FCC Proposes $47 Million in Educational Services Spectrum Fines

Exterior of the FCC building in Washington, D.C.
(Image credit: FCC)

The FCC has proposed $47 million in fines on 10 entities it alleges failed to provide the educational service required for the EBS spectrum (2.5 GHz) they had FCC licenses to use for that purpose.

They also allegedly did not create the local program committees they were required to use to advise them on use of their licenses.

Under their licenses, the entities were also required to set aside "a minimum of 5% of their capacity for educational use [and] provide at least 20 hours of educational programing per channel per week."

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The FCC said that they failed to meet those "fundamental" standards, sub-leasing the spectrum but not making sure those obligations were met to "support the education of students in their communities of license."

“Our actions underline the Commission’s ongoing expectation that all FCC licensees must meet their commitments to the American public,” said Enforcement Bureau chief Rosemary Harold. “These parties apparently profited from their licenses without also providing measurable and verifiable support for the educational goals that EBS licenses were designed to serve.  Disregard for license obligations is unacceptable.”

The FCC has since changed the 2.5 GHz obligations as it makes the band available for 5G, but all the companies got their licenses under the old rules.

The fines are only proposed and the entities have a chance to challenge them.

Those entities, and the proposed fines for each, are:

  • Clarendon Foundation, Inc. – $3,346,000 (NAL)
  • Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network – $14,013,000 (NAL)
  • National Conference on Citizenship – $1,590,000 (NAL)
  • North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation – $8,268,000 (NAL)
  • Northern Arizona University Foundation – $5,485,000 (NAL)
  • Rockne Educational Television, Inc. and The Learning Paradigm, Inc. – $3,975,000 (NAL)
  • Shekinah Network – $6,377,500 (NAL)
  • Views on Learning, Inc. – $2,745,000 (NAL)
  • Voqal USA – $1,749,000 (NAL)
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.