April 10, 2018 / 3:51 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Sprint to pay $10 mln in FCC settlement after tower probe

(Adds Mobilitie reaction)

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, April 10 (Reuters) - Sprint Corp has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a Federal Communications Commission investigation over proper tower registration and environmental and historic impact reviews prior to building wireless infrastructure facilities, the regulator said on Tuesday.

“The law was clear and it is vital that carriers and infrastructure companies alike never duck their responsibilities,” Christopher Killion, acting deputy chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, said in a statement.

“Companies must abide by the law as it stands whenever they are building infrastructure, operating wireless facilities, or taking other actions under FCC jurisdiction.”

Sprint takes “compliance obligations seriously and will ensure that facilities are constructed only after appropriate permitting and review are completed,” the company said in a statement.

The FCC also settled with privately held Mobilitie LLC, a telecommunications infrastructure company, for $1.6 million.

Sprint, a mobile voice and data service provider, contracted with Mobilitie to deploy wireless network equipment, the FCC said.

In 2017, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau began investigating whether the two companies met requirements before constructing wireless infrastructure facilities.

Under the rules then in effect, deploying wireless infrastructure facilities, such as communications towers and structures for small cell systems, required environmental and historic preservation reviews prior to construction.

The rules required some facilities to register with the FCC prior to construction.

Both companies agreed to improve their environmental and historic preservation review compliance procedures.

Christos Karmis, chief executive of Mobilitie, noted that the settlement came after the FCC streamlined and eliminated many of the rules for small cell deployment.

“Mobilitie has been, and always will be, dedicated to regulatory compliance. Our agreement with the FCC demonstrates our continuing commitment to regulatory compliance,” Karmis said in a statement.

Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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