unless stated otherwise, the obligations set forth in
paragraphs 8 through 11 of this Consent Decree shall expire twenty-four (24) months after the
Effective Date.
13.

Section 208 Complaints; Subsequent Investigations

. Nothing in this Consent
Decree shall prevent the Commission or its delegated authority from adjudicating complaints
filed pursuant to Section 208 of the Act against SOSCO or its affiliates for alleged violations of
the Act, or for any other type of alleged misconduct, regardless of when such misconduct took
place. The Commission’s adjudication of any such complaints will be based solely on the record
developed in that proceeding. Except as expressly provided in this Consent Decree, this Consent
Decree shall not prevent the Commission from investigating new evidence of noncompliance by
SOSCO with the Communications Laws.
14.

Voluntary Contribution

. SOSCO agrees that it will make a voluntary
contribution to the United States Treasury in the amount of Seventy-Five Thousand Dollars
($75,000) within thirty (30) calendar days after the Effective Date. SOSCO shall also send
electronic notification of payment to Jennifer Burton at Jennifer.Burton@fcc.gov, JoAnn Lucanik
at JoAnn.Lucanik@fcc.gov and Samantha Peoples at Sam.Peoples@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.
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 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

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DA 12-1010

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.
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.
15.

Waivers

. SOSCO waives any and all rights it may have to seek administrative
or judicial reconsideration, review, appeal or stay, or to otherwise challenge or contest the
validity of this Consent Decree and the Adopting Order, provided the Bureau issues an Adopting
Order as defined herein. SOSCO shall retain the right to challenge Commission interpretation of
the Consent Decree or any terms contained herein. If either Party (or the United States on behalf
of the Commission) brings a judicial action to enforce the terms of the Adopting Order, neither
SOSCO nor the Commission shall contest the validity of the Consent Decree or of the Adopting
Order, and SOSCO shall waive any statutory right to a trial de novo. SOSCO hereby agrees to
waive any claims it may have under the Equal Access to Justice Act,10 relating to the matters
addressed in this Consent Decree.
16.

Invalidity

. In the event that this Consent Decree in its entirety is rendered
invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, it shall become null and void and may not be used
in any manner in any legal proceeding.
17.

Subsequent Rule or Order

. The Parties agree that if any provision of the
Consent Decree conflicts with any subsequent Rule or order adopted by the Commission (except
an order specifically intended to revise the terms of this Consent Decree to which SOSCO does
not expressly consent), that provision will be superseded by such Rule or Commission order.
18.

Successors and Assigns

. SOSCO agrees that the provisions of this Consent
Decree shall be binding on its successors, assigns, and transferees.
19.

Final Settlement

. The Parties agree and acknowledge that this Consent Decree
shall constitute a final settlement between the Parties with respect to the Investigation. The
Parties further agree that this Consent Decree does not constitute either an adjudication on the
merits or a factual or legal finding or determination regarding any compliance or noncompliance
with the Communications Laws.
20.

Modifications

. This Consent Decree cannot be modified without the advance
written consent of both Parties.
21.

Paragraph Headings

. The headings of the paragraphs in this Consent Decree
are inserted for convenience only and are not intended to affect the meaning or interpretation of
this Consent Decree.
22.

Authorized Representative

. The individual signing this Consent Decree on
behalf of SOSCO represents and warrants that he is authorized by SOSCO to execute this
Consent Decree and to bind SOSCO to the obligations set forth herein. The FCC signatory

10 Equal Access to Justice Act, Pub L. No. 96-481, 94 Stat. 2325 (1980) (codified at 5 U.S.C. § 504);
see also 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1501-1.1530.

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represents that she is signing this Consent Decree in her official capacity and that she is
authorized to execute this Consent Decree.
23.

Counterparts

. This Consent Decree may be signed in any number of
counterparts (including by facsimile), each of which, when executed and delivered, shall be an
original, and all of which counterparts together shall constitute one and the same fully executed
instrument.
____________________________
P. Michele Ellison
Chief
Enforcement Bureau
____________________________
Date
____________________________
Bruce Henoch
Vice President and General Counsel
Stratos Offshore Services Company
____________________________
Date

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